Schenker Documents Online is based in the Faculty of Music of the University of Cambridge, under the direction of Ian Bent and William Drabkin.

Financial Support

Schenker Documents Online is grateful to the Leverhulme Trust for granting funds for three years, 2007-2010, to the Centre for Computing in the Humanities at King's College, London, for development of a custom-built database software environment for Schenker Documents Online.

It also acknowledges with gratitude the assistance of the Music & Letters Trust in purchasing full-color scans of Schenker's diaries for the years 1918—1925.

It also acknowledges with gratitude the assistance of the Development Fund of Music Analysis in funding translation work by non-contributor specialists.

It also acknowledges with gratitude two grants from the Faculty of Music of the University of Cambridge, one for consultation, the other for the creation of images (music examples, diagrams, etc.) embedded in letters and other texts.

Other financial support is currently being sought for research assistance, consultancies, materials, and travel and other expenses.

The Correspondence and Diary

Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935)—concert pianist, accompanist, piano teacher, journalist, and above all pre-eminently influential music theorist—maintained a vigorous correspondence across nearly half a century, 1888-1935. His list of correspondents numbers around 400. Those documents preserved in four principal collections alone probably number over 7,000. No systematic search has ever been launched to locate what could be at least hundreds more in libraries, archives, and private collections. Nor has any attempt been made to catalogue this correspondence, very few of which have (as of 2008) previously been published.

The correspondence is highly diverse, including letters, drafts, postcards, telegraphs, calling cards, memos, delivery notes, bank authorizations, receipts, accounts, invoices, contracts and numerous other types of written communication. In addition, Schenker kept a diary of over 4,000 pages during the period 1896-1935, and this makes frequent reference to his correspondence, as well as to discussions, and meetings. It sometimes reinforces a letter that survives, but often serves as the only record of the existence of a letter, even providing a brief summary of its contents. Equally well, an entry may recount a conversation or event that provides the only clue to something contained in a letter.

Schenker Documents Online aims:

  • to create an online (updatable) inventory of all known correspondence to and from Schenker;
  • actively to search out caches of unknown correspondence in family possession and other libraries, to inventory their contents, and to advocate their safe-keeping;
  • to post on the web all the available correspondences, with full copyright clearance, in transcription and parallel English translation, with editorial commentary;
  • the transcription and translation to be carried out according to strict protocols by a team of contributing scholars (for list, see Participants);
  • to provide initial access to these via 'calendars', i.e. chronologically itemized lists of specific correspondences, with a brief summary of the content of each item, and format statement;
  • to develop searching and indexing facilities by the creation of a fully searchable/browsable XML/TEI-based digital archive, to give more specific access to documents;
  • the website to be accessible in a number of ways, through inventories, calendars, and online searches;
  • to encourage research into the development of Schenker's thought and ideas on the basis of this resource;
  • to encourage scholars in other fields (e.g. history, German language, Jewish Studies, Viennese social history) to treat Schenker's correspondence as a remarkable case study for their inquiries.

The Interest of the Correspondence:

It is impossible to overstate the extraordinary vibrancy of Schenker's correspondence. It gives us a window on to the Viennese, Austrian and German society and life of its time. It comments, often pungently, on contemporary culture and politics, presenting a conservative viewpoint that contrasts sharply with the modernist views with which we are now much more familiar. It also yields insight into the politics of the Viennese musical world, into matters of performance policy, style, and education, and views (favorable and unfavorable) on conductors, concert artists, composers, writers, and other theorists.

In addition, it casts light on the detailed development of Schenker's thought, including his theory of tonal music, his plans and aspirations for his publications, the publication history of his works, his unpublished works, his personal ambitions, and the spread of his theory within and outside the German-speaking world, as well as offering close pictures of his personal relationships with so many people, not least his private patrons.

His 400 Correspondents:

These constitute a cross-section of Viennese musical society, including:

  • his private piano pupils—such as aesthetician Victor Zuckerkandl, composer Otto Vrieslander, scholar Anthony van Hoboken, theorists Felix Salzer, Oswald Jonas, Hans Weisse;
  • professional musicians, composers, and artists—such as Wilhelm Furtwängler, Otto Klemperer, Johannes Messchaert, Ferruccio Busoni, Paul Hindemith, artist Victor Hammer, writer Stefan Zweig;
  • music critics, editors, scholars—such as Eduard Hanslick, Max Graf, Maximilian Harden, Guido Adler, Otto Erich Deutsch, Alfred Einstein, Eusebius Mandyczewski;
  • leading European publishers—Universal Edition, J. G. Cotta, Josef Weinberger, Drei Masken Verlag, Breitkopf und Härtel, Peters, Simrock, Brockhaus, et al.;
  • Viennese officials, institutes, educational institutions—including the Vienna Conservatory of Music, and Vienna University; societies—such as the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, and the Vienna Concert House Society; and numerous European and American libraries and librarians.

Already up on the web: complete correspondences:

  • Gerhard Albersheim (89 items, including diary entries, non-extant items)
  • Hermann Bahr (2 items)
  • Elsa Bienenfeld (4 items)
  • Sofie Deutsch (47 items, including diary entries)
  • Aline & John Petrie Dunn (16 items, including diary entries, non-extant items)
  • Angelika Elias (27 items)
  • Wilhelm Furtwängler (50 items)
  • Karl Grunsky (11 items)
  • August Halm (48 items)
  • Maximilian Harden (14 items)
  • Oswald Jonas (108 items)
  • Gustav Mahler (8 items, including diary entries, etc.)
  • Julius Röntgen (11 items)
  • Alphons von Rothschild, Salomon Albert von Rothschild, and the Rotschild Artists' Foundation (11 items)
  • Joseph Weinberger (11 items)
  • Hans Weisse (185 items)
  • Viktor Zuckerkandl (11 items, including diary entries, etc.)

——— : larger correspondences underway:

  • J. G. Cotta (114 of 237 items)
  • Anthony van Hoboken (124 items)
  • Felix Salzer (35 items)
  • Universal Edition (315 of c.1,274 items)

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