Schoenberg and Krause: Look at that anniversary celebration

He is inextricably linked to his birthplace, Vienna: Arnold Schoenberg, inventor of twelve-tone music. This year the music world celebrates the 150th birthday of the composer who grew up in the Leopoldstadt district. Satirist Karl Krauss was born in the same year as Schoenberg.

With 115 exhibits, the exhibition paints a picture of the Viennese art scene immediately before the start of the First World War. Because we don't leave out the relationship between composer and writer, which was fundamentally characterized by mutual respect and lack of understanding, at least on Krause's part. Schönberg's relationships with architect Adolf Loos, painter Oskar Kokoschka, and poet Peter Altenberg are also discussed.

No friendship

The focus is on the eponymous twins who once met at the Griensteidl coffee house. Two artists' death masks from 1936 (Krause) and 1951 (Schönberg) greet visitors at the start of the exhibition. Below, an array of documents, letters, and images unfolds, showing an unequal relationship. “A lot of love and respect came from Arnold Schoenberg,” curator Therese Muxeneder said when presenting the show. Schoenberg once told his colleague: “I learned to write, almost to think, through you,” such praise of Krauss was not recorded.

Photo series with 14 images

“It's not a friendship, but a contemporaneity,” says Muxender. This was not least because Krauss generally distanced himself from classical music. At the same time, Schoenberg's self-portrait hung in the columnist's and journalist's study, as a photograph in the exhibition testifies. Rather, Schoenberg did not set Krause's words to music. The differences between the two protagonists are not kept secret. “The anti-Semitism of the Jew Karl Krauss was something that Arnold Schoenberg could not understand and could not overcome,” the curator clarified. Differences in religious understanding or Dolphus' view of the institutional state are also shown.

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Kraus and Schönberg have their own opinion

Nevertheless, subtle similarities are evident between the artists, born in 1874, who were connected through correspondence. “They managed to create a disturbance in Vienna that still makes waves today,” Muxeneder said: “Karl Krauss and Arnold Schoenberg had a common ear for the discordant sounds of their time.” Like Krause, Schoenberg is a person. A great deal of ethical demands.


“Arnold Schoenberg & Karl Kraus” at the Arnold Schoenberg Center, Schwarzenbergplatz 6, Vienna 3, from January 17 to May 10. Open Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm.

In addition to manuscripts, paintings and artefacts by Schoenberg or Kokoschka, the exhibitions also include sound samples, thanks to Kraus (“Fear of Death”), Schoenberg (“Piano Piece”) and Kokoschka (“About Schoenberg and Kraus”). On May 7, see Karl Hohenlohe and Christoph Wagner-Trenchwitz on “Proverbs and Paradoxes” as Krause and Schönberg.

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