There were of course people like Stadlen who had had direct access to the tradition, but I think due to the (Darmstadt) serialists the view was exactly as you put it: mathematical and emotionless. It took a long time to break that view, although some scholars - eg. Westergaard - released opposing articles as early as in the 60's. Though the picture still persists to some extent: when I was in gymnasium - which wasn't many years ago - my music teacher still referred to Webern's music by saying: "How one should listen to this? 'Oh there's a good row?' "
But this is a little offtopic. Sorry. Carry on.