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Schoenberg to Strauss– Thanks but No Thanks

If you don’t have anything nice to say….

Richard Strauss’ caustic jabs about Viennese composer Arnold Schoenberg came back to haunt him.

In his delightful Book of Musical Anecdotes, Norman Lebrecht reveals that when Schoenberg was asked to compose a piece for his sharp tongued critic, he wrote back as follows:

Dear Sir,

I regret that I am unable to accept your invitation to write something for Richard Strauss’s fiftieth birthday.

In a letter to Frau Mahler…Herr Strauss wrote about me as follows:

The only person who can help poor Schoenberg now is a psychiatrist…. I think he’d do better to shovel snow instead of scribbling on music paper.

It seems to me that the opinion I myself and indeed everyone else who knows these remarks is bound to have of Herr Strauss as a man (for here is envy of a ‘competitor’) and as an artist (for the expressions he uses are as banal as a cheap song) is not suitable for general publication in honour of his fiftieth birthday.” [Lebrecht, 290-291]

In other words– Strauss, go jump in the DANUBE  (Different Strauss, but you get the picture)

Posted by on April 4th, 2017

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