Marya Freund papers relating to Arnold Schoenberg

This collection is also available in Archives & Manuscripts
View In Archives »

Collection Data

60 items of correspondence from Arnold and Gertrud Schoenberg to Marya Freund ; 121 items of correspondence from other musicians concerning performances of Schoenberg's works ; 31 programs and brochures, all with works of Schoenberg and all including Marya Freund ; 4 reviews (including 3 clippings) of the Dec. 15, 1921, Paris performance of Pierrot Lunaire ; Marya Freund's account of her first meeting with Arnold Schoenberg ; Marya Freund's notebook about the 1927 Paris Schoenberg Festival ; 28 photographs, 14 of Schoenberg either alone or with his family and 14 of Gurrelieder performances ; 2 portaits of Marya Freund and 1 of Arnold Schoenberg on which 1 of his letters is written. A narrative description of and notes on the Schoenberg correspondence and an English paraphrase of each Schoenberg letter accompany the collection as well as an English translation of Marya Freund's account. Also included are brief notes on other correspondents by Marya Freund's son Doda Conrad. Among the correspondents are: Nadia Boulanger, Luigi Dallapiccola, Max Deutsch, Roberto Gerhard, Jascha Horenstein, Rudolf Kolisch, Rene Leibowitz, Darius Milhaud, Maria Peragallo, Pietro Scarpini, Hermann Scherchen, Erwin Stein, Edward Steuermann, Egon Wellesz, and Jean Wiéner.
Freund, Marya, 1876-1966 (Collector)
Schoenberg, Arnold, 1874-1951 (Author)
Boulanger, Nadia (Correspondent)
Conrad, Doda (Correspondent)
Dallapiccola, Luigi, 1904-1975 (Correspondent)
Deutsch, Max (Correspondent)
Gerhard, Roberto, 1896-1970 (Correspondent)
Horenstein, Jascha (Correspondent)
Kolisch, Rudolf, 1896- (Correspondent)
Leibowitz, René, 1913-1972 (Correspondent)
Milhaud, Darius, 1892-1974 (Correspondent)
Peragallo, Mario (Correspondent)
Scarpini, Pietro (Correspondent)
Scherchen, Hermann, 1891-1966 (Correspondent)
Schoenberg, Gertrud (Correspondent)
Stein, Erwin (Correspondent)
Steuermann, Edward (Correspondent)
Wellesz, Egon, 1885-1974 (Correspondent)
Wiéner, Jean (Correspondent)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1912 - 1966
Library locations
Music Division
Shelf locator: JOB 91-30
Freund, Marya, 1876-1966
Schoenberg, Arnold, 1874-1951
Biographical/historical: Marya Freund (born Henschel) (1876-1966) was a popular European Jewish soprano of the twentieth century, noted for working with many contemporary composers, including Arnold Schoenberg. She was born on December 12, 1876 in Breslau (today Wrocław, Poland). She moved to Berlin where she became a violin student of Pablo de Sarasate and Ivan Zajc. She later switched to singing and studied with Julius Stockhausen, Raimund von Zur Mühlen, and Ernesto Colli. While in Berlin she married Dr. Walther Freund in 1903. The Freunds had one son, Doda Conrad, born February 19, 1905, who had a career as a baritone. Marya Freund was raised in a musical atmosphere which included notable musicians such as von Bulow, Sarasate (mentioned above), Joachim, Paderewski, Rubinstein, d'Albert, Sembrich and Bruch. Her parents were important patrons of the Breslau Orchestra and her uncle, George Henschel (baritone), had been both a friend and interpreter of Brahms (he later became the first conductor of the Boston Symphony). Her father was Leopold Henschel, cousin of Sir George Henschel, the London composer and singer. She made her debut in 1908 as Marya Freund, soprano. By 1909, following an introduction by Mahler, her career began to flourish. Prior to World War I she was best known as a Lieder singer. Freund embarked on concert tours to parts of Europe and North America. She gave recitals in Germany, Spain (she performed as a mezzo-soprano at the Philharmonic Society of Madrid December 12-16, 1914), London (two instances are June 2, 1909 and June 6, 1910), Italy (one instance was in Milan on March 26, 1915), France, the United States, and elsewhere. Freund settled in Paris in 1912 where she sang at the Paris Opera. Following a recital she gave in Berlin (see Series I, items 1 and 2, October 21 & 29, 1912), she first met Arnold Schoenberg and his first wife, Mathilda. Soon after their meeting, Schoenberg sent her the score of Gurrelieder, and Freund began studying the part of Waldtaube (the Wood- Dove). The world premiere of Gurrelieder took place in Vienna on February 23, 1913 with the Vienna Philharmonic under the direction of Franz Schreker. Due to the circumstances of World War I, Freund was temporarily estranged from working with Schoenberg. Following the War, Freund began to tour internationally again; the major part of her performing career was during the 1920s and the early 1930s when she gave the most recitals. She performed as a soloist with the Leipzig Gewandhaus concerts under Arthur Nikisch, at the concerts of Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra under Willem Mengelberg, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Pierre Monteux (in the 1923-24 season), in Paris under Gabriel Pierne and Camille Chevillard. She worked with Wilhelm Furtwängler, Hermann Scherchen, Gustave Doret and Dr. Sutler (in Switzerland), as well as many other distinguished conductors (Milhaud, Delgrange, Schreker, Fried and Goehler). She worked within the circle of Satie, Cocteau and Les Six, appearing in the premiere of Satie's Socrate in 1921. She worked with such composers as Ernest Bloch, Zoltan Kodaly, Darius Milhaud, Alfredo Casella, Karol Szymanowski, Francis Poulenc, Ildebrando Pizzetti, Prokofiev, Georges Auric, Gian Francesco Malipiero, and Maurice Ravel. According to an advertisement for the "Freund - de Mare Studios" (for the study and interpretation of song) once located at 247 West 72nd Street, New York, NY, Marya Freund had also worked alongside Stravinsky, Tausman, deFalla, Pizzetti, Castelnuovo, Webern, and Alban Berg. (The advertisement is undated but most likely corresponds to 1923-26 during the course of her frequent performances on the East Coast of the United States.) Freund became one of the first singers to perform 12-tone music and was the speaker for the first English and French performances of Arnold Schoenberg's atonal melodrama, Pierrot Lunaire Op. 21 which featured twenty-one set poems (in Sprechstimme) originally written in French by Albert Giraud. The first premiere was in Berlin, October 16, 1912 without Freund, and the first full performance in French took place on January 12, 1922, with Marya Freund performing and Darius Milhaud conducting. Milhaud and Freund shared a productive relationship; Milhaud even used a musical cryptogram to encipher her name in his piano piece Le Chat, Op. 245. Freund found that Albert Giraud's original French text was not a poetic text suitable for singing. Instead, she re-translated and used her new translation for several performances in France and Belgium. Milhaud collaborated in subsequent Pierrot performances, including performances on January 16, 1922, March 30, 1922, as rehearsal director for several concerts in December 1927, and several performances in London on November 19, 1923. Composer André Jolivet was present to hear Freund sing Pierrot performed at the Société Musicale Indépendante's Schoenberg concerts at the Salle Pleyel in December 1927. Correspondence between Freund and Schoenberg resumed in June of 1923; she continued to feature new works by Schoenberg in her recitals (a program pamphlet for a Chicago recital on December 3, 1923 lists Freund's performance of Schoenberg's Traumleben and Am Wegrand). By 1924, Freund began performing Schoenberg's Das Buch der hängenden Garten and the Quartet No. 2, Op. 10. In 1925, Freund suggested that Schoenberg come to Paris to perform Pierrot Lunaire, but the composer refused due to financial and social concerns. Eventually, Schoenberg agreed, and conducted Pierrot at the Salle Playel on December 8, 1927, in which Freund sang, with Steurermann at the piano. The concert was part of a Schoenberg festival and was a success. Marya Freund continued to perform throughout the 1930s: She worked with the Warsaw Philharmonic in their 1931-32 and 1932-33 seasons and throughout France, Germany, Amsterdam, and Greece. Due to rising anti-Semitism, after the Paris festival Schoenberg emigrated from Germany in May 1933. The Second World War interrupted the correspondence between Freund and Schoenberg. By 1949 Schoenberg fell ill; his death followed on July 13, 1951. On February 11, 1943, Marya Freund was arrested at her Paris apartment and imprisoned in Drancy, until March 21, 1943, when she was transferred to the Rothschild Hospice at the age of sixty-seven. Alfred Cortot, a pianist, conductor, and Director of Music under the Ministry of Culture, helped to get Freund transferred to the Rothschild Hospital. Cortot's aid was short lived, and he did not help Freund's release from incarceration. Four months later, on July 21, 1943, Freund escaped by walking out a door of the Rothschild Hospice in order to escape deportation. For the remainder of the German Occupation, Freund was in hiding. Marya Freund taught for over 30 years in Paris, and her solo performances became more sporadic following the Second World War (most were given in Paris). Her students included Germaine Lubin, Jennie Tourel, and Cathy Berberian. Germaine Lubin (1890-1979), a French soprano, studied at the Paris Conservatoire (1909-12). Both Freund and Lubin performed at the Salon of Marguerite de Saint-Marceaux where the first French performance of Schoenberg's Wind Quartet was given. Jennie Tourel (1900-1973) was a Russian-born American mezzo-soprano who settled in Paris to study around 1918. Cathy Berberian (1925-1983), an American soprano and composer (specializing in Avant-Garde works) studied with Freund shortly in Paris in 1948. Marya Freund continued to perform throughout Europe into the 1950s; Pierrot Lunaire became the piece for which she was best known for performing. Marya Freund died in Paris on May 21, 1966, age 89. Her son Doda Conrad became a naturalized American citizen and served with the American Army in World War II. Conrad published his autobiography, Dodascalies shortly before he died in Paris on December 15, 1997. His autobiography features excerpts from a 45 page journal written by Mayra Freund during her time in hiding. Sources: "Marya Freund, 89, A Mezzo-Soprano" New York Times, May 24, 1966, p. 42. "Freund, Marya," Oxford Dictionary of Music, 2nd ed., rev. accessed 3 December 2009. Various writings from this archive
Language: The Schoenberg correspondence is in German ; other correspondence is in French, German, Italian, Polish, and English ; programs and brochures are in French, German, English, Italian, Danish, Spanish, and Greek.
Date: The bulk of the collection was created 1912-1937.
Acquisition: The Marya Freund papers relating to Arnold Schoenberg were purchased from the dealer Wurlitzer-Bruck in 1991.
Physical Description
Extent: 1.66 linear ft. (6 boxes)
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b11652199
MSS Unit ID: 20099
Archives collections id: archives_collections_20099
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 6c64dfa0-d2e0-0130-a94f-58d385a7bbd0
Show filters Hide filters
18 results found