Date: 31 March 1913
Venue: Great Hall of the Vienna Concert Society
Purpose: Concert of Modern Music
Outcome: Riot, Fistfights and Lawsuits
Arnold Schoenberg had put together a concert program that included works by Anton von Webern, Alexander von Zemlinsky, Alban Berg, Gustav Mahler and himself. Isn’t it rather symbolic that a riot erupted between the audience and the musicians as a reaction to the dissonances and atonality of modern music? It all kicked off as Schoenberg conducted two of Berg’s Op. 4, “Five Orchestral Songs on Picture-Postcard Texts by Peter Altenberg”. The audience demanded that both composer and the poet Peter Altenberg should be sent to the madhouse, astutely aware that Altenberg already was a patient in the State Mental Institution. And then the fighting started, and the police had to be called. Erhard Buschbeck, a close friend of Berg and one of the concert organizers of the concert traded blows with the operetta composer Oscar Straus.