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734   Arnold Schonberg  $300 $1854 $2040 16 You must login to place a bid.
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#734 - Arnold Schonberg

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“I ascribe the hatred which persecutes me to an ordinary intrigue,” the composer attacks his publisher, “which procured me a mighty enemy”

Austrian-born composer (1874–1951) whose development of the twelve-tone system proved to be one of the most far-reaching innovations in the history of twentieth-century music. TLS, one page, 8.5 x 11, February 3, 1948. Letter to Hans Heinsheimer of the music publisher G. Schirmer, Inc., typed on the reverse of Schonberg’s retained carbon copy of a different letter in German, bearing his carbon facsimile signature. In part: “Thank you very much for sending me the Schirmer-Orchestra-catalogue, the production of which goes evindently [sic] to your credit. I am very glad about this publication, not only because for quite a time nobody would have known where to ask for my music. But here in Los Angeles the Schirmer-Store himself denied that something of my music has been published by Schirmers. And about six weeks ago a friend of mine wanted to buy scores of my music in your MAIN STORE IN NEW YORK...and only after a considerable fight did the sales person admit that they have my music in store. Do you want me to tell you who was the man who wanted to buy?

Now at least no employee can any longer lie about publications of mine. Whether this is in the interest of the firm? I doubt it. Because I can serve you with figures of my European success which prove that some money can be earned with my music.

But I wanted to talk about another matter. You know perhaps that a few years ago I complaint [sic] about a treatment I had been subjected to by the successor of Carl Engel. Curiously (but not uncoceivably [sic]) I did not get apologies but the business relations with me were broken. At this time I thought I had lost a publisher, which is bad enough and a strong punishment for a just complaint. But now I have to realize that means also breaking contracts, by not printing new editions when olds are sold out, by damaging all my possible success, by refusing to deliver my music, by not printing scores I had sold and many other unfriendly actions.

I know I will have to do something. But rather I would like you to advice [sic] me what I can do to right this wrong and, better, whether you think there is a possibility for a reconciliation. I ascribe the hatred which persecutes me to an ordinary intrigue, or possibly to an action of an enemy who told things about me, which procured me a mighty enemy.” Intersecting folds (one vertical fold passing through the first letter of the signature), show-through from carbon-typed text to reverse, and slight brushing to the end of the signature, otherwise fine condition.

Schonberg was extremely distrustful of his music publishers in general, and G. Schirmer, Inc., his chief publisher in America, was no exception. He had maintained a relatively steady relationship with them for many years, largely due to his close friendship with Carl Engel, the president of the firm from 1929 to 1944. After Engel's death in 1944, Schonberg's business relations with Schirmer's steadily deteriorated, and he was constantly at odds with Hans Heinsheimer, who had taken over as director of their symphonic and operatic repertoire in 1947. Under Heinsheimer's direction, the composer’s distrust was justified—there were frequent 'clerical errors' in his royalty statements, and his suspicions that Schirmer did not reprint his scores to meet demand was seemingly true. Even after he wrote this angry letter, he found that his Suite in G was omitted from the 1949 Schirmer catalog. A fascinating letter revealing of Schonberg's personality and his confidence in the commercial viability of his works. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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