Letters of Franz Liszt, Volume 1, “From Paris to Rome: by Franz Liszt

This etext was produced by John Mamoun with the Online Distributed Proofreading Team of Charles Franks. Letters of Franz Liszt, Volume 1, “From Paris to Rome: Years of Travel as a Virtuoso” by Franz Liszt; letters collected by La Mara and translated by Constance Bache CONTENTS BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH DEDICATION PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH EDITION,
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This etext was produced by John Mamoun with the Online Distributed Proofreading Team of Charles Franks.

Letters of Franz Liszt, Volume 1, “From Paris to Rome: Years of Travel as a Virtuoso”

by Franz Liszt; letters collected by La Mara and translated by Constance Bache




The Austrian composer Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was a pianistic miracle. He could play anything on site and composed over 400 works centered around “his” instrument. Among his key works are his Hungarian Rhapsodies, his Transcendental Etudes, his Concert Etudes, his Etudes based on variations of Paganinini’s Violin Caprices and his Sonata, one of the most important of the nineteenth century. He also wrote thousands of letters, of which 260 are translated into English in this first of a 2-volume set of letters.

Those who knew him were also struck by his extremely sophisticated personality. He was surely one of the most civilized people of the nineteeth century, internalizing within himself a complex conception of human civility, and attempting to project it in his music and his communications with people. His life was centered around people; he knew them, worked with them, remembered them, thought about them, and wrote about them using an almost poetic language, while pushing them to reflect the high ideals he believed in. His personality was the embodiment of a refined, idealized form of human civility. He was the consummate musical artist, always looking for ways to communicate a new civilized idea through music, and to work with other musicians in organizing concerts and gatherings to perform the music publicly. He also did as much as he could to promote and compliment those whose music he believed in.

He was also a superlative musical critic, knowing, with few mistakes, what music of his day was “artistic” and what was not. But, although he was clearly a musical genius, he insisted on projecting a tonal, romantic “beauty” in his music, confining his music to a narrow range of moral values and ideals. He would have rejected 20th-century music that entertained cynical notions of any kind, or notions that obviated the concept of beauty in any way. There is no Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Cage, Adams and certainly no Schoenberg in Liszt’s music. His music has an ideological “ceiling,” and that ceiling is “beauty.” It never goes beyond that. And perhaps it was never as “beautiful” as the music of Mozart, Bach or Beethoven, nor quite as rational (Are all the emotions in Liszt’s music truly “controlled?”). But it certainly was original and instructive, and it certainly will linger.


To the Memory of



In writing a few words of Preface I wish to express, first and foremost, my appreciation of the extreme care and conscientiousness with which La Mara has prepared these volumes. In a spirit of no less reverence I have endeavored, in the English translation, to adhere as closely as possible to all the minute characteristics that add expression to Liszt’s letters: punctuation has, of necessity, undergone alteration, but italics, inverted commas, dashes and other marks have been strictly observed. It may be objected that unnecessary particularity has been shown in the translation of various titles, names of Societies or newspapers, quotations, etc.; but there are many people who, while understanding French, do not read German, and vice versa, and therefore it has seemed better to translate everything. Where anything has been omitted in the printed letters I have adhered to the sign .–. employed by La Mara to indicate the hiatus. It has seemed best to preserve the spelling of all proper names as written by Liszt, and not to Anglicise any, as it is impossible to do all; and therefore, even at the risk of a seeming affectation, the original form of the name has been preserved. In the same spirit I have adhered to the correct form of the name of our adopted composer Handel, and trust I may be pardoned for so doing on the strength of a little joke of Liszt’s own “The English,” he said, “always talk about Gluck and Handel!”

La Mara says in her Preface that this collection can by no means be considered a complete one, as there must exist other letters– to Liszt’s mother, to Berlioz, Tausig, etc.–which it is hoped may yet be some day forthcoming. In like manner might there not also be letters to his daughter Madame Ollivier (not to mention his still-living daughter Madame Wagner)? [Another volume of Liszt’s letters, of a still more intimate character, addressed to a lady friend, will be published later on.]

The English edition is increased by four letters one to Peter Cornelius, No. 256A in Vol. I., which is interesting in its reference to the “Barbier”; and, in Vol. II., a kind letter of introduction which the Master gave me for Madame Tardieu, in Brussels; one letter to Walter Bache, and one to the London Philharmonic Society (Nos. 370A and 370B); one of these, it is true, is partially quoted in a footnote by La Mara, but at this distance of time there is no reason why these letters should not be inserted entire, and they will prove of rather particular interest, both to my brother’s friends, and also as having reference to that never-to-be-forgotten episode–Liszt’s last visit to England.

This visit, which took place in 1886, a few months before the Master’s death, was for the purpose of his being present at the performance of his Oratorio of St. Elizabeth (see Letter 370 and subsequent letters).

More than forty years had elapsed since Liszt’s previous visit to our shores; times had changed, and the almost unknown, and wholly unappreciated, had become the acknowledged King in a realm where many were Princes. Some lines embodying in words England’s welcome to this king–headed by a design in which the Hungarian and the English coats-of-arms unite above two clasped hands, and a few bars of a leading theme from the St. Elizabeth–were written by me and presented to Liszt with a basket of roses (emblematic of the rose miracle in the Oratorio) tied with the Hungarian colors, on his entrance into St. James’s Hall on April 6th, 1886.

As a memento of that occasion it has been chosen as frontispiece to the Second Volume.

Constance Bache

London, December 1893


1. Carl Czerny in Vienna. December 23rd, 1828 2. De Mancy in Paris. December 23rd, 1829 3. Carl Czerny. August 26th, 1830
4. Alphonse Brot in Paris. Beginning of the 30th year 5. Pierre Wolff in Geneva. May 2nd, 1832 6. Ferdinand Hiller. June 20th, 1833
7. Abbe de Lamennais, La Chenaie. January 14th, 1835 8. Liszt’s Mother 183-
9. Abbe de Lamennais. May 28th, 1836 10. Lydie Pavy in Lyons. August 22nd, 1836 11. Abbe de Lamennais. December 18th, 1837 12. Breitkopf and Hartel in Leipzig. April 5th, 1838 13. Robert Schumann in Leipzig. May, 1838 14. The Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. June 1st, 1815 15. Simon Lowy in Vienna. September 22nd, 1838 16. Pacini in Paris. September 30th, 1838 17. Breitkopf and Hartel. January 3rd, 1839 18. Princess Christine Belgiojoso in Paris. June 4th, 1839 19. Robert Schumann. June 5th, 1820
20. Breitkopf and Hartel. June, 1839 21. The Beethoven Committee at Bonn. October 3rd, 1839 22. Count Leo Festetics in Pest. November 24th, 1839 23. Clara Wieck. December 25th, 1839
24. Robert Schumann. March 27th, 1841 25. Franz von Schober in Vienna. April 3rd, 1840 26. Maurice Schlesinger in Paris. May 14th, 1840 27. Franz von Schober. May or June, 1840 28. the same. August 29th, 1840
29. Buloz in Paris. October 26th, 1840 30. Franz von Schober. December 5th, 1840 31. Breitkopf and Hartel. May 7th, 1841
32. Simon Lowy. May 20th, 1841
33. Franz von Schober. March 3rd, 1842 34. The Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Konigsberg. March 18th, 1842
35. Freiherr von Spiegel in Weimar. September 12th, 1842 36. Carl Filitsch2 or 1843
37. Franz von Schober. March 4th, 1844 38. Franz Kroll. June 11th, 1844
39. Freund. June 11th, 1844
40. Franz von Schober. March 3rd, 1845 41. Franz Kroll in Glogau. March 26th, 1845 42. Abbe de Lamennais. April 28th, 1845
43. Frederic Chopin. May 21st, 1845 44. George Sand. May 21st, 1845
45. Abbe de Lamennais. June 1st, 1845 46. Gaetano Belloni in Paris. July 23rd, 1845 47. Mme. Rondonneau in Sedan. February 11th, 1846 48. Grillparzer 1846 (?)
49. Franz von Schober in Weimar. April 11th, 1846 50. the same. May 28th, 1846
51. Alexander Seroff. September 14th, 1847 52. Carl Haslinger in Vienna. December 19th, 1847 53. Baron von Dornis in Jena. March 6th, 1848 54. Franz von Schober. April 22nd, 1848
55. Bernhard Cossmann in Baden-Baden. September 18th, 1848 56. Carl Reinecke. March 25th, 1849
57. Count Sandor Teleky(?) May 5th, 1849 58. Belloni(?). May 14th, 1849
59. Carl Reinecke. May 30th, 1849
60. Robert Schumann. June 5th, 1849 61. the same. July 27th, 1849
62. the same. August 1st, 1849
63. Carl Reinecke. September 7th, 1849 64. Breitkopf and Hartel. January 14th, 1850 65. the same. February 24th, 1850
66. J. C. Lobe in Leipzig. July 10th, 1850 67. Friedrich Wieck in Dresden. August 4th, 1850 68. Simon Lowy. August 5th, 1850
69. Mathilde Graumann. October 11th, 1850 70. Carl Reinecke. January 1st, 1851
71. Leon Escudier in Paris. February 4th, 1851 72. Carl Reinecke. March 19th, 1851
73. Dr. Eduard Liszt in Vienna1
74. Count Casimir Esterhazy. June 6th, 1851 75. Theodor Uhlig in Dresden. June 25th, 1851 76. Rosalie Spohr in Brunswick. July 3rd, 1851 77. the same. July 22nd, 1851
78. Breitkopf and Hartel. December 1st, 1851 79. Louis Kohler in Konigsberg. April 16th, 1852 80. Carl Reinecke. April 16th, 1852
81. Carl Czerny. April 19th, 1852
82. Gustav Schmidt in Frankfort-on-the-Maine. May 18th, 1852 83. Robert Schumann. June 8th, 1852 84.the same. June 26th, 1852 85. Peter Cornelius. September 4th, 1852 86. Clara Schumann. September 11th, 1852 87. Carl Czerny. September or October, 1852 88. Breitkopf and Hartel. October 30th, 1852 89. the same. November 10th, 1852
90. Julius Stern in Berlin. November 24th, 1852 91. Wilhelm von Lenz in St. Petersburg. December 2nd, 1852 92. Robert Radecke in Leipzig. December 9th, 1852 93. Bernhard Cossmann. December, 1852
94. Wilhelm Fischer in Dresden. January 13th, 1853 95. Edmund Singer. January 15th, 1853
96. To Frau Dr. Lidy Steche in Leipzig. February 14th, 1853 97. Gustav Schmidt. February 27th, 1853
98. Heinrich Brockhaus in Leipzig. March 22nd, 1853 99. Dr. Franz Brendel in Leipzig. April 3rd, 1853 100. the same. April 30th, 1853
101. Louis Kohler. May 6th, 1853
102. the same. May 24th, 1853
103. the same. August 1st, 1853
104. Richard Pohl in Dresden. November 5th, 1853 105. Wilhelm Fischer. January 4th, 1854
106. Escudier in Paris. January 21st, 1854 107. the same. January 28th, 1854
108. Dr. Franz Brendel. February 20th, 1854 109. Louis Kohler. March 2nd, 1854
110. Dr. Franz Brendel. March 18th, 1854 111. Louis Kohler. April or May, 1854
112. Dr. Franz Brendel. April 26th, 1854 113. Louis Kohler. June 8th, 1854
114. Dr. Franz Brendel. June 12th, 1854 115. Carl Klindworth in London. July 2nd, 1854 116. Dr. Franz Brendel. July 7th, 1854
117. Anton Rubinstein. July 31st, 1854 118. Dr. Franz Brendel. August 12th, 1854 119. Anton Rubinstein. August, 1854
120. Alexander Ritter in Dresden. September 6th, 1854 121. Bernhard Cossmann. September 8th, 1854 122. Gaetano Belloni. September 9th, 1854 123. Dr. Eduard Liszt October 10th, 1854 124. Anton Rubinstein. October 19th, 1854 125. Dr. Franz Brendel. Beginning of November, 1854 126. Anton Rubinstein. November 19th, 1854 215 127. Dr. Franz Brendel. December 1st, 1854 128. J. W. von Wasielecvski in Bonn. December 14th, 1854 129. William Mason in New York. December 14th, 1854 130. Rosalie Spohr. January 4th, 1855
131. To Alfred Dorffel in Leipzig. January 17th, 1855 132. Anton Rubinstein. February 1st, 1855 133. Louis Kohler. March 16th, 1855
134. Dr. Franz Brendel. March 18th, 1855 135. the same. April 1st, 1855
136. Anton Rubinstein. April 3rd, 1855 137. Freiherr Beaulieu-Marconnay. May 21st, 1855 138. Anton Rubinstein. June 3rd, 1855
139. Dr. Franz Brendel. June, 1855
140. the same. June 16th, 1855
141. Edmund Singer. August 1st, 1855 142. Bernhard Cossmann. August 15th, 1855 143. August Kiel in Detmold. September 8th, 1855 144. Moritz Hauptmann. September 28th, 1855 145. Dr. Eduard Liszt December 3rd, 1855 146. Frau Meyerbeer in Berlin. December 14th, 1855 147. Dr. Ritter von Seiler in Vienna. December 26th, 1855 148. Dr. Eduard Liszt February 9th, 1856 149. Dr. von Seiler. February loth, 1856 150. Dr. Franz Brendel. February 19th, 1856 151. Dionys Pruckner in Vienna. March 17th, 1856 152. Breitkopf and Hartel. May 15th, 1856 153. Louis Kohler. May 24th, 1856
154. the same. July 9th, 1856
155. Hoffmann von Fallersleben. July 14th, 1856 156. Wilhelm Wieprecht. July 18th, 1856
157. Edmund Singer. July 28th, 1856 158. Joachim Raff. July 31st, 1856
159. Anton Rubinstein. August 6th, 1856 160. Joachim Raff. August 7th, 1856
161. Anton Rubinstein. August 21st, 1856 162. Dr. Eduard Liszt September 5th, 1856 163. Louis Kohler. October 8th, 1856
164. Dr. Gille in Jena. November 14th, 1856 165. Dr. Adolf Stern in Dresden. November 14th, 18293 166. Louis Kohler. November 21st, 1856
167. Dr. Eduard Liszt November 24th, 1856 168. Alexander Ritter in Stettin. December 4th, 1856 169. L. A. Zellner in Vienna. January 2nd, 1857 299 170. Von Turanyi in Aix-la-Chapelle. January 3rd, 1830 171. J. W. von Wasielewski. January 9th, 1857 172. Alexis von Lwoff in St. Petersburg. January 10th, 1857 173. Johann von Herbeck in Vienna. January 12th, 1857 174. Franz Gotze in Leipzig. February 1st, 1857 175. Dionys Pruckner. February 11th, 1857 176. Joachim Raff. February, 1857
177. Ferdinand David. February 26th, 1857 178. Wladimir Stassoff in St. Petersburg. March 17th, 1857 179. Wilhelm von Lenz in St. Petersburg. March 24th, 1857 180. Dr. Eduard Liszt March 26th, 1857
181. Georg Schariezer in Pressburg. April 25th, 1857 182. Dr. Eduard Liszt April 27th, 1857
183. Frau von Kaulbach. May 1st, 1857 184. Fedor von Milde in Weimar. June 3rd, 1857 185. Johann von Herbeck. June 12th, 1857 186. Countess Rosalie Sauerma. June 22nd, 1857 187. Ludmilla Schestakoff in St. Petersburg. October 7th, 1857 188. Carl Haslinger. December 5th, 1857
189. Stein in Sondershausen. December 6th, 1857 190. Alexander Ritter. December 7th, 1857 191. Max Seifriz in Lowenberg. December 24th, 1857 192. Alexander Seroff. January 8th, 1858 193. Basil von Engelhardt. January 8th, 1858 194. Felix Draseke. January Loth, 1858
195. Louis Kohler. February 1st, 1858 196. L.A. Zellner. February 8th, 1858
197. Peter Cornelius. February 19th, 1858 198. Dionys Pruckner. March 9th, 1858
199. Dr. Eduard Liszt March Loth, 1858 200. Fran Dr. Steche. March 20th, 1858
201. L. A. Zellner. April 6th, 1858 202. Dr. Eduard Liszt April 7th, 1858
203. Adolf Reubke in Hausneinsdorf. June 10th, 1858 204. Prince Constantin von Hohenzollern-Hechingen. August 18th, 1858
205. Frau Rosa von Milde. August 25th, 1858 206. Dr. Franz Brendel. November 2nd, 1858 207. Johann von Herbeck. November 22nd, 1858 208. Felix Draseke. January 12th, 1859
209. Heinrich Porges. March loth, 18379 210. Max Seifriz. March 22nd, 1859
211. Dr. Eduard Liszt April 5th, 1859 212. Music-Director N. N. April 17th, 1859 213. Peter Cornelius. May 23rd, 1859
214. Dr. Franz Brendel. May 23rd, 1859 215. Felix Draseke. July 19th, 1859
216. Peter Cornelius. August 23rd, 1859 217. Dr. Franz Brendel. September 2nd, 1859 218. Louis Kohler. September 3rd, 1859
219. Dr. Franz Brendel. September 8th, 1859 220. Johann von Herbeck. October 11th, 1859 221. Felix Draseke. October 20th, 1859
222. Heinrich Porges. October 30th, 1859 223. Ingeborg Stark. November 2nd, 1859
224. Johann von Herbeck. November 18th, 1859 225. Dr. Franz Brendel. December 1st, 1859 226. Anton Rubinstein. December 3rd, 1859 227. Dr. Franz Brendel. December 6th, 1859 228. Dr. Eduard Liszt December 28th, 1859 229. Josef Dessauer. December 30th, 1859 230. Wilkoszewski in Munich. January 15th, 1860 231. Johann von Herbeck. January 26th, 1860 232. Dr. Franz Brendel. January 25th, 1860 233. Friedrich Hebbel. February 5th, 1860 234. Dr. Franz Brendel. February, 1860
235. the same March or April, 1860
236. Louis Kohler. July 5th, 1860
237. Dr. Eduard Liszt July 9th, 1860 238. Ingeborg Stark. Summer, 1860
239. Dr. Franz Brendel. August 9th, 1860 240. Princess C. Sayn-Wittgenstein. September 14th, 1860 241. Dr. Franz Brendel. September 20th, 1860 242. Dr. Eduard Liszt September 20th, 1860 243. Hoffmann von Fallersleben. October 3oth, 1860 244. Franz Gotze. November 4th, 1860
245. Dr. Franz Brendel. November 16th, 1860 246. the same. December 2nd, 1860
247. C.F. Kahnt in Leipzig. December 2nd, 1860 248. the same. December 19th, 1860
249. Dr. Franz Brendel. December 19th, 1860 250. Felix Draseke. December 3oth, 1860
251. Dr. Franz Brendel. Beginning of January, 1861 252. the same. January 20th, 1861
253. the same. March 4th, 1861
254. Peter Cornelius. April 18th, 1861. 255. Hoffmann von Fallersleben. April 18th, 1861 256. Peter Cornelius. July 12th, 1861
256A. the same. July 14th, 1861
257. Alfred Dorffel. July 18th, 1861 258. Edmund Singer in Stuttgart. August 17th, 1861 259. C.F. Kahnt. August 27th, 1861
260. Dr. Franz Brendel. September 16th, 1861


1. To Carl Czerny in Vienna.

[Autograph in the possession of M. Alfred Bovet at Valentigney.– The addressee was Liszt’s former teacher, the celebrated Viennese teacher of music and composer of innumerable instructive works (1791-1857).]

My very dear Master,

When I think of all the immense obligations under which I am placed towards you, and at the same time consider how long I have left you without a sign of remembrance, I am perfectly ashamed and miserable, and in despair of ever being forgiven by you! “Yes,” I said to myself with a deep feeling of bitterness, “I am an ungrateful fellow; I have forgotten my benefactor, I have forgotten that good master to whom I owe both my talent and my success.”…At these words a tear starts to my eyes, and I assure you that no repentant tear was ever more sincere! Receive it as an expiation, and pardon me, for I cannot any longer bear the idea that you have any ill-feeling towards me. You will pardon me, my dear Master, won’t you? Embrace me then…good! Now my heart is light.

You have doubtless heard that I have been playing your admirable works here with the greatest success, and all the glory ought to be given to you. I intended to have played your variations on the “Pirate” the day after tomorrow at a very brilliant concert that I was to have given at the theater of H.R.H. Madame, who was to have been present as well as the Duchess of Orleans; but man proposes and God disposes. I have suddenly caught the measles, and have been obliged to say farewell to the concert; but it is not given up because it is put off, and I hope, as soon as ever I am well again, to have the pleasure of making these beautiful variations known to a large public.

Pixis [a notable pianist (1788-1874)–lived a long time in Paris] and several other people have spoken much to me of four concertos that you have lately finished, and the reputation of which is already making a stir in Paris. I should be very much pleased, my dear Master, if you would commission me to get them sold. This would be quite easy for me to do, and I should also have the pleasure of playing them FROM FIRST HAND, either at the opera or at some big concerts. If my proposition pleases you, send them to me by the Austrian Embassy, marking the price that you would like to have for them. As regards any passages to be altered, if there are any, you need only mark them with a red pencil, according to your plan which I know so well, and I will point them out to the editor with the utmost care. Give me at the same time some news about music and pianists in Vienna; and finally tell me, dear Master, which of your compositions you think would make the best effect in society.

I close by sending you my heartfelt greetings, and begging you once more to pardon the shameful silence I have kept towards you: be assured that it has given me as much pain as yourself!

Your very affectionate and grateful pupil,

F. Liszt

December 23rd, 1828

P.S.–Please answer me as soon as possible, for I am longing for a letter from you; and please embrace your excellent parents from me. I add my address (Rue Montholon, No. 7bis).

2. To De Mancy in Paris

[Autograph in the possession of M. Etienne Charavay in Paris.]

December 23rd, 1829

My Dear M. de Mancy,

I am so full of lessons that each day, from half-past eight in the morning till 10 at night, I have scarcely breathing time. Please excuse me therefore for not coming, as I should have liked to do, to lunch with Madame de Mancy, but it is quite impossible. The only thing I could do would be to come about 10 o’clock, if that would not be too late for a wedding day, and in that case I will beg M. Ebner [Carl Ebner, a Hungarian, a talented violinist (1812-1836)] to come with me. I don’t write you a longer letter, for there is a pupil who has been waiting for me for an hour. Besides, we are not standing on ceremony. Ever yours,

F. Liszt

3. To Carl Czerny

[Autograph in the Musical Society’s Archives in Vienna. Printed in a German translation: “La Mara, Letters of Musicians extending over Five Centuries.” II. Leipzig, B. and H. 1887.]

My dear and beloved Master,

It would be impossible to explain to you the why and wherefore of my leaving you so long without news of me. Moreover, I have now only five minutes in which to write to you, for Mr. Luden, a pianist from Copenhagen, is starting shortly, and for fear of delaying his journey I must be brief; but what is postponed is not lost, so cheer up, for very soon you will get a great thick letter from me, which I will take care to prepay, as I should not like to ruin you.

Among all the circles of artists where I go in this country I plead your cause tremendously: we all want you to come and stay some time in Paris; it would certainly do you a great deal of good, and you are so widely esteemed that you will doubtless be well satisfied with the reception you will meet with here. If you ever entertain this idea, write to me, I entreat you, for I will do for you what I would do for my father. I have been making a special study of your admirable sonata (Op. 7), and have since played it at several reunions of connoisseurs (or would-be connoisseurs): you cannot imagine what an effect it made; I was quite overcome by it. It was in a burst of enthusiasm caused by the Prestissimo, that Mr. Luden begged for a few words of introduction to you; I know your kindness, indeed I could never forget it. I therefore commend him in all confidence of your goodness, until the time when I am so happy as to embrace you myself and to show you (however feebly) all the gratitude and admiration which fill me.

F. Liszt

Paris, August 26th, 1830

4. To Alphonse Brot in Paris

[Autograph in the possession of M. Etienne Charavay in Paris.]

(Paris, Beginning of the 30th year.)

It would give us great pleasure, my dear M. Brot, if you would come and dine with us without ceremony tomorrow, Monday, about 6 o’clock; I do not promise you a good dinner,–that is not the business of us poor artists; but the good company you will meet will, I trust, make up for that. Monsieur Hugo [the poet] and Edgard Quinet [French writer and philosopher] have promised to come. So do try not to disappoint us, for we should miss you much. My good mother told me to press you to come, for she is very fond of you. Till tomorrow then! Kind regards and thanks.

F. Liszt

I have been at least six times to you without having the pleasure of seeing you.

61, Rue de Provence.

5. Monsieur Pierre Wolff (Junior), Rue de la Tertasse, Geneva, Switzerland

[Autograph in the possession of M. Gaston Calmann-Levy in Paris.]

Nous disons: “Il est temps. Executons, c’est l’heure.” Alors nous retournons les yeux–La Mort est la! Ainsi de mes projets.–Quand vous verrai-je, Espagne, Et Venise et son golfe, et Rome et sa campagne,

Toi, Sicile, que ronge un volcan souterrain, Grece qu’on connait trop, Sardaigne qu’on ignore, Cites de l’Aquilon, du Couchant, de l’Aurore, Pyramides du Nil, Cathedrales du Rhin! Qui sait?– jamais peut-etre!

[We say: “Now it is time. Let’s act, for ’tis the hour.” Then turn we but our eyes–lo! death is there! Thus with my plans. When shall I see thee, Espagna, And Venice with her gulf, and Rome with her Campagna; Thou, Sicily, whom volcanoes undermine; Greece, whom we know too well, Sardinia, unknown one, Lands of the north, the west, the rising sun, Pyramids of the Nile, Cathedrals of the Rhine! Who knows? Never perchance!]

Earthly life is but a malady of the soul, an excitement which is kept up by the passions. The natural state of the soul is rest!

Paris, May 2nd [1832]

Here is a whole fortnight that my mind and fingers have been working like two lost spirits, Homer, the Bible, Plato, Locke, Byron, Hugo, Lamartine, Chateaubriand, Beethoven, Bach, Hummel, Mozart, Weber, are all around me. I study them, meditate on them, devour them with fury; besides this I practice four to five hours of exercises (3rds, 6ths, 8ths, tremolos, repetition of notes, cadences, etc., etc.). Ah! provided I don’t go mad, you will find an artist in me! Yes, an artist such as you desire, such as is required nowadays!

“And I too am a painter!” cried Michael Angelo the first time he beheld a chef d’oeuvre…Though insignificant and poor, your friend cannot leave off repeating those words of the great man ever since Paganini’s last performance. Rene, what a man, what a violin, what an artist! Heavens! what sufferings, what misery, what tortures in those four strings!

Here are a few of his characteristics:–

[Figure: Liszt here writes down several tiny excerpts from musical scores of Paganini’s violin music, such as his famous “Caprices”]

As to his expression, his manner of phrasing, his very soul in fact!—-

May 8th [1832]

My good friend, it was in a paroxysm of madness that I wrote you the above lines; a strain of work, wakefulness, and those violent desires (for which you know me) had set my poor head aflame; I went from right to left, then from left to right (like a sentinel in the winter, freezing), singing, declaiming, gesticulating, crying out; in a word, I was delirious. Today the spiritual and the animal (to use the witty language of M. de Maistre) are a little more evenly balanced; for the volcano of the heart is not extinguished, but is working silently.–Until when?–

Address your letters to Monsieur Reidet, the receiver-general at the port of Rouen.

A thousand kind messages to the ladies Boissier. I will tell you some day the reasons which prevented me from starting for Geneva. On this subject I shall call you in evidence.

Bertini is in London; Madame Malibran is making her round of Germany; Messemaecker (how is he getting on?) is resting on his laurels at Brussels; Aguado has the illustrious maestro Rossini in tow.–Ah–Hi–Oh–Hu!!!

6. To Ferdinand Hiller

[This letter, published by F. Niecks (“F. Chopin, Man and Musician,” Vol. 1. German by Langhans. Leipzig, Leuckart, 1890), was written by Liszt and Chopin jointly, and was also signed by Chopin’s friend Franchomme, the violoncellist. The part written by Chopin is indicated here by parentheses ().–Addressed to the well-known composer and author, afterwards Director of the Conservatorium and Concert Society at Cologne (1811-1885).]

This is the twentieth time, at least, that we have tried to meet, first at my house, then here, with the intention of writing to you, and always some visit, or some other unforeseen hindrance, has occurred. I don’t know whether Chopin will be strong enough to make excuses to you; for my part, it seems to me that we have been so unmannerly and impertinent that no excuses are now permissible or possible.

We sympathized most deeply in your bereavement, and more deeply did we wish that we could be with you in order to soften, as far as possible, the grief of your heart. [Hiller had lost his father.]

(He has said it all so well that I have nothing to add to excuse me specially for my negligence or idleness, or whim or distraction, or–or–or–You know that I can explain myself better in person, and, this autumn, when I take you home late by the boulevards to your mother, I shall try to obtain your pardon. I am writing to you without knowing what my pen is scribbling, as Liszt is at this moment playing my Studies, and transporting me away from all suitable ideas. I wish I could steal his manner of rendering my own works. With regard to your friends who are staying in Paris, I have often seen, during this winter and spring, the Leo family [August Leo, banker in Paris], and all that follows. There have been evenings at certain ambassadresses’ houses, and there was not a single one at which somebody living at Frankfort was not mentioned. Madame Eichthal sends you many kind messages–Plater [Count Plater, Chopin’s countryman, and a friend also of Liszt], the whole family were very sorry for your departure, and begged me to give you their condolences.) Madame d’Apponyi [Apponyi, the Austrian ambassador in Paris] was very much vexed with me for not having taken you there before your departure; she hopes that when you come back you will be sure to remember the promise you made me. I will say as much of a certain lady who is not an ambassadress.

Do you know Chopin’s wonderful Studies?–(They are admirable! and moreover they will last only until yours appear) = an author’s little piece of modesty!!! (A little piece of rudeness on the part of the regent, for–to explain the matter fully–he is correcting my spelling) according to the method of Monsieur Marlet.

You will come back in the month of (September, isn’t it? tr)y [Tach]ez] to let us know the day; we have determined to give you a serenade or charivari [mock serenade]. The company of the most distinguished artists of the capital = M. Franchomme (present), Madame Petzold, and the Abbe Bardin [passionate lover of music, who had a great many artists to see him], the leaders of the Rue d’Amboise (and my neighbors), Maurice Schlesinger [music publisher], uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and–and (“en plan du troisienae,” etc.). [“in the third row–i.e. less important people]. The responsible editors,

F. Liszt

(F. Chopin) (Aug. Franchomme.)

(By-the-bye, I met Heine yesterday, who begged me to grussen you herzlich and herzlich.) [to send you his warmest and most heartfelt greetings]

(By-the-bye, also, please excuse all the “you’s” [Instead of the more familiar “thee” and “thou.”]–I do beg you to excuse them. If you have a moment to spare, give us news of yourself, which would be most welcome. Paris, Rue de la Chaussee d’Antin, No. 5. At present I am occupying Franck’s lodging [Dr. Hermann Franck, author, friend of Chopin and of many other celebrities; editor also for a short time, in the forties, of Brockhaus’s “Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung”]–he is gone to London and Berlin. I am most happy in the rooms which were so often our meeting-place. Berlioz sends greetings.

As to pere Baillot, he is in Switzerland, at Geneva. So now you can guess that I can’t send you the Bach concerto.

June 20th, 1833)

7. To Abbe F. de Lamennais

[Autograph in the possession of M. Alfred Bovet at Valentigney.– Addressed to the celebrated French author (1782-1854), who followed his brilliant apology of Catholicism, “Essai sur l’Indifference en Matiere de Religion” (Essay on Indifference in Matters of Religion, 1817-1823), by the “Paroles d’un Croyant” (Words of a Believer, 1834), a veritable “Ode to revolution in the sublimest biblical style,” and sought to bring religious and political liberty into accord with true religiousness. The latter work made an unheard-of sensation, but brought upon him the anathema of the Church. He obtained a great influence over Liszt, who was on intimate terms with him.]

Four months have actually passed, dear Father, since we parted, and I feel very sad at not getting a word from you!–at the same time I do not wish to complain, for it seems to me that you can never doubt my deep and filial affection…Much more, I even know that you have been willing to accept it, and, however humble it may be, to count it for something…What more then can I desire?…

Eugene, whose brotherly friendship becomes dearer to me day by day, has often given me good tidings of you. The last time I saw him he told me confidentially that you were working at a sort of Introduction, or developed Preface to your works.–Although I know perfectly well that my interest counts for nothing in this matter, I may be permitted nevertheless to tell you how glad I am to know that you are occupied with this work. To yourself, first of all, I think you owe it–your name and glory will shine out all the more powerfully for it. And, secondly, for the public it will be a work of art the more (and this commodity becomes rather rare as time goes on), and which will besides have the double advantage of aiding and fixing them in the understanding of your past works, whilst at the same time preparing them for, and initiating them into, your future thoughts.

And, lastly, for us who love you, and who would glory and be proud to be one day called your disciples, we rejoice in it because the world will learn to know you better by this means, and because it will probably be another opportunity for us to show our sympathetic admiration as well as our unalterable devotion for you.

Unless something very unforeseen occurs, I shall come again and beg you to receive me for a few days towards the middle of July; I trust sufficiently to your sincerity to tell me that you would rather not have me if my individuality would trouble or bother you too much.–Before that, I shall have the honor of sending you a little work, to which I have had the audacity to tack a great name–yours.–It is an instrumental De profundis. The plain-song that you like so much is preserved in it with the Faburden. Perhaps this may give you a little pleasure, at any rate, I have done it in remembrance of some hours passed (I should say “lived”) at La Chenaie.

Farewell, dear Father. I don’t give you any news of Paris,–you know all that. You know that Ballanche wants to be an Academician, and accepts Salvandy and Dupaty as competitors,–you know the little check of January,–the miserable petty intrigues of court and newspaper and vestry;–in a word, you know how men are wanting in noble and generous sentiments, and how they make the most of their own ignoble ends and interests, to which their words and actions yet give the lie.

Farewell once more, dear Father. Think as often as possible of all the good you have done, and of that which men have a right to expect of you. Think sometimes also of the help and the wealth of affection that you have showered on me in particular, and may the remembrance of this be sweet to you!…

Yours ever, for life–from heart and soul,

F. Liszt

January 14th, 1835

Tomorrow morning I have to leave for two months. If you should be so good as to write to me before my return, please address always, 61, Rue de Provence. My mother will take care that I have your kind letter.

8. To his Mother

[From a copy, by Mr. Vladimir Stassoff of St. Petersburg, the original of which is in Russia. The letter in itself is unimportant, but it is the only one to Liszt’s mother which the editor could get, and gives a fresh proof of the devotion of the artist to his mother.]

Dear Mother,

Please send me at once, without any delay, the Pianist’s Glossary, which you will get at Lemonier’s, Rue de l’Echelle.

Simply put it in a cover, and put it in the post (General Office), and I shall get it, at latest, by Monday or Tuesday.–

Address to Mr. Hermann Cohen, Grande Rue, No. 8.

[Cohen was a frequently mentioned pupil and favorite of Liszt’s who was born at Hamburg in 1820, much thought of as a pianist in Paris, and immortalised as “Puzzi” by George Sand (“Lettres d’un Voyageur”); he followed Liszt to Geneva, and gave lessons there. In 1850 he entered the order of Carmelites, and, under the name of Pater Augustin, died in Berlin in January 1871, whither he had gone with French prisoners.]

I have an immense deal to do this morning, so that I have barely time to tell you that I love you with all my heart, and that I rejoice above everything at the prospect of seeing you again soon–that is to say, in six or eight months.

F. Liszt

You will hear of me from Mr. Pinondel, who passed a day with us.

9. To the Abbe F. de Lamennais, La Chenaie

[Autograph in the possession of Mr. Marshall in London.]

[Paris, May 28th, 1836–according to the stamp of the post office]

Dear and venerable Father,

I shall expect you. Whatever sorrow there is in the depth of my soul, it will be sweet and consoling to me to see you again.

You are so wonderfully good to me! and I should suffer so much by being so long away from you!–

Au revoir then, once more–in eight days at latest it will be, will it not? I do nothing else than keep expecting you.

Yours, with the deepest respect and most sincere devotion,

F. Liszt

10. To Mademoiselle Lydie Pavy, of La Glaciere, Lyons

[Autograph in the possession of M. Etienne Charavay in Paris.]

St. Gervais, August 22nd [1836].

Your postscript deserves a punishment, and here it comes dated from St. Gervais. I do not know whether your charming sister-in- law, Madame Pavy, will consider this stamp of St. Gervais worthy to appear in her collection; be that as it may, it gives me no less a pleasure to converse a little with you who are always so charming, so versatile, so excellent, and, permit me to say, so kind to me.

Mademoiselle Merienne, whom I saw only quite lately (for you must know that during the whole month of July, of glorious memory, I have barely condescended to go down once or twice to Geneva; I was living in a little bit of a house on the mountain, whence, let me say parenthetically, it would have been quite easy for me to hurl sermons and letters at you); Mademoiselle Merienne (what shall I say to you after such an enormous parenthesis?), somewhat like (by way of a new parenthesis) those declaimed discourses of Plantade or Lhuillier, which put a stop to music whilst nevertheless admitting that there is such a thing, whether at the beginning or at the end–Mademoiselle Merienne–au diable Mademoiselle Merienne! You guess by this time that she gave me tidings of you, that she is a delightful and enchanting person, that she makes admirable portraits, and that mine, amongst others, has been a wonderful success. Etc., etc., and always etc…

And yet I do wish to talk to you about this good Mademoiselle Merienne, for she said a heap of charming things to me for your sake, which will certainly not astonish you. But how to set about it after all this preamble of parentheses? Ah, I have it!–In three or four weeks I shall come and knock at your door.–And then? Well, then we will chatter away at our ease. So much the worse for you if you are not satisfied with my cunning stratagem. Now let us talk business; yes, seriously, let us talk business!

Has your brother returned from his journey? And is he well? And has no accident happened to him on the way? You are surprised, perhaps, at my anxiety; but by-and-bye you will understand it without difficulty, when I have explained to you how terribly interested I am in the fact of his journey being safely accomplished.

Just imagine that at this moment I have only 200 fr. in my purse (a ridiculously small sum for a traveler), and that it is M. Pavy who is to be my financial Providence, considering that it is to him that my mother has confided my little quarterly income of a thousand francs. Now at this point I must entrust you with a little secret, which at present is only known to two individuals, Messrs. Paccard and Roger (charming names for confidants, are not they?), and which I beg you to make known as quickly as possible to your brother. It concerns a little scrap of paper (which these rogues of bankers call a draft, I believe), for a thousand francs, by which Messrs. Paccard and Roger are authorized by my signature, which is at the bottom, to demand the above sum of a thousand francs (which my mother entrusted to M. Pavy in Paris) from M. Pavy, junior, living at La Glaciere at Lyons, after the 22nd of August, 1836.

A thousand pardons for troubling you with these details, but I should never have had the courage to write direct to your brother, on account of my profound ignorance in money matters.

You tell me that you passed part of the fine season in the country–why did not you arrange so as to tour for a little among the mountains of Switzerland? I should have had such pleasure in doing the honors, and Mademoiselle Merienne also…but don’t let us speak any more of Mademoiselle Merienne (who, be it observed in parenthesis, must have already appeared a dozen times in this letter), for fear of again falling into inextricable parentheses.

Au revoir then; in five weeks at latest I shall come and warm myself at your “glacier.”

F. Liszt

11. To Abbe de Lamennais

[Autograph in the possession of M. Alfred Bovet at Valentigney.]

My friend Louis de Ronchaud writes me word that he has had the honor of seeing you, dear Father, and that you were kind enough to give him a message of affectionate remembrance for me. I am very happy to know that you continue to keep this precious and friendly feeling for me, of which you have already given me so many proofs, and which I shall endeavour always to deserve as far as is in my power.

I am still not very far advanced in my Italian journey. The beauty of these parts, the necessity of writing with some little continuance, and also, if all be said, some altogether unexpected successes, have kept me in Milan and the neighborhood (Como and the delicious shores of the lake) much longer than I had foreseen. As regards musical matters, the presence of Rossini, whom I frequently see, gives a certain impetus to this country. I have been singularly well received here, so I shall probably pass the greater part of the winter here, and shall not start for Venice till towards the beginning of March. Thence I shall go to Florence and Rome, where I expect I shall stay a good long time.

D. has no doubt talked to you of our stay at Nohant last summer. I think that he got rid there of a good many old prejudices about me. It was a sweet satisfaction to me to learn through him how good and indulgent you have been towards me on several occasions, even so far as to contradict and defend me warmly against him and against others who knew me still less. I had charged our secret friend to defend me in his turn from a slight wrong which I had, only apparently, committed, but even “apparently” is too much, and I think I have entirely justified myself with regard to it. I don’t know whether in his noble carelessness he will have thought of it. However that may be, I shall always count on your paternal affection more than all the rest.

What can I say to you of Italy that you do not know, and that you have not said in such manner as to cause despair for ever to the makers of observations!–It is always the same status quo, the excellent and perfectly happy government that you know.–I am hoping and longing ardently for your next book [probably “Le Livre du Peuple”: Paris, 1837], which I shall read with my whole heart and soul, as I have read all that you have written for four years. I shall owe you just so many more good and noble emotions. Will they remain for ever sterile? Will my life be for ever tainted with this idle uselessness which weighs upon me? Will the hour of devotion and of manly action never come? Am I condemned without respite to this trade of a Merry Andrew and to amuse in drawing-rooms?

Whatever may be my poor and humble destiny, do not ever doubt my heart. Do not ever doubt the deep respect and unalterable devotion with which you have inspired me.

Yours for ever,

F. Liszt

Como, December 18th, 1837

12. To Breitkopf and Hartel in Leipzig

[Autograph in the possession of Herr Hermann Scholtz, Kammervirtuoso in Dresden.]

I thank you much, gentlemen, for the obliging letter that you have written me. Up to the present time I have had none but the most pleasant business relations with Mr. Hofmeister, who has the kindness to publish the greater part of my works in Germany. As I do not know very much of the laws which regulate literary and musical proprietorship in Saxony, I had spoken to him about the Beethoven Symphonies, of which I have undertaken the arrangement, or, more correctly speaking, the pianoforte score. To tell the truth, this work has, nevertheless, cost me some trouble; whether I am right or wrong, I think it sufficiently different from, not to say superior to, those of the same kind which have hitherto appeared. The recent publication of the same Symphonies, arranged by Mr. Kalkbrenner, makes me anxious that mine should not remain any longer in a portfolio. I intend also to finger them carefully, which, in addition to the indication of the different instruments (which is important in this kind of work), will most certainly make this edition much more complete. If, then, as I imagine, it is impossible for Mr. Hofmeister to publish them, I shall be very grateful if you will undertake it. The reputation of your house is European, and I perfectly remember having had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Raymond Hartel in Paris. It will be a pleasure to me to conclude this little business with you, at the rate of eight francs a page. Up to the present time I have only finished three Symphonies (that in A major), but I could promise to let you have the others successively, according as you might wish, or I could limit my work to the four most important Symphonies (if I may express my opinion), namely, the Pastoral, C minor, A major, and the Eroica. I think those are the ones which are most effective on the piano.

I start tomorrow for Vienna, where I expect to remain till the end of April. Please address to me to the care of Mr. Tobias Haslinger till the 25th of April, and after that to Mr. Ricordi, Milan, who has undertaken to forward me all my letters while I am in Italy. My compliments and affectionate thanks.

F. Liszt

13. To Robert Schumann

[Addressed to the celebrated German Tone-poet (1810-1856). Liszt had spoken of Schumann’s Op. 5, 11, and 14 in the Gazette Musicale, 1837, with equal enthusiasm and understanding, which soon brought the two together.]

[Without a date; received by R. S. May 5th, 1838.]

My dear Monsieur Schumann,

I shall not attempt to tell you how grateful and touched I am by your friendly letter. Mademoiselle Wieck, whom I have been so happy as to meet here, will express to you, better than I can, all the sympathy, all the admiring affection I have for you. I have been such a nomad latterly that the pieces you were kind enough to address to me at Milan only reached me on the eve of my departure from Venice about a fortnight ago; and since then we have been talking so much of you, day and night, that it hardly occurred to me to write to you. Today, however, to my great astonishment, I get a fresh token of your friendly remembrance, and I certainly will not delay thanking you many times for it, so I have just left a charming party of very pretty women in order to write these few lines to you. But the truth is you need hardly thank me for this little sacrifice, for it is a great pleasure to me to be able to have a little chat with you.

The “Carneval” and the “Fantasiestucke” have interested me excessively. I play them really with delight, and God knows that I can’t say as much of many things. To speak frankly and freely, it is absolutely only Chopin’s compositions and yours that have a powerful interest for me.

The rest do not deserve the honor of being mentioned…at least, with a few exceptions,–to be conciliatory, like Eusebius.

In six weeks to two months I shall send you my twelve Studies and a half-dozen of “Fantasiestucke” (“Impressions et Poemes”)–I consider them less bad than others of my making. I shall be happy to think that they do not displease you.

May I confess to you that I was not very much struck with Henselt’s Studies, and that I found them not up to their reputation? I don’t know whether you share my opinion, but they appear to me, on the whole, very careless. They are pretty to listen to, they are very pretty to look at, the effect is excellent, the edition (thanks to our friend Hofmeister) is most carefully done; but, all counted, I question whether H. is anything but a distinguished mediocrity. [How highly Liszt thought, later on, of Henselt’s Concerto and other of his compositions is well known, and is spoken of in a subsequent letter to Baroness Wrangel, in May, 1883.] For the rest, he is very young, and will doubtless develop. Let us, at least, hope so.

I am extremely sorry that I cannot come and pay you a little visit at Leipzig at present. It is one of my keenest desires to make your personal acquaintance and to pass some days with you. But as that is not possible now, let us, at least, try not to be entirely separated, and let us combat, as far as we can, the laziness about writing, which is, I think, equally in us both.

In a fortnight I am returning to Venice. I shall be back in Milan at the time of the coronation (towards the end of August). Next winter I expect to pass in Rome, if the cholera or some other plague does not stop it. I will not induce you to come to Italy. Your sympathies would be too deeply wounded there. If they have even heard that Beethoven and Weber ever existed, it is as much as they have done.

Will you not have what you have sent me printed? Haslinger would have it gladly, I think, and it would be a great pleasure to me to see my name associated with yours.

If I might make a request, I would ask you to write some trios, or a quintet or septet. It seems to me that you would do that admirably, and for a long time nothing remarkable in that line has been published. If ever you determine to do so, let me know at once, as I should be anxious to have the honor of making them known to the public. Adieu, my dear Monsieur Schumann; keep me always in affectionate remembrance, and accept once more my warm sympathy and devotion.

F. Liszt

14. To the “Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde” in Vienna

[Society of Musical Dilettanti, or Amateur Musical Society. Autograph in the Archives of the Society in Vienna]


I am extremely grateful for the honor you have done me in admitting me among you as a member of the Vienna Musik-Verein [Musical Union]. I cannot, unfortunately, flatter myself that I have as yet deserved this distinction, but allow me to say that it will not be my fault if I do not become worthy of it.

If ever the occasion should offer in which I can be agreeable or useful to the Society of the Musik-Verein, be assured that I shall gladly avail myself of it, and that you will henceforth have a claim on my gratitude and devotion.

I have the honor to be, gentlemen,

Yours faithfully,

F. Liszt

Venice, June 1st, 1838

15. To Simon Lowy in Vienna

[Autograph in the possession of Herr O. A. Schulz, bookseller in Leipzig.–Addressed to a Vienna banker, an intimate friend of Liszt The “Soirees de Vienne,” composed on Schubert Valses, are dedicated to him.]

I am very sensible, my dear sir, of your friendly remembrance. Your kind letter found me in the midst of the official hurly- burly of the coronation fetes. What business on earth had I to do with such an affair? I have not the least idea. Thank Heaven we are now at the end of it all, safe and sound, rejoicing, and sated with amusement!

I found at Milan a certain number of my Vienna connections. One or two of the persons whom you will not mention to me (and whose anonymity I respect) were also there. I know that a great many of the people who approach me with a smile on their lips, and protestations of friendship on their tongues, have nothing better to do than to pull me to pieces as best they can as soon as they are outside my door. It is, moreover, the fate of all the world. I resign myself to it willingly, as I do to all the absurd and odious necessities of this lower world. There is, besides, just this much good in these sad experiences of various relations with men–which is, that one learns to relish and appreciate better the devotion of the few friends whom chance has thrown in your path.

In a few days from now I shall start for Bologna, Florence, and Rome. In spite of all my desire to return to Vienna, where people have been so kind and indulgent to me, I do not yet see when I shall be able to get there. However this journey may be put off, I hope, nevertheless, my dear sir, that you will continue till then the affectionate feelings you so kindly entertain towards me. Receive in return my assurances of consideration and affectionate devotion.

F. Liszt

Milan, September 22nd, 1838

Will you be so good as to give the enclosed note to the charming woman who is good enough to remember me so kindly?

16. To M. Pacini, Music Publisher in Paris

[Autograph in the possession of M. Alfred Bovet at Valentigney.]

My Dear Monsieur Pacini,

In two or three days at latest from now you will receive the manuscript for which you asked me for the book of the Hundred and One. [A collective work with contributions by celebrities of the day.] Mr. Hugot has kindly undertaken to bring it to you.

As the title implies, it is an Etude (di Bravura) after Paganini. [Bravura Studies on Paganini’s Capricci, arranged for the pianoforte, brought out by Haslinger, Vienna, in 1839. A second, newly arranged edition, dedicated to Clara Schumann, “Grandes Etudes de Paganini,” was brought out by Breitkopf and Hartel in 1851.] You will oblige me by recommending the engraver to engrave it very spaciously. In addition, you had better, I think, reprint directly afterwards this Etude facilitee, which I have also sent you. This second arrangement is by M. Schumann, a young composer of very great merit. It is more within the reach of the general public, and also more exact than my paraphrase.

Many apologies for having kept you waiting so long for such a small thing, and kind remembrances to Emilien.

Yours affectionately,

F. Liszt

Please send the corrected proofs of this study to Haslinger, musical editor to the Court, at Graben, Vienna.

I must have at least two corrected proofs. Prego! Prego!! [I beg!] leave only such mistakes as are absolutely necessary in order that an edition may be supposed to be correct.

Padua, September 30th, 1838

17. To Breitkopf and Hartel.

[This is the first of the Liszt letters extant in the archives of the firm.]

I am really grieved, gentlemen, at the trouble you have been good enough to take about these unlucky Symphonies, and I hardly know how to express my acknowledgments. As I have already had the honor of telling you, Mr. Mori had been previously engaged to publish these Symphonies, and, as the steps you have taken have not been crowned with success, I will keep to this first publisher, with whom I have every reason to be satisfied up to now.

You can then publish this work in two or three months from now. [Pianoforte scores of the C minor and Pastoral Symphonies of Beethoven.] Only it is essential that I should correct the last proof, so that the edition may be absolutely correct. I also wish to add the fingering to several passages, to make them easier for amateurs. Be so good, therefore, as to send me, through the Embassy (or by any other opportunity which is not too expensive), two proofs to Rome, where I shall be in about twelve days, and where I expect to remain till the middle of March.

I hope, gentlemen, that you will not have cause to regret the obliging advances that you have made to me in this matter, and for which I am sincerely grateful to you. If you will be so good as to add to the proofs of the Beethoven Symphonies such of the songs of Beethoven (or Weber) as you would like me to transcribe for piano solo, I will then give you a positive answer as to that little work, which I shall be delighted to do for you, but to which I cannot assent beforehand, not knowing of which songs you are the proprietors. If “Leyer und Schwert” was published by you, I will do that with pleasure. I think that these songs, or at any rate four or five of them, would be rather satisfactory for the piano.

Accept, gentlemen, the expression of my high esteem.

F. Liszt

Florence, January 3rd, 1839

18. To Princess Christine Belgiojoso in Paris

[Autograph in the possession of M. Alfred Bovet at Valentigney.– Addressed to the celebrated writer and patriot. In 1837 a charity concert took place in her salons, at which Liszt and Thalberg both played.]

It would be self-conceit in me, Princess, to complain of your silence. Your letters have always been for me a favor, a charm. I am not meaning to say that I have the slightest right to them. Nevertheless, as you do not reply to me any more, I hope you will at least permit me to tell you how very much I feel the very slightest marks of your kindness, and what a price I set upon your remembrance.

Some numbers of the Gazette or Revue Musicale, which have accidentally fallen into my hands at the house of one of my Russian friends (for in this happy country of the Arts, and of music in particular, you can well imagine that no one is foolish enough to spend a thirty francs’ subscription on the Revue Musicale), have informed me that you had decidedly raised altar for altar, and made your charming salon echo with magnificent harmonies. I confess that this is perhaps the one regret of my winter. I should so immensely have liked to be there to admire you, to applaud you. Several people who had the honor of being present at these choice evenings have spoken to me about them with enthusiasm.

What a contrast to the tiresome musical soliloquies (I do not know what other name to give to this invention of mine) with which I contrived to gratify the Romans, and which I am quite capable of importing to Paris, so unbounded does my impudence become! Imagine that, wearied with warfare, not being able to compose a programme which would have common sense, I have ventured to give a series of concerts all by myself, affecting the Louis XIV. style, and saying cavalierly to the public, “The concert is–myself.” For the curiosity of the thing I copy one of the programmes of the soliloquies for you:–

1. Overture to William Tell, performed by M. L.

2. Reminiscences of the Puritani. Fantaisie composed and performed by the above-mentioned!

3. Etudes and fragments by the same to the same!

4. Improvisation on themes given–still by the same. And that was all; neither more nor less, except lively conversation during the intervals, and enthusiasm if there was room for it.

A propos of enthusiasm, I ought at least to talk to you of St. Peter’s. That is the proper thing to do when one writes from Rome. But, in the first place, I am writing to you from Albano, whence I can only discern the dome, and, secondly, this poor St. Peter’s has been so disguised, so embellished by papier-mache wreaths, horrid curtains at alcoves, etc., etc., all in honor of the five or six last saints whom His Holiness has canonised, that I try to put away the recollection of it. Happily there have not been any workers of miracles to glorify at the Coliseum and the Campo Vaccino, otherwise it would have been impossible to live in Rome.

If nothing occurs to prevent it, I expect to pass the end of next winter (March and April) in Paris. Will you permit me then to fill up all the gaps in my correspondence from the Rue d’Anjou? [Here the Princess lived.] I count always upon your friendly and indulgent kindness. But shall you extend this so far as to give me a sign of life before the close of my stay in Italy? I do not know. In any case, letters addressed poste restante, Florence, will reach me till the 1st of next September.

I beg you, Madame la Princesse, to accept the expression of my profound and most devoted respect.

F. Liszt

Albano, June 4th, 1839

Will you be good enough to remember me affectionately to (Madame) your sister and to Mr. d’Aragon?

19. To Robert Schumann

[From a copy from the Royal Library in Berlin.]

Albano, June 5th, 1839

My dear Monsieur Schumann,

At the risk of appearing very monotonous, I must again tell you that the last pieces you were so kind as to send me to Rome appear to me admirable both in inspiration and composition. The “Fantaisie” dedicated to me is a work of the highest kind–and I am really proud of the honor you have done me in dedicating to me so grand a composition.

Op. 17, C dur. With the motto:–

“Durch alle Tone tonet
Im bunten Erdentraum
Ein leiser Ton gezogen
Fur den, der heimlich lauschet.”

(“Through all the sounds of nature,
In earth’s fair dream of joy,
An under-current soundeth
For him whose ears can hear.”]

I mean, therefore, to work at it and penetrate it through and through, so as to make the utmost possible effect with it.

As to the “Kinderscenen,” I owe to them one of the greatest pleasures of my life. You know, or you don’t know, that I have a little girl of three years old, whom everybody agrees in considering angelic (did you ever hear such a commonplace?). Her name is Blandine-Rachel, and her surname Moucheron. [Pet name; literally, “little fly.”] It goes without saying that she has a complexion of roses and milk, and that her fair golden hair reaches to her feet just like a savage. She is, however, the most silent child, the most sweetly grave, the most philosophically gay in the world. I have every reason to hope also that she will not be a musician, from which may Heaven preserve her!

Well, my dear Monsieur Schumann, two or three times a week (on fine and good days!) I play your “Kinderscenen” to her in the evening; this enchants her, and me still more, as you may imagine, so that often I go over the first repeat twenty times without going any further. Really I think you would be satisfied with this success if you could be a witness of it!

I think I have already expressed to you, in one of my former letters, the desire I felt to see you write some ensemble pieces, Trios, Quintets, or Septets. Will you pardon me for pressing this point again? It seems to me that you would be more capable of doing it than any one else nowadays. And I am convinced that success, even commercial success, would not be wanting.

If between now and next winter you could complete some ensemble work, it would be a real pleasure to me to make it known in Paris, where that sort of composition, when well played, has more chance of success than you perhaps think. I would even gladly undertake to find a publisher for it, if you liked, which would moreover in no wise prevent you from disposing of it for Germany.

In the interim I mean to play in public your “Carnaval,” and some of the “Davidsbundlertanze” and of the “Kinderscenen.” The “Kreisleriana,” and the “Fantaisie” which is dedicated to me, are more difficult of digestion for the public. I shall reserve them till later.

Up to the present time I only know the following works of yours:–

Impromptus on a theme by Clara Wieck. Pianoforte Sonata, dedicated to Clara.
Concerto without orchestra.
“Etudes Symphoniques”
“Kinderscenen” and my “Fantaisie.”

If you would have the kindness to complete your works to me it would be a great pleasure to me; I should like to have them bound all together in three or four volumes. Haslinger, on his side, will send you my Etudes and my other publications as they come out.

What you tell me of your private life has interested and touched me deeply. If I could, I know not how, be in the least pleasant or useful to you in these circumstances, dispose of me as you will. Whatever happens, count on my absolute discretion and sincere devotion. If I am not asking too much, tell me if it is Clara of whom you speak. But if this question should seem to you misplaced, do not answer it.

Have you met at Leipzig Mr. Frank, [Dr. Hermann Frank edited Brockhaus’ Allgemeine Zeitung for a year.] at the present moment editor of the Leipzig Allgemeine Zeitung? From the little I know of him (for he has been much more intimate with Chopin and Hiller than with me) I think he is capable of understanding you. He has left a charming impression behind him in Rome. If you see him, give him my affectionate regards.

My plans remain the same. I still intend to be in Vienna at the beginning of December, and in Paris at the end of February. I shall be capable of coming to look you up in Leipzig if you will let me make the journey from Paris with you. Try! Adieu, my dear Monsieur Schumann; write soon (address care of Ricordi, Florence: I shall be in the neighborhood of Lucca till the middle of September), and depend always on my sincere esteem and lively affection.

Yours in all friendship,

F. Liszt

20. To Breitkopf and Hartel

[Milan, June, 1839]


About three weeks ago I gave to Mr. Ricordi (who was on his way to Rome) the proofs of the two Symphonies you addressed to me. I hope they have reached you by now. Forgive me for having kept them so long, and also for having corrected them with so much care. But, firstly, they did not reach me till about the 20th of February, and then I did not know how to send them to you direct, for the diligences in this happy country are so insecure. I am therefore of necessity (though very unwillingly) behindhand.

Allow me to ask you for a second proof (for it is of great consequence to me that the edition should be as correct as possible), and this time I will beg you to send me three proofs of each Symphony, so that I may forward one to Paris and the other to London. Probably there will not be any more corrections to make in this second proof, and in that case I will let you know in two words (without returning your proof), telling you at the same time the date of publication.

My intention being to visit Vienna, Munich, and perhaps Leipzig at the beginning of next year (before going to England in the month of April), I shall take advantage of this opportunity to let the Symphonies be heard at my concerts, so as to give them a certain publicity.

I have looked through the Lieder you have been good enough to send me. I shall certainly do the “Adelaide,” however difficult it may seem to me to transcribe simply and elegantly. As regards the others, I am afraid I cannot find the necessary time. Moreover, that good Haslinger overwhelms me with Schubert. I have just sent him twenty-four more new songs (“Schwanengesang” and “Winterreise”), and for the moment I am rather tired with this work.

Would you be so kind as to send me, at the same time with the proofs of the Beethoven Symphonies, Mr. Mendelssohn’s “Preludes and Fugues”? It is an extremely remarkable work, and it has been impossible to get it in Italy. I shall be greatly obliged if you will send it me.

When you see Mr. Schumann please remember me very kindly to him. I have received the “Fantaisie” which he has done me the honor to dedicate to me, and the “Kinderscenen.” Don’t you think you ought to publish a book of Studies by him? I should be extremely curious to make acquaintance with them. All his works interest me in a high degree. It would be difficult for me to say as much of many of the compositions of my respected colleagues, with some exceptions.

I beg to remain, Gentlemen,

Yours most sincerely,

F. Liszt

Address the Symphonies to Mr. Ricordi, Florence. From the 15th of June till the 1st of September I shall be in the neighborhood of Lucca. Ricordi’s address is the safest.

21. To the Beethoven Committee at Bonn

[Printed in L. Ramann’s Biography of Liszt, vol. 1]


As the subscription for Beethoven’s monument is only getting on slowly, and as the carrying out of this undertaking seems to be rather far distant, I venture to make a proposal to you, the acceptance of which would make me very happy. [In Bonn, Beethoven’s birthplace, a committee had been formed to erect a Beethoven monument. Yet, in spite of the assent which met the proposal, the contributions flowed in so meagrely–Paris, for example, contributed only 424 francs 90 centimes–that Liszt, on reading this in a paper, immediately formed the noble resolution mentioned in the above letter. “Such a niggardly almsgiving, got together with such trouble and sending round the hat, must not be allowed to help towards building our Beethoven’s monument!” he wrote to Berlioz. Thus the German nation has in great measure to thank Franz Liszt for the monument erected to its greatest composer at Bonn.]

I offer myself to make up, from my own means, the sum still wanting for the erection of the monument, and ask no other privilege than that of naming the artist who shall execute the work. That artist is Bartolini of Florence, who is universally considered the first sculptor in Italy.

I have spoken to him about the matter provisionally, and he assures me that a monument in marble (which would cost about fifty to sixty thousand francs) could be finished in two years, and he is ready to begin the work at once. I have the honor to be, etc.,

Franz Liszt

Pisa, October 3rd, 1839

22. To Count Leo Festetics in Pest

[Printed in F. von Schober’s “Letters about Liszt’s Sojourn in Hungary.”]

Dear Count,

Shall you like to have me again at Pest this year? I know not. In any case you are threatened with my presence from the 18th to the 22nd of next December. I shall come to you a little older, a little more matured, and, permit me to say, more finished an artist, than I was when you saw me last year, for since that time I have worked enormously in Italy. I hope you have kept me in remembrance, and that I may always count on your friendship, which is dear to me.

What joy, what an immense happiness it will be to be once more in my own country, to feel myself surrounded by such noble and vigorous sympathies, which, thank God, I have done nothing to forfeit in my distant and wandering life. What feelings, what emotions will then fill my breast! All this, dear Count, I will not attempt to express to you, for in truth I should not know how. Let it suffice you to know that the love of my country, of my chivalrous and grand country, has ever lived most deeply in my heart; and that, if unhappily it does not seem likely that I can ever show to my country what a love and devotion I feel for it, the sentiments will remain none the less unchanged in my heart.

But I will not tire you any longer with myself and my sentiments.

I forgot to tell you that for nearly a week I have been confined to my bed with a very severe fever, which might easily have become more serious still. My second concert was obliged to be put off on account of it. Today my doctor has given me permission to play on Wednesday. I don’t really know whether I shall be able to do it, for my hand trembles fearfully. Excuse this horrible writing, but I did want to send you a few words. It is a sort of anticipation of Pest, which is sweet to me.

A revoir then very soon, dear Count; meanwhile believe me, as ever, yours most sincerely,

F. Liszt

November 24th, 1839, in bed

23. To Clara Wieck

[The great pianist, afterwards Schumann’s wife.]

Pest, December 25th, 1839

How grateful I am, Mademoiselle, for the kind remembrance you keep of me! And how much I am already rejoicing at the thought of seeing you and hearing you again soon in Leipzig! I was so vexed not to be in Paris last winter when I knew you were going to spend some time there. Perhaps I should have been able to be of some little use to you there. You know that, at all times and in every country, I shall always be at your service. I should become too lengthy if I allowed myself to reply in detail to your kind questions about my new compositions. I worked immensely hard in Italy. Without exaggeration I think I have written four to five hundred pages of pianoforte music. If you have patience to hear half a quarter of them I shall be delighted to play them to you, so so.

The “Studies after Paganini,” which are dedicated to you, will only appear in two months’ time; but I will bring you the proofs, which have long been corrected, to Leipzig.

Once more many thanks, and many tender and respectful wishes for everything that can contribute to your happiness. And above all a bientot.

Yours in admiration and sympathy,

F. Liszt

24. To Robert Schumann in Leipzig

[Autograph in the Royal Library in Berlin.]

Dresden, March 27th, 1840

My dear Schumann,

It is all splendid. Only I should prefer to play the “Hexameron” last, so as to finish with orchestra. Please, therefore, have the “Etudes” and the “Carnaval” put after the Mendelssohn Concerto! [Refers to Liszt’s third concert in Leipzig, on March 30th, 1840, for the benefit of the Orchestral Pension Fund.]

Best remembrances to Mendelssohn and Hiller; and believe me yours ever,

F. Liszt

I shall certainly return Monday morning, for on Sunday I am giving a concert for the poor here. But if it should de possible for me to come on Sunday…but I doubt it. [Together with this letter a friend, Carl K[ragen?], writes to Schumann: “He [Liszt] has played me the glorious Mendelssohn Concerto. It was divine! Tomorrow Tieck is to read Faust for Liszt at my mother’s house, and Liszt is to play at our house with Lipinski!, Do come for it! Ah, if you could only induce Mendelssohn and his wife to come too!”]

25. To Franz von Schober in Vienna

[The autographs of all the letters in this collection to Schober are in the possession of Fran Babette Wolf at Dresden.-Addressed to the poet and writer, an intimate and worthy friend of Franz Schubert. He became Councillor of Legation to Weimar, and died at Dresden in 1882.]

Metz, April 3rd, 1840

I did not get any news from you at Leipzig, dear Schober, as I expected. I am afraid I was very indiscreet in asking you to be so good as to undertake this work, which I should have valued so much, coming from you. [In answer to the distorted reports in various newspapers of Liszt’s visit to Hungary (January, 1840), Schober, who had been an eyewitness, thought it right to clear up the misrepresentations, which he did in the form of “Letters about Liszt’s Sojourn in Hungary”; these he published, but much later (Berlin, Schlesinger, 1843)] But I will not speak of it any more. If by any chance you have already done it I should be grateful to you to send it me–otherwise we will not speak of it any more.

Do you know that I have been pursued by one constant regret during my journey, the regret not to have induced you to accompany me? Your society has always been beneficial and strengthening to me: I do not know why, but I imagine that we should live smoothly together. Your qualities, your faults (if you have any), your character and temper, all please me and attach me to you. You know that I flatter myself I can understand and appreciate you…Should you see any great difficulty in joining me somewhere next autumn-at Venice, for example–and in making a European tour with me? Answer me frankly on this matter. And once more, the question of money need not be considered. As long as we are together (and I should like you to have at least three free years before you) my purse will be yours, on the sole condition that you consent to undertake the management of our expenses,–and that you are thoroughly convinced beforehand of the gratitude I shall feel towards you.

Excuse me, my dear good friend, for entering so plainly into matters, but we have talked together too openly, it seems to me, for it to be possible that your delicate feeling on certain points should be wounded by this.

I have sent back Kiss, of Dresden. He is a good fellow, but a little awkward, and wanting in a certain point of honor, without which a man is not a man as I understand the word. So I am alone now, and am not going to have any one tacked on to me. A former pupil of mine, Monsieur Hermann, has undertaken to arrange my concerts, which is a great relief to me. A propos of concerts, I gave six (in nine days!) at Prague, three at Dresden, and the same number at Leipzig (in twelve days)–so I am perfectly tired out, and feel great need of rest. That was good, wasn’t it? Adieu, my dear good friend-let me hear from you soon (address 19, Rue Pigalle, Paris), and depend entirely upon me–nunc et semper.

Yours ever sincerely,

F. Liszt

Will you be so good as to go to Diabelli’s [Music publisher in Vienna] when you pass by, and advise him again not to publish the third part of the Hungarian Melodies (which I sent him by Hartel) without first sending me a proof to Paris to correct. Adieu.

Best remembrances to Kriehuber [A well-known Vienna painter and lithographer, from whom a number of Liszt portraits have come.] and Lowy. Why does not the latter write to me?

26. To Maurice Schlesinger, Editor of the Gazette Musicale in Paris

[Given by L. Ramann, “Franz Liszt,” vol. ii., i.]


Allow me to protest against an inexact assertion in your last number but one:–

“Messieurs Liszt and Cramer have asked for the Legion of Honor,” etc.

I do not know if M. Cramer (who has just been nominated) has obtained the cross.

In any case I think that you, like every one else, will approve of a nomination so perfectly legitimate.

As to myself, if it be true that my name has figured in the list of candidates, this can only have occurred entirely without my knowledge. It has always seemed to me that distinctions of this sort could only be accepted, but never “asked for.”

I am, sir, etc.,

F. Liszt

London, May 14th, 1840

27. To Franz von Schober

[London, May or June, 1840]

My worthy friend,

A fortnight ago my mother wrote me word that she had given several letters, which had come for me from Germany, to a gentleman who was to bring them to me to London. I suppose there was one from you among the number, but up to now I have not received anything.

Allow me to repeat once more the request, which I have already made to you, to come for some time with me (a year or two, and more if you can); for I feel deeply that, the more we are separated by time and space, the more my thoughts and my heart go out to you. I have rarely felt this so strongly, and my wish to feel you settled with me grows daily stronger.

Moreover the persuasion that I feel that we should pass a happy and serious life together, makes me again press you further.

Try then to be at liberty as soon as possible, and once for all make a frank and friendly resolve. I assure you that it will not be difficult to ameliorate, by each other, our two lives, which in their different ways are sad and bad thus separated.

Let me have two words in reply on this point–which, to tell the truth, is the only important one for us both at this moment. Speak quite freely to me, and depend on me thoroughly.

Yours ever,

F. Liszt

Address care of Erard, 18, Great Marlborough Street.

Need I again assure you that any question will not be a question between us?

28. To Franz von Schober

Stonehenge, Salisbury, August 29th, 1840

It is with an unspeakable feeling of sadness and vexation that I write to you today, my dear good friend! Your letter had done me so much good; I was so happy at the thought of our meeting at the end of the autumn at latest; I wanted so to feel that I could rest on your arm, and that your heart, so full of kindness and brotherly help, was near me,–and, lo and behold! I am obliged to give it up, or at least to put it off…

An unfortunate engagement which I have just renewed, and which will keep me in England till the end of January, makes it impossible for me to say to you the one word which I wish to say, “Come!”–

England is not like any other country; the expenses are enormous. I really dare not ask you to travel with me here, for it would almost ruin us. Moreover we should hardly be able to be together, for I have three or four compulsory companions, from whom it is impossible for me to separate. I hoped to have done with all that by the beginning of October, but now I have to begin again in the middle of November. If I have time to make my journey to Russia this year it will be the utmost I can do, but it is a journey that I am in a way obliged to make after the gracious invitation of Her Majesty the Empress at Ems. On the 15th of next May I return again to London, probably by the steamer coming direct from St. Petersburg.

Where shall I find you in a year–fifteen months? It is very possible that I shall come and look for you in Vienna, but then I shall assuredly not leave without taking you with me.

I have some thoughts of spending the following winter at Constantinople. I am tired of the West; I want to breathe perfumes, to bask in the sun, to exchange the smoke of coal for the sweet smoke of the narghileh [Turkish pipe]. In short, I am pining for the East! O my morning land! O my Aborniko!–

My uncle writes that you have been very good and obliging to him. I thank you warmly.–Do you meet Castelli from time to time? When you see him beg him from me to translate the article I published in the Paris “Revue Musicale” (of August 23rd) on Paganini, and to get it put into the “Theater-Zeitung”. I should be very glad also if it could be translated into Hungarian, for the Hirnok (excuse me if I make a mess of the word!), but I do not know who could do it.

A propos of Hungarian! I shall always value highly the work on my sojourn in Pest. Send it me as soon as you possibly can, and address it to Madame la Comtesse d’Agoult, 10, Rue Neuve des Mathurins, Paris. Most affectionate remembrances to Kriehuber. His two portraits of me have been copied in London. They are without doubt the best.

Adieu, my dear excellent Schober. In my next letter I shall ask you about a matter of some consequence. It is about a Cantata for Beethoven, which I should like to set to music and to have it given at the great Festival which we expect to organize in 1842 for the inauguration of the Statue at Bonn.

Yours ever most affectionately,

F. Liszt

29. To Buloz

[Published in Ramann’s “Franz Liszt,” vol. ii., I.]

Editor of the Revue des Deux Mondes.