Arnold Schönberg’s grave of honor, Vienna Central Cemetery, Group 3C, Grave 21A; Rudolf Kolisch, Arnold Schoenberg Choir, 5 June 1974

The 100th anniversary of Arnold Schönberg’s birthday (13 September 1874) was celebrated in a variety of ways in Vienna; the city itself commissioned the Austrian artist Fritz Wotruba to design a monument to the composer at the Central Cemetery.

“Fritz Wotruba (1907-1975) is among the most important sculptors of the 20th century, a classic practitioner of the genre. His intensive involvement with social and political issues of the time influenced his artistic work. He entrusted art and artists with an enlightening mission of renewing culture and society. This view led him to take part in prominent monument projects, deliberately concentrating on topics such as labor, victims of political violence and monuments to artists […]
In 1969, he was invited as part of a Deutsche Bundesbank competition to submit a contribution for the artistic configuration of the foyer and forecourt of the new construction of the bank’s head office in Frankfurt. His design, with its protruding figurations, as well as standing and hanging blocks, was never realized, but in 1974 he converted one part of it, a cube, into a memorial stone for Arnold Schönberg. He assigned most of the marble fabrication to his assistant Engelbert Lanzenberger […] Wotruba went back to the Frankfurt cube design for the monument, recalling an elemental stone sculpture consisting of a single cuboid as analogous to Schönberg’s elemental twelve-tone music. The massive stone block (Carrera marble, 196 x 178 x 158.5 cm) stands tilted on a flattened slab, giving the impression that its own weightiness is sinking it into the plinth, yet it also seems light and striving upwards.”
Excerpted from Gabriele Stöger-Spevak, Fritz Wotruba. Monuments, Sculpture and Politics, in: Gabriele Stöger-Spevak, ed., Fritz Wotruba. Monuments, Sculpture and Politics, Vienna 2015, pp. 29-30.

The urns of Arnold and Gertrud Schönberg were brought from Los Angeles and interred in the grave of honor in Vienna’s Central Cemetery on June 5, 1974; the Arnold Schoenberg Choir performed De Profundis Op. 50b, and Ronald Schoenberg, representing the family, spoke of a symbol of posthumous appreciation. In the ceremonial address, Rudolf Kolisch, the composer’s brother-in-law, made clear that “much of the injustice done to Schönberg in his homeland” was now buried.

Film recording of the ceremony (excerpt):