The Seccession in Vienna.
To the Time, Its Art. To the Art, Its Freedom.
My home of Hollywood was the exiled haven of a legendary list of emigres, my mom serving many of them at 20th Century Fox or Chasen’s. Older teachers and colleagues spoke rapturously of working with Otto Klemperer and Bruno Walter when they were with the Los Angeles Philharmonic or Columbia Symphony. That meant discovering Mahler would not be far away. Lotte Lehmann was at the Music Academy in Santa Barbara. Erich Wolfgang Korngold invents the film score here, his violinist granddaughter Katie living down the street from our house in Eagle Rock. Alma Mahler lives with Franz Werfel in Beverly Hills. Schoenberg is friends with Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers and his entire family are now great friends. And a very young Zubin Mehta was leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic, recording Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Varese and William Kraft, so the name Hans Swarowsky was in the air.
Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven (I could stop right there but it wouldn’t be honest) Schubert, Brahms, the Strauss Family, Bruckner, Wolf, Mahler, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern. The strongest list of local composers on Planet Earth. The Viennese feel they own this music so in September of 1977 I set out to find out their secrets.