The Berg-Schoenberg Correspondence: Selected Letters, edited by Juliane Brand, Christopher Hailey, and Donald Harris

October 1, 1988

The Berg-Schoenberg Correspondence: Selected Letters, edited by Juliane Brand, Christopher Hailey, and Donald Harris. New York: W. W. Norton, 1987. xviii + 497 pp.

A protracted correspondence between composers occurs but rarely. In the history of the art, such exchanges are more apt to be occasional, sporadic and, at any rate, discontinuous. The closest precedent for a long-term correspondence may well have been set by Liszt and Wagner, though it is limited, according to the published collections, to the twenty years up to 1861, whereas both men lived and worked for over twenty more years. It does not, therefore, embrace the period of their greatest maturity and, for at least one of them, "enshrinement"; nor can it yield a comprehensive view of their thinking about their work, of their musical and other preferences or dislikes, or of their estimate of one another and of each other's work. An opportunity to gain precisely so inclusive an overview of the relation of one composer's work to another's is yet to be offered, uniquely, in the eventual publication—still, I fear, decades hence—of the complete three-way correspondence between Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern. Once these extraordinarily long-lasting exchanges of letters are made generally available, their unparalleled copiousness will also, regrettably, signify the end of a facet of our civilization, for the generations of composers subsequent to these three are not likely to leave much by way of extended correspondence, of this or any other kind, in their legacies. Not only has the telephone, or the unwillingness (and inability) to write, insured the rapidly growing disappearance of letter-writing from the roster of a cultivated individual's activities, but a composer's letters are nowadays of necessity addressed, to the tune of some ninety-five percent of the time, "To Whom It May Concern."

Those very high aims of serious scholarship, completeness—insofar as that is possible—and lavishness of presentation that were so brilliantly met in the seven-volume Mozart: Briefe und Aufzeichnungen1, issued in conjunction with the Neue Mozart Ausgabe, might well be imagined as a model to be kept in view for the prospective three-way correspondence, and, with a will and a way, be brought into similar kinship to the complete editions of Schoenberg (in progress), Berg (in expectation), and Webern (as yet unannounced, but bound, somehow, and at some time, to come into being). It can only be hoped that so crucial a published documentation by these three composers—aside from their various additional, but individually less extensive Briefwechsel of a familial or professional sort—may see the light of day before the ungulfing tides of complacent, complicitous ignorance wipe both their names and their "elitist" achievements off the face of our culture's map.

Currently, the published volumes of letters by Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern may indeed briefly be enumerated. Excluding biographies and articles in journals that have brought some occasionally "new" letters to light, there is, for Schoenberg's considerable legacy of letters, one volume2 containing 247, most of them with indicated but unexplained omissions, some including "discreet" emendations that remain unidentified and were intended, thirty years back, to safeguard individual privacy. The English translation3 features eighteen additional letters. Yet neither 247 nor 265 represent anything more than one-twentieth—or likely, even less—of the totality of Arnold Schoenberg's extant letters! Representing Berg, there is one volume4 of 569 letters (1907-1935) to his wife; it is neither complete nor untouched by that lady's editorial, if also unhighlighted, efforts. The English translation5 selects 488 of these, and incorporates some helpful translator's annotations. As for Webern, he is, to date, unrepresented by any extensive volume of letters.6 To this sorry state of affairs there may now be added the book under review; it features 341 selected letters, in varying states of completeness, out of a corroborated total of 762 extant letters, cards, and telegrams exchanged between Schoenberg and Berg—in other words, much less than half, if one takes the numerous abridgements into account. It must, however, in fairness to the editors and translators, be explained that the original project or this correspondence's publication was substantially different: in the first place, it was to be complete—not "selected," nor replete with omitted passages; moreover, it was first to be published in German, and subsequently to appear in an English translation (either in complete or "selected" form). For whatever reason, the German publication project foundered. (A similar plan for the German publication of the Berg-Webern correspondence has remained in limbo ever since the early 60s.) The American publishers balked at the notion of their issuing a complete Berg-Schoenberg correspondence in translation, on the grounds of questionable salability. This reasoning then led them to compel the editors and translators to prune, abbreviate, cut, shred, and omit, even though, as they write,

From the myriad of unequal parts that make up the Berg-Schoenberg correspondence there emerges a richly textured whole that cannot easily be summarized or abridged.7

(For the sake of accuracy, the qualifying second adverb might have been left out of the sentence!) Again:

While our manuscript annotations are frequently quite lengthy and detailed it proved necessary to abridge them for publication. [ . . . ] Further, we have reluctantly omitted information identifying correspondence to or from third parties.8

Still, some fundamental questions are raised as to what could have impelled these publishers to induce the editors and translators to compromise out of existence the inherent seriousness of an undertaking that should only have been contemplated as a scholarly venture, and that might thereby—and thereby alone—have yielded invaluable results. For what kind of readership had the publishers envisioned and intended a volume of these composers' correspondence, if not for musicians and scholars, composers and performers? Had they imagined that the exchanges between Berg and Schoenberg would be of particular interest to "cultural historians," sociologists, consumers of popular fiction, anthropologists, aestheticians, or devotees of belles lettres? Or had they figured, with high sales aforethought, that selected letters might deceptively connote disclosures of a sort guaranteed to titillate the naive and rope in the prurient? . . . By definition, then, a published correspondence of this kind should, from the start, have been recognizably geared toward accepted and implied high standards of scholarly care, attention to detail, extensive annotation and cross reference, comprehensive indexing, and—sad to have to say—scrupulous accuracy in translation. If none of these requisite ingredients is to be discerned to any sufficient degree in the published volume, then the blame for massive errors in judgment must be placed squarely upon the publishers and their editorial staff. Only total indifference, dogged inefficiency, and abject stupidity could account for such all-encompassing thoughtlessness—to say nothing of its imaginable detrimental effect on "marketability"—as may be inferred from the volume's following inventory of basic lacks: (a) a complete listing of extant letters, cards, and telegrams, numbered in chronological order, against which the present volume's contents might have been checked; furthermore, an index of included letters, and a numbering of all items included, in keeping with the complete listing mentioned above; (b) sources for included items—save for a few of which locations are given in footnotes, beginning (inexplicably) with p. 321, as well as a few others that are identified as being at the Pierrepont (sic!) Morgan Library; (c) dependable, factually accurate references in footnotes; (d) musical materials pertaining to, but omitted from, specific letters; legible, instead of frequently unreadable and badly printed, musical examples; ungarbled illustrations.

Starting with some instances from the latter category, there is a very important table that is missing from Berg's famous open letter of 9 February 1925, concerning the Kammerkonzert; it is even referred to, on p. 335: ". . . (see table)"! Moreover, although some musical illustrations are reproduced from the composers' manuscripts, they are often very poorly printed (as on p. 197, for instance, and on pp. 252, 349-351), or are reduced in size to virtual illegibility (see pp. 220, 226, 295). On p. 350, in mid-page, Berg's cited twelve-element simultaneity belongs at the bottom of the next page. As a result of this dislodgement, the drift of the argument on p. 350 is almost impossible to follow; it is unclear whether the four-staff example at the end of that page should have been placed where the two-staff simultaneity had been misplaced, or whether in the reigning confusion a further example by Berg was simply left out. Besides, to cap that one page's manifold disasters, the text appears to suggest that 4 + 4 makes B, rather than the more expected quantity. (Some of us, at least, can still read—and count!) By a splendid stroke of irony, in Berg's letter of 11 May 1927, indicating a couple of engraving errors in the score of Schoenberg's Suite, Op. 29, the place where he had pointed out a missing treble clef in the piano's right hand remains blank, the clef likewise missing on p. 361.

Inaccuracies and misstatements of fact are painfully abundant throughout the editorial annotations, footnotes, etc.; these testify, above all, to inordinate carelessness in checking and proofreading. Could the three named editors, in addition to the publisher's editorial staff, not have done a little better? The question becomes even more rhetorical in light of the special thanks expressed on p. xxvi to two additional, "careful" readers. A selection, with their needed corrections, listed by page-order, follows:

p. x: ". . . the completion of Lulu, which proved to be a surprisingly uncomplicated task, once Berg's particell became available upon her [i.e., Helene Berg's] death in 1976." Not so: Friedrich Cerha took twelve years to complete this task (1962-74), with further revisions undertaken in 1976-77.9
p. 148: fn. 4: The instrumentation indicated in Schoenberg's letter of 24 January 1913 refers to an enlargement of the ensemble (using multiple strings), to be used in regular concert halls, rather than in smaller halls for chamber music. The "full orchestral version," Op. 9B, of the First Chamber Symphony dates from 1935 and is scored for a very differently constituted wind section and full strings.
p. 204: fn. 6: There is only one version of Seraphita, Op. 22, No. 1.
p. 225: fn. 2: The songs mentioned are Op. 22, Nos, 2 and 3, not 1.
p. 264: Berg completed his Kammerkonzert in 1925, as is evident from his letter to Schoenberg of 9 February of that year.
p. 291: fn. 21: The arrangement of Reger's Romantic Suite, Op. 125 is by Schoenberg; the score is unmistakably in his hand.
p. 335: The scoring of the Kammerkonzert includes a single trumpet.
p. 361: fn. 2: The city visited by Berg was called Leningrad by 1927.
p. 363: fn. 4: The third movement of Schoenberg's Suite, Op. 29 is a set of variations on a tune in E major; the twelve-tone set, whose first element is, at the cited transposition level, vol28id676, and not B, contains no "implicit tonal elements," certainly not any more (or less) so than any other twelve-tone set; the tune's notes are merely partitioned out of successively unfolding aggregates, in many different ways, throughout the movement.
p. 369: fn. 1: Schoenberg's Herzgewächse, Op. 20 is scored for soprano, harp, harmonium, and celesta. The other listed instruments pertain to other works on the cited program.
p. 379: fn. 5: Webern made his own arrangement of an orchestral doubling of choral parts for Schoenberg's Friede auf Erden, Op. 13; he probably used it on the occasion described.
p. 412: fn. 3: Schoenberg's Six Pieces for Men's Chorus, Op. 35 are unaccompanied.
p. 426: fn. 8: Webern's Op. 22 is his Saxophone Quartet; Rudolf Kolisch was among its performers at the specified concert, not the Kolisch Quartet.
p. 429: In Schoenberg's letter of 19 January 1932, the inquiry regarding Der Wein concerns m. 142, not "rehearsal number" 142; the German word is Ziffer ( = number).
p. 461: fn. 4: The composer Norbert von Hannenheim was not "Austrian"; he came from Transylvania.

I come now to the nub of various problems besetting this volume. Under the heading "Translation and Editorial Practice," on p. xxiii, the following sentence appears:

No edition of letters can impart the nuances of the original document.

Indeed, no truer statement may be found in the whole book, even if from the subsequent qualifying remarks it is clear that the reference is more to "nuances" of appearance than to those of actual meaning, of language, idiosyncratic expression, implication, of subtlety in reference, of ambiguity, ellipsis, or of whatever other devices may have been used by the letter writers, and to their retention, or to their loss, in translation. Now, the task of translating from the highly personal and particular, often colloquial, often clearly regional, distinctly time-bound German of Schoenberg's letters, and of the no less markedly characterized German of Berg's letters, into a reasonable English equivalent that conveys colloquialisms without assuming regionalisms of its own, or without lapsing into "quaintness" in an effort to depict bygone usage, is extraordinarily difficult—if not, indeed, impossible. I have myself known the frustration and the nagging, constant certainty that a given sentence could be improved upon, after even the three hundredth try, in attempting to translate German into tolerably parallel English. And while decrying some efforts at translation as unnecessary, fatuous, and pointless,—as, for example, the lunatic "Englishing" of operatic texts for the sake of the audience's understanding what is being sung, when in fact such "Englished" words are apt to be understood even less than those in the given opera's original language—I do not think the translation from and into prose to be unfeasible, and I therefore hold no brief, essentially, against the translation of the letters at hand, so long as the resultant language's usage does not misrepresent the original documents or their writers.

The reference in the foregoing proviso applies not so much to inaccuracy, mistranslation, or idiomatic infelicity, as to the very use of language itself, by means of which the writers' clear-cut personalities and unmistakable character-traits are projected—and nowhere more evidently so than in personal letters. When those letters are written by two such outstandingly verbal-minded individuals as Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg—who surely gave enough proof of their capacity to think as cogently, inventively, pointedly, eloquently, and elegantly in their published writings as they did in their music—the translator's job of conveying each separate writer's character, through each separate sentence, becomes his prime responsibility. In this respect, the present volume fails most singularly, for that responsibility appears—through either unawareness or inability—to have eluded the translators. It is even likely to have come about unwittingly that in turning Schoenberg's and Berg's German into (their particular brand of written) English, the translators also transferred each circumstance of the writers' lives, habits, preferences, complaints, etc., etc. from their chronological, geographic, and social contexts to those governing the current conditions of the translators' lives and habits in contemporary America. Naturally, in effecting so radical a transfer of contexts—which is precisely my reason in assuming it to have been unwitting—the translators seem not to have taken into account the pronounced differences, in every imaginable respect, between the lives and habits, conventions of behavior, etc., of the writers during the almost thirty years of their correspondence, and our (or the translators') lives, habits, conventions of good manners, etc., in the 1980s. It is in view of this deficiency of perception in placing things in their proper perspective and context—as can clearly be gathered from each of the original German letters—that the translators were driven to draw such drastically mistaken conclusions as to the personal characters of both writers. The translators' English certainly supports their impression of Schoenberg as a dour, tyrannical, almost entirely humorless man who seemed rather to enjoy every aspect of his disappointments and misfortunes, while Berg, again, in their English, emerges as a spineless toady, given to interminable gossip and obeisant flattery. I submit that the original exchanges, insofar as I have had occasion to examine them, show such appraisals of either man's character to be entirely wrong-headed, off the mark, and grossly unfair! The German saying "Der Ton macht die Musik" is perfectly apposite here; it is, indeed, the tone of these letters that is not conveyed to any satisfactory degree whatsoever in this translation. The translators have simply not come to terms with the fact that in the Austria (and Germany) of that time, a master remained a master throughout a pupil's lifetime, regardless of the achieved intimacy, between both, of friendship and trust. The kind of behavior of (erstwhile) pupil to master, as exhibited by Berg—and certainly no less so by Webern, or any of Schoenberg's other students—toward Schoenberg is unimaginable in the context of our lives, and of our America. There is no German equivalent for American informality, nor for our pointed avoidance of showing anyone that kind of "respect" and deference, at least not in any overtly external or superficial, ritualistic sense. We just don't behave that way! (Yet they did . . . ) We do not readily agree to a "difference in station" between student and teacher, such as is absolutely fundamental—and lifelong—in an Austrian or German context. The very existence of a world of difference between Sie and Du and the virtually ceremonial applicability of either—as well as the shift from one to the other—highlights a basic distinction in the use of language between German and English; such a distinction cannot exist in English, so that the difference in forms of address can only be described or explained, yet not translated.

Perhaps some of this difficulty could have been overcome by means of further editorial elucidation. As it is, the remarks on pp. xiii-xiv may be interpreted, in this context, as being, to some extent, explanatory. Yet they do not refer to the matter of language at all, and they only abet a suggested notion of Berg's comparative deviousness and of Schoenberg's tyranny over his followers. Only grudgingly do these introductory comments appear to concede that Schoenberg's insights, as regards his (by then erstwhile) pupil Berg, were extraordinarily acute, when in fact the "tyranny" they bespoke was easily the most pedagogically benevolent and musically beneficial of our century. The Translators' Preface dwells much more on a determination to eschew hagiographic attitudinizing than on the specifics concerning the production of English sentences that reflect the nuances and subtleties of their German parallels. On p. xxi, for instance, after a solemn-sounding, if also ambiguous, proclamation, reading:

Today we have entered a period of demythologizing and revisionism.

a clause in the next sentence states:

. . . one cannot trace the origins of Schoenberg's "system" without studying analogous contemporary experiments.

This prompts at least three questions: first, what is "Schoenberg's 'system'"?; next, what "analogous" experiments were conducted, and—other than those by Berg, Webern, and other Schoenberg students from the early 20s—by whom? (As for the third, about who are whose friends anyway, it may remain unasked . . . ) Such statements give off a certain noisome aura of uninformed propaganda; they clearly reflect a bias, and seem, in that portion of the book, inopportune.

A marked distaste for what will now follow leads me to inquire whether it should really have to be the business of a review to point out solecisms or other abuses of English, when it ought to be a publisher's obligation to eliminate embarrassments of this nature from his product.* Usage, here shown in quotation marks, such as "dramaturg" (for dramatista, p. 72); "verbal insults" (as if a non-verbal alternative existed, p. 184); "variance" (for variant, or variationb, p. 226); "pressuring" (for pressing, p. 244); "constructing" (for building up, p. 254); "sonoral" (for sonic, p. 335); "finalizing" (for finishing, or concluding, pp. 287, 405—twice—and 414, where it takes the even more horrid form of "finalization"); "presently" (for currently, or now, pp. 5, 38, 53, 62, 93, 98, 101, 274, 280, 360, 449) is—or should be—intolerable in a book purportedly dealing with the language of Schoenberg's and Berg's letters. That language, varied and vivid as it was, never employed journalistic vulgarisms, except to point them out sarcastically in others' usage. Likewise, inappropriately used idioms misrepresent their original intent, and thereby misguide the reader's perception of nuance. I cite, again within quotation marks, followed by the original, and a reasonable English equivalent: "have it good" (haben es gut = do well for themselves, p. 17); "straight out" (klar; direkt = clearly, straight, pp. 25, 233, 248); "unanimous success" (einstimmiger Erfolg = uncontested, complete success, pp. 84, 99); "better said" (besser gesagt = or rather, in other words, pp. 222, 442); "I don't know what all" (ich weiss nicht was alles = I don't know what, p. 256); "until now (bis jetzt = so far, p. 284). Then there are outright mistranslations, as for instance: "5 and 20 Kronen" (where the disparity between prices suggests, rather, that there was a single one for twenty-five Kronen, p. 52, under the illustration); "autography" (Autografie = from the manuscript,—the quoted term connoting a relatively recent, less expensive alternative to engraving—p. 162); the cited "Untergang des Franzosentums" does not mean "Decline of the French," but The Decline of Frenchness, p. 219; "large flute" (grosse Flöte) requires no adjective, inasmuch as kleine Flöte = piccolo, p. 335; "study score" refers to piano score, or piano reduction (Studier-Auszüge), p. 388. The inadequate rendering of an idiom, or ungrammatical, awkward English construction is notable in the following: "long enough for there to be a point to my visit," p. 252; misplacements of the word "only," pp. 296, 297, 315; "as is for the present," p. 296; "similarity with," p. 407; and on the same page, "similarity with myself"(!); "than the Good Lord in France," a literal version of the idiom als der Herrgott in Frankreich, means nothing in English—the closest allusive equivalent might be "than Croesus,"c p. 454. The expression should have been left untranslated, with its meaning explained, as is the case—much to the translators' credit—wherever German expressions or short passages are quoted in the original (viz., pp. 36, 121, 168, 200, 456).

Impelled by my longstanding interest in Schoenberg's and Berg's letters in general, and rather frustrated by the curtailed representation of their correspondence in the present volume, I have found myself checking, first, on letters that might be "duplicated" in the Stein collection (see fn. 2)—of the eight to be found there, six are included here, in unabridged form; so is the aforementioned open letter on Berg's Kammerkonzert10—and then comparing a few "suspicious places" in several others to their originals, located in the Library of Congress, and at the Nationalbibliothek in Vienna. My research was rewarded, regrettably, by the corroboration of every one of my hunches; they had served to support my opinion of the inordinately poor translation and careless presentation that pervade this book. A comparison of Berg's open letter (pp. 334-337) to its German parallel shows that there is hardly a paragraph whose content has not, in one way or another, been botched. What, for instance, is one to make of the phrase "and must be adhered to during performance," at the end of the description of the first movement (on p. 335), when there is no trace of such a phrase in the original?d Furthermore, the last paragraph on p. 336—whose italics at the end are mine—:

This [trinity] is apparent also in the harmonic aspect, where next to long stretches of completely suspended tonality there are also individual shorter passages of tonal character that correspond to the regulations established by yourself in the "Composition with 12 notes."

is obviously utter nonsense, to say nothing of the impropriety in "by yourself." The translators were incapable of discerning in Berg's punctuation, and ellipsis, that he was referring to three different kinds of harmonic practice, not two! As for the heading at the end of the quoted passage, that does not refer to any written article by Schoenberg, but to his oral description of Komposition mit zwölf nur aufeinander bezogenen Tönen (= Composition with twelve tones related only to one another). I propose, however, to cut short this recital of blunders, and mention only two especially funny ones: on p. 18, in a letter dated "Friday morning," during 1911, Berg refers disparagingly to Vienna as a Balkan Nest, an expression which is translated "Balkan nest". Now, whereas Nest certainly equals nest, the translators remained impervious to the familiar colloquial use, where Nest simply means dump, backwater, hole in the wall, and therefore failed to make any sense of the expression. Again, in his letter of 9 August 1921, Berg complains of having to devote too much time to every "kurzer" Gast, meaning everyone who paid him a brief visit; the translators' boner turns this into "'short' guest," as though it were meant to refer to the visitors' stature.

Finally, in reviewing this review, I am obliged to observe that the contents of the correspondence included in the book have neither been commented upon, nor even briefly alluded to. The reason for this apparent evasiveness is that one cannot really discuss such contents unless one has all of that correspondence under consideration. A selection of letters—hand in hand with their frequent abridgement—makes for a corresponding selection of contents, inevitably. While I do not believe that any of the unincluded contents have been purposely concealed (or are in any need of ever so being), I am convinced, nevertheless, that the mere lengths on which particular subjects or circumstances, or events, or discussions might have dwelt remain hidden from the present collection, and therefore whatever emphases might have been implicit in such lengths must remain open to speculation. At the same time, of course, the volume's contents are, unceasingly, of the liveliest interest. Just as in the case of other composers' letters, Berg's and Schoenberg's cannot be considered "central" to our concern with their activity and their lives. Their music, however, is, absolutely, at the core of the involvement we may perceive toward their art and their lives; the letters, therefore, are perforce somewhat peripheral. Yet the supplement they provide to that central context is always informative, often enlightening, invariably engaging to a high degree, for as wide a variety of reasons as is the range of subject matter they cover. It is striking to see, for example, that the protagonists were so frequently unwell, and that their wives were also often in search of appropriate "cures." At the same time, from our perspective in 1988, it is appalling to observe how poorly they all took care of their health. And quite another angle of these exchanges is their frequently manifested, sometimes uproarious sense of humor.

A correspondence between two men of such powerful intellect, of such consummate articulateness and sensitivity, whose forthrightness matched their tact and thoughtfulness toward one another, cannot but reveal a great many fascinating details of their daily existences, of their work, their thinking, of their concerns and their struggles. One is constantly drawn—without even noticing it—into the orbit of their thought and into their spheres of activity. It is almost as if these letters had been addressed to the reader—the more so, naturally, when the reader's own concerns are often related to those of the writers, even though the reader's particular circumstances are bound to be so much more fortunate than those governing these writers' lives! Had I to choose a single term to apply to such letters as these, it would have to be the adjective "vital," for these writings testify, above all, to an uncommon vitality, resilience, determination, uncompromising dedication, unshakable personal loyalty, and deep affection. The letters here selected—relatively few as they are—document, as does any of the music composed by their authors, a liveliness of mind, a conscientiousness of expression, and a vividness of imagination whose products ought easily to outlive any treacherous tides of fashion or of success-mongering politics, to the benefit and enrichment of the lives of generations of musicians to come—perhaps even without their knowing it.

1Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1962-75.

2Briefe, ausgewählt und herausgegeben von Erwin Stein (Mainz: Schott's Söhne, 1958).

3Letters, ed. Erwin Stein, trans. Eithne Wilkins and Ernst Kaiser (London: Faber and Faber, 1964).

4Alban Berg: Briefe an seine Frau (Munich and Vienna: Langen Müller, 1965).

5Alban Berg: Letters to his Wife, edited, translated, and annotated by Bernard Grun (London: Faber and Faber, 1971).

6There is the slim volume Anton Webern, Briefe an Hildegard Jone und Josef Humplik, ed. Josef Polnauer (Vienna: Universal Edition, 1959); in English as Letters to Hildegard Jone and Josef Humplik, Josef Polnauer (Bryn Mawr, Penna.: Theodore Presser, 1967).

7Translators' Preface, xx.

8Ibid., xxiv.

9See Cerha, Arbeitsbericht zur Herstellung des 3. Aktes der Oper Lulu von Alban Berg (Vienna: Universal Edition, 1979), 1.

10Willi Reich, Alban Berg: Leben und Werk (Zürich: Atlantis, 1963), 135-40.

*Following the publication of this review, Spies wrote a letter to the editor of Symposium, which subsequently appeared in College Music Symposium Volume 29:

In fairness and in the interest of accuracy, I suggest the following emendations and corrections in my review of The Berg-Schoenberg Correspondence: Selected Letters.

Those corrections are referenced in this article as footnotes a-d.

a"dramaturg," in reference to Buschbeck, = manager, not dramatist

b"variance," in this context, = change or difference, not variant

c"than the Good Lord in France" = off the fat of the land, rather than any unidiomatic reference to Croesus

d"and must be adhered to during performance" is accurately translated from the German "und bei Aufführungen unbedingt festzuhalten ist"; the reviewer's source for Berg's open letter had simply omitted that phrase!

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