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Son of Moriz Schenker, nephew of Heinrich Schenker; cellist.

Georg Schenker was the son of Heinrich Schenker's younger brother, Moriz and his wife Lisl. His sister was Helga Schenker. He became a professional cellist and played with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (Wiener Symphoniker) until the orchestra's disbanding in 1944. Between 1938 and 1944 the orchestra was nazified and co-opted for propaganda purposes ‒ despite being half-Jewish (Jewish on his deceased father's side but not on the more indicative mother's side), he was allowed to retain his seat. Part-corroboration for this exists in the Vienna street directories for 1941 and 1942 (the final year of the directory), in which he is listed as "symphonic musician" living at Vienna III, Radetzkystraße 6. He apparently continued to live in Vienna until his death.

Georg and Heinrich Schenker

There is a reference to Georg Schenker in Schenker's diary for June 13, 1924: "For the first time, Mozio [i.e. Moriz] speaks about his boy Georg, his musical talent ..." (OJ 3/6, p. 2679). On September 15, 1926, Schenker records: "At Mozio's, ... he tells us that his son has taken up a career in music – he wished, so he said, that he had told us about this before, but did not get around to it!" (OJ 3/8, p. 2977).

Schenker's diaries show that he played with Georg on several occasions. Thus on December 5, 1926 he "went through" the whole of Beethoven's Cello Sonata in A major, Op. 69 with Georg, commenting that "he proves himself thoroughly skilled" (OJ 3/9, p. 3007). On January 2, 1927 he played a Haydn E-flat-major piano trio and Beethoven's "Archduke" Trio with Georg and Moriz (the latter presumably on violin) (OJ 3/9, p. 3020). The two also played the first movement of a Brahms cello sonata on April 28, 1927, and again on May 22: "From 11 to 7:30 in Baden; play the first movement of the Brahms sonata with Georg, also Haydn four-hands" (OJ 3/9 , pp. 3060, 3069).

Schenker agreed on November 16, 1927 to give Georg lessons (OJ 4/1, p. 3136), the first lesson taking place on December 5, 1927 (p. 3145). Georg studied two- and three-voice counterpoint during 1928/29 and 1929/30, also piano (mainly Beethoven sonatas), bringing his cello occasionally in order to work with Heinrich on the Haydn Cello Concerto (Dec 2, 1929) and the Bach G-major Cello Suite (March 24‒April 28, 1930). No lessons are recorded in the lessonbook for 1930/31 or the notes for 1931/32, or in the table of lessons for 1934/35, and he was not a member of the Schenker Seminar.

If there was any correspondence between Georg and Heinrich Schenker, it is not known to survive.

Sources:

  • Brinsden, Elizabeth, "Helga Schenker - An Obituary," Schenker Guide:
    http://www.schenkerguide.com/helgaschenker.html
  • Personal communication from Elizabeth Brinsden (October 18, 2011)
  • Wikipedia: "Vienna Symphony Orchestra"; "Wiener Symphoniker"
  • Lehmann's Allgemeiner Wohnungs-Anzeiger, 1941, 1942

Contributors:

  • Ian Bent, Marko Deisinger, William Drabkin

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Correspondence

  • OJ 6/7, [43] Handwritten letter from Schenker to Moriz Violin, dated November 13, 1929

    Urging his friend to write only when he feels up to it, Schenker gives Violin some news of his own: that the Eroica Symphony monograph is finished but a publisher who is capable of dealing with the numerous music examples must be found; that Schenker will work unceasingly on Der freie Satz once the Eroica is out of the way; that the Photogram Archive has grown in size in two years, and that so many requests for information have been received that a yearbook is planned, with critical reports, new editions, and the like; that Hoboken and Vrieslander have fallen out (over money matters); that Schenker's brother Mozio (Moses) has separated from his wife after 25 years of marriage and that he his has been giving music lessons to Mozio’s son, a cellist in the Baden city orchestra.

  • OJ 6/7, [44] Handwritten letter from Schenker to Violin, dated November 24, 1929

    After reply to some of the more personal points in Violin's previous letter, Schenker welcomes his friend's efforts to look for a publisher for the Eroica Symphony monograph, noting that, in spite of the difficulties that Hertzka has caused him, his books are still in print and his status as a theorist has been acknowledged by the the fact that the universities of Heidelberg and Leipzig have expressed an interest in appointing him. A recent article in the Deutsche Tonkünstler-Zeitung will give Violin further ammunition when approaching a publisher. That same issue also contains an article by Schoenberg touching on various canonic works (Bach, Prelude in C sharp minor for the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1; Beethoven, Seventh Symphony, finale; Mozart, slow introduction to the "Dissonant" Quartet). He feels that it is beneath his dignity to make a formal reply; but to illustrate what he means, and why he is contemptuous of Schoenberg, he provides several voice-leading graphs and other music examples concerning these works.

Diaries