[This draft letter is heavily edited by Schenker; some of his annotations, all in pale brown pencil, are indecipherable.]

08 An Prof Rudorff

Verehrester, u. bester Herr Professor! 1

Die ersten Schrecken u. Schwierigkeiten des Saisonbeginnes sind vorüber: 2 Schüler u. Schülerinnen alle an ihrem Platz, die neuen ein- u. die älteren fortgeführt, die Permutationen von Klavier u. Theorie alle hübsch im Gange u.s.w., ‒ nun tue ich mein Erstes, Ihnen für den wichtigen „Gluck“brief herzlich zu danken, 3 u. Sie sofort zu versichern, daß nur die knappe Fassung eines nicht ganz deutlich ausgesprochenen Gedankens an Misverständniß schuld war. 4

Auch ich wollte nur dasselbe sagen, was schließlich auch Ihre Meinung ist, daß nämlich Mozart ein durchaus höherer Musiker war, als Gluck. Nur zog ich daraus den Schluß, daß es dann offenbar als eine Gnade des Himmels über Deutschland war anzusehen ist , wenn die Opernmusik nicht schon bei Gluck für immer Halt ge zu mach t hat en genötigt war . „Und siehe da, es war gut“, 5 daß Mozart erschaffen wurde u. aus der Fülle seiner ebennur in der absoluten Musik zu erringenden Fertigkeiten auch in die fatale Oper allen Reichtum der der Gruppentechnik von Modulationen u. Formen, hineintrug wobei er, ‒ von den göttlichsten Instinkten stets treu bera- {2} -ten ‒ eine [?mäßige], allerdings sehr wichtige Einschränkung nur dahin walten ließ, daß er es für unangebracht hielt, in einer Oper gerade die höchsten Fertigkeiten, deren seine Kunst fähig war, anzubringen. Wenn je ein menschliches Wesen, so war es Mozarts der allezeit mit Gott, mit der Natur eins war, u. daher den Styl, wie ihn die Sache selbst erforderte, zu treffen wußte. Niemals hätte er das gemacht, was Beethoven nach ihm, der in „ Fidelio Canons, Variationen u. dgl., bringt, u. damit den Styl überschreitet. Theater bleibt Theater, Publikum wird immer Publikum bleiben, u. so schuf Mozart das letzte zubüssige Maß, wornach die Segnungen der Kultur der absoluten Musik in die Operngattung zu verpflanzen sind. Es war aber Daraus folgt, daß es , wie gesagt, gut , ‒ so glaube wenigstens ich selbst, ‒ daß Einer nach Gluck kam, der es zeigen konnte, wie man auch reiche u. u. die reichste Musik schaffen kann, selbst in der Zwittergattung der Oper, ‒ denn bei aller Güte und Vollendung des edlen Pathos war Gluck doch allzu monoton in der Haltung der Formen, der Modulationen, auch schon nur in der Baßführung allein.

Und so daher kam es daß ich es Nun meine ich, es war ein Unglück, begreifen mußte daß nicht ebenso nach Wagner Einer kam, der auch es ebenda mit den gesteigerten Mitteln des Ausdrucks es fertig gebracht hätte, auch ehrliche Syntese {3} im großen Styl zu treiben. Man behauptet ja gerne, daß Wagner unüberschreitbar, unkorrigierbar, ‒ hätte man denn dasselbe nicht aber auch von Gluck gesagt, wenn in der Geschichte Mozart ausgeblieben wäre? Freilich hat Wagner so sehr die Ohren der neuen Generation verdorben, daß kaum mehr eine Regeneration, ein status quo ante 6 zu erreichen, geschweige denn ein Überschreiten zu erhoffen ist.

[lacks ending, valediction and signature]

© Transcription Ian Bent, 2017

[This draft letter is heavily edited by Schenker; some of his annotations, all in pale brown pencil, are indecipherable.]

1908 To Professor Rudorff

Most revered and best Professor [Rudorff], 1

The initial panics and difficulties of the start of the teaching year are over: 2 pupils, male and female, all in their time-slots, the new ones initiated and the continuing ones back on track, the permutations of piano and theory all working like clockwork, etc., ‒ I now honor my first obligation, cordially to thank you for your important letter about Gluck, 3 and immediately to assure you that what gave rise to misunderstanding was only my inadequate formulation of a not very clearly expressed idea. 4

I too meant only to say what is ultimately also your opinion, namely that Mozart was a musician of an altogether higher order than Gluck. I merely drew from it the conclusion that it was is clearly to be seen as a blessing from heaven upon Germany that opera music did not was not forced to come to a stop for ever, at the time of Gluck. "And behold, it was good" 5 that Mozart was created, and out of the abundance of the skills that he was to achieve exclusively in absolute music, [that he] brought even to fatal opera all the riches of grouping technique, of modulations and forms, except that he ‒ always faithfully guided by the most divine instincts ‒ {2} imposed a [?moderate], but at the same time very important restriction, deeming it inappropriate to employ in an opera precisely the highest skills of which his art was capable. If ever there was a human existence, then it was that of Mozart, who was always at one with God and in harmony with Nature, and accordingly knew how to hit upon the style that the subject matter itself demanded of him. Never would he have done what Beethoven after him did when in Fidelio he uses canons, variations and the like, and in so doing transcends the [categories of] style. Theater remains theater, the public will ever remain the public, and so Mozart created the final additional boundary beyond which the blessings of the culture of absolute music are to be transplanted into the genre of opera. It was, however, as already said, good so at least I myself believe It follows from this that there was one who came after Gluck who could show how even the rich, nay the very richest, music could be created even in the hermaphroditic genre of opera. For, despite all the quality and perfection of noble pathos, Gluck was nevertheless all-too monotonous in his treatment of forms, of modulations, even in the very bassline construction itself.

Now, I think it was And so this is how it came about that I was compelled to recognize it as a misfortune that no one came similarly after Wagner who, with the heightened means of expression [by then available] could likewise have succeeded in introducing even noble synthesis {3} into the great style. People gladly assert that Wagner is insurpassable, incorrigible. ‒ Would not people then have said the same also about Gluck, if in history Mozart had not come to be? Admittedly, Wagner has so severely ruined the ears of the new generation that there is scarcely any longer any hope that a regeneration ‒ a status quo ante 6 ‒ could be achieved, let alone a surpassing [of it].

[lacks ending, valediction and signature]

© Translation Ian Bent, 2017

[This draft letter is heavily edited by Schenker; some of his annotations, all in pale brown pencil, are indecipherable.]

08 An Prof Rudorff

Verehrester, u. bester Herr Professor! 1

Die ersten Schrecken u. Schwierigkeiten des Saisonbeginnes sind vorüber: 2 Schüler u. Schülerinnen alle an ihrem Platz, die neuen ein- u. die älteren fortgeführt, die Permutationen von Klavier u. Theorie alle hübsch im Gange u.s.w., ‒ nun tue ich mein Erstes, Ihnen für den wichtigen „Gluck“brief herzlich zu danken, 3 u. Sie sofort zu versichern, daß nur die knappe Fassung eines nicht ganz deutlich ausgesprochenen Gedankens an Misverständniß schuld war. 4

Auch ich wollte nur dasselbe sagen, was schließlich auch Ihre Meinung ist, daß nämlich Mozart ein durchaus höherer Musiker war, als Gluck. Nur zog ich daraus den Schluß, daß es dann offenbar als eine Gnade des Himmels über Deutschland war anzusehen ist , wenn die Opernmusik nicht schon bei Gluck für immer Halt ge zu mach t hat en genötigt war . „Und siehe da, es war gut“, 5 daß Mozart erschaffen wurde u. aus der Fülle seiner ebennur in der absoluten Musik zu erringenden Fertigkeiten auch in die fatale Oper allen Reichtum der der Gruppentechnik von Modulationen u. Formen, hineintrug wobei er, ‒ von den göttlichsten Instinkten stets treu bera- {2} -ten ‒ eine [?mäßige], allerdings sehr wichtige Einschränkung nur dahin walten ließ, daß er es für unangebracht hielt, in einer Oper gerade die höchsten Fertigkeiten, deren seine Kunst fähig war, anzubringen. Wenn je ein menschliches Wesen, so war es Mozarts der allezeit mit Gott, mit der Natur eins war, u. daher den Styl, wie ihn die Sache selbst erforderte, zu treffen wußte. Niemals hätte er das gemacht, was Beethoven nach ihm, der in „ Fidelio Canons, Variationen u. dgl., bringt, u. damit den Styl überschreitet. Theater bleibt Theater, Publikum wird immer Publikum bleiben, u. so schuf Mozart das letzte zubüssige Maß, wornach die Segnungen der Kultur der absoluten Musik in die Operngattung zu verpflanzen sind. Es war aber Daraus folgt, daß es , wie gesagt, gut , ‒ so glaube wenigstens ich selbst, ‒ daß Einer nach Gluck kam, der es zeigen konnte, wie man auch reiche u. u. die reichste Musik schaffen kann, selbst in der Zwittergattung der Oper, ‒ denn bei aller Güte und Vollendung des edlen Pathos war Gluck doch allzu monoton in der Haltung der Formen, der Modulationen, auch schon nur in der Baßführung allein.

Und so daher kam es daß ich es Nun meine ich, es war ein Unglück, begreifen mußte daß nicht ebenso nach Wagner Einer kam, der auch es ebenda mit den gesteigerten Mitteln des Ausdrucks es fertig gebracht hätte, auch ehrliche Syntese {3} im großen Styl zu treiben. Man behauptet ja gerne, daß Wagner unüberschreitbar, unkorrigierbar, ‒ hätte man denn dasselbe nicht aber auch von Gluck gesagt, wenn in der Geschichte Mozart ausgeblieben wäre? Freilich hat Wagner so sehr die Ohren der neuen Generation verdorben, daß kaum mehr eine Regeneration, ein status quo ante 6 zu erreichen, geschweige denn ein Überschreiten zu erhoffen ist.

[lacks ending, valediction and signature]

© Transcription Ian Bent, 2017

[This draft letter is heavily edited by Schenker; some of his annotations, all in pale brown pencil, are indecipherable.]

1908 To Professor Rudorff

Most revered and best Professor [Rudorff], 1

The initial panics and difficulties of the start of the teaching year are over: 2 pupils, male and female, all in their time-slots, the new ones initiated and the continuing ones back on track, the permutations of piano and theory all working like clockwork, etc., ‒ I now honor my first obligation, cordially to thank you for your important letter about Gluck, 3 and immediately to assure you that what gave rise to misunderstanding was only my inadequate formulation of a not very clearly expressed idea. 4

I too meant only to say what is ultimately also your opinion, namely that Mozart was a musician of an altogether higher order than Gluck. I merely drew from it the conclusion that it was is clearly to be seen as a blessing from heaven upon Germany that opera music did not was not forced to come to a stop for ever, at the time of Gluck. "And behold, it was good" 5 that Mozart was created, and out of the abundance of the skills that he was to achieve exclusively in absolute music, [that he] brought even to fatal opera all the riches of grouping technique, of modulations and forms, except that he ‒ always faithfully guided by the most divine instincts ‒ {2} imposed a [?moderate], but at the same time very important restriction, deeming it inappropriate to employ in an opera precisely the highest skills of which his art was capable. If ever there was a human existence, then it was that of Mozart, who was always at one with God and in harmony with Nature, and accordingly knew how to hit upon the style that the subject matter itself demanded of him. Never would he have done what Beethoven after him did when in Fidelio he uses canons, variations and the like, and in so doing transcends the [categories of] style. Theater remains theater, the public will ever remain the public, and so Mozart created the final additional boundary beyond which the blessings of the culture of absolute music are to be transplanted into the genre of opera. It was, however, as already said, good so at least I myself believe It follows from this that there was one who came after Gluck who could show how even the rich, nay the very richest, music could be created even in the hermaphroditic genre of opera. For, despite all the quality and perfection of noble pathos, Gluck was nevertheless all-too monotonous in his treatment of forms, of modulations, even in the very bassline construction itself.

Now, I think it was And so this is how it came about that I was compelled to recognize it as a misfortune that no one came similarly after Wagner who, with the heightened means of expression [by then available] could likewise have succeeded in introducing even noble synthesis {3} into the great style. People gladly assert that Wagner is insurpassable, incorrigible. ‒ Would not people then have said the same also about Gluck, if in history Mozart had not come to be? Admittedly, Wagner has so severely ruined the ears of the new generation that there is scarcely any longer any hope that a regeneration ‒ a status quo ante 6 ‒ could be achieved, let alone a surpassing [of it].

[lacks ending, valediction and signature]

© Translation Ian Bent, 2017

Footnotes

1 Writing of this letter is not recorded in Schenker's diary (there are no diary entries for October). Four short excerpts from the draft ("Auch ich ... also Gluck," "die Segnungen ... verpflanzen," "bei aller Güte ... Baßführung allein," "daß nicht nach Wagner ... erhoffen ist") are transcribed by Hellmut Federhofer in Heinrich Schenker nach Tagebüchern ... (Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1985), p. 205 (he includes some, not all, of Schenker's interlinear insertions); these excerpts assisted with the present transcription.

2 The teaching year in 1908 began on Thursday October 1, so this letter was presumably written some time after October 7, hence the editorially suggested date of Sunday October 11. The next letter from Rudorff, OJ 13/37, 5, which is clearly an answer to the present letter since it quotes the passage "auch freilich hat Wagner ... erhoffen ist," and the phrase status quo ante, directly, is dated November 11.

3 = OJ 13/37, 4, October 1, 1908.

4 The offending passage appears in OJ 5/35, [3], the second half of paragraph 2.

5 "Und siehe da, es war gut": cf. "Und Gott sah, daß es gut war" ("And God saw that it was good"), Genesis I.10, 12, 18, 21, 25 and "Und Gott sah an alles, was er gemacht hatte, und siehe, es war sehr gut" ("And God saw all that he had made, and behold it was very good") 1.31. Schenker is clearly paralleling the acts in the Genesis creation story ("Und Gott schuf ...") with the arrival of Mozart on the musical scene ("und so schuf Mozart ..."), emphasizing it as "eine Gnade des Himmels" ("a blessing from heaven").

6 "status ante quo": reversion to the previous state of affairs. As a lawyer, Schenker enjoyed deploying such Latin tags within his writing.

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
3p draft letter, holograph salutation and message, no valediction or signature, message heavily edited by Schenker
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: 2017-10-31
Last updated: 2012-09-26