In our town here, we have a very famous and really nice organ built by Zacharias Hildebrandt, and under the — Bach was supervisor of this organ building. And so, during my whole youth, I practiced on this organ, and these very nice sounds, the different stops made so real good that I like these kinds of sound very much.
And my father, it’s — nobody will believe that this story is true, learned to know Arnold Schoenberg’s music from his Jewish friends in Dresden during Nazi time, because one of his best friend, his father was attorney and was not allowed to work in Nazi time.1 He had a so called Aryan wife, and so he was not sent to the concentration camp yet, and my father went very often to the son because they were — he was in the same class in the school.
And this attorney had some other Jewish friends, and they practiced and played their string quartets by Arnold Schoenberg in this Nazi German town Dresden. And so, my father was very well acquainted with Schoenberg, and he played it on the piano. And I did not like this kind of music. I had the idea — I had — at this time as in my youth, I had only two Gods, the one God was Bach, and the other God was Bruckner, and everything what comes later was bad.
And once in the night, there was a transmission in West German radio, did the piece of Olivier Messiaen, Vingt regards sur l’enfant-Jésus, 20 Views to the Child Jesus.2 And I was overwhelmed from this, because for the first time I had the impression, oh, it’s the contemporary composer who knows what sound is, and what sounds – and it’s not this kind of theoretical music.