Special Exhibition
September 2006 – September 2007

“You can really contend that I owe very, very much to Mozart; and if one studies, for instance the way in which I write for string quartet, then one cannot deny that I have learned this directly from Mozart. And I am proud of it!” (Arnold Schönberg, 1949)

With his new interpretation of historical laws and their consolidation into artistic modernism, progress achieved from tradition and freedom of expression, Arnold Schönberg and his Viennese School are positioned in a direct developmental line from the classical Viennese composers. Tradition and novelty in art stand in dialectical opposition to each other, as Thomas Mann summarizes in his novel, “Doktor Faustus”: “For as little as one can understand the new and the young, without the feeling of being at home with tradition, just so spurious and sterile must remain the love of the old, if one avoids the new that has come about from it as a direct consequence and historical necessity.” Reliance on tradition does not mean blindly following time-tested artistic concepts, but demands rather their further shaping and intellectual development: “I do not put much weight in being a musical bogyman, but much more in being someone who merely continued in natural progression from tried and true, good old tradition.” (Arnold Schönberg, 1923 )

Through Schönberg, Mozart became the teacher of future generations, a pivotal point between the Viennese classicists and the composers “From Schönberg to Today.” The special exhibition “Mozart and Schönberg – Viennese Classics and Viennese School” focuses on Schönberg’s stylistic evolution along the path from Viennese Classicism, and highlights the manifold artistic and theoretical reflections of these Viennese “Super-heroes.”

Numerous documents from the archive impressively illustrate the importance of Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven to Schönberg’s creative process and teaching. They also permit glimpses into Schönberg’s manner of composition, exemplified and contrasted with that of Wolfgang A. Mozart. Special emphasis will be given to the sources for selected instrumental works as well as Schönberg’s teaching method, which were inspired by Mozart’s ideas concerning form. Classifications of Schönberg’s arrangements of pre-classical works, and the “classical” performance practices of the “Viennese School,” as well as sight and sound comparisons of individual samples from Schönberg’s and Mozart’s compositions help to illustrate the close connection between Viennese Classicism and Viennese Modernism.