Schönberg's vacation domicile on the Traunsee, the "Hois'n Wirt".

Like many of his artist contemporaries, Arnold Schönberg spent his summer vacations far away from urban distractions, giving free rein to his creativity during extended visits to the countryside.

Schönberg spent his summer vacation at Lake Traun on six occasions between 1905 and 1923. He loved the region in Upper Austria for its beautiful scenery. Gmunden on the north banks of Lake Traun offered bathing facilities, hotels, restaurants, a theatre, bandstands, coffeehouses, three train stations, moorings, and a streetcar. However, Schönberg preferred to stay in the quieter and less fashionable outer districts at the bottom of Traunstein mountain to the east of the lake.

The String Quartet No. 2, op. 10, which Schönberg composed in 1907 and 1908, partly while at Lake Traun, forms a milestone not just in the history of his composing, but also in the development of New Music as a whole. It represents the transition from tonal to atonal composition, and also an extension of the genre (the soprano added in the 3rd and 4th movements relaxes standard string quartet scoring). “The fourth movement, Entrückung [Rapture], begins with an introduction depicting the departure from earth to another planet. The visionary poet foretold here sensations which perhaps soon will be affirmed. Becoming relieved from gravitation, passing through clouds into thinner and thinner air – forgetting all the trouble of life on earth – that is attempted to be illustrated.” (Arnold Schönberg, Introduction to the Four Quartets, 1949)