Calendar image © Arnold Schönberg Center

With the transcription and indexing of Schönberg’s calendars from the years 1935 and 1936, which can now be viewed via the image archive, we receive multifaceted insights into Schönberg’s daily and weekly routines at his temporary residence in Hollywood.

From September 1934 to May 1936, Schönberg and his family lived at 5860 Canyon Cove, Hollywood, Los Angeles, where he worked on pieces such as his Violin Concerto, op. 36. “I had been engaged by the University of Southern California in the meanwhile: first for a six-week summer session in 1935, then as ‘Professor of Music’ for the 1935–36 season, including the summer session.” (Arnold Schönberg: Report of the Schoenberg Family on their lives during the war and immediately prior).

Fred Steiner: A history of the first complete recording of the Schoenberg String Quartets, in: Journal of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute II/2 (February 1978) [excerpt]:

Judging from entries found in one of Arnold Schönberg’s calendars, it was in May 1936 that the composer began to give private lessons to film composers. Among the first names to appear is that of Alfred Newman, one of the pioneer composers and conductors of the sound film era, who was at that time the music director at United Artists.

One day, either during a lesson or on some more social occasion, Newman heard Schönberg’s oft-voiced complaint that the works he had composed during his later periods of development were rarely if heard by the public. Thus when Schönberg told his pupil that the Kolisch String Quartet was coming to Los Angeles to perform all four of his quartets at a series of concerts at UCLA and lamented the fact that no recording company had offered to record these works, Newman got the idea of recording them privately for his teacher’s benefit. If Schönberg could persuade the Kolisch group to perform gratis, Newman would make arrangements to utilize the United Artists music recording studio … to make the master disks.

Arnold Schönberg entered the dates of the recordings in his pocket-size diary for 1936: the First Quartet (op. 7) on Tuesday, December 29; the Third (op. 30) and Second (op. 10) Quartets, in that order, on December 30 and 31 respectively. He did not specify the time of day. There is no mention further recording sessions until Friday, January 8, when we find in his 1937 desk diary the cryptic entry, "record." Since the Fourth Quartet was the only one left to be done and was to have its premiere evening at UCLA, we can only assume that the notation means it was recorded earlier that same day.