Preface to Volume 21 B

The present volume contains the critical commentary of the compositions published in Volume 21 of Series A.

In addition, it contains the edition of all known sketches for these works with commentary. The row charts for the third string quartet and the string trio are particularly interesting documents because they provide conclusive evidence for the row construction in these works. Most notable among the sketches for the fourth string quartet are several charts with themes which – written before the final conception – also contain thematic ideas not used in the final version. The two time-charts for the string trio are also published here; Schoenberg, having completed the composition, compiled in these tables the duration of the composition and its constituent sections in a systematic way.

The appendix brings those fragmentary chamber works for strings from Schoenberg’s serial period: a composition of 1923 (for which the instrumentation cannot be determined with complete certainty), a “Violin Solo-Quartett” of 1925, and three string quartet fragments, two of which were conceived in 1926 and one in 1949.

The user of the volume at hand should be aware that Boelke-Bomart, Inc., Hillsdale, N. Y., is the first and only publishing company which unfortunately has refused to make the op. 45 sources in its possession available for description and evaluation to the editors of the Schönberg-Gesamtausgabe.

The editor received a great amount of help in inspecting the sources. He wishes to thank in particular Marion von Hartlieb of Universal Edition in Vienna, Dr. Günter Brosche, the director of the Music Division of the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Jürgen Thym of Eastman School of Music, Rochester, N. Y., Pamela C. White of Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, as well as the staff of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute, Los Angeles. The late Clara Steuermann, archivist of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute until 1982, should be remembered with particular gratitude and veneration.

Christian Martin Schmidt
(translated by Jürgen Thym)