“For me, it was as if the sun had ceased to shine.” These are the last words René Leibowitz wrote in a letter of condolence to Arnold Schönberg’s widow after his death on 13 July 1951. Now, on the composer’s 70th memorial day, we present some selected documents from the telegrams and letters Gertrud Schönberg received, expressions of consolation and homage.

The news of Schönberg’s death caused a wave of emotion and commiseration among his pupils, friends and the cultural scene in general, set down in a multitude of letters of condolence to his widow.

“My deepest sympathy for you”
George Antheil, 18 July 1951

“I trust you will understand the shock at the irreplaceable loss of that great man and master I felt, as Schönberg’s last pupil in Vienna.”
Hans Erich Apostel, 25 July 1951

“It is indeed a great loss for us all.”
Rose Bampton and Wilfred Pelletier, 15 July 1951

“greatest musical figure of our age brilliant example of strength of character«
Luigi Dallapiccola, 15 July 1951

“When a man like Schönberg dies, one of the great masters in musical history, art holds its breath in shock.”
Hanns Eisler, July 1951

“From me and from my wife, heartfelt, heartfelt sympathy”
Lion Feuchtwanger, 16 July 1951

“Our thoughts are with you and children in deepest sympathy.”
Roberto and Poldi Gerhard, 18 July 1951

“Solace can only come from the wealth and greatness remaining to the world in his work.”
Erich Itor Kahn, 26 July 1951

“Strauss – Pfitzner – Schönberg – the world becomes poorer [for the loss of] the truly great creator.”
Erich Wolfgang Korngold, 16 July 1951

“For me, it was as if the sun had ceased to shine.”
René Leibowitz, 15 July 1951

“Thinking of a beautiful remark by Schnitzler on the death of Hugo von Hofmannsthal: ‘We are experiencing the birth of an immortality.’”
Thomas Mann, 31 August 1951

“My devotion to his work has been a part of my life and will continue to be.”
Dimitri Mitropoulos, 25 July 1951

“May we express to you our deep and heartfelt sympathy about your recent loss.”
Richard and Dione Neutra, 4 August 1951

“It is very difficult to express in words the great shock which the entire world of music felt with the death of your husband.”
Gregor Piatigorsky, 1 August 1951

“The conviction of his immortality is stronger than the pain of his parting.”
Paul Amadeus Pisk, 16 July 1951

“Schoenberg’s passing takes from all of us who care for the future of music a leader.”
Roger Sessions, 15 July 1951

“His death has made me much poorer.”
Friedrich Torberg, 18 July 1951

“We sorrow for you and with you in your great loss and ours.”
Edgard and Louise Varèse, 16 July 1951

“a loss of historic meaning for the cultural world”
Bruno Walter, 15 July 1951

Gertrud Schönberg’s estate is housed in the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna. It includes photographs and personal documents, as well as newspaper clippings, articles, exhibition catalogs, program booklets, Gertrud’s notes and calendars. The correspondence comprises over 11,000 letters.