September 08 Rudorff

Hochverehrter Herr Professor! 1

Wie hat mich Ihre freundliche Zustimmung 2 erfreut, erhoben u. angeregt! Besten Dank. Wer wie ich hier ständig mit den führenden Kapellmeistern, Professoren u. Musikern ringe, ihnen täglich, leider vergeblich, Grobheiten ins Gesicht schleudern, Intriguen aller Art wegen der Theorieprofessur am Conservatorium zu bestehen habe 3 ‒ meine Geringschätzung der Moderne wird dabei treffend ausgebeutet, 4 während es im Grunde Angst vor meinem Zorn ist ‒, der muß durch ein solches Zeichen der Übereinstimmung, wie es das Ihre ist, zum Kampf erst recht angespornt werden.

Gestatten Sie, daß ich zum Dank für Ihre so gründliche Lektüre durch den Cotta-Verlag Ihnen auch meine Harmonielehre überreichen lasse. 5 Denken Sie nicht: timeo danaos et dona ferentes, 6 ‒ nur ist wahrhaftig nicht darum zu tun, Ihnen wieder ein paar freundliche oder {2} auch unfreundliche Zeilen herauszulocken, nein, ich bescheide mich, wenn Ihnen, einem so feinen Geiste, hie u. dort nur ein Blatt, ein Gedanke gefällt. Man hat glaube ich gar nicht das Recht, auf der ganzen Linie gefallen zu wollen, am allerwenigsten Männern selbst gegenüber, die ja selbst durch Leistungen Ansprüche an die Welt stellen. Jedem Arbeitenden soll genügen, wenn auch nur ein Stückchen seiner Leistung von einem ebenfalls Arbeitenden angenommen wird. Mehr kann Niemand erreichen, selbst das größte Genie nicht.

Ich will damit sagen, daß ich gar nicht erwarte hoffe , Sie u. Ihre Wünsche betreffs des Stoffes vollauf erfüllt zu haben [?können] , daß ich gleichwohl mich glücklich fühlen werde, wenn Sie hier u. dort etwas Annehmbares finden würden.

[without valediction or signature]

© Transcription Ian Bent, 2017


September 08 Rudorff

Highly revered Professor, 1

[I can't tell you] how much your friendly agreement 2 has delighted, elated, and encouraged me! Very many thanks. Anyone who, like myself, having constantly to strive here with prominent conductors, professors, and musicians, [strive] with them daily, sadly in vain, having to stand up to people hurling abuse at me, intrigues of all sorts regarding the theory professorship at the Conservatory 3 ‒ my contempt for the moderns has been deftly exploited in that connection, 4 while it is basically fear of my wrath ‒, he must, through a gesture of concurrence of this sort as that from you, be spurred on all the more keenly to maintain the fight.

Permit me, by way of thanks for your so penetrating reading [of my Ornamentation], to have the Cotta publishing house send you also my Theory of Harmony . 5 Don't go thinking timeo danaos et dona ferentes: 6 It is truly not my purpose to coax out of you another few lines of friendly or {2} even unfriendly comment: no, I shall be content if merely a single page, an idea, now and then pleases you, so fine a spirit [as you are]. Nobody has the right, I believe, to aspire to please all the time, least of all [to please] men who themselves through their accomplishments make demands upon the world. It should be sufficient for any working person even if only a shred of his work is accepted by someone who is likewise working. Nobody can attain more, not even the greatest genius.

I will therefore say that I do not in the least expect hope to have [?be able to] satisfy you and [meet] your wishes fully as regards the substance [of my work], [but] that I will nevertheless feel myself fortunate if now and again you find something acceptable.

[without valediction or signature]

© Translation Ian Bent, 2017


September 08 Rudorff

Hochverehrter Herr Professor! 1

Wie hat mich Ihre freundliche Zustimmung 2 erfreut, erhoben u. angeregt! Besten Dank. Wer wie ich hier ständig mit den führenden Kapellmeistern, Professoren u. Musikern ringe, ihnen täglich, leider vergeblich, Grobheiten ins Gesicht schleudern, Intriguen aller Art wegen der Theorieprofessur am Conservatorium zu bestehen habe 3 ‒ meine Geringschätzung der Moderne wird dabei treffend ausgebeutet, 4 während es im Grunde Angst vor meinem Zorn ist ‒, der muß durch ein solches Zeichen der Übereinstimmung, wie es das Ihre ist, zum Kampf erst recht angespornt werden.

Gestatten Sie, daß ich zum Dank für Ihre so gründliche Lektüre durch den Cotta-Verlag Ihnen auch meine Harmonielehre überreichen lasse. 5 Denken Sie nicht: timeo danaos et dona ferentes, 6 ‒ nur ist wahrhaftig nicht darum zu tun, Ihnen wieder ein paar freundliche oder {2} auch unfreundliche Zeilen herauszulocken, nein, ich bescheide mich, wenn Ihnen, einem so feinen Geiste, hie u. dort nur ein Blatt, ein Gedanke gefällt. Man hat glaube ich gar nicht das Recht, auf der ganzen Linie gefallen zu wollen, am allerwenigsten Männern selbst gegenüber, die ja selbst durch Leistungen Ansprüche an die Welt stellen. Jedem Arbeitenden soll genügen, wenn auch nur ein Stückchen seiner Leistung von einem ebenfalls Arbeitenden angenommen wird. Mehr kann Niemand erreichen, selbst das größte Genie nicht.

Ich will damit sagen, daß ich gar nicht erwarte hoffe , Sie u. Ihre Wünsche betreffs des Stoffes vollauf erfüllt zu haben [?können] , daß ich gleichwohl mich glücklich fühlen werde, wenn Sie hier u. dort etwas Annehmbares finden würden.

[without valediction or signature]

© Transcription Ian Bent, 2017


September 08 Rudorff

Highly revered Professor, 1

[I can't tell you] how much your friendly agreement 2 has delighted, elated, and encouraged me! Very many thanks. Anyone who, like myself, having constantly to strive here with prominent conductors, professors, and musicians, [strive] with them daily, sadly in vain, having to stand up to people hurling abuse at me, intrigues of all sorts regarding the theory professorship at the Conservatory 3 ‒ my contempt for the moderns has been deftly exploited in that connection, 4 while it is basically fear of my wrath ‒, he must, through a gesture of concurrence of this sort as that from you, be spurred on all the more keenly to maintain the fight.

Permit me, by way of thanks for your so penetrating reading [of my Ornamentation], to have the Cotta publishing house send you also my Theory of Harmony . 5 Don't go thinking timeo danaos et dona ferentes: 6 It is truly not my purpose to coax out of you another few lines of friendly or {2} even unfriendly comment: no, I shall be content if merely a single page, an idea, now and then pleases you, so fine a spirit [as you are]. Nobody has the right, I believe, to aspire to please all the time, least of all [to please] men who themselves through their accomplishments make demands upon the world. It should be sufficient for any working person even if only a shred of his work is accepted by someone who is likewise working. Nobody can attain more, not even the greatest genius.

I will therefore say that I do not in the least expect hope to have [?be able to] satisfy you and [meet] your wishes fully as regards the substance [of my work], [but] that I will nevertheless feel myself fortunate if now and again you find something acceptable.

[without valediction or signature]

© Translation Ian Bent, 2017

Footnotes

1 A record of the writing of this letter is probably that which appears in Schenker's diary at the end of August 1908 without date (OJ 1/7, p. 91): "? Brief an Rudorff, s. Blg." ("? Letter to Rudorff, see annex").

2 = OJ 13/37, 2, September 12, 1908, in which Rudorff expresses agreement with Schenker's views as expressed in his Beitrag zur Ornamentik.

3 Ludwig Karpath was involved in an initiative to establish a professorship in music theory for Schenker at the Vienna Conservatory; he notified Schenker on February 10, 1908 that the wheels had been set in motion, consequently Schenker had an interview with Karl von Wiener (then at the Ministry of Education, but the future director of the institution) on February 15. That interview, recounted in Schenker's diary, was disastrous and no further action seems to have been taken. — It is interesting to see that Schenker believed there were machinations against him.

4 Schenker's first polemical attacks on modern music, though already adumbrated in section IV of the 1903 edition of his Beitrag zur Ornamentik, appeared outspokenly in his Harmonielehre (published 1906), continued in his Niedergang der Kompositionskunst (1905‒09, but never published in his lifetime), and in the Preface to Kontrapunkt I (published 1910). He voiced his criticisms even less guardedly in his diaries from December 1906 onward.

5 Schenker asked Cotta on September 17, 1908 (postcard, non-extant) to dispatch a copy of his Harmonielehre to Rudorff ‒ this being the basis for the editorial dating of the present letter ‒ and Cotta (OJ 12/27, [7]) confirmed the next day that it had done so. — By "auch ("also"), Schenker alludes to the fact that it was at his request that Universal Edition had sent Rudorff the newly published second edition of his Beitrag zur Ornamentik, on which Rudorff has now commented favorably.

6 Aeneid II.49: "I fear the Greeks, even those bearing gifts," commonly paraphrased as "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts."

Commentary

Rights Holder
Heirs of Heinrich Schenker; deemed to be in the public domain
License
All reasonable steps have been taken to locate the heirs of Heinrich Schenker. Any claim to intellectual rights on this document should be addressed to the Schenker Correspondence Project, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge, at schenkercorrespondence [at] mus (dot) cam (dot) ac (dot) uk.
Format
2p incomplete draft letter, holograph salutation and message-beginning , no message-completion, valediction or signature
Provenance
Schenker, Heinrich (document date-1935)--Schenker, Jeanette (1935-c.1942)--Ratz, Erwin (c.1942-c.1955)--Jonas,Oswald (c.1955-1978)--University of California, Riverside (1978--)

Digital version created: 2017-10-18
Last updated: 2012-09-26