• A survey from the past



    In 1930 Vienna's newspaper Neues Wiener Tagblatt organized a survey, with a massive response, on the twelve best Austrian artists of the times. The results were published August, 15th, and they were also endorsed by the critics of the journal.

    Some votes were to composers like Franz Léhar or Richard Strauss, disqualified because they were not actually Austrian. The same happened with Max Reinhardt. This was the final list:

    • 1º Karl Schönherr, playwright
      2º Artur Schnitzler, playwright
      3º Anton Wildgans, playwright and poet
      Wilhem Kienzl, playwright and Wagner's biographer, composer of Austria's national anthem.
      5º Josef Hofman, architect
      6º Anton Hanak, sculptor
      Erich Wolfgang Korngold, composer
      8º Hermann Bahr, playwright
      Julius Bittner, composer
      10º Karl Franz Ginskey, poet
      11º Klemens Holzmeister, architect
      12º Arnold Schönberg, composer


    As well as showing the great love of the Austrian citizens for their playwrigths, we can also understand the high consideration they have for Korngold, the second composer to be named, and also the youngest person in the list.

    Julius Bittner, today almost forgotten, but then a well known composer, especially for his opera Das Höllisch Gold:



    very popular in Austria, was placed in the list before Schönberg. Alban Berg was not even able to make the list, though Wozzeck has been premiered five years before.

    Funny enough, Schönberg was pretty angry... but not for being the last one in the list, rather just because he was considered. . In his view, he was an artist that was working in advance of his time, and realizing he has a certain popular appeal, were not good news for him.

    In 1945, just before he died, Julius Korngold mentioned this survey in a letter to his son Erich, in a moment where Schönberg's reputation among the critics was at its highest but Erich's own merits were dismissed by those same critics, after his work for Hollywood, that Julius hated. The senior Korngold died as embittered as Erich's will, twelve years later.


    One of the best pieces by Korngold, the Violin Concerto in D Major:



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