Special Exhibition
13 April 1999 – 7 January 2000

In the jubilee year the special exhibition of the Schönberg Center is devoted to the Viennese circle of the master and to its development from the last years of the 19th century up to 1925. Those young vanguards of Schönberg took instruction from him, managed (first in Vienna and then in Prague) the “Society for Private Musical Performances” he founded, and ultimately bore witness to his development of the twelve-tone method, which several themselves then adopted. Through Schönberg’s circle the observer receives a range of impressions of the composer’s life and work in the city of his birth; through the influence of his students and musical friends one catches a glimpse of the important facets of the founder of the Viennese School.

Proceeding from the triumvirate “Schönberg – Berg – Webern,” the visitor encounters composers such as Hanns Eisler, Viktor Ullmann and Hans Erich Apostel, performers such as the pianist Eduard Steuermann and the young violinist Rudolf Kolisch, the music engraver Felix Greissle (who married Schönberg’s daughter Gertrude), Erwin Ratz, Josef Polnauer, Karl Rankl, Heinrich Jalowetz and other important personalities who were creatively active representatives of musical life in our own century, and among whom several – superb teachers – passed on this tradition to the “Pupils of the Viennese School,” right up to the present generation. The special exhibition “Arnold Schönberg’s Viennese Circle” displays the most important original manuscripts of the compositions of Schönberg and his pupils, biographical documents, as well as memorabilia, materials concerning the conception and activities of the “Society for Private Musical Performances” and, finally, samples of the first twelve-tone works.

Also displayed are a cross-section of paintings and drawings from the hand of this composer of such versatile interests, self-developed and self-constructed games, documentary videos and recordings made accessible through electronic media and relating, for instance, to the important works of this circle or to Kolisch’s legendary classes in Mödling. Finally, for the first time on public view at the Center, are sketches to Schönberg’s “Transfigured Night,” op. 4, which was completed on 1 December 1899 and which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.