San Francisco: The New Music Society of California [without PN], April 1932. Folio. Decorative mosaic paper boards with original publisher's decorative yellow wrappers bound in. [i] (title), 7 pp.
Caption title to p. 1: "Klavierstück Arnold Schönberg." Footnotes to p. 1: Left "International Copyright Secured"; middle: "Copyright 1932 by Arnold Schönberg Made in U.S.A."; right: All Rights Reserved." Footer to lower left corner of all pages except p. 1: "Klavierstück - 7."
Title to recto of upper wrapper printed in orange: "New Music A Quarterly of Modern Compositions This issue contains Klavierstueck by Arnold Schoenberg April 1932." Verso of upper wrapper includes masthead of New Music identifying volume and issue; the periodical's publisher and owner, Henry Cowell; the "executive board" (3 persons); the "Honorary Board of Endorsers" (57 modernist composers); and the agent for the German-speaking countries (Heinrichshofen's Verlag, Magdeburg). Contents of back issues printed to recto of lower wrapper, verso blank.
Printed note to title: "Arnold Schoenberg has requested that we do not publish either biographical notes or musical explanations concerning his work, since both he and his musical viewpoint are well known."
With the composer's autograph inscription to his distinguished pupil Anton Webern (1883-1945) in ink to lower right corner of title: "Lieber Webern, kannst Du das lesen? Viele herzliche Grüße Dein Arnold Schönberg 15/VIII/32."
Manuscript note in pencil in the hand of the noted music antiquarian Albi Rosenthal to verso of upper board: "op. 33b (1932). The final note [measure 68, left hand] corrected in pencil by Schoenberg. Bound by Schoenberg?" [N.B. While the binding is quite likely by Schoenberg, who loved binding books as a pastime, the final note is not actually corrected; rather, the annotation "h" (German for "B natural") next to the notehead confirms the printed pitch and apparently serves to facilitate reading; the note has six ledger lines].
Boards slightly worn and bumped. Slightly browned and creased.
First Edition. Rufer (Engl.) pp. 57. Ringer p. 318. Tetsuo Satoh pp. 23-24.
The first of Schoenberg's works to be published in the United States. As the composer still lived in Germany and had no plans to emigrate, let alone to California, the present publication appears eerily prophetic. The pagination, with odd numbers to rectos and even numbers to versos, is highly unusual. The use of umlauts in caption title and footer suggests that the music was engraved in Germany or Austria. The list of composers on the Honorary Board of Endorsers is quite illustrious. It includes household names from the United States and many European countries; German composers are, however, conspicuously absent.
"In 1928, Emil Hertzka, the Director of Universal Edition, contacted Arnold Schönberg requesting permission to use his Piano Piece, op. 11, No. 1, in a planned anthology of modern piano compositions. Schönberg, however, decided to compose a new piece (op. 33a). Two years after the publication (1929), this was followed by the composition of Piano Piece, op. 33b, during a stay in Barcelona. In his Piano Pieces, op. 33, Schönberg makes consistent use of a technique which combines twelve-tone rows, in which two forms of a row can be used at the same time without repeating individual tones. This expanded the number of possibilities for combination while also preserving the conclusiveness of the twelve-tone writing. The relatively short duration and unity of the pieces are reminiscent of romantic forms: the "Intermezzi" by Johannes Brahms, for instance, whom Schönberg greatly esteemed... His final compositions for solo piano demonstrate his endeavours to fit new musical ideas into traditional contexts." Website of the Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna.
"Webern, who was probably Schoenberg's first private pupil, and Alban Berg, who came to him a few weeks later, were the most famous of Schoenberg's students and became, with him, the major exponents of 12-note technique in the second quarter of the 20th century." Kathryn Bailey in Grove Music Online.
A fine association item, most probably bound by Schoenberg himself. Item #24279
Price: $4,500.00 other currencies