Letter to students May 1975

Having to retire from the Vienna University of Music, Swarowsky wrote this letter to his students:

My dear last 20 students who have endured with me until last, I want to thank you for your wonderful present, which has suprised me greatly. You've found the perfect present, and I shall place it proudly on the shelve. Your understanding and appreciation for my teachings make parting easier, which may perhaps not be forever: already there are new possibilities shaping up with a new teaching institution, also with substantial financial backing. In the meantime, hold on to the knowledge that music comes from a spiritual basis, without which it only becomes empty tinkleing. Keep up your sense of quality against 'Note Writers', even if they write beautiful ones, and orientate yourselves on the big line from Bach to Schoenberg. Anything that's not part of that spirit, take it half as seriously. Try to conduct clearly and understandably, but don't overestimate technique: don't forget it's the orchestra players who make the music, and you should value them for that. Concentrate all your energy, if it's music of the masters, on the correlations of the form. Empty and 'beautiful' pretence and wild grimaces at the rostrum don't contribute anything of value, they are only a sign of stupidity.

Farewell and goodbye,

Hans Swarowsky
May 22, 1975