Mathilde Schönberg’s Letters – June 1908

Complete List of Letters, Gmunden, June 1908

The Schönbergs’ third and defining visit to Gmunden began on Sunday, 7 June 1908, when Schönberg again dutifully escorted his family, together with Mathilde’s mother, Clara and a maid, to their idyllically situated summer farmhouse, Preslgütl, Traunstein 24, where their first-floor accommodation appears to have been somewhat more comfortable than the apartment that they rented in Engelgut in 1907.

By 9 June, however, Schönberg had returned to Vienna and only rejoined his family eighteen days later. It was a separation that saw Schönberg and Mathilde exchange letters almost daily, and although only Mathilde’s still exist, they nonetheless offer a unique means of assessing the state of the Schönbergs’ marriage at the time. Best read in their entirety and in chronological order, her often banal and hasty scrawl is sometimes tricky to interpret, as amply illustrated by Simms’ unfortunate misreading of “Herzerl,”, Mathilde’s common address for Arnold, as “Hagerl”, a diminutive unknown in the German language (see Mathilde’s Letters for more or go to Thesis, chapter 11 for full details). Throughout these translations, though, Mathilde’s “Herzerl” is given variously, depending on her mood at the time, as “sweetheart”, “dearest heart” etc.

By the time Schönberg had rejoined his family on 26 June, the group had been expanded by the Zemlinskys, who had been delayed by the health of their new-born daughter and the Krüger family, who were soon joined by, Schönberg’s student, Irene Bien. Webern visited for a couple of days (27/28 June) from Bad Ischl, where he had recently been appointed Kapellmeister at the Jubiläumstheater. The newly wedded Horwitzs would turn up on honeymoon around 20th, and there is a possibility that Jalowetz also arrived later in the month. Gerstl had again accepted his invitation and travelled on 27 June, taking up residence once more in Feramühle.

All the indications are that the mood around the group was a positive one and that Schönberg, himself, was enjoying his vacation, However, whilst, as in 1907, Schönberg had planned to stay until mid-September, the holiday would, of course, be curtailed by the shattering and apparently unexpected denouement of Mathilde’s affair at the end of August.

Before then, Mathilde had managed to send 19 cards or letters between 9 and 25 June. They chronicle her activities in Gmmunden, Schönberg’s financial struggles in Vienna, and the mood swings of both of them. They also offer an invaluable insight into the daily life of middle class Vienna in the early 20th century, as will be noted by clicking on a link below to see an individual piece of correspondence, its transcription and its translation. (Note: All links open in a separate window)

1. Mathilde to Schönberg – 9 June 1908

2. Mathilde to Schönberg – 10 June 1908

3. Mathilde to Schönberg – 11 June 1908

4. Mathilde to Schönberg – 12 June 1908/1

5. Mathilde to Schönberg – 12 June 1908/2

6. Mathilde to Schönberg – 13 June 1908

7. Mathilde to Schönberg – 14 June 1908

8. Mathilde to Schönberg – 15 June 1908

9. Mathilde to Schönberg – 16 June 1908/1

10. Mathilde to Schönberg – 16 June 1908/2

11. Mathilde to Schönberg – 17 June 1908

12. Mathilde to Schönberg – 18 June 1908

13. Mathilde to Schönberg – 19 June 1908

14. Mathilde to Schönberg – 20 June 1908

15. Mathilde to Schönberg – 21 June 1908

16. Mathilde to Schönberg – 22 June 1908

17. Mathilde to Schönberg – 23 June 1908

18. Mathilde to Schönberg – 24 June 1908

19. Mathilde to Schönberg – 25 June 1908

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Click for one of the four periods of correspondence:
June 1907 ♦ ♦ June 1908 ♦ ♦ August 1908 ♦ ♦ November 1908

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