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Unpublished work of Schenker, first drafted in 1911, though possibly conceived in 1906, and reworked at several later times.

Die Kunst des Vortrags was compiled in the summer of 1911, while on vacation: diary entry, July 1, 1911 (OJ 1/10, p. 135b): "A start made on the work The Art of Performance", and July 13, 1911 (p. 135a): The Art of Performance put into order for the first time, right down to the last few slips of paper. (Provisionally!)." Schenker also wrote to Emil Hertzka of Universal Edition ten days later: "It may perhaps interest you to learn that I have completed a short text, The Art of Performance, while here, which I intend to publish separately at some stage in the future" (WSLB 78). And in the Preface of his Beethovens Neunte Sinfonie of 1912, Schenker referred to "a monograph 'Die Kunst des Vortrags' to be published in the foreseeable future" (p. XII, Eng. transl., p. 8).

However, marginal notes in the diary for 1906 suggest that Schenker may have conceived the work five years earlier than this. Beside entries on December 6 and 12 describing performances of works of Beethoven by Emil Sauer (Piano Sonata, Op. 109) and Alfred Reisenauer ("Emperor" Piano Concerto), are the marginalia "(K. d. Vortrags)" and "(K. d. Vtg.)," clearly written at the time, not later (OJ 1/5, p. 19). Again, in the diary for January 12, 1908, "K. d. Vtgs." appears in the left margin of an entry recording the performance of the Brahms D major Serenade, Op. 11 by the Philharmonic Orchestra.

Despite Schenker's having held out hopes of publication even as late as 1930 (Schenker's diary for December 4 and 6, 1930: "Dictation of Performance," "Performance put in order, and provided with a kind of index"), the work remained unfinished and unpublished in Schenker's lifetime and survives as OJ 18/10, 19/6, 21/7–21, and 33/4, and in a compilation by Oswald Jonas as OJ 57/2–5, comprising twelve chapters, taken down from dictation by Jeannette Kornfeld (later Schenker).

The work has been released in an edition that draws on later sources and omits some of the 1911 material, as The Art of Performance, ed. Herribert Esser, Eng. transl. Irene Schreier Scott (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000). See the review of this edition by David Gagné and Hedi Siegel, Music Theory Spectrum 24 (2002), 135–41.


  • William Drabkin and Ian Bent

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