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OJ 5/18, 33 : 12-21-33

Handwritten letter from Schenker to Jonas (in hand of Jeanette S with insertions by HS), dated December 21, 1933

Geehrter lieber Herr Doktor Jonas!

Beiliegend sende ich Ihnen den Aufsatz aus Amerika.1 Die Wärme des jungen Mannes, ja sogar der Tonfall ist ganz erstaunlich hoch gestimmt. Er macht seinem Vornamen alle Ehre. Und da bin ich mitten in den Judaica.

Seit den Predigten des Kardinals Faulhaber ist ”Juda”2 gewiß keine Schande mehr für die Träger des Bekenntnisses u. der Rasse. Daß ich niemals ein Hehl daraus gemacht habe, daß ich ein stürmischer Anbeter des wunderbarsten Denkmals bin, wissen Sie. Die Verunglimpfung durch Einstein3 kann ja nicht mehr ungeschehen gemacht werden u. was sich Ihr Mitarbeiter in dem größeren Werk leisten wird, scheinen Sie ja auch nicht zu wissen, eher muten Sie ihm eine Unzulänglichkeit zu. Daß diese beiden Lexika den Germanen zu {2} Augen kommen sollten bezweifle ich. Es ist demnach so, als wären die beiden Bücher überhaupt nicht vorhanden. Anderseits haben wir zu bedenken, daß ein geflissentliches|4 Hinaustragen des Bekenntnisses der Sache einigermaßen abträglich sein könnte. Ich halte dafür, daß es besser wäre den Germanen meine monotheistische Musiklehre5 so zu schenken wie das alte Testament der ganzen Welt geschenkt worden ist: Nach 2000 Jahren mögen die Nachfahren der Germanen den Schenker verleugnen wie sie Rabbi Jesum verleugnen, bis dahin aber hat die Lehre gewirkt u. Verbreitung in der Welt gefunden, u. schließlich wird der Trotz der Germanen nur lächerlich sein. Vor allem die “Mission”! Geht es zu dieser musikalischen Offenbarung besser u. leichter, wenn man die musikalischen Herden nicht gleich vor den Kopf stoßt, dann vermeide man, {3} was überflüssig ist. Bis heute stehe ich im Geruche eines blonden Germanen u. war seit jeher deshalb persona gratissima bei sämtlichen katholischen, antisemitischen u. ä. Blättern (auch in Wien)6 gewesen. Also lade ich die Wissenden ein, mit mir unter einer Decke zu spielen u. im Interesse der Sache der deutschen Musikgenies7 die [in lower margin, in HS’s hand: , von den Deutschen unverstanden, verraten, geschleudert, seit Langem aber Menschheitsgut ist geworden, nun] eine neue Weltbotschaft des Judentums|8 für die nächsten Ewigkeiten zu sein bestimmt ist, stillzuhalten. Ich hoffe, Sie verstehen mich richtig.

Für den kleinen Aufsatz, den Sie beisteuern, sage ich herzlichen Dank. Den beiliegenden Aufsatz9 sollen Sie behalten u. Gesinnungsgenossen zeigen doch immer unter Discretion: Zwei Juden auf einmal wären für feindlich gestimmte Seelen zu viel.

Leider besitze ich die “Syrische Tänze” selbst nicht, weiß auch nicht, wohin der Verlag Weinberger gekommen ist, gelegent- {4} lich werde ich die U.-E. fragen. Es mag Sie interessiren, daß Busoni die Stücke in seinen Konzerten in Berlin gespielt hat, in der Orchestrierung von – Schönberg, den er bei dieser Gelegenheit dem Namen u. der Leistung nach kennengelernt hat. Busoni hat die Stücke ursprünglich mit Schnabel gespielt u. schrieb mir daß sie “genial”10 seien. Auch heute noch finde ich die Stücke außerordentlich, nicht so leicht von irgendjemand nachahmbar. Freilich, Juden würden sich in diesen Tänzen so wenig erkennen, wie sich Ungarn in Brahms’ ungarischen Tänzen wiederfinden. Mit Violin11 habe ich Stücke daraus dem alten Hanslick vorgespielt, auch im Bösendorfer Saal u. in vielen privaten Häusern so daß ich, über den Erfolg einigermaßen erschreckt, davon absah, weitere Hefte zu publizieren.

Ob van Hoboken12 sich hier angekauft {5} hat weiß ich noch immer nicht.

Mit den besten Grüßen von mir u. meiner Frau u. besten Wünschen für die Festtage

Ihr
herzlichst ergebener13
[ sign’d: ] H Schenker
Wien, den 21. Dezember 1933

© In the public domain.
© Transcription John Rothgeb 2006.

Handwritten letter from Schenker to Jonas (in hand of Jeanette S with insertions by HS), dated December 21, 1933

Esteemed, dear Dr. Jonas,

I send you herewith the essay from America.1 The young man’s warmth, even the tone, is most amazingly enthusiastic. He does his given name full justice. And there I am in the midst of Judaica.

Since the sermons of Cardinal Faulhaber, “Judah”2 is certainly no disgrace to the bearers of the faith and the race. You know that I have never made a secret of the fact that I am a passionate devotee of the most marvelous monument. The disparagement by Einstein3 can no longer be undone, and what your colleague in the larger project will achieve, you indeed seem not to know; you prefer to expect him to fall short. I doubt that these two lexicons will come to the {2} attention of the Germanic peoples. It is therefore as if the two books did not exist at all. On the other hand we must reflect that a deliberate|4 display of commitment to the matter could be in some sense deleterious. I think, rather, that it would be better to present the Germanic people with my monotheistic music-teaching5 as the Old Testament was presented to the whole world: after 2,000 years the successors to the Germanic people may disavow Schenker as they disavow Rabbi Jesus, but all along the teaching has made its effect and achieved propagation in the world, and ultimately the defiance of the Germanic peoples will only be ridiculous. Above all, the “Mission”! Since this musical revelation will come about better and more easily if we desist from tormenting the musical herds, let us avoid anything {3} that is unnecessary. Up to now I have maintained the repute of a blonde Germanic type and have therefore long since been persona gratissima among all Catholic, antisemitic and such news media (even in Vienna).6 Thus I invite those in the know to join me in operating under cover, and, in the interest of the product of the German music-geniuses7 which, [in lower margin, in HS’s hand: ununderstood, betrayed, wasted by the Germans, but long since having become an asset of all mankind, is now] destined to become a new message to the world from the Jews|8 for the coming eternities, to hold our peace. I hope you understand me correctly.

Many thanks for the short essay that you contribute. Please keep the enclosed essay9 and show it to the like-minded, but always with discretion: two Jews at once would be too much for antipathetic minds.

Unfortunately I myself no longer possess the Syrian Dances, and do not know what became of the Verlag Weinberger; sometime {4} I will ask Universal Edition. It may interest you to know that Busoni played the pieces in his concerts in Berlin, in the orchestration by none other than Schoenberg, whom he got to know by name and accomplishment on that occasion. Busoni originally played the pieces with Schnabel and wrote me that they were “brilliant.”10 Even today I still find the pieces extraordinary, not so easy for just anybody to imitate. Admittedly, Jews would recognize themselves in these dances as little as Hungarians rediscover themselves in Brahms’s Hungarian Dances. With Violin11 I played selections from them for old Hanslick, both in the Bösendorfer Salon and in many private houses, so that I, to some extent intimidated by the success, abjured publication of further volumes.

Whether van Hoboken12 has bought land here {5} I still do not know.

With best greetings from my wife and me, and best wishes for the holidays,

Yours sincerely,13
[ sign’d: ] H. Schenker
Vienna, December 21, 1933

© Translation John Rothgeb 2006.

COMMENTARY:
Format: 5-p letter, oblong format, message in Jeanette Schenker's hand, insertions, marginalia, valediction, and signature in HS's hand
Sender address: --
Recipient address: --

FOOTNOTES:

1 Israel Citkowitz, “The Role of Heinrich Schenker,” Modern Music: A Quarterly Review XI:1 (1933), 18-23. See OJ 5/18, 32 and the reply, 12/6, [27]. The translation survives in an 8-p typescript, “Die Rolle Heinrich Schenkers,” as OJ 58/2, and also as OC 2/between p.88 and p.89, translator unidentified.

2 Quotation marks apparently added by Schenker. Michael Cardinal von Faulhaber (1869–1952), Roman Catholic Archbishop of Munich 1917–52. After the boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany on April 1, 1933, Faulhaber issued an order to the Catholic clergy on April 24 to support the Nazi regime, and is reported also to have said: “We bishops are being asked why the Catholic Church, as often in its history, does not intervene on behalf of the Jews. This is not possible at this time because the struggle against the Jews would then, at the same time, become a struggle against the Catholics, and because the Jews can help themselves, as the sudden end of the boycott shows.” Faulhaber’s Advent sermons of 1933 were a defense of the Old Testament that avoided pronouncing on the contemporary Jewish situation: it may be to one of these sermons (the Advent Sundays being December 3, 10, 17, 24) that S is referring here. The semons were published as Judentum, Christentum, Germanentum : Adventspredigten gehalten in St. Michael zu München 1933 (Munich: A. Huber, 1934), Eng. trans. by George D. Smith as Judaism, Christianity and Germany (New York: Macmillan, 1934).

3 Click on: Alfred Einstein. See OJ 12/6, [27].

4 Underscoring apparently by Schenker.

5 Cf. OJ 5/18, 49, and diary entries May 17 and 21, 1933, see H. Federhofer, Nach Tagebüchern, p.320.

6 Parentheses added by HS.

7 Insertion in HS’s hand.

8 Underscoring apparently by HS.

9 Not further identified, and not filed with this letter.

10 Quotation marks in HS’s hand.

11 Click on: Moriz Violin.

12 Click on Anthony van Hoboken.

13 This valedicition and the signature are in HS’s hand.

SUMMARY:
Sends article [by Citkowitz]. — In response to J's quoting from a Jewish lexikon (OJ 12/6, [27], December 18, 1933), he refers to the sermons by Cardinal Faulhaber, and writes of his pride in being Jewish but in having assimilated thoroughly enough to establish favorable relations with the Catholic church, antisemites, and the news media; implying a parallel between himself and Jesus, he offers his "monotheistic theory of music" as "a new message to the world from the Jews." — Has no copy of his Syrische Tänze; writes of the work's history.

© Commentary, Footnotes, Summary John Rothgeb 2006.

Rothgeb, John
Schenker, Heinrich
DE
Cambridge University Faculty of Music-Ian Bent
Schenker, Heinrich; Jonas, Oswald; article; essay; Citkowitz, Israel; America; Judaica; Faulhaber, Cardinal Michael; Einstein, Alfred; Germanic peoples; Judaism; Jewishness; Old Testament; Jesus; Syrische Tänze; Syrian Dances; Berlin; Busoni; Schoenberg; Schnabel, Artur; Brahms; Ungarische Tänze; Hungarian Dances; Violin, Moriz; Bösendorfer-Saal; Hanslick, Eduard; Hoboken, Anthony van
Handwritten letter from Schenker to Jonas (in the hand of Jeanette S, with insertions by HS), dated December 21, 1933
OJ 5/18, 33
1933-12-21
2006-07-29
Jonas
This document is deemed to be in the public domain as of January 1, 2006. Any claim to intellectual rights should be addressed to the Schenker Correspondence Project, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge, at [email protected].
Oswald Jonas (1933-1978)—Special Collections, University of California, Riverside (1978-)
IPR: In the public domain; Image: Special Collections, University of California, Riverside; Transcription, Translation, Commentary, Footnotes, and Summary: John Rothgeb.
Vienna
1933

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