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Correspondence of Wagner and Liszt, Volume 1 by Francis Hueffer (translator)

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our friend with such obvious pleasure and satisfaction was of the
greatest value to me.

This I have confessed to him candidly. It would appear almost
trivial, mean, and in a certain sense offensive on my part to
repay the sum already received on account of that agreement, for
it was given to me, not in order to place me under any
"obligation" towards you and Zigesar, but with the friendly
desire to relieve me as far as possible of domestic cares during
the composition of an opera. Nevertheless this agreement has
still another meaning, which appears all the more serious at this
moment because Zigesar has, temporarily at least, a successor in
the management of the theatre. Towards this successor I am simply
in the position of a debtor; and as I am not able to execute the
commission I had accepted, I am bound formally and materially to
dissolve a contract which cannot exist any longer. Fortunately I
am in a position not to cause you any disagreeable difficulty as
to this point.

After all these explanations, I send you, my dear friend and
brother, the poem of my "Young Siegfried", such as I designed and
executed it when I still thought of its separate performance. In
connection with the other dramas it will naturally have to
undergo many alterations, and especially some beneficial
abbreviations in the narrative portion. Many things will strike
you in it, notably its great simplicity and the few characters
amongst whom the action is distributed; but if you think of this
piece as placed between the "Valkyrie" and "Siegfried's Death",
both of which dramas have a much more complicated action, you
will, I have little doubt, in accordance with my intention,
receive a peculiar and sympathetic impression from this forest
scene, with its youthful, fearless solitude. As I told you
before, I can now send you this poem willingly and without fear,
for you are no longer required to glance from it anxiously
towards your public. You need, for example, no longer trouble
about what will be thought of the "woman" by people who see in
"woman" only their own wives, or at the outside some girl, etc.,
etc. From this anxiety also I know you to be free, and am glad
that I can disclose to you my artistic intention without fear of
a real misunderstanding. Could I but succeed in engaging your
favour and sympathy for my plan whenever and wherever it may be
accomplished! I firmly hope for a future realization, for there
is too much creative impulse in me not to nourish hope along with
it. My previous continual anxiety about my health has also now
been relieved by the conviction I have since gained of the all-
healing power of water and of nature's medicine; I am in the way
of becoming and, if I choose, of remaining a perfectly healthy
man. If you wretched people would only get a good digestion, you
would find that life suddenly assumes a very different appearance
from what you saw through the medium of your digestive troubles.
In fact, all our politics, diplomacy, ambition, impotence,
science, and, what is worst, our whole modern art, in which the
palate, at the expense of the stomach, is alone satisfied,
tickled, and flattered, until at last a corpse is unwittingly
galvanized--all this parasite growth of our actual existence has
no soil to thrive in but a ruined digestion. I wish that those
could and would understand me to whom I exclaim these almost
ridiculously sounding but terribly true words!

But I notice that I am straying from one thing to another, and
therefore will conclude at last. I ask you fervently, my dear
Liszt, to write me soon and fully what you think of this letter
and parcel. May I always find in you the kind friend and
protector that you have been and are to me, and whom at all times
I shall embrace with grateful, fraternal love.

Your deeply obliged


ALBISBRUNN, November 20th, 1851.

When you receive these lines, I shall be back in Zurich, where my
address will be "Zeltweg, Zurich."


Your letter, my glorious friend, has given me great joy. You have
reached an extraordinary goal in your extraordinary way. The task
of developing to a dramatic trilogy and of setting to music the
Nibelung epic is worthy of you, and I have not the slightest
doubt as to the monumental success of your work. My sincerest
interest, my warmest sympathy, are so fully secured to you that
no further words are needed. The term of three years which you
give to yourself may bring many favourable changes in your
external circumstances. Perhaps, as some papers state, you will
soon return to Germany; perhaps by the time you finish your
"Siegfried" I shall have other resources at my disposal. Go on
then and do your work without care. Your programme should be the
same which the Chapter of Seville gave to its architect in
connection with the building of the cathedral: "Build us such a
temple that future generations will be obliged to say, 'The
Chapter was mad to undertake so extraordinary a thing.'" And yet
the cathedral is standing there at the present day.

I enclose a letter from Herr von Zigesar, the contents of which I
know, but have by no means inspired. Zigesar is a sure,
excellent, sterling character, and you may always count upon his
friendship in that capacity. I hope that as soon as his painful
disease of the eyes will allow him he will resume the management,
probably by next spring.

Your well-accounted-for and justified fears as to my Weymar
activity I pass by without reply; they will be proved or
disproved by facts during the few years that you dwell amongst
your Nibelungs. In any case I am prepared for better or worse,
and hope to continue quietly in my modest way. Raff has finished
a thick volume of preparatory studies for the composition of his
new Biblical opera "Simson" (pronounce Schimmeschon), The opera
itself will be finished next year. Cordial thanks, dear friend,
for sending me "Young Siegfried". Unfortunately I was last week
in such a turmoil of business that I could not find a quiet hour
to read the book. Can you let me keep it till Christmas? When
will your three dramas "Flying Dutchman", "Tannhauser", and
"Lohengrin" appear? Have you rewritten the preface? H. promised
it to me, but up till now I have received nothing. Have you
perhaps changed your publisher? Let me know about it on occasion
through B., who is writing to you at the same time with this.
Farewell, and live, if possible, in peace with the upper world
and with your lower stomach, to which in your letter you
attribute many things not quite pertaining to it. People may
think as they like, I cannot get rid of the definition "L'homme
est une intelligence servie par des organes," and that your
organs serve you excellently well is proved by your writing the
Nibelung trilogy with prologue.

May the living God bless you and have you in His keeping!

Your cordially devoted friend,


WEYMAR, December 1st, 1851.



Today only a few lines of thanks for your last letter, which has
rejoiced me unspeakably. I showed it to every one who is in the
least near to me, and told them, "Behold, I have such a friend!"

The full and unconditional approbation with which you receive my
new plan is the best proof to my mind that I have hit upon the
right thing. To be understood by you, and in the peculiar
circumstances, in an undertaking which, besides thwarting your
personal wish, can, on account of its unmeasured boldness, be
understood by almost no one but him who is impelled to it by
inward necessity--this, my dearest Liszt, makes me as happy as if
my plan had been successfully accomplished. To Herr von Zigesar
also I ask you to express my most cordial thanks for the very
kind manner in which he has received and replied to my last
communication. He has by that means laid me under a new
obligation, and I can only wish that I may be able to show my

As far as I am concerned, I am still occupied in resting from the
finally somewhat powerful effect of my cure. I shall not
undertake much this winter, but shall get everything out of the
way, so that the whole poem may be ready by the beginning of

How could you think that I had sent you "Young Siegfried" only to
look at? The copy which you have has been made specially by me
for you, and I ask you to accept it, although it is not written
as beautifully as might be. One thing I must ask you to do for
me: send me your medallion, so that I may give it to myself as a
Christmas present. I had wanted a long time to ask you for this;
and now that, after a prolonged fugitive state, I begin to be a
little settled in my small but cheerful dwelling, I want you
amongst my Penates in one form or another. If you have a really
good portrait, I should like to have that too. You need not be
ashamed of hanging on my wall; at present I have there only
Beethoven, besides the Nibelung design by Cornelius.

"Oper und Drama" has long been published, as you probably know.
The three operatic poems, with a communication to my friends,
will appear at the end of this month, together with the
pianoforte score of "Lohengrin." Please order a copy at once; you
are nearer to it than I. I bet that the preface will interest you
very much. The conclusion I have recently altered a little, but
in such a manner that everything referring to Weimar remains

Farewell, dear friend, and let me very soon again hear from you.



ZURICH (ZELTWEG), December 14th, 1851.



I am very late in telling you how we have all been delighted and
enlivened by your splendid work. How can we thank you for it? How
can I more especially express my gratitude? B. and Br. have
written to you that the sixth performance of your "Lohengrin" has
been, comparatively speaking, a satisfactory one. What I wrote to
you at once after the very feeble and faulty first performance
has actually happened. The comprehension and interest of the
actors, together with those of the public, have increased with
every performance; and I feel convinced that the seventh
performance on Saturday, January 24th, will be even more
successful. Next season we shall without delay attack your
"Flying Dutchman," which, for local reasons explained to B., I
did not propose this winter. We shall then probably be able to
add and improve several things in regard to the scenery, etc., of
your "Lohengrin." You may firmly rely upon me for bringing your
works at Weymar more and more up to the mark, in the same measure
as our theatre in the course of time gets over divers economic
considerations, and effects the necessary improvements and
additions in chorus, orchestra, scenery, etc. Excuse my bad
German style; I am better at doing a thing than at writing about

Cordial thanks for your splendid gift of "Siegfried." I took the
liberty of arranging a recital of it for the Hereditary Grand
Duke and his wife at Zigesar's. Zigesar, who had previously read
your poem, is in a state of enthusiasm about it, and the small
circle of about fifteen persons whom he assembled on that evening
was selected exclusively from the most zealous Wagnerites--the
real creme de la creme. I am very curious as to how you are going
to execute the work musically, what proportions the movements
will have, etc.

Go at it as soon as possible. Perhaps you will be able to
complete the whole work in less than three years. As regards the
performance, we shall manage to arrange it somewhere by strictly
observing your orders and indications. With all the genius of
your fancy, you are so eminently experienced and practical that
you will of a certainty write nothing unpractical. Difficulties
are necessary--in order to be overcome. If, as I do not suppose,
you should not be back in Germany by that time, I charge myself
with the whole thing, and shall only trouble you to give me an
exhaustive programme of all that you desire and expect in the
performance of this gigantic work. To that I shall strictly
adhere. Persons and things shall be provided somehow. But I look
forward to the pleasure of enjoying your Nibelung trilogy more
quietly from a stall or a seat in the balcony, and I invite you
for four consecutive days to supper after the performance at the
Hotel de Saxe, Dresden, or the Hotel de Russie, Berlin, in case
you are able to eat and drink after all your exertions.

Of the conclusion of the preface to the three operatic poems I
say nothing. It has hit me in my heart of hearts, and I have shed
a manly tear over it.

My portrait I shall send you through H.; the medallion I must
order from Paris, as there are only galvanoplastic copies in

The Princess has written a few words to you after the performance
of "Lohengrin," which I enclose.

Farewell, and live as tranquilly as possible, my glorious friend.
Let me soon hear something of you.



WEYMAR, January 15th, 1852.


Just returned home, with my eyes still moistened by the tears
brought to them by the moving scenes of "Lohengrin," to whom
should my thought turn at this moment but to you, sir, with the
desire that you could have witnessed the effect produced by your
beautiful work, better understood as it is every day by
executants and spectators? I cannot tell you with how much zeal
the former endeavour to respond to the efforts of Liszt for the
worthy interpretation of your drama. Having been ill and absent
from Weymar for a year, I was this evening able to judge how
indefatigable Liszt has been in his instruction, recommenced
again and again, and becoming ever more fruitful. You would
certainly be satisfied with the progress they all make at each
new representation.

Fraulein Fastlinger having left our theatre, Frau Knopp Fehringer
takes the part of Ortrud. The former having been generally
successful, both as a singer and an actress, opinions are divided
as to the latter; and you, as the creator of the part, can alone
decide which of them is really preferable. The former had the
undoubted advantage of eighteen years, a pretty face, a slim,
tall figure, which qualities, as they placed her in age and in
beauty near to Elsa, suggested the idea of secret rivalry between
woman and woman. One thought that she not only desired to win the
throne of Brabant, but was also jealous of Frederick and of the
charms of her from whom she had torn him away. The timidity
natural to so young an artist gave to her movements the restraint
which is characteristic of youth and of the instinct of a rival.
Frau Knopp has over Fraulein Fastlinger the advantage of
consummate and very impressive dramatic talent, but she is not
very beautiful, in spite of regular features, and not in her
first youth, besides which her figure is rather thickset. Her
action indicated every nuance with admirable eloquence; she
rendered the disdain, the hatred, the rage, which alternately
inspire her with gestures and pantomimic actions of such striking
reality that she might be compared to the greatest artists in the
most famous parts. But she could not be more than an ambitious
woman. Between her and Elsa the spectator's mind could not see
any comparison or rivalry, and this has no doubt put out many of
the audience without their being able to account for the reason,
for nothing could have been more admirable than the acting of
Frau Knopp, infinitely more energetic, more richly coloured, more
living, more certain, more bold, than that of Fraulein

It is then for you, sir, to say whether in general it is better
to give the part to a young and beautiful artist, whose acting is
naturally less experienced and more subdued, or to a woman of
mature talent, who gives us an Ortrud less young, but more
inflamed and devoured by the secret flames of the hatred of one
who is vanquished and the revenge of one who is oppressed. As to
myself, I cannot say which of these two conceptions produces the
greater impression; the second has certainly something more
sombre, more inexorable, about it. One trembles in advance for
Elsa on seeing that such hands will fashion her destiny; one is
inclined to say that the premeditation of a whole life gives more
grandeur to the struggle between ambition and innocence.

Pardon, sir, this long digression; it will show to you how much
your poetic conceptions occupy us here. I must not close these
lines without telling you how I have been touched by the manner
in which you speak of him whose glorious name I am soon to bear.
Who could fail to speak of his spirit, of his genius, of his
intelligence? But one must have a high-toned and delicate soul to
understand the infinite tenderness of his soul, which so few can
feel or divine. He will, no doubt, write to you soon. This
evening, after the close of the performance, he accompanied some
people who had come from Leipzig to hear your "Lohengrin". Good-
bye, dear sir. Permit me to thank you for all the rare pleasures
we owe to you by the contemplation of your beautiful works, and
accept the expression of my distinguished esteem.


WEYMAR, January 4th, 1852.



Accept my cordial thanks for your last kind letter, and for the
beautiful performance of "Lohengrin" which you have again
accomplished; according to all accounts, it must have realized my
wishes in a high degree. In such circumstances my longing
increases to enjoy my work, of which hitherto I have only felt
the pains of giving birth to it; and my grief at being condemned
to the fate of a blind and deaf man towards my own artistic
creations begins to have a more and more depressing effect upon
me. The existing impossibility of seeing and hearing my works
makes the inspiration for new creations so grievously difficult,
that I can only think with sorrow and with an unspeakably bitter
feeling of the execution of new works. I tell you this for the
sake of truth, and without accompanying my complaint by wishes
which, as no one knows better than I, must remain unfulfilled.

As regards my "Nibelung" drama, you, my good, sympathetic friend,
regard my future in too rosy a light. I do not expect its
performance, not at least during my lifetime, and least of all at
Berlin or Dresden. These and similar large towns, with their
public, do not exist for me at all. As an audience I can only
imagine an assembly of friends who have come together for the
purpose of knowing my works somewhere or other, best of all in
some beautiful solitude, far from the smoke and pestilential
business odour of our town civilization. Such a solitude I might
find in Weimar, but certainly not in a larger city. If I now turn
to my great work, it is done for the purpose of seeking salvation
from my misery, forgetfulness of my life. I have no other aim,
and shall think myself happy when I am no longer conscious of my
existence. In such circumstances my only joy is to know at least
that I may benefit my friends by my art; in their sympathy with
my works lies the only enjoyment I find in them. For that reason
I am very pleased that you are thinking of performing the "Flying
Dutchman", and I hope that those who love me will reward you for
your trouble. As to the representation, and especially the
scenery, I shall come to an agreement with you in due time; in
Kassel it is said to have been not unsatisfactory, and some
communication with the scenic artist there as to the arrangement
of the ships, etc., would therefore seem desirable. Do not begin
the copying of the orchestral parts until I have sent to you from
here a copy of the score, in which, in accordance with my more
recent experiences of orchestral effect, I have revised the
instrumental parts.

As regards "Tannhauser", I am glad to learn that you think of
complying with my wish to have it given in the form on which I
have fixed as the best. On that condition only a permanent
success of that opera at Weimar can be of interest to me. I had
not the slightest fault to find with you for thinking certain
omissions necessary when you first rehearsed "Tannhauser" at
Weimar. You did not do this because you objected to the omitted
parts, but because the artistic resources which were then at your
disposal filled you with natural diffidence. I know in particular
that in this manner arose the large cut in the finale of the
second act which displeased me so much when I attended the
rehearsal at Weimar. This is the scene where Elizabeth throws
herself in front of the knights to protect Tannhauser. In scenes
of this kind, before all others, my feeling for the perfect truth
and nature of things impels me to use all the means of art which
are within my grasp, and the grandeur of the situation can only
be rendered if not the slightest of its essential parts is
wanting. In this scene it is necessary that those who rush at
Tannhauser should not be driven away from him like children.
Their wrath, their fury, which impels them to the immediate
murder of the outlaw, should not be quelled in the turning of a
hand, but Elizabeth has to employ the highest force of despair to
quiet this roused sea of men, and finally to move their hearts to
pity. Only then both fury and love prove themselves to be true
and great; and just in the very gradual calming down of the
highest excitement, as represented in this scene, I discover my
greatest merit in the interest of dramatic truth. After you have
in "Lohengrin" solved much more difficult problems of
representation, it becomes--I tell you so openly, dear friend--
your duty to give this scene completely, and I know that success
will reward you. It is the same with all other things. In
Tannhauser's narration (Act III.) the trombones in the
reminiscence of Rome cannot produce the right impression unless
this theme has before been heard completely and in fullest
splendour, as I give it in the instrumental introduction to the
last act, etc. I ask you therefore to adhere strictly to the full
score which I had sent to you from Dresden with all my marks; and
I will only add that the song of Tannhauser in the first act
should be sung in its entirety (the three verses): the real
climax, especially in its effect upon Venus, is otherwise totally

Concerning the new conclusion of the last act, I was very angry
that it was not given at Weimar from the first, as I assumed at
the time that it would be. Even then I did not want a new public
to know the first version, which was caused by a misapprehension
on my part of the essence of the scene, as to which unfortunately
only the first performance at Dresden enlightened me. Nothing
that lies within the possibilities of representation on the stage
should be only thought or indicated, but everything should be
actually shown. The magical illumination of the Venusberg was,
however, no more than an indication; the magic event becomes
reality only if Venus herself appears and is heard. This is so
true that the afterthought of this situation brought me great
wealth of music; consider the scene with Venus in the last act,
and you will agree with me that the previous version stands to it
in the relation of an engraving to an oil picture. It is just the
same with the appearance of the body of Elizabeth. When
Tannhauser sinks down by the side of that body, and sighs, "Holy
Elizabeth, pray for me!" that is realized which was formerly only

As I said before, if the performance of "Tannhauser" in Weimar
cannot be a complete one, it loses all value for me, for in that
case I shall not have drawn the public up to me, but shall have
accommodated myself to the public, and that I do not care to do
any longer.

Through B. I hear that the "Liebesmahl der Apostel" is on
occasion to be given at Weimar. I call your attention to the fact
that the orchestration of this work was designed for a vast space
(the Frauenkirche of Dresden) and for a chorus of a thousand men.
For a smaller room and a less numerous chorus the brass orchestra
should be reduced to the usual limits, and especially the four
trumpets should be reduced to two. That reduction will have no
great difficulties, and B., if I ask him, will be quite able to
perform the task well.

To Princees Wittgenstein, who has delighted me with a very
friendly letter, I ask you to express my best thanks for her
kindness. The deep interest which she has again shown in my
"Lohengrin", particularly at the last representation, is of
priceless value to me. Her intelligent remarks on the character
of Ortrud attracted me especially, as well as the comparison she
makes between the efforts of the previous and the actual
representative of that part. To which side of the question I
incline your valued friend will recognize at once when I explain
to her my view of the character by simply saying that Ortrud is a
woman who does not know love. By this everything that is most
terrible is expressed. Politics are her essence. A political man
is repulsive, but a political woman is horrible. This horror I
had to represent. There is a kind of love in this woman, the love
of the past, of dead generations, the terribly insane love of
ancestral pride which finds its expression in the hatred of
everything living and actually existing. In man this love is
ludicrous, but in woman it is terrible, because a woman, with her
strong natural desire for love, must love something; and
ancestral pride, the longing after the past, turns in consequence
to murderous fanaticism. In history there are no more cruel
phenomena than political women. It is not therefore jealousy of
Elsa perhaps for the sake of Frederick which inspires Ortrud, but
her whole passion is revealed only in the scene of the second act
where, after Elsa's disappearance from the balcony, she rises
from the steps of the minster, and invokes her old, long-
forgotten gods. She is a reactionary person who thinks only of
the old and hates everything new in the most ferocious meaning of
the word; she would exterminate the world and nature to give new
life to her decayed gods. But this is not merely an obstinate,
morbid mood in Ortrud; her passion holds her with the full weight
of a misguided, undeveloped, objectless feminine desire for love:
for that reason she is terribly grand. No littleness of any kind
must occur in this representation; she must never appear simply
malicious or annoyed; every utterance of her irony, her
treachery, must transparently show the full force of the terrible
madness which can be satisfied alone by the destruction of others
or by her own destruction.

She of the two actresses who approaches this intention most
nearly must therefore be thought the better of the two.

Once more, dear friend, my best compliments to the Princess, and
my warmest thanks for her communication. Permit me to recall to
your memory the medallion I asked you for; it will give great
pleasure to me.

Farewell, best of friends, and make me soon happy again by a few
lines from you.

Wholly thine,


ZURICH, January 30th, 1852.



I send you enclosed an explanation of my "Tannhauser" overture,
written for our public here, which, I have reason to hope, will
soon hear a very good performance of that composition. When I had
finished this programme, I read over once more what you have
written about this overture, and had again to give way to the
utmost astonishment. Herwegh has had the same experience with
regard to your work. Only he can fail to understand your style
who does not understand the music either; to see how you express
precisely and keenly in words the feelings which music alone can
evoke in us fills every one with delight who himself experiences
those feelings without finding words for them. This perusal,
which really filled me with astonishment, has once more roused in
me the wish, expressed to you some years ago, that you might
become your own poet. You have the necessary qualities as much as
any one. Write French or Italian verse; in that direction you
might produce something quite new and cause a great revolution.
Let me hear about this from you, dearest friend.

Of my health B. probably gives you news occasionally; he writes
to me more frequently now, and I always reply to him. That B.'s
article about the S. has caused such a disastrous sensation
amongst you confirms my opinion of the deep decay of our artistic
and public conditions.

One thing grieves me: that the Goethe foundation had applied to
the S.; and one thing pleases me: that her assistance came to
nothing, and that a complete breach with the spurious element was
thus effected.

My letter to you about the Goethe foundation will, with your
permission, be published; many things are said in it which had to
be said at this moment, and which, if I had wished to say them in
a new and different form, would have withdrawn me again from my
artistic projects. I will have nothing more to do with
literature. As soon as the air grows a little warm and clear the
poem will be begun.

Let me hear from you again.

Wholly thine,


ZURICH, March 4th, 1852.


How are you, most excellent of men? It is too long since I heard
from you. The rehearsals of Cellini, many visits from abroad,
several pieces and transcriptions for the pianoforte, have much
occupied my time during the last month. Of the performance of
Berlioz's opera H. gives a most detailed account in Brendel's
paper. This much I may add: that the motives which made me select
this opera proved to be right and favourable to the further
progress of my work here. "Why Cellini at Weymar?" is a question
which I need not answer to the first comer, but the practical
solution of which will be such that we may be satisfied with it.
Perhaps you yourself did not at first look upon the thing in the
practical light in which it will appear to you later on. In any
case I believe that you will agree with me, unless you are
inclined to aim at thin air. I have just been positively informed
that you have handed in your petition for a free pardon at
Dresden. How is this? Write to me as to this point, in perfect
reliance on my discretion. I might possibly be of service to you
in the matter.

A few days ago I saw here Madame B. D. She looks very well; and
her husband is a handsome, decent gentleman. Amongst other
things, she told me that she had been unable to understand the
part of your preface which referred to her, and that her husband,
after reading the passage several times, had remained in the same
state of ignorance. As to the rest, she speaks well of you, and
wishes very much to see "Lohengrin" here. Unfortunately Fraulein
Fastlinger has left for Dresden, and Frau Knopp is continually
ill, so that there is little hope of an immediate performance of
that opera, for which even those are longing who formerly were of
the opposition. Moreover, the deep court mourning in consequence
of the death of Duchess Bernhard leaves me little hope that a
performance of "Lohengrin" will be given by command. For next
season, in February at the latest, the "Flying Dutchman" is set

It would be a beautiful and gladsome thing if by that time you
were back in Germany. We should then sing your finale of
"Tannhauser", "Er kehrt zuruck," with seven times seventy-seven
throats and hearts. Have you any particular instructions for your
"Liebesmahl der Apostel"? I think of producing it here in the
course of the summer. At the next concert of the Gesangverein we
shall have your "Faust" overture.

Farewell. Be as much as possible at peace with yourself and
others, and write soon to your cordial and devoted friend,


WEYMAR, April 7th, 1852.


My best thanks, dearest friend, for your last letter, which came
to me quite unexpectedly, for you have weaned me from expecting
letters from you, so seldom do you write to me. H. also has again
been owing me an answer some time.

I feel so-so; the beautiful spring weather cheers me after a
somewhat dreary winter, and I shall begin my poem again. If I
lived in Naples, or Andalusia, or one of the Antilles, I should
write a great deal more poetry and music than in our grey, misty
climate, which disposes one only to abstraction. I am in the
midst of rehearsing my "Flying Dutchman". Some of my friends here
would not leave me in peace; having heard my "Tannhauser"
overture, they wanted absolutely to have a taste of one of my
operas. I allowed myself at last to be talked over, and am now
about to introduce to the imagination of my friends a travesty of
my opera, as closely resembling it as possible. Everything as
regards scenery and orchestra is done to help that resemblance;
the singers are not a bit better or worse than everywhere else;
so I shall find out what can be done by the best intentions and a
fabulous faith in me. So much I am confident in saying, that the
performance would not be uninteresting to you, and therefore I
invite you quite seriously, after receipt of this letter, to get
leave for a week, trust yourself to the railway, and visit me at
Zurich. The first performance takes place Wednesday, April 21st,
and between that and May 1st there will be two repetitions. Are
you no longer capable of this piece of folly? I am sure that you
can if you will, and you would rejoice in the joy which your
visit would give to me. Nothing else you could do in these days
would compensate you for it. Do come! To Germany I shall not
return; I have no hope and no wish for it. There are too few
people whom I should care to see again, and those few I should
like to see anywhere but in Germany. You, my dearest friend, for
example, I should like to see in Switzerland. Please contradict
most positively the rumour that I have pleaded for grace; if it
were to spread and to be seriously believed, I should feel
compelled to make a public declaration, which, for every reason,
I should like to avoid.

Leave this matter alone; if the return to Germany were open to
me, I should certainly use it only to make perhaps an incognito
visit to you at Weimar.

Apropos! Ernst was here, and gave concerts, and he told me that
the hope of seeing the "Flying Dutchman" had induced him to
remain in Switzerland till the end of this month. You would
therefore see him too.

Bring the Hereditary Grand Duchess along with you. As you are
going to give the "Flying Dutchman" at Weimar, you would be
interested to see the scenic arrangements which I have made for a
small stage.

What is this you have heard about me in connection with your
performance of "Cellini"? You seem to suppose that I am hostile
to it. Of this error I want you to get rid. I look upon your
undertaking as a purely personal matter, inspired by your liking
for Berlioz; what a beast I should be if I were to criticize that
liking and that undertaking! If every one would follow the inner
voice of his heart as you do, or, better still, if every one had
a heart for such a voice as you have, things would soon be
changed. Here again I must rejoice in you. But where a pure
matter of the heart is submitted to speculative reason, I must
find that mistakes creep in which a third person can perceive. In
the consequences which, as I am told, you expect from the
performance of "Cellini", I cannot believe; that is all. But can
this my unbelief in any way modify my judgment of your action?
Not in the least. With my whole heart I say, you have acted
rightly, and I wish that I could say as much to many people.

I am sorry that you have not produced "Lohengrin" again; you were
in the right swing with it this season. What a pity that only a
single performance should have been possible! This shows of what
use half a year may be.

That Madame D. and her husband were unable to understand the
passage in my preface proves their exceedingly fine tact. This
was, no doubt, the best way for them of saving themselves a
painful impression, and I am glad that they were able to do this,
for it was really and truly far from my mind to annoy them. Ah, I
wish I could this summer make at last a beautiful journey, and
that I knew how to set about it! To this sigh only my own voice
replies as echo from the wall of leather which surrounds me. This
longing for a journey is so great in me that it has already
inspired me with thoughts of robbery and murder against
Rothschild and Co. We sedentary animals scarcely deserve to be
called men. How many things we might enjoy if we did not always
sacrifice them to that damnable "organ of sitting still."

Alas! this "organ of sitting still" is the real lawgiver of all
civilized humanity. We are to sit or at best to stand, never to
walk, much less to run for once in a while. My hero is the "bold
runner Achilles." I would rather run to death than sit still and
get sick. That is your opinion also, is it not? and therefore I
may expect you for the Flying, not the lying-down, Dutchman.

We shall see. Live gloriously and well! Wholly thine,


ZURICH, April 13th, 1852.


That I was unable to fly to your "Flying Dutchman" was not my
fault; how genuinely glad I should be to see you again, and what
beautiful enjoyment your splendid work would give me, I need not
tell you, most excellent friend. The news I received from various
sides as to the performances of the "Flying Dutchman" could not
but greatly please me. Next winter you shall have news of our
performance at Weymar, for we must not delay it any longer, and
hope that it will be a success on the part of the artists, for as
to the work itself there can be no question. Be kind enough to
let me have as soon as possible the exact alterations, additions,
and omissions you have made in the score, for I want to have the
copies made at once. Quite lately I again expressed the principle
that our first and greatest task in Weymar is to give the operas
of Wagner exactly selon le bon plaisir de l'auteur [according to
the good pleasure of the author]. With this you will, no doubt,
agree, and in consequence we shall, as before, be bound to give
"Lohengrin" without cut and to study the whole finale of the
second act of "Tannhauser," with the exception of the little cut
in the adagio. This will be done at our next representation. Send
me therefore the necessary instructions about the study of the
"Flying Dutchman," and be assured that I shall not deviate from
them by a hair's breadth.

For your kind offer of the designs I thank you, and accept it
eagerly. Send them to me soon; we have here a very clever young
scene-painter and engineer, Herr Handel, late of the Hamburg
theatre, who will take every care to comply with your demands. I
have advised Baron von Beaulieu-Marconnay, the intendant, of the
impending arrival of your designs, and the honorarium (five louis
d'or) will be sent to you by the end of August. If you would
rather have this small sum at once, I will remit it by return.

I have asked B. to tell you of the crime committed by me during
the visit of his Majesty the Emperor of Russia. "Tannhauser" had
been announced for the evening, when it was hoped that his
Majesty would visit the theatre. Knopp and Milde wereunable to
sing a note, and Frau von Milde also was hoarse. It was
impossible to give a whole opera, so I coolly took the first act
of "Tannhauser" as far as the end of the Pilgrims' Chorus,
closing in G major, then after a pause commenced again in G major
with the prelude to the third act of "Lohengrin," and so
continued with the whole act to the end of the duet, winding up
the performance with the overture "Carneval Romain" and the
second act of "Benvenuto Cellini," omitting the baritone air.

Fraulein Fromann was present, and has probably written to you
about it.

By the end of this month the Empress of Russia is expected, and
"Tannhauser" is again announced for the 31st. Beck takes the part
of "Tannhauser," and the entire finale of the second act will be
sung. The new close, however, must unfortunately wait till next
season, for a new scene is being painted for it, which cannot be
finished; everything else is ready and copied out.

For next season we have Spohr's "Faust," with new recitatives,
and shall give Schumann's "Manfred" at the beginning of June. Of
the Ballenstedt Musical Festival, with the "Tannhauser" overture,
and the "Liebesmahl der Apostel," you have probably heard.

Your "Faust" overture made a sensation, and went well.

Farewell, and have a go at "Siegfried."


F. L.



Today I write only a few hurried lines in order to avoid a
misunderstanding. Herr C. has made the sketches for the "Flying
Dutchman;" but, as I look at his work, it weighs heavily on my
heart that you are to pay five louis d'or for it, which,
according to my inmost conviction, it is not worth. (The man is
altogether extremely mediocre, and the only thing that attracted
my attention towards him was that he became acquainted with the
subject under my own extremely painstaking direction, and in
accordance with my most special intentions.) I have told him that
the management at Weimar had a good scene-painter, and that you
would only make occasional use of his sketches; if he would send
them to you, you could offer him no more than the small
remuneration of fifty francs.

If he sends the sketches, please make Herr von Beaulieu
acquainted with this arrangement, so that he may reply to him in
the sense above indicated and send him the honorarium to his own

Pardon me, but I could not make up my mind to allow you to pay
five louis d'or for this trifle. About everything else I shall
write to you at greater length within the next few days.




ZURICH, May 25th, 1852



In addition to my last hurried lines, I write to you today a
little more comprehensively. First of all, I must thank you for
the news of the continued activity which you employ in the
propaganda of my works. Expressions of praise on that account I
omit once for all, for you are far above praise. Of the
performance of the "Faust" overture I had heard nothing beyond
your own brief notice. I cannot be angry with this composition,
although many detached things in it would not now flow from my
pen; especially the somewhat too plentiful brass is no longer to
my mind. If I knew that the Hartels would pay me a nice sum for
it, I should be almost inclined to publish the full score,
together with a pianoforte arrangement, which H. would have to
make; but I should like to be warmly persuaded to this, for on my
own account I do not care to propose such things. Am I really
going to figure at the next Musical Festival? People say that I
am a famous "made" man; if that is true, who is the maker? Do not
forget to add to the programme the explanation of the
"Tannhauser" overture which I wrote last winter for the Zurich
performance, and which I consider indispensable, because it gives
briefly a condensed picture of the poetic subject, which is
conceived in the overture quite differently from what it is in
the opera itself. (In that sense you are quite right in saying
that this overture is altogether a work by itself.) A copy of my
explanation you probably possess; if not, Uhlig has plenty.

I really cannot understand why our numberless male choir
festivals, etc., have never yet produced the "Liebesmahl der
Apostel." But so many things are now to me inconceivable and yet
quite conceivable. In a large room, and with a strong chorus, you
may leave the instrumentation as it is; but I call your attention
to the fact that at Dresden I was compelled, after certain
important divisions of the composition, to have the key indicated
by two harps: the larger the chorus, the more inevitable is the
dropping of the pitch from time to time; but of this you would
probably have thought yourself.

Concerning the (future) complete performance of "Tannhauser" I
have still many things on my heart, of which I do not find it
easy to unburden myself. First, certain minor matters. I do not
know exactly whether Walther von der Vogelweide in the contest of
the minstrels sang his song with you in the original B flat major
or in C major. There is here some inconsistency. I am aware that
B flat does not agree with the rest of the somewhat high-lying
part, and a singer who has the voice for the whole part cannot
make much effect in B flat, for which reason I was compelled at
Dresden to transpose the piece to C. But this C major is
altogether out of relation to the other songs of the singers'
contest, and more especially it destroys the transition to the
bright tone of the ensuing song of "Tannhauser," who, with his C
major, is supposed to go beyond Walther. Apart from this, the
song of Walther loses by means of this higher C major much of the
calm dignity which is its character. The dilemma can be solved
only by the part of Walther being sung by a low tenor and that of
Heinrich der Schreiber by a high tenor. The two parts therefore
must be rewritten, and in all the ensembles Walther should sing
the notes which in the score are assigned to Heinrich der
Schreiber, and vice versa. Only in the first finale Walther
retains all the solo passages. This is what I should like. I
further hope that you will give the scene between Venus and
Tannhauser in its entirety. The necessity of three verses of the
"Tannhauser" song I have, I believe, already pointed out to you.

But now comes the principal thing; i.e., the great adagio of the
second finale. When at Dresden, after the first performance of
"Tannhauser," I made the cut in this adagio, I was in complete
despair, and in my heart cut every hope of "Tannhauser" as well,
because I saw that T. could not understand, and therefore much
less represent, the part. That I had to make this cut was to me
tantamount to abandoning altogether the purpose of making my
"Tannhauser" really understood. Kindly look at the omitted
passage, dearest friend, and realize what it contains. While
previously everything was grouped round Elizabeth, the
peacemaker, she being the centre, and all the others listening to
her and repeating what she said and sang, "Tannhauser" here
recognizes his terrible crime, and breaks down in the most
terrible repentance. When he once more finds words for his
emotion, which he can scarcely utter, because he lies on the
ground in a state of semi-consciousness, he suddenly becomes the
principal person, and the whole scene is grouped round him, just
as before it was round Elizabeth. All else is thrown into the
background, and in a manner only accompanies him as he sings:--

"Zum Heil den Sundigen zu fuhren, Die Gottgesandte nahte mir:
Doch ach! sie frevelnd zu beruhren Hob ich den Lasterblick zu
ihr! O! du, hoch uber diesen Erdengrunden, Die mir den Engel
meines Heil's gesandt: Erbarm' dich mein, der ach! so tief in
Sunden Schmachvoll des Himmels Mittlerin verkannt!" In this
stanza and in this song lies the whole significance of the
catastrophe of Tannhauser, and indeed of the whole essence of
Tannhauser; all that to me makes him a touching phenomenon is
expressed here alone. His grief, his sad pilgrimage of grace--all
this springs forth from the meaning of these lines; without
hearing them, and hearing them in this place, the spectator sees
in Tannhauser an inconceivable, arbitrary, wavering, miserable
creature. (The commencement of his tale in the last act comes too
late to make up for that which here must penetrate our mind like
a thunderstorm.) Not only the close of the second act, but the
entire third act, and in a sense the whole drama, receive their
true significance only when the centre of the whole drama, round
which it develops itself, as round its kernel, becomes perfectly
clear and lucid in that particular passage. And that passage, the
keynote of my whole work, I was compelled to cut at Dresden.

This I declare: no representation of "Tannhauser" answers my
purpose if that passage has to be omitted. For its sake I will,
if need be, consent to the cut in the allegro of the finale,
which contains what is really the continuation of that passage--I
mean the place where Elizabeth takes up the B major theme as
canto fermo, while Tannhauser at the same time gives passionate
vent to his wild despair. If at some future time a performance of
this opera were wholly to satisfy me, Tannhauser would have to
sing this passage also in such a manner that it would not appear

You will ask me, "What are we to do? How can we expect a minor
singer to do what T. failed to accomplish?" I reply that T., in
spite of his voice, failed to accomplish many things that were
not beyond much less gifted singers. At the Tannhauser rehearsal
which I attended at Weimar the invalided Gotze brought out
passages and interpreted intentions in respect of which T.
remained my debtor. This latter has nothing but either brilliancy
or tenderness in his voice; not a single true accent of sorrow.
The singer of the "Flying Dutchman" here did a great deal more
than those at Dresden and Berlin, although they had better
voices. Try what you can do with Herr Beck, and explain to him
what is the important part. Only in case this passage comes out
well the Weimar public will see what the whole is about. (I add a
technical remark: If the singer in this passage is quite sure,
let him take the tempo freely; all the others must go with him:
he rules alone.)

If a performance of Tannhauser were to be quite perfect, the last
finale of the opera would have to be given as it stands in the
new edition of the pianoforte score, including the song of the
younger pilgrims. Your score of the Flying Dutchman you can send
to Uhlig, who possesses a newly revised score, and will arrange
yours in strict accordance with it.

When the time for the rehearsals comes, I will let you have some
further details. For the present I shall be satisfied if the
parts are copied in accordance with Uhlig's score and if the
scenery is painted after the sketches which I hope C. will send

The "Flying Dutchman" has made an indescribable impression here.
Philistines who never go to a theatre or concert attended each of
the four performances in one week, and are supposed to have gone
mad. With the women I have made a great hit. The pianoforte
scores sell by the half-dozen. I am now in the country, and feel
tolerably cheerful. My work also pleases me again; my Nibelung
tetralogy is completely designed, and in a few months the verse
also will be finished. After that I shall be wholly and entirely
a "music-maker," for this work will be my last poem, and a
litterateur I hope I shall never be again. Then I shall have
nothing but plans for performances in my head; no more writing,
only performing. I hope you will help me.

Are you going to make a trip this year? How about the rendezvous
which you made me look for as long ago as last summer? Are we
never to meet again?

H. also ought to write to me again. Is he so busy with his
compositions? Of the Imperial Russian "Tannhauser"-"Lohengrin"-
"Cellini" theatre bill he told me nothing.

Are you going to have "Tannhauser" the day after tomorrow? Good
luck to you! Make my compliments to the sovereign lady of all the
Russias. I hope she will send me an order, or at least traveling
money for Italy, where I should like to roam beyond anything.
Tell her so. I hear those people throw plenty of ducats out of
window just now. I am sorry to think that you will not be able to
manage "Lohengrin" for such a long time; the pause is too long.
As a punishment I shall dedicate the score to you when it appears
in print. I do not ask you whether you accept the dedication or
not, for punishment there must be. I must ask you to send me the
score of my "Faust" overture; I do not possess a copy.

Farewell, and be greeted with all my heart.





I have a favour to ask.

I am hard at work and eager to finish the poem of my "Valkyrie"
in a fortnight. Some recreation after that will be a necessity; I
want the change of traveling, and should especially dislike to
finish my last poetic work, the great introductory play, here,
where the monotony of my accustomed surroundings oppresses me,
and where troublesome visitors put me generally in a bad temper.
I want to go to the Alps, and should like at least to have a
taste of the frontier of Italy, and to make a short sojourn
there. Such extravagances I cannot afford from my ordinary
income. For next winter I expect some extraordinary incomings
("Tannhauser" at Leipzig and presumably at Breslau). But, before
all, I reckon upon the money which you will get me for the
"Flying Dutchman" at Weimar. This latter I may calculate at
something like twenty to twenty-five louis d'or. Could you get
any one to advance me that sum?

Unless Zigesar is again at the head of affairs, I should think it
inadvisable to apply to the theatrical exchequer for this advance
of honorarium, but perhaps some benevolent private person might
be found who would not refuse to disburse this sum for me. You
would at the same time furnish the best guarantee that the money
would really be forthcoming, for your zeal secures the
performance of the "Flying Dutchman" at Weimar during the winter.
This advance would give me great satisfaction, but I should want
the money by the end of June at the latest. Kindly see how you
can arrange this.

My "Valkyrie" (first drama) turns out terribly beautiful. I hope
to submit to you the whole poem of the tetralogy before the end
of the summer. The music will be easily and quickly done, for it
is only the execution of something practically ready.

Farewell, and let me soon have news of you. Did the Imperial
Russian "Tannhauser" come off? You are in the midst of great
Musical Festival troubles, are you not? Much luck and joy to it!

Wholly thine,


June 16th, 1852

Do you know anything about "Tannhauser" being contemplated for
Munich next autumn? I know nothing. It would be nice of Herr
Dingelstedt to think of such a thing.


Herewith I send you a bill for one hundred thalers, and cordially
wish you good luck and a good mood, fine weather externally and
internally, for your Alpine trip. Let all be well with you, my
glorious friend, and proceed bravely with the completion of your
tetralogy. When do you think it will be ready? Is there a
possibility of thinking of its performance in the months of
August and September, 1854? Do not allow other undertakings or
claims to detract or detain you from this great enterprise, the
task of your life.

For the dedication of "Lohengrin" I thank you most cordially; I
am delighted with it.

The "Flying Dutchman" will most certainly be performed here next
February. Send me the designs soon, so that all may be prepared
in good time. Zigesar will probably resume the management before
long, at which I am very glad.

Beaulieu has taken leave officially, and is gone to Kreuznach.

The "Liebesmahl der Apostel" was satisfactorily given by the
Pauliner choir of Leipzig, under the direction of its conductor,
Langer. I was truly delighted with it, and mean to repeat the
splendid work as soon as there is a good opportunity. Although
external success and a certain (very uncertain) pleasing quality
are a secondary consideration with me in the case of works which
are decidedly above the public, it was agreeable all the same to
see that success and that pleasing quality as fully confirmed as
one could have desired.

The chorus was not very numerous (about a hundred and twenty),
but well balanced, and the whole sounded beautifully. Milde and
his wife sang the duet from the "Flying Dutchman", which was much
applauded, and the "Tannhauser" overture went splendidly, and was
repeated by desire at the close of the Musical Festival on the
second day. The orchestra and the public were unanimous in their
enthusiasm, as indeed must be the case wherever the performance
is adequate.

Long accounts of the Musical Festival you will find in Brendel's
"Neue Zeitschrift" (Brendel himself was at Ballenstedt), the
"Signale", "Rheinische Musikzeitung", and "Berlin Echo".



June 26th, 1852

Perhaps you can spare a few minutes before starting on your
journey to write a few friendly lines to Langer about the
performance of the "Liebesmahl" at Ballenstedt. He has behaved as
excellently as might have been expected, and the chorus of
students is splendid. Without it the performance would have been
impossible, because the other singers were only just sufficient
to strengthen the chorus. Send your letter to Brendel, who will
give it to Langer, and let me have without delay the designs for
the "Flying Dutchman".


Cordial thanks, best of friends, for sending me the money, in
connection with which I am troubled by one thing only: you do not
tell me that the hundred thalers have been advanced on account of
the honorarium for the "Flying Dutchman". I asked for the sum on
that understanding, and no other, and only if I may assume that
no one has been inconvenienced in this manner will it give me
pleasure to spend the money on a trip of recreation. That trip,
on which I start tomorrow, has come just in time; uninterrupted
work has again strongly affected me, and the nerves of my brain
are so overwrought that even these few lines put me in a state of
violent excitement, wherefore I must ask you not to be angry if I
make them very short. I feel that I am still capable of doing
good things, but only by keeping very strict diet, and especially
by frequently interrupting my work and entirely diverting my
thoughts before going on again. The "Valkyrie", the poem of which
I finished on July lst, I wrote in four weeks; if I had spent
eight weeks over it, I should now feel better. In future I must
adopt this course, and cannot therefore fix a term for the
completion of the whole, although I have reason to suppose that
the music will not give me much trouble.

I am surprised that you ask me for the designs for the "Flying
Dutchman," because I have left the whole matter to the designer,
Herr C. This man, with whom I do not care to have any further
dealings, because he has a passion for borrowing from a poor
devil like me, wrote to me lately to say that he had applied by
letter to Weimar in this matter, but had as yet had no reply. If
you care to have the designs, all that is necessary will be for
the management to reply to C.'s letter, and I ask you therefore
to see that this is done.

Uhlig will arrange the score for you as soon as he receives your

A thousand thanks for all you have again done for my works
lately. I was not able to read the account of the Ballenstedt
Musical Festival with anything but deep emotion. I am sure that
by these performances you have again won many new friends for me,
and I have no doubt that if ever I come to the fore it will be
your doing.

Farewell, and be happy!





You have once more given me real, God-sent joy by your dedication
of "Lohengrin". Accept my most cordial, most fervent thanks in
return, and be convinced that it will be the task of my life to
be worthy of your friendship. The little that so far I have been
able to do for you and through you for the honour of art has
chiefly this merit: that it encourages me to do still better and
more decisive things for your works in the future. But what do
you mean by occupying yourself with the bad jokes which have been
circulating in a few newspapers, and by even accusing me of
having been the cause of them? The latter is quite impossible,
and H, has probably told you already that the manuscript of
"Siegfried" has not been out of his hands for months. Some time
ago I lent it, by your desire, to Fraulein Fromann alone, and the
reading that took place at Zigesar's at the beginning of last
year for the Hereditary Grand Duke cannot very well have
originated the bad joke in the "Kreuzzeitung". However, that joke
is quite harmless and insignificant, and I ask you urgently to
ignore totally this kind of gossip once for all.

What can it matter to you whether people indulge their silliness
in connection with you and your works? You have other cats to
flog--"d'autres chats a fouetter," as the French proverb has it.
Do not therefore hesitate on your account or on my account to
publish the "Nibelung" tetralogy as soon as it is finished.
Hartel spoke to me about your letter in connection with this
affair about two months ago; and, in my opinion, you cannot do
better than give the poem to the public while you finish the
score. As to the definite performance of the three operas we must
have a good talk when the time comes. If in the worst case you
are not then back in Germany (and I need not tell you how I wish
that this worst case should not happen), I shall stir in every
possible way for the production of your work. You may rely on my
practical talents for that purpose and have implicit confidence
in me. If Weymar should prove too mean and poor, we shall try
somewhere else; and even if all our strings snap (which is not to
be expected), we may still go on playing if you give me full
power to organize an unheard of music or drama festival, or
whatever the thing may be called in any given place, and to
launch your "Nibelungen" there.

You finish your score! and in the meantime let Hartel or some one
else publish the poem as a forerunner.

How about the performance of "Tannhauser" at Berlin? I quite
approve of your exceptional demand of 1,000 thalers for the same
reasons which induced you to make that demand, and I thank you
cordially for the artistic confidence with regard to the
preparations which you have placed in me. Although a journey of
Berlin would in existing circumstances be somewhat inconvenient,
I am quite at your disposal, with the sole condition--which alone
would make my journey useful and serviceable to "Tannhauser"--
that the Royal management asks me to come to Berlin by your
desire and to settle with that management and with the other
persons concerned the necessary preparations for the best
possible success of your work. In any other circumstances I
should be in an awkward and useless position at Berlin, without
achieving the slightest thing. If you consider the matter, you
will certainly agree with me, and see that this is the only way
in which I perhaps might be of use to you.

As you know already, the "Flying Dutchman" is announced for the
next birthday of H.I.H. the Grand Duchess: February 16th, 1853.
Care will be taken that the opera is properly mounted. Zigesar is
full of enthusiasm for your genius, and will work with a will.
The corrected score has been sent at once to the copyists, and in
six weeks the work will be rehearsed comme il faut.

The theatrical season begins with Verdi's "Hernani," after which
Spohr's "Faust," with new recitatives, will follow soon. By the
middle of November I expect Berlioz, whose "Cellini" (with a
considerable cut) must not be shelved, for, in spite of all the
stupid things that have been set going about it, "Cellini" is and
remains a remarkable and highly estimable work. I am sure you
would like many things in it.

Raff has made great changes in the instrumentation and
arrangement of his "Alfred," and probably the opera in its new
form will have better effect even than before, although the three
or four first performances were much applauded. Altogether I look
upon this opera as the ablest work that has been written by a
German composer these ten years. You of course are not included;
you stand alone, and can be compared with no one but yourself.

I am very glad you have taken this trip. The glaciers are
splendid fellows, and in the years of my youth I, too, had struck
up a friendship with them. The tour round Mont Blanc I recommend
you for next year; I made it partly in the year 1835, but my
traveling companion was soon fatigued, and fatigued me still

Farewell. Be at peace with yourself, and soon publish your
"Nibelung" poem, in order to prepare the public and put it in the
proper mood. Leave all manner of "Grenzboten", "Wohlbekannte",
"Kreuzseitungen", and "Gazettes Musicales" on one side, and do
not bother yourself with these miserable scribblings. Rather
drink a good bottle of wine, and work onwards, up to eternal,
immortal life.

Your cordially grateful and truly devoted


WEYMAR, August 23rd, 1852



A thousand thanks for your last letter. Unfortunately I cannot
reply to it as I should like to do; the nerves of my brain are
once more in a state of great suffering, and for some time I
ought to give up all writing and reading, I might say all mental
existence. Even the shortest letter wearies me terribly, and only
the most perfect quiet (where and how shall I find that?) may or
might restore me. But I do not wish to complain, only to explain
to you why it is that today I must limit my communication to
stating briefly what is absolutely necessary. Do not be angry
with me for not writing with that joyful expansion which is
intended to make up for the impossibility of personal
intercourse. As to Berlin nothing is settled yet. Hulsen
considered my demand as a vote of want of confidence in his
personal intentions, and this error I had to dispel by laying my
most perfect confidence as a weight on his conscience. All I want
him to do now is to acknowledge in a few words that he perfectly
understands my difficult position with regard to "Tannhauser" at
Berlin, and that he undertakes the performance with the desire of
conquering that difficult position. The whole subject of
honoraria I leave to him. One thing has recently calmed my
anxiety: I have written tolerably comprehensive instructions for
the performance of "Tannhauser", and have had them printed as a
pamphlet and sent a sufficient number of copies to the theatres
which had bought the score. I hope this will be of use. I send
you herewith half-a-dozen copies. There will not be much that is
new to you in the pamphlet, because I have discussed most things
with you by letter; still it might be useful to you, because it
will materially assist you in your purpose of restudying
"Tannhauser" if you will give it to the stage-manager and the
singers. This therefore I would ask you to do. The work has been
a perfect torture to me. This eternal communication by letter and
in print is terrible to me, especially when it is about things
the significance of which has for a long time lain far behind me.
In fact, if I still trouble myself about these earlier operas, it
is only from the necessity of circumstances, not from any desire
to hark back. This leads me to Berlioz and Raff. Candidly
speaking, I am sorry to hear that Berlioz thinks of recasting his
"Cellini". If I am not mistaken, this work is more than twelve
years old. Has not Berlioz developed in the meantime so that he
might do something quite different? It shows poor confidence in
himself to have to return to this earlier work. B. has shown
quite correctly where the failure of "Cellini" lies, viz., in the
poem and in the unnatural position in which the musician was
forcibly placed by being expected to disguise by purely musical
intentions a want which the poet alone could have made good.

This "Cellini" Berlioz will never put on its legs. But which of
the two after all is of more importance, "Cellini" or Berlioz?
Leave the former alone, and help the second. To me there is
something horrible in witnessing this attempt at galvanizing and
resuscitating. For heaven's sake let Berlioz write a new opera;
it will be his greatest misfortune if he fails to do this, for
only one thing can save him, the drama, and one thing must lead
him to ever deeper ruin, his obstinate avoidance of this sole
refuge: and in this latter he will be confirmed by occupying
himself again with an old attempt, in which he has been deserted
by the poet, for whose faults he will try once more to make up by
his music.

Believe me, I love Berlioz, although he keeps apart from me in
his distrust and obstinacy; he does not know me, but I know him.
If I have expectations of any one, it is of Berlioz, but not in
the direction in which he has arrived at the absurdities of his
"Faust". If he proceeds further in that direction, he must become
perfectly ridiculous. If ever a musician wanted the poet, it is
Berlioz, and his misfortune is that he always prepares this poet
for himself, according to his musical whim, arbitrarily handling
now Shakespeare, now Goethe. He wants a poet who would completely
penetrate him, who would conquer him by delight, who would be to
him what man is to woman. I see with dismay that this exceedingly
gifted artist is perishing in his egotistic solitude. Can I save

You do not want to have "Wiland." I believe it to be a beautiful
poem, but am no longer able to execute it for myself. Will you
offer it to Berlioz? Perhaps Henri Blaze would be the man to
treat it in French.

How about Raff? I thought he was writing a new work, but no; he
is remodeling an old one. Is there no LIFE in these people? Out
of what can the artist create if he does not create out of life,
and how can this life contain an artistically productive essence
unless it impels the artist continually to creations which
correspond to life? Is this artificial remodeling of old motives
of life real artistic creativeness? How about the source of all
art unless new things flow forth from it irresistibly, unless it
is wholly absorbed in new creations? Oh, ye creatures of God, do
not think that this making is artistic creating. It betrays no
end of self-complacency, combined with poverty, if we try to prop
up these earlier attempts. If Raff's opera, as you tell me, has
pleased, he ought to be satisfied; in any case he had a better
reward than I had for my "Feen," which was never performed at
all, or for my "Liebesverbot," which had one abominable
performance, or for my "Rienzi," of the revival of which I think
so little that I should not permit it if it were contemplated
anywhere. About the "Dutchman," "Tannhauser," and "Lohengrin" I
trouble myself with disgust, and only for the reason that I know
that, on account of imperfect representations, they have never
been perfectly understood. If they had had their due anywhere, I
should care devilishly little about things that I have outlived.

Good people, do something new, new, and once more new. If you
stick to the old, the devil of barrenness holds you in thrall,
and you are the most miserable of artists.

Well, this is off my heart; he who charges me with insincerity
will have to answer Heaven; he who charges me with arrogance is

I can write no more; do not be angry; my head is bursting. Only
let me say the warmest farewell that is in my heart. Love me as
before, and write soon to



ZURICH, September 8th, 1852



After my last letter you will think that I am quite mad. Lord
knows how I wrote myself into such a fury. Today follows
something very sober, a troublesome thing for you.

Frau Rockel sent me the letter of her poor husband, without
giving me his address. I ask you therefore to forward her the
enclosed letter, also two parcels, which I have posted to you
today--(l) two little pamphlets; (2) a score of "Lohengrin"--both
meant for Rockel, and to be sent through his wife. H. was really
to have the score, but must resign it to the poor prisoner. He
must do this for the love of both of us, and Heaven will find him
another copy sooner or later. As I have once begun asking
favours, I go on. Be kind enough to send me two things:--

1. My "Faust" overture. I hope that, if you want it still, you
have had a copy made. I have a mind to rewrite it a little and to
publish it through H. Perhaps I shall get a little money for it.
B. must do the pianoforte arrangement, according to his promise
to me.

2. My instructions as to the performance of "Lohengrin" which I
sent to you from Thun by letter in the summer of 1850. I want
particularly to have my beautiful designs of the scenery. I
intend to have new designs for the scenery, according to my
indications made by a Dresden friend or through his intercession,
so as to have them in readiness for such theatres as want to
undertake "Lohengrin" in future. If the Weimar management or any
other persons desire to keep my originals, they shall be
faithfully restored to its or their possession.

Have I troubled you enough? When are you going to send me some of
your compositions? I see nothing of them here, and, in fact,
learn scarcely anything about music. Think of me occasionally.

H. also is once again reticent. Uhlig complains of him and of a
hostile feeling on his part. What is the meaning of this? Let
each go his own way without snarling at the other who goes a
different way.

Shall I soon hear from you again? How delighted I should be!

Farewell, and think of me lovingly.

Wholly thine,


ZURICH, September 12th, 1852

The parcel will probably arrive a day after this.

At Berlin things now tend towards the non-performance of
"Tannhauser." The performance has been postponed. As, according
to my calculation, it could not have been produced before the end
of January, and as my niece Johanna leaves Berlin at the end of
February, I was compelled to stipulate that ten performances of
the opera should be guaranteed for this winter. Otherwise there
was the danger that this opera too would have disappeared after
three or four performances, as was the case with the "Flying
Dutchman" and "Rienzi," which for that reason were cried down as
failures. If this guarantee is refused, I have given instructions
that the score shall be withdrawn.



Set my mind at rest by a few lines telling me that I did not
offend you some time ago. I live at such a distance from my
friends, that I always have a thousand anxieties, especially when
I do not receive news from them for long. Tell me, for heaven's
sake, have I written to you anything about Berlioz or Raff which
you might have misunderstood in the sense that I had something
against them? I have spoken as best I could from a distance; and,
especially with regard to Berlioz, my intentions are the best.
Therefore--a few lines, please! About Berlin everything is now
settled, but "Tannhauser" will not be fully rehearsed till about
December. Considering this delay of the matter, I do not want to
trouble Herr von Hullsen with new conditions just yet; but when
the time comes, I shall ask you to let me know once more whether
you can afford the sacrifice of going to Berlin.

Belloni, as you know, is here; he has again talked much to me
about Paris, and, to my astonishment, I hear that you still have
plans of world-conquest for me in your head. You are
indefatigable indeed! To the translation of Tannhauser I have no
particular objection, especially as in Roger I might expect the
best Tannhauser that I could think of. In addition to this,
Johanna-I confess it would not be amiss. Herwegh also is doing
something for the Paris performance. He proposes to make a richly
coloured prose translation of the poem; however, I cannot yet
think seriously of it.

My instructions as to the performance of Tannhauser have already
induced the Leipzig people to abandon the opera-a very modest
sign of acknowledgment of ill-will on their part. I am pleased to
hear, on the other hand, that Schindelmeisser in Wiesbaden, after
reading my pamphlet, has again begun the rehearsals from the
beginning. Did you like the pamphlet? As you think of studying
Tannhauser again, I assume that it will be useful to you for that
purpose with the stage-manager; the singers also may derive
excellent and much-needed service from it. But why has B. become
silent once more?

Gradually my solitude here is becoming unbearable; and if I can
afford it, I shall go to Paris for the winter. How delighted I
should be to hear something from my Lohengrin played to me by a
good orchestra! Confess that I know how to bear much.

My nerves are not in the best condition, but I have begun again
to work at my poem for an hour or so every day. I can find no
rest till it is ready, and I hope it will be soon.

Farewell, best of all men. Let me hear from you soon, and before
all that you still love me. Farewell.

Wholly thine,


ZURICH, October 3rd, 1852

About the "Dutchman" I must write to you at length some day. Have
you forgotten the "Faust" overture and the designs for
"Lohengrin" for which I asked you?


You are quite right, dearest friend, if you attribute the
weakness of Berlioz's mode of working to the poem, and my opinion
perfectly coincides with yours on this point; but you have been
erroneously led to believe that Berlioz is rewriting his
"Cellini." This is not the case; the question at issue is simply
as to a very considerable cut--nearly a whole tableau--which I
have proposed to Berlioz, and which he has approved of, so that
at the next performance "Cellini" will be given in three tableaux
instead of four. If it interests you, I will send you the new
libretto together with the old, and I think you will approve of
the change and of the combination of the two last tableaux in
one. I thank you cordially for your offer to let Berlioz have
"Wiland," and shall talk to him about it on the occasion of his
presence in Weymar. Unfortunately it must be feared that the
Parisians will not relish it, and Henri Blaze is in any case not
the man who could treat such a subject in a poetic manner and do
justice to it. Above all, dearest, best friend, do not imagine
that I could place a bad construction on any utterance of yours
about one man or the other. My sympathy for you and my admiration
of your divine genius are surely too earnest and genuine to let
me overlook their necessary consequences. You can and must not be
different from what you are; and such as you are, I esteem,
understand, and love you with my whole heart.

Your "Faust" overture you will receive by today's post. A copy of
it exists here, and I shall probably give it again in the course
of this winter. The work is quite worthy of you; but if you will
allow me to make a remark, I must confess that I should like
either a second middle part (at letter E or F) or else a quieter
and more agreeably coloured treatment of the present middle

[score excerpt]

The brass is a little too massive there, and--forgive my opinion-
-the motive in F is not satisfactory; it wants grace in a certain
sense, and is a kind of hybrid thing, neither fish nor flesh,
which stands in no proper relation or contrast to what has gone
before and what follows, and in consequence impedes the interest.
If instead of this you introduced a soft, tender, melodious part,
modulated a la Gretchen, I think I can assure you that your work
would gain very much. Think this over, and do not be angry in
case I have said something stupid. Lohengrin was given last night
in honour of the Prince and Princess of Prussia. The theatre was
again crowded, and Fraulein Fromann, who had been specially
invited by the Princess, has probably written to you about it.
Our further performances of Lohengrin and of "Tannhauser" will
greatly benefit by the influence of our new artistic director,
Herr Marr. I have given him your pamphlet about the performance
of Tannhauser, and we shall both do our best to satisfy your
demands. I am very glad you have published that pamphlet, and
advise you strongly to do the same thing for "Lohengrin" and the
"Flying Dutchman." I have not yet succeeded in discovering your
designs and instructions for "Lohengrin"; I gave them at the time
to Genast, and they made the round of the theatre here. If
possible, I shall send them to you, but I can make no definite
promise, for the rage for autographs may have gone so far that I
shall not be able to get them back again.

Concerning Berlin, I repeat to you what I said before, viz.:-

If you are convinced that I can be of service to the public and
still more to your works by my presence in Berlin, I am prepared
to perform this duty of art and of friendship. My efforts,
however, can lead to a good result only if Herr von Hulsen gives
me his perfect confidence and asks me to settle the necessary
steps for the rehearsals and performance of "Tannhauser." As
mouche du cache I cannot go to Berlin, and should in that
capacity be of little service to you. Your works, it is true, are
above success as at present understood, but I will bet ten to one
that "Tannhauser" or "Lohengrin," rehearsed and placed before the
public in a proper manner, will have the most decided success.
Wherever this does not happen the fault lies exclusively with the
inadequate performance. If, therefore, you wish to send me to
Berlin as your plenipotentiary, I am at your disposal, and give
you my word that the whole world, with the exception of envious
and inimical persons, who will be reduced to a small minority,
shall be content. But before I consent to this it is absolutely
necessary that Herr von Hiilsen should give me an invitation to
Berlin black on white, and also invest me with the powers which
my responsibility will make possible and desirable. In my
opinion, it behoves Berlin to find room for your three works
"Tannhauser," "Lohengrin," and the "Flying Dutchman," and I have
not the slightest doubt of a complete success if the thing is
managed properly. Herr von Hulsen will, no doubt, be of the same
opinion soon; but in the ordinary way and with the old theatrical
routine an extraordinary thing of this kind cannot be done.

Send me soon your instructions for the "Flying Dutchman." I
should like you to write a few lines to Marr, so as to gain his
goodwill completely for your cause and to induce him to undertake
the stage-management of the "Flying Dutchman." Eduard Devrient
paid me a visit last month. We talked a great deal about you, and
I hope he will do something useful in Carlsruhe later on.

You are good enough to ask for some of my compositions, but you
must allow me to delay this communication till we meet. I hope to
visit you, unless you visit Weymar next summer, and shall then
play many things to you. Of my orchestral pieces I might sooner
or later send you "Prometheus," but would rather not think of it
till I have done other things. Unfortunately I have been much
detained from working latterly, but I shall not tell you of my
pains and sorrows; you have more than enough of your own. Let us
stand bolt upright and trust in God. When shall I have your
poems? How long do you think that the four scores will
approximately occupy you? Can you expect to be ready by the end
of 1854?

Of a Paris performance of "Tannhauser" we must not think for the
present; and extraordinary as is my confidence in your
extraordinary work (although personally like "Lohengrin" still
better), I cannot fail to take into account my experience of
operatic performances in Paris and to think that the
incompatibility of "Tannhauser" with the operatic tricks now in
vogue might interfere with its success. Germany, first of all,
must take the lead, for you have the advantage and the misfortune
of being an arch-German poet and composer. As far as I know your
works, I still think that "Rienzi" would be most adapted for a
French version, but do not vainly trouble your mind about it.
Write your "Nibelungen," and care about nothing else. All other
things will arrange themselves of their own accord when the time

Farewell, and be as happy as I wish you to be with all my heart.



WEYMAR, October 7th, 1852



For your last letter, and especially for your remark about the
"Faust" overture (which has delighted me!), I owe you a regular
long letter, and must wait till I am in a good mood for it; for I
know that only in that case my answer can give you real pleasure.
Today I write you two hurried lines to say that I have accepted
your generous offer and, relying upon your kindness, have asked
Herr von Hulsen in a decided manner that you should be invited to
Berlin to take my place at the performance of "Tannhauser". I
have, I think, left nothing untried in order to induce Hulsen to
get over any possible difficulties in connection with his own
conductors there; I have made it a matter of personal feeling
between him and me, just as it is between you and me. I hope that
if Hulsen consents, his invitation will find you in a good and
favourable mood. I know how great this new sacrifice is which I
expect of you and how difficult you will find it to make but your
friendship makes me venture upon anything Hulsen, who probably
will not write to me himself, is to answer me through you; and
you also must tell me that you do it willingly for my sake.

Of the great success of "Tannhauser" at Breslau you have probably

But no more today. Weary as I am, I should only produce halting

Soon I shall write better and more.

My best regards to H. Farewell, and do not lose your temper with

Your old plague,


ZURICH, October 13th, 1852



I have to write to you, and am so annoyed about what I have to
write to you that I would rather not take pen in hand any more.
Hulsen has declined; I enclose his letter. He has no notion of
what the matter is about, and it will never be possible to give
him a notion of it. This Hulsen is personally a well-disposed
man, but without any knowledge of the business under his care. He
treats with me about "Tannhauser" just as he might with Flotow
about "Martha." It is too disgusting. I see fully that I have
made a great mistake. From the beginning I ought to have made it
the first and sole condition that everything concerning the
performance of "Tannhauser" should be left wholly and entirely to
you. I can explain to myself how it happened that I did not hit
upon this simple method: The first news from Berlin about
"Tannhauser" only frightened me. I had no confidence in anything
there, and my instinct advised me to decline the thing
altogether. It is true that you occurred to me at once as my only
guarantee, but I had first to secure your consent to undertake
"Tannhauser" in Berlin. In order, as it were, to gain time, I
sent to Berlin the demand for 1,000 thalers, so as to keep them
going, and at the same time I applied to you, with the urgent,
impetuous question whether you would see to this matter.
Simultaneously with your answer in the affirmative I received
from Berlin the news of the delay and postponement of
"Tannhauser" till the new year. Being under the impression that
my niece would leave Berlin at the beginning of February, I
thought the "Tannhauser" performance would have to be given up
altogether, and instructed my brother to get the score back
unless Hulsen could guarantee me ten performances this winter. I
thought the matter ended, when I was told in reply that my niece
would stay till the end of May and that Hulsen would undertake to
announce the opera six times during the first month. Thus the
possibility of a performance of "Tannhauser" at Berlin, wholly
given up by me, was once more restored.

From all the letters of Hulsen and my brother I could in the
meantime see perfectly well that these people were without any
understanding of what was to me essential and important in this
matter; that in all their views they were so totally incapable of
leaving the grooves of routine that I should have to fear they
would never understand my desire to invite you to Berlin. I
confess that I had some anxiety on the point, but at last I wrote
to Hulsen myself as clearly, warmly, cordially, and persuasively
as was in my power; I at once called his attention to the fact
that the hostility of the very insignificant Berlin conductors
would be as nothing compared with the favourable influence which
you would exercise on every side; in short, I wrote in such a
manner that I could not believe in the possibility of an
unfavourable answer. Read that answer, and take notice that I
have once more met with my usual fate: the fate of calling out to
the world with my whole soul and of having my calls echoed by
walls of leather. I am now discussing with myself what I shall
do. To give up everything and simply demand my score back--that
would be most agreeable to me. As yet I have not replied with a
line to either Hulsen or X. What do you think? Or shall I look on
indifferently, amuse myself when I can make a hundred thalers,
buy champagne, and turn my back upon the world? It is a misery.

I am going from bad to worse every day, and lead an indescribably
worthless life. Of real enjoyment of life I know nothing; to me
"enjoyment of life, of love," is a matter of imagination, not of
experience. In this manner my heart has to go to my brain, and my
life becomes an artificial one; only as an "artist" I can live;
in the artist my whole "man" has been sunk.

If I could visit you in Weimar and see a performance of my operas
now and then, I might perhaps still hope to recover. I should
there find an element of incitement, of attraction for my
artistic being; perhaps a word of love would meet me now and
then;--but here! Here I must perish in the very shortest space of
time, and everything--everything will come too late, too late! So
it will be.

No news can give me pleasure any more; if I were vain and
ambitious, it would be all right; as I am, nothing "written" can
attract me. All this comes--too late!

What shall I do? Shall I implore the King of Saxony, or perhaps
his ministers, for mercy, humble myself, and confess my
repentance? Who can expect that of me?

You, my only one, the dearest whom I have, you who are to me
prince and world, everything together, have mercy on me.

But calm! calm! I must write to you about the "Faust" overture.
You beautifully spotted the lie when I tried to make myself
believe that I had written an "Overture to 'Faust'." You have
felt quite justly what is wanting; the woman is wanting. Perhaps
you would at once understand my tone-poem if I called it "Faust
in Solitude".

At that time I intended to write an entire "Faust" symphony; the
first movement, that which is ready, was this "solitary Faust,"
longing, despairing, cursing. The "feminine" floats around him as
an object of his longing, but not in its divine reality, and it
is just this insufficient image of his longing which he destroys
in his despair. The second movement was to introduce Gretchen,
the woman. I had a theme for her, but it was only a theme. The
whole remained unfinished. I wrote my "Flying Dutchman" instead.
This is the whole explanation. If now, from a last remnant of
weakness and vanity, I hesitate to abandon this "Faust" work
altogether, I shall certainly have to remodel it, but only as
regards instrumental modulation. The theme which you desire I
cannot introduce; this would naturally involve an entirely new
composition, for which I have no inclination. If I publish it, I
shall give it its proper title, "Faust in Solitude", or "The
Solitary Faust", "a tone-poem for orchestra."

My new poems for the two "Siegfrieds" I finished last week, but I
have still to rewrite the two earlier dramas, "Young Siegfried"
and "Siegfried's Death", as very considerable alterations have
become necessary. I shall not have finished entirely before the
end of the year. The complete title will be "The Ring of the
Nibelung", "a festival stage-play in three days and one previous
evening: previous evening, "The Rhinegold"; first day, "The
Valkyrie"; second day, "Young Siegfried"; third day, "Siegfried's
Death." What fate this poem, the poem of my life and of all that
I am and feel, will have I cannot as yet determine. So much,
however, is certain: that if Germany is not very soon opened to
me, and if I am compelled to drag on my artistic existence
without nourishment and attraction, my animal instinct of life
will soon lead me to abandon art altogether. What I shall do then
to support my life I do not know, but I shall not write the music
of the "Nibelungen", and no person with human feelings can ask me
to remain the slave of my art any longer.

Alas! I always relapse into the miserable keynote of this letter.
Perhaps I commit a great brutality in this manner, for perhaps
you are in need of being cheered up by me. Pardon me if today I
bring nothing but sorrow. I can dissemble no longer; and, let who
will despise me, I shall cry out my sorrow to the world, and
shall not conceal my misfortune any longer. What use would it be
if I were to lie to you? But of one thing you must think, if
nothing else is possible: we must see each other next summer.
Consider that this is a necessity; that it must be; that no god
shall prevent you from coming to me, as the police (make a low
bow!) prevent me from coming to you. Promise me for quite certain
in your next letter that you will come. Promise me!

We must see how I shall be able to exist till then. Farewell.
Bear with me. Greet H., and be of good cheer. Perhaps you will
soon be rid of me. Farewell, and write soon to



ZURICH, November 9th, 1852



I wait with great longing for a letter from you.

For today one urgent request. Send at once the scores of the
"Dutchman" after which that of Weimar was corrected to Uhlig at
Dresden. In Breslau they have very long been waiting for a copy
to be arranged in the same manner. Please, please see to this at
once. Next week you will receive my remarks on the performance of
the "Flying Dutchman". Farewell, and remember lovingly



December 22nd, 1852



If through any delay the model score of the "Flying Dutchman" has
not yet been sent to Dresden, these lines may serve to inform you
of the great difficulty in which I have today been placed towards
a second theatre--that of Schwerin--because I cannot supply it
with the score which they urgently demand. I am truly sorry that
I have to plague you with such "business matters;" but who else
is there in Weimar?

I wait with indescribable longing for a letter from you.

Wholly thine,


December 24th, 1852


December 27th, 1852

Pardon me, dearest friend, for my long silence. That I can be so
little to you and to your interests is a great grief to me. Your
last letter, of about six weeks ago, has made your whole sorrow
and misery clear to me. I have wept bitter tears over your pains
and wounds. Suffering and patience are unfortunately the only
remedies open to you. How sad for a friend to be able to say no
more than this. Of all the sad and disagreeable things which I
have to suffer I shall not speak to you; do not think of them
either. Today I will, before all, tell you something pleasant,
viz., that I shall visit you in the course of next summer,
probably in June. I shall not be able to stay in Zurich long,
where there is nothing but you to attract me. It is possible--but
this must not yet be spoken of--that on my way back I may conduct
a kind of festival at Carlsruhe. Can you by that time prepare an
orchestral work for the purpose?--perhaps your "Faust" overture--
for I should like to produce a new work by you besides the
"Tannhauser" overture.

Eduard Devrient wrote to me some days ago that the Court Marshal,
Count Leiningen, who is a friend of mine, had spoken to him of
the plan for a musical festival, to be conducted by me. It may be
predicted that considerable means will be at hand in Carlsruhe,
but as yet the public and the papers are to know nothing of it.
Write to me when convenient about some pieces which you could
recommend for the programme. I think, amongst other things, of
the "Missa Solemnis" (D major) by Beethoven, but should not like
to have again the ninth symphony, so as not to repeat the
Ballenstedt programme in extenso.

The rumour reported by several papers that I am about to leave
Weymar and settle in Paris is quite unfounded. I stay here, and
can do nothing but stay here. You will easily guess what has
brought me to this maturely considered resolution. In the first
instance I have faithfully to fulfill a serious duty. Together
with this feeling of the most profound and constant love which
occupies the faith of my whole soul, my external life must either
rise or sink. May God protect my loyal intention.

How far have you got with your "Nibelungen"? It will be a great

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