Documents associated with this person:

Pupil of Moriz Violin in Hamburg, Schenker in Vienna, and Felix-Eberhard von Cube in Hamburg in the 1920s and 1930s.

Becker and the Schenker circle

Violin ‒ who had moved to Hamburg in 1921 to teach at the Vogt'sches Konservatorium ‒ referred to her as a pupil in 1924, noting that she had subscribed to Schenker's Der Tonwille (OJ 14/45, [36], October 22, 1924). Two subsequent receipts from Universal Edition survive relating to Tonwille issues 7‒10 (OC 52/645 and 646 ‒ these were sent by Becker to Schenker in April 1925 as evidence). Becker had apparently been overcharged, and this played into the much broader bitter dispute between Schenker and the publisher. Becker continued to be mentioned in correspondence between Violin and Schenker through to April 1925, at which time Becker declared herself willing to testify if the UE dispute were to go before the courts (Violin to Schenker, OC 52/644, April 21, 1925).

On January 12, 1926, Violin informed Schenker that Becker wished to move to Vienna, and asked him to take her over, observing: "She is not talented, is merely very smart and interested" (OJ 14/45, [50]); Schenker agreed to give her two lessons a week (OJ 6/7, [27]), and there is some discussion of her abilities in subsequent correspondence. Lessons with Schenker ran from February 3 to June 5, 1926, thirteen session in all, working on several Chopin Etudes, the Mozart Sonata in A major, K. 331 and Schumann's "Warum?" (OC 3/3). Instruction was not continued in the following season.

In 1933, Violin quit the Schenker Institute that he had founded in 1934, leaving Cube in charge. Becker was evidently a pupil around that time, and Cube wrote of her to Schenker (OJ 9/34, [28], October 16, 1931): Miss Agnes Becker, whom you also know, is at this moment working together with two men (including Dr Brulez, the Belgian) in one of my individual classes. These are my most fastidious pupils.


The only corrrespondence known to survive is one postcard from Oswald Jonas to Schenker dated October 2, 1934 (OC 44/46), to which she is a joint signatory with Hans and Ernst Wolff.


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  • OJ 14/45, [36] Handwritten letter from Moriz Violin to Schenker, dated October 22, 1924

    In the process of arranging for copies of Der Tonwille to be distributed, Violin discovers that a pupil of his paid twice as much for one issue as the marked price in Austria. He has made some inquiries into this matter, and asks Schenker what an issue currently costs in Austria. There are no respectable music institutions in Hamburg, so Violin will distribute copies there personally.

  • OJ 6/7, [10] Handwritten letter from Schenker to Moriz Violin, dated October 26, 1924

    Schenker names ten universities that should receive complimentary copies of Der Tonwille, explaining that university music departments (Seminare) are more suitable recipients than conservatories and other types of music schools. With 1924 coming to an end, he will resign from UE and shift publication of Der Tonwille to Piper or Drei-Masken Verlag in Munich. The latter have agreed to publish his study of Beethoven's Sonata Op. 106

  • OJ 6/7, [11] Handwritten letter from Schenker to Moriz Violin, dated November 6, 1924

    Schenker has received a photographic reproduction of the opening chorus of Bach's St Matthew Passion. — Gives account of delays to the publication of Tonwille 8/9 and 10, blaming Hertzka for being slow to send work to the engraver, and has written to him with a request to dissolve the Tonwille contract with UE. — Refers to a recent review by (Julius) Korngold, and recounts a long story about his piano dealer, Bernhard Kohn.

  • OJ 14/45, [41] Handwritten letter from Moriz Violin to Schenker, dated January 19, 1925

    Violin reports on a successful concert in which he performed both as a soloist and with the Klingler String Quartet. He thanks Schenker for Tonwille 10. He has received a copy of Hans Weisse’s recent vocal quartets, and is puzzled by how a limited talent can write such good music. He is going to see Max Temming, and has received four courteous letters of acknowledgement from university music departments for copies of Der Tonwille.

  • OJ 6/7, [16] Handwritten letter from Schenker to Moriz Violin, dated January 24, 1925

    Responding point by point to Violin's previously letter (OJ 14/45, [41]), Schenker congratulates his friend on the success of his recent concert. He writes at length about Hertzka's last efforts to hold onto Der Tonwille, and about successful negotiations with Drei Masken Verlag over its successor, Das Meisterwerk in der Musik. He has now to prepare enough material for a yearbook comprising fifteen gatherings by July 1, so that the volume can be published by Christmas. Finally, he echoes Violin's assessment of Hans Weisse, adding a few disparaging remarks about his character.

  • OJ 14/45, [42] Handwritten letter from Moriz Violin to Schenker, dated January 30, 1925

    Violin lends Schenker the letters sent by university music departments acknowledging receipt of their copies of Der Tonwille. The reviews of his recent concert were cooler than the audience’s reception, and the concert suffered a financial loss; nonetheless he hopes to persevere with public performances as a pianist. Finally, he wishes Schenker luck with his new publisher, Drei Masken Verlag.

  • OJ 6/7, [17] Handwritten letter from Schenker to Moriz Violin, dated February 2, 1925

    Schenker, repeating some of the points made in earlier letters, continues to give an account of Hertzka's dishonest dealings with him over Der Tonwille and asks Violin to give him an accurate count of the subscriptions that Max Temming paid for in the distribution of free copies of the journal to university music departments. He asks if Violin suspects that anti-Semitism lurks behind some of the critical notices of his recent concert. Finally, he mentions an article in Die Musik by Paul Bekker that numbers Schenker among the hermeneutists; the same issue contains a review of Der Tonwille, by Max Broesicke-Schon, disputing the supreme genius of the canonic composers.

  • OJ 6/7, [18] Handwritten letter from Schenker to Moriz Violin, dated February 22, 1925

    Schenker thanks Violin for his recent letter (and enclosure), which contains evidence of Hertzka's false calculations of subscriptions to Der Tonwille – this letter in stark contrast to the actions of his pupils Weisse and Brünauer, who had given more support to the publication of Weisse's recently published vocal quartets than to his writings. Leaving Der Tonwille behind, which has earned him little money and caused him much misery, he has written a lengthy study of Bach's solo violin works, which will be published in the first volume of Das Meisterwerk in der Musik, which will include a critique of Ernst Kurth's Grundlagen des linearen Kontrapunkts.

  • OC 52/644 Handwritten letter from Moriz Violin to Schenker, dated April 21, 1925

    Violin has had the order for nine copies of Tonwille 1 placed in Berlin, and has collected the receipts. He has not heard from Weisse, but attended a performance of his String Sextet and, like Schenker, found the variations and the trio section of the scherzo the most successful.

  • OJ 14/45, [50] Handwritten letter from Moriz Violin to Schenker, dated January 12, 1926

    Violin asks Schenker if he would consider taking one of his pupils, Miss Agnes Becker, as a pupil for the remainder of the teaching year.

  • OJ 6/7, [27] Handwritten letter from Schenker to Moriz Violin, dated January 15, 1926

    Schenker agrees to to teach Violin's pupil Agnes Becker twice a week, as soon as she is ready to come to Vienna. He reports Furtwängler's disillusionment with modern music, and notes that Weingartner and Julius Korngold have expressed similar sentiments. He is not optimistic that humanity in general will truly understand the classics, which underscores the important of his (and Violin's) mission.

  • OJ 8/4, [42] Handwritten postcard from Schenker to Moriz Violin, dated February 11, 1926

    Schenker enquires about Violin's trio concerts with Buxbaum and van den Berg went and ask if Hammer's portrait has arrived. He reports on the possible difficulties in putting together the first Meisterwerk Yearbook, on account of the numerous music examples and separate Urlinie graphs, and summarizes the contents of the second Yearbook.

  • OJ 14/45, [51] Handwritten letter from Moriz Violin to Schenker, dated February 18, 1926

    Violin, in the aftermath of two enormously successful trio concerts with Mauritz van den Berg and Friedrich Buxbaum, gives an account of Buxbaum's vanity and the difficulty this causes in rehearsals and more generally for the ensemble. His doctor has recommended that he spends three weeks in Bad Gastein this summer. He has not yet received Hammer's portrait of Schenker.

  • OJ 6/7, [28] Handwritten letter from Schenker to Moriz Violin, dated March 1, 1926

    In a wide-ranging letter responding to Moriz Violin's previous letter, Schenker asks his friend to confide in him his personal troubles. He offers his support in the wake of the recent display of vanity of the cellist Friedrich Buxbaum. He is trying to find a way of getting the Hammer portrait to him safely, possibly by having it sent directly from Artaria's art shop. Finally he confirms the lack of musical giftedness of his new pupil Agnes Becker, recently arrived from Hamburg where Violin had been teaching her.

  • OJ 6/7, [30] Handwritten letter from Schenker to Moriz Violin, dated December 19, 1926

    Schenker expresses his delight that his friend received sufficient financial help to be able to move into a new apartment for the sake of his son Karl's health. He reports having shown Agnes Becker some straightforward examples of the Urlinie, out of desperation (she shows little aptitude for piano playing), and then explains that a great deal of time, patience and faith are needed to understand such things. Of his current pupils, only Elias, Brünauer, Hoboken and (to some extent) Albersheim are capable of following the ramifications of the new theory, which he sees as his unique gift to the world. At present, he is working on his "crowning work," Free Composition.

  • OJ 14/45, [60] Handwritten letter from Moriz Violin to Schenker, dated January 3, 1927

    Violin reports on his son Karl's continued health problems and also his affection for his "Onkel Heinrich" (and with it, a wish to be in Vienna rather than in Hamburg). Agnes Becker has apparently sent Schenker some analytical work on a sonata for comment. Finally, he announces a forthcoming concert, with (Egon) Pollak, of a concerto for two pianos by C. P. E. Bach in an arrangement by Schenker.

  • OJ 14/45, [87] Handwritten letter from Moriz Violin to Schenker, dated October 13, 1930

    Violin has just heard that Hans Weisse will be lecturing in Berlin in December; he plans to go there to hear him. His pupil Agnes Becker, returning from a trip to London, has discovered that Schenker's Beethoven sonata edition is much in demand, especially from students at the Royal Academy of Music.

  • OJ 6/7, [51] Handwritten letter, with envelope, from Schenker to Violin, dated October 21, 1930

    Writing after a long and serious illness, Schenker assures his friend that he is alive and well. The doctors have pronounced him generally fit, but he suffers from a painful tightening of the thorax, and also a flickering that causes him to "lose" letters and notes. He has had to give many double-lessons of late, in theory, which he finds tiring. To Hoboken, who, though gifted, is concerned only about his money and often comes to lessons without having prepared anything, he would rather play than give over-long lectures. He is concerned, for his own sake as much as for Weisse's, about the lectures in Berlin that Weisse will deliver, and about his eagerness to debate with Alfred Lorenz; he is glad that Violin is going to Berlin, and will give him instructions about what to do there. His Beethoven sonata edition brings in 100 shillings per month – a good deal for the publishers – and his brother still has half of his inheritance. But he is still alive – with Der freie Satz.

  • OJ 9/34, [28] Handwritten letter from Cube to Schenker, dated October 16, 1931

    Cube reports enrollment and quality of students at the Schenker Institute, Hamburg; his own teaching is increasingly small-group-tuition based, drawing on Tonwille and Meisterwerk. Karl Violin is recovering.

  • OC 44/46 Handwritten postcard from Jonas and three others to Schenker, dated October 2, 1934

    Jonas has spoken to Furtwängler, who will proceed on the matter of Hans Wolf.