Listening to Love with Schönberg

May 29, 2024 till February 14, 2025

“Theory does not bring you any closer to his works. There is only one thing that is necessary: your heart must remain open. Schönberg’s work should be listened to without inhibition or prejudice of any kind. Put theory and philosophy aside. In Schönberg’s work there is purely music.“ (Anton Webern, 1912)

No feeling is more closely associated with music than love. And no composer is more frequently associated with rational, unemotional sound worlds than Schönberg. The power of his creative work, and the capacity of this power for stimulus and change, was of initial significance for the development of Tonkunst (musical art) in the 20th century.
An extreme lack of compromise, undaunted innovation, and absolute faith in advancement, as well as the high demands placed on listeners by his works, conveyed a constructor’s burden upon him. As much as his music may be removed from established conventions in the music industry, it is deeply rooted in the exploration of human sound. It affects all states of mind.

For the first time, the Arnold Schönberg Center will be presenting a curated examination of deep feelings in Schönberg’s scores, investigating contexts, and providing access to points of reference for a newly sounding language of love in musical modernism around 1900.
Love song, symphonic poem, and programmatic ensemble piece appear alongside private communication, written and visual documentation of lost love and the fulfillment of longed-for devotion.

What does love sound like in the composer’s mind? Using digitally animated scores which allow synchronous tracking of image and sound, items from the archives come to life in the exhibition. The notation is unveiled as a visualization of sound concepts.

Curator: Therese Muxeneder
Architecture: Jochen Koppensteiner
Digital realization: Christoph Edtmayr

Opening Hours
Monday – Friday 10 am to 5 pm
closed on legal holidays and on December 24 and 31, 2024

Entrance fees
Adults € 6; Discount: senior citizens,
visitors with special needs, groups,
Vienna City Card

Free admission
children and young people 26 and

Press kit (pdf)

Press photos: