of heaviness or fatigue! This is what we all felt at this rehearsal; and the day after the performance we promised ourselves to hear it again speedily, and to make acquaintance, as speedily as possible, with Glinka’s other works.
Will you, my dear musician, be so kind as to renew the expression of my gratitude to Madame Schestakoff for the honor she has done me in dedicating this work to me? And when you have time, do come and hear it with your own ears at Weymar. I can assure you that you will not have occasion to regret the troubles of a little journey; and were it only the rhythm
[FIGURE: Music example in 2 staves, the upper ‘wind and brass’, the lower ‘string quartet’]
that would be enough to make ample amends for them. I beg you, sir, to accept the assurance of my sincere regard.
Weymar, January 8th, 1858
P.S.–I shall be much obliged if you will send me two supplementary parts of the quartet (first and second violin, viola, and bass) of each of Glinka’s works.
194. To Felix Draseke
[Now professor at the Dresden Conservatorium, a well-known composer of importance, also a writer on music (born 1835)]
Your articles [Published in the paper started by Brendel, “Hints” (or “Suggestions”)], which were so universally suggestive, my dear and valiant friend, have given great pleasure to us on the Altenburg. I hope to have an opportunity of showing you my gratitude in a lasting and abiding fashion. Meanwhile be satisfied with a good conscience in having strengthened and sustained an honest man in his better purpose.
I have received through Brendel an invitation to Prague, which I shall probably accept for the beginning of March. I am delighted to think of seeing you again, dear friend, in passing through Dresden, and perhaps you might make it possible to accompany me to Prague. The “Dante Symphony” and the “Ideale” are again to be given there, and, if I am not mistaken, you will rather like the former work in its present shape. The Dresden performance was a necessity to me, in order to realize its effect. As long as one has only to do with lifeless paper one can easily make a slip of the pen. Music requires tone and resonance!–I cannot at first lay claim to effectual results, because I have to meet too much opposition. The chief thing is that my present works should prove themselves to be taking a firm footing in musical matters, and should contribute something towards doing away with what is corrupt…
What is Reubke [A pupil of Liszt’s.] doing, and how does he like Dresden?–Take him most friendly greetings from me. By-the-by ask him also to give me tidings as soon as possible (through Herr Menert) about the copying of the orchestral parts of the Rubinstein Oratorio “Paradise Lost,” and to get Herr Menert to send me these parts to Weymar by the end of this month at latest. It is to be hoped that Reubke won’t have left the score in his box like Pohl! But if by chance he has committed such a transgression I beg that he will make amends as speedily as possible.
Fischer (the organist) wrote to me lately, to ask me for a testimonial to his musical ability, as he wants to have one to show in Chemnitz. Please to make my friendly excuses to him for not fulfilling his wish–possibly, in view of the enmity which I have to bear on all sides, such a document would do him more harm than good; apart from the fact that I very unwillingly set about drawing up such testimonials. He must not, however, misconstrue this disinclination on my part, and may rest assured of my readiness to be of use to him.–
I would still draw your attention to Bronsart’s concert in Leipzig. It will take place in a few days, and if you can get free I invite you to it. Bronsart is a very dear friend of mine; I value him as a character and as a musician. If you go to Leipzig go and see him; he will please you, and will receive you in the most friendly manner. He is a friend of Bulow’s. Both names have the same initials, and for a long time Bronsart signed himself “Hans II.” in his letters to me.–
In the virtuoso line we have lately been hearing Sivori and Bazzini here several times. The latter is now in Dresden; I told him that Reubke would perhaps call on him. Get Reubke to do so, and assure him that he will be most friendlily received. A well- known piece of Bazzini’s, “La Ronde des Lutins,” was, by a printer’s error, called “Ronde des Cretins!” [“Rondo of Idiots.”] What an immeasurably large public for such a “Rondo”! If only half of them would become subscribers to the Anregungen (Hints)!
Once more a thousand thanks, dear friend, for your courageous battling; I on my side will endeavour not to let us have to acquiesce with too overpowering a modesty! [An untranslatable pun on the words “beseheiden” and “Bescheidenheit.”
[Weimar,] Sunday, January 10th, 1858
195. To Louis Koehler
My very dear friend,
A few days ago I received a letter from Koenigsberg, signed by a gentleman unknown to me. By chance this letter has got lost, and I cannot myself remember the exact name. But, as your name was mentioned in it, I beg you to be so good as to let Herr * * * know that I do not possess the arrangement of the second movement of my Faust Symphony made by Zellner in Vienna for pianoforte, violin, harp, and harmonium, and that consequently I cannot hand it over to him. Besides this, I do consider such a fragmentary performance of this work of mine, which stands in such bad credit with the critics, as rather unsuitable, and would not advise any concert-giver, and still less any concert-directors, to smuggle into a programme my name so challenged as a composer. How long this curious comedy of criticism will last I am unable to determine; anyhow I am resolved not to trouble my head about the cry of murder which is raised against me, and to go on my way in a consistent and undeterred fashion. Whether I shall be answerable for the scandal, or whether my opponents will entangle themselves in the scandal, will appear later. Meanwhile they can hiss and scribble as much as they please. In the course of the summer my “Faust” and “Dante” Symphonies will be published by Hartel, together with a couple of new Symphonic Poems. The “Faust Symphony” is dedicated to Berlioz, and the “Dante” to Wagner. I am sending them to you, dear friend, with the two pianoforte arrangements, with the risk that nothing will please you in them, which however will not prevent us from being good friends. You may rest assured that I shall always be grateful to you for the friendliness you have shown me in past years, and that I would never attempt to compromise you with my future. For the latter I alone can and must care.
Please then make my best excuses to Herr * * *, whose kind letter has, alas! cost me much useless searching, and continue your personal well-wishing to your ever faithful friend (though fallen in musical esteem and under your ban),
Weymar, February 1st, 1858
196. To Professor L. A. Zellner in Vienna
You may believe me, dear friend, when I tell you that all the disagreeables and vexations which the preparations for the performance of my Mass [The Gran Festival Mass.] draw upon you are the most acutely felt by myself. Do you really think it is desirable to go against trifles of this sort and openly to fight them? I should not like to decide this “a distance”; but I promise you that I will not leave you in the lurch if in the end the indispensable invitation to me follows. The concert at Prague is to take place on the 12th of March, and I invite you to it. Then after that I can travel with you on the 14th to Vienna or return to Weymar. But I hope the former. I have nothing whatever to say against the invitation of the Pest singers, because the four persons have remained in my friendly remembrance. Yet I must remark that the performance of the solos in my Mass offers no special difficulties, and that consequently it could be quite suitably and satisfactorily given by Vienna singers, which seems both simpler and pleasanter. Herr Dr. Gunz, Herr Panzer, and Fraulein Huber are quite satisfactory to me as soloists, as also Fraulein Friedlowsky, of whom I have heard the highest praise as Elizabeth. The tenor and alto are the chief people concerned, as they have the principal subject in the Kyrie and Benedictus. If we have two rehearsals with pianoforte, which I shall have great pleasure in holding with the ladies and gentlemen myself, we shall thoroughly get to the bottom of it; and if the singers have steadfastness enough to make an effect with their part the thing will go of itself.
With regard to the chorus and orchestra I reserve it to myself to express my thanks to Hellmesberger and the chorus-directors in writing, as soon as I have definite tidings. But to you, dear friend, I can only repeat that he who will understand me loves me also–and that I remain,
Yours in all friendship,
Weymar, February 8th, 1858
197. To Peter Cornelius in Mainz
[Weimar,] February 19th, 1858
It is very bad, dearest Cornelius, that you have so long forsaken us! Much as I must approve of your decision to finish writing your Opera [“Der Barbier von Baghdad”] completely, yet I am dreadfully sorry to be without you for so many months. I did hope that you would be with us on the 18th of February for certain; now you announce yourself for the middle of March, at which time I shall probably not be here. On the 12th of March I conduct a concert at Prague, at which the “Ideale” and the “Dante Symphony” will be given. Thence I proceed to Vienna, and later to Loewenberg (in Silesia) to my noble and most amiable patron Prince Hohenzollern-Hechingen, who, in spite of political changes, has not only retained his Hechingen orchestra, but has also increased it by fresh members.
I wish I could give you better tidings of my work, best friend, than I am able to do. The last few months have passed without my being able to do any steady work at my writing. I have merely sketched and patched.
By May will appear a new edition of the Kuenstler-Chor (with some important simplifications and improvements), and shortly after that the volume of my “Gesammelte Lieder” [“Collected Songs.”] (about thirty), one or two of which will not be displeasing to you. I shall not be able to set to the working out of my Elizabeth till my return from Vienna.
The three songs [by Cornelius] (dedicated to Princess Marie) [Princess Wittgenstein, now Princess Hohenlohe in Vienna.] are charming and excellent. There is in them such a refined and true proportion in union with such fervent and ardent mood that other people besides the author must love them.
In order to make no break in my wonted fault-finding, I observe that in the fifth bar of the first song the A-flat is more agreeable than G.
[Figure: Music example showing the passage in question.] The carrying out of the motive in the second song:
[Figure: Here Liszt writes 2 bars of music to illustrate.]
(page 2, last line, and page 3) you have done most happily–also the moonlight conclusion of it,
[Figure: Here Liszt writes 3 bars of music to illustrate.]
and the poetic delineation of the last verse in the third song (in which the rests in the voice part and the motive in the accompaniment, enlivened by the rhythm [Here follows in the original an illegible sign. In the song there come in here, in place of the quaver movement which has prevailed hitherto, some long-sustained chords in the accompaniment, which are again interrupted by the quaver movement.], make an excellent effect):- –
“Wenn mein Lied zu Ende geht, Sing ich’s weiter in Gedanken, Wie’s im Wald verschwiegen weht, Wie die Rosen sich umranken!”
[“When my song is ended quite, Yet in thought I still am singing, As the wood at silent night Echoes from the day is bringing!”]
Well and good, dearest Cornelius, and now some more soon, let me beg of you! Don’t make too long pauses in your hermitage, and allow us to tell you and prove to you how truly we love you.
P.S.–About two months ago I at last sent Schott the proofs of the second year of the “Annees de Pelerinage,” together with the manuscript of Seroff’s arrangement for two pianofortes of Beethoven’s C-sharp minor Quartet. Will you be so good as to get Schott to let me know the fate of the C-sharp minor Quartet? Although two-piano arrangements are somewhat thankless articles of sale, yet perhaps Schott may manage to bring out this Quartet, of which I should be very glad.
Don’t forget, dearest friend, to remind him that he has left my letter about this matter hitherto unanswered–and I should be glad to let Seroff know something definite.
198. To Dionys Pruckner in Munich
“Lohengrin” be thanked that I hear something from you again, dear Dionysius, and I give you my best thanks that you wrote to me directly after the first performance, and thus gave me fresh good tidings [Namely after the first performance of Lohengrin in Munich, on February 28th, 1858]. What criticism will emit about it by way of addition troubles me little–in our present circumstances its strength consists mainly in the fear which people have of it; and, as the Augsburg gentlemen renounce all claim “to wash to teach us,” nothing remains for us but to teach ourselves better than they can do it.
Ad vocem of the severe gentlemen of Augsburg, I will send you in a few days Bronsart’s brochure “Musikalische Pflichten” [“Musical Duties.” Leipzig, Matthes, 1858] (in answer to the “Musikalische Leiden” [“Musical Sufferings.” In Nos. 353-55 of the supplement to the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung, 1857.], etc.). The A[llgemeine]Z[eitung] only made a couple of extracts from it in its columns, and from these the point was missing. Bronsart exquisitely accuses our opponents of ill-will, unfairness, and calumniation. Since they have not succeeded in silencing us in a conspicuous manner, they would like to kill us insignificantly, for which, however, other weapons would be necessary than those which they have at their command.
Meanwhile Bronsart’s form of argument will give you a pleasant hour, and if, as you tell me, you have found in Munich a few comrades of the same mind, let the “Musikalische Pflichten” be recommended in their circle.
Amongst other things the assumption of the reporter of the A. Z. that Wagner himself had never conducted his Lohengrin better than Franz Lachner, appeared to me very droll. It is well known that Wagner has never heard this work, let alone conducted it!– Ignorance of this kind is, moreover, not the worst on the other side, where intentional and unintentional ignorance and lies (not to mince the matter) are continually being directed against us.
But enough of that. Let us continue to go on our own way simply and honorably, and let the tame or wild beasts on our right and left behave as they like!–
I have not kept your last letter (during my stay in Dresden). Address, up to the 25th of this month, to Haslinger in Vienna. I shall get there by the beginning of next week, and shall conduct the Gran Mass in the Redouten-Saal [Ball-room] on the 22nd and 23rd. Next Thursday the “Dante Symphony” and the “Ideale” will be given here–and on Sunday “Tasso” (in a Conservatorium Concert). Tausig and Pflughaupt [A pupil of Henselt and Liszt (1833-71)] play my two Concertos.
In the E-flat major (No. 1) I have now hit on the expedient of striking the triangle (which aroused such anger and gave such offence) quite lightly with a tuning-fork–and in the Finale (Marcia) I have pretty nearly struck it out altogether, because the ordinary triangle-virtuosi as a rule come in wrong and strike it too hard.
Rubinstein and Dreyschock came to see me in Weymar before I left. The latter is intending to go to Munich. Go and see him and give him greetings from me.
Write and tell me, dear Dionysius, if I can be of use to you in any way, and you may always dispose of Yours in all friendship,
Prague, March 9th, 1858
P.S.–Give me some tidings about your stay in Munich. With whom do you have most intercourse? Do you see many of my friends there–Kaulbach, Frau Pacher, etc.? Do you give lessons? Are you thinking of settling there, or do you intend to make a concert tour, and if so, where?–Send me also your exact address.
199. To Eduard Liszt
Hearty thanks for your few lines.
The letter of invitation has not yet arrived. It goes without saying that I shall accept it; and as soon as I know in what form and to whom I have to reply, I shall write at once. Meanwhile I intend to reach Vienna on Monday, or Tuesday at latest. After tomorrow’s concert (with “Dante” and the “Ideale”) there is still a Conservatorium Concert to come off on Sunday at midday, at which I shall conduct “Tasso,” and also my first Concerto will be played by Herr Pflughaupt. I shall either start for Vienna at once that same evening, or else on Tuesday early. Will you be so good as to order me rooms, as before, in the Kaiserin von Oesterreach [Empress of Austria.] hotel? I am bringing Tausig with me, whose acquaintance you will like to make.
Yours in spirit, and by the ties of flesh and blood,
Prague, Wednesday early, March 10th, 1858
I received the five hundred gulden all right–and also the big bill, which was a pleasant surprise to me, for when I left Weymar I had made up my mind to give up all claim to it. Now that it has come, however, it must be something good!–I promise you this, that we shall not disgrace ourselves, and shall even surpass the expectations of our very few friends!–
200. To Frau Dr. Steche in Leipzig
Vienna, March 20th, 1858
How many excuses I owe you, my dear lady and kind friend, for all the trouble and disagreeables that the “Preludes” have occasioned you! I can really scarcely pardon myself for having written the piece!–When the Princess informed me of your kind intention I wrote to her that a performance of my things in Leipzig appeared to me untimely, and that I was resolved to let them fall into oblivion rather than to importune my friends with them. Hence the heterogeneousness of the letters and telegrams to you, dear madam, which I beg you kindly to excuse. Candidly, I still think it is better not to have the “Preludes” performed now in Leipzig;[As there had already been a performance of this on the 26th of February, 1857, this can only refer to a performance in the “Euterpe” Concerts.] but I thank you none the less warmly for the kind interest you take in my compositions–in spite of their bad name–and take this opportunity of repeating to you the expression of high esteem and friendly devotion with which I remain
201. To Professor L. A. Zellner in Vienna
Pest, April 6th, 1858
[Here Liszt writes a musical score excerpt of a whole note A falling to quarter note D, in octave below middle C, with the word ‘Cre – do’ under the notes]
Cre-do we will conclude this time in Vienna! We must not give certain gentlemen any occasion to imagine that I concern myself about them more than is really the case. Faust and Dante can quietly wait for the due understanding of them. I must send them next to Hartel, so that they may be published by the end of this year. Give my very best thanks to Hellmesberger for the kind way in which he meets me; he will forgive me if I cannot as yet put it to use. Under existing circumstances it is wise and suitable for me “to strive with earnest consistency for my high aim, regardless of adverse circumstances and small-minded people.”
At the end of next week I go to Lowenberg, and thence back to Weymar. Therefore no concert in Vienna for this season–what may happen later on remains meanwhile undecided.
The Pest concert has also not been given; but possibly my Symphonic Poems may obtain a hearing in Pest sooner than in Vienna, because I may expect much more susceptibility to them here. When I have got my Opera finished, [This must be “Sardanapalus.”] I must in any case stay here a couple of month– and on that occasion, perhaps, I may be able to bring in my Symphonic things in three or four concerts. But there is no hurry whatever for this; the “Elizabeth” and the Opera must be finished first…
My intention had been to get to Vienna yesterday, and to be satisfied with calling only on our four solo-singers and Count Raday in Pest to express my thanks. But I was pressed on all sides in so kind a manner to let my Gran Festival Mass be heard again that I willingly acquiesced. The articles in the Austrian p[aper], and your brochure, have done the most towards stirring up the general wish. The public is like this–that they only know what they ought to think of a work when they see it printed in black and white!–You have therefore to answer for it if the Mass is performed here a second time–on Friday afternoon in the Museum-Saal (for the benefit of the Conservatorium) and on Sunday in the Parish Church. On Monday evening I shall be in Vienna. I wrote to Tausig yesterday that we would decide on the evening of our musical meeting at your house after Countess Banffy has chosen on the evening for her soiree (at which Tausig will play). If I hear anything further about it Tausig shall let you know at once, so that you may be able to make your invitations in advance. On Thursday or on Saturday at latest I leave Vienna. All further particulars viva voce.
There is no truth in the idea of a private concert. I will tell you in what way I might be able to realize it another time–and will take counsel and consent about it from you.
202. To Eduard Liszt
It is not enough that I have already been in all sorts of trouble here in connection with the two performances of the Gran Mass, which will take place next Friday and Sunday (for which four to five rehearsals at the least are indispensable)–but now the post from Vienna brings me bad tidings, for which indeed I was prepared, but which, nevertheless, are by no means desired by me. I had a long letter yesterday from our friend Z., which I am answering with a decided refusal as regards a nearly impending performance of my Symphonic Poems in Vienna. For this time we will stop at the two performances of the Gran Mass–neither a note more nor less. Later on we will consider how we shall stand on the next occasion, and I shall take counsel with you about it, because I have the conviction that you not only intend and act for the best and kindest as regards me, but also the most judiciously!–
On Monday evening I shall be back in Vienna–and will expect you directly I reach home. If possible I shall start from Vienna on Thursday evening–but at the latest on Saturday early. I have written to Tausig to take my old rooms for me. Much as I should like to come to you, yet this time it is simpler for me to stay at an hotel.
To our speedy meeting, which, alas! will be a good deal clouded for us by these various obstructions. But in Vienna it can’t be otherwise. On this account you must soon come again to Weymar, where we can belong to ourselves.
Heartfelt greetings in sincere friendship and loving devotion from
Pest, April 7th, 1858
203. To Adolf Reubke, Organ-Builder at Hausneinsdorf in the Harz.
[Written on the death of his son Julius Reubke (died June 3rd, 1858), a favorite pupil of Liszt’s.]
Allow me to add these few lines of deepest sympathy to the poem by Cornelius, [“Bein Tode von Julius Reubke” (“On the Death of Julius Reubke”). Cornelius, Poems. Leipzig, 1890.] which lends such fitting words to our feelings of sorrow. Truly no one could feel more deeply the loss which Art has suffered in your Julius, than the one who has followed with admiring sympathy his noble, constant, and successful strivings in these latter years, and who will ever bear his friendship faithfully in mind–the one who signs himself with great esteem
Yours most truly,
Weymar, June 10th, 1858
204. To Prince Constantin von Hohenzollern-Hechingen
[Autograph in the possession of Herr Alexander Meyer Cohn in Berlin.–This very musical Prince was for years Liszt’s patron, and often invited the latter to stay with him at his Silesian residence at Lowenberg, where he kept up an orchestra.]
When Your Highness was kind enough to express your views to me respecting your noble design of encouraging in an exceptional manner the progress of musical Art, and to question me as to the best mode of employing a certain sum of money for this object, I think I mentioned to you Mr. Brendel, the editor of the Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik, as the best man to make your liberal intentions bear fruit. As much on account of the perfect uprightness of his character, which is free from all reproach, as for the important and continuous services which his paper and other of his works have rendered to the good cause for many years past, I consider Mr. Brendel entirely worthy of your confidence.
It is not lightly that I put forward this opinion–and I venture to flatter myself that my antecedents will be a sufficient guarantee to Your Highness that in this matter, as in any others in which I may have the honor of submitting any proposition to you, I could follow no other influences, no other counsels, than those of a scrupulous conscience. Putting aside all considerations of vanity or personal advantage foreign to the end in view, my sincere and sole desire is to make Your Highness’s intentions and capital the most productive possible. It is with this view that I have openly spoken of the matter to Brendel, whose letter, which I venture to enclose herewith, corresponds, as it seems to me, with the programme in question.
I venture to beg you, Monseigneur, to look into this attentively, and to let me know whether you will grant permission to Brendel to enter into these matters more explicitly by writing to you direct. In the event of the propositions contained in his letter meeting with the approval of Your Highness, as I trust they may do, it would be desirable that you should let him know without too much delay in what manner you would wish your kind intentions carried out.
In order to fulfill its task of progress, the Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik has not spared its editor either in efforts or sacrifices. By the fact that it represents, in a talented and conscientious manner, the opinions and sympathies of my friends and myself, it is in the most advanced, and consequently the most perilous, position of our musical situation; therefore our adversaries lose no opportunity of raising difficulties for it. Our opinions and sympathies will he sustained, I doubt not, by their worth and conviction; but if Your Highness condescends to come to our aid, we shall be both proud and happy–and it is by spreading our ideas through the Press that we can best strengthen our position.
In other words, I am convinced that, in granting your confidence to Mr. Brendel, the sum that Your Highness is pleased to devote to this matter will be employed in the most honest manner, and that most useful to the progress of Art–and that all the honor and gratitude which your munificence deserves will spring from it–as is the earnest desire of him who has the honor to be, Monseigneur, Your Highness’s most devoted and humble servant,
Weymar, August 18th, 1858
205. To Frau Rosa von Milde
[Court opera-singer in Weimar, nee Agthe; the first Elsa in Lohengrin; a refined and poetical artist]
Weymar, August 25th, 1858
My honored and dear Friend,
If the outward circumstances which you mention in your kind letter are not exactly of the kind that I could wish for you, yet I am egotist enough to be much pleased at its friendly contents towards myself. Accept my warmest thanks for them–and let me tell you how anxious I am that you should like me very much, and how desirous I am to deserve this–as far as it can be deserved; for the best part of a harmonious intimacy must ever remain a free gift.
The “wanton, ragged garments of the Muse,” which you abandon with strict generosity, make a show and please almost everywhere. Her sensual charm is not unknown to me; yet I think I may say that it was given me to lay hold of a higher and a pure ideal, and to vow to it my whole endeavors for many years past. You, dear friend, have, through your singing, often led me to this in the best way, without thinking of it. Moreover it always does me so much good when we meet in unity in the same path.–
Owing to a heap of visits (among which were several of deep interest, such as Kaulbach, Varnhagen, Carus, etc.), I have been much interrupted in the completion of the “Elizabeth.” Still, I hope to be ready with it by February. You will then again do the best part for it, and must practice works of artistic mercy!– What is the good of anything that is written on paper, if it is not comprehended by the soul and imparted in a living manner?– But among the works of mercy I am not desirous that you should have to bury a still-born Oratorio!–
My heartfelt, twofold greetings to Milde, as friend and as artist. I am writing the part of Landgrave Ludwig for him–and, as the Landgrave is very speedily got out of the way, I will ask him to undertake, in addition, two other parts (those of a Hungarian magnate and a bishop).
The day after tomorrow I accompany the Princess to the mountains and cascades of the Tyrol. On our return journey we shall spend a couple of days in Munich, and shall be back here by the end of September. Will you allow me to conduct “Alceste” on the 2nd of October?–Sobolewski’s “Comala” [Opera by Sobolewski.] is fixed for the 12th. I shall give over to our common friend Lassen (to whom please remember me warmly) the pianoforte rehearsals during my absence.
I hope you will get quite strong and enjoy yourself much at the seaside, dear friend, and return in good spirits to us at Weymar, where you are quite indispensable to
Yours most truly and devotedly, F. Liszt
P.S.–Possibly Fraulein * * * (whose name at this moment I forget) will come from Berlin to Weymar during my absence. I recommend her again to Milde and yourself. Preller will introduce her to you, and I beg that Milde will help her with good teaching. If I am not mistaken, she would stand proof well in mezzo-soprano parts.
I have trustworthy tidings of the brilliant success of the first performance of “Lohengrin” in Vienna (on the 19th of this month). Rienzi was also taken up again in these days as before.
206. To Dr. Franz Brendel
Dear honored Friend,
The memorandum is excellent, and I agree with it in all points. I have noted this, according to your wish, at the end by the words vu et approuve [Seen and approved.] (a perfectly correct formula in French). The Prince’s address is as follows:–
To His Highness Prince Constantin Hohenzollern-Hechingen, Lowenberg, Silesia. I should not be able for the present to find you a Paris correspondent. But, as I understand, Bülow intends to go to Paris in the course of this winter, and would then be best able to tell you of a colleague there. There is no hurry about the article on theater curtains. As soon as I am somewhat through the mass of arrears in correspondence I will take an opportunity of sending it to you, but whether it will be in time to appear in the first number of the “Anregungen” I cannot say.
I told Pohl yesterday that I wish the Dresden Weber concerto affair in the meantime not to be mentioned in the paper. The whole affair has for the moment made an extraordinary stir, and I will tell you about it later on. For the present there is nothing to be said about it on our side, even if other papers mix themselves up in it in an incompetent manner. Very likely the winter will slip away before the intended concert comes off. [The Dresden theater directors intended, as M. M. v. Weber tells us in his biography of his father (vol. ii., p. 721), to arrange a concert for the benefit of the Weber Memorial which was to be erected. Liszt was equally desirous of doing something publicly for the Master whom he so highly esteemed; but “because they could not agree whether he should take part in the directors’ concert or use the personnel of the Royal Opera at his own concert, neither of the concerts was given.”]
Sobolewski (who has been detained this time by his theater work in Bremen) will come here for the second performance of “Comala”. I will let you know about it.
The work is worth your hearing and interesting yourself in. Owing to the acting of the two Schmidts (husband and wife), as guests here, [“Das Gastspiel”–the playing as guests at a theater–is an expression used when actors or singers other than those attached to the theater of the place come to act or sing there for a time] the second performance has been postponed until towards the middle of this month.
I will send Riedel the pianoforte edition of my Mass very shortly.
With heartfelt greetings,
November 2nd, 1858
207. To Johann von Herbeck
Your three splendid fellows, my high-minded and honorable gipsies, [“Die drei Zigeuner” (“The Three Gipsies”), by Lenau, for voice with pianoforte accompaniment.] are most excellently lodged on the Altenburg. First of all the song was played on the violin, then with cello–another time I tried it alone, and yesterday Caspari sang me the song, so full of pith and beauty and intrinsic worth, to the delight of us all and of myself in particular. It will remain as a brilliant repertoire piece amongst us, and I shall very soon introduce it to Tichatschek, who will assuredly give it with inspiration and will make it widely known. Please forgive me, dear friend, for not having expressed my warm thanks to you sooner.–I only got home a few weeks ago from my journey to the Tyrol and Munich, and have scarcely been able to sit down to write, owing to all the business pressing upon me from every side. If Lessing says “One must not must,” nevertheless the saying of Kladderadatsch, “Bien muss,” [“The bee must”–referring to a joke in the German Punch (Kladderadatsch).] is, for ordinary mortals, much more applicable–and over this “bee must” one at last becomes quite idle from sheer weariness.
I will take the first opportunity of sending you your manuscript of the score of the Mass for men’s voices to Vienna. The Gloria, which was performed at the University Jubilee Festival of Jena last August, was made most effective by your excellent instrumentation. You will observe a slight alteration at the conclusion (six bars instead of five, and a slightly less risky modulation), which I beg you to follow at any performance there may chance to be in Vienna.
As regards the choruses to “Prometheus,” I confess to you candidly that, much as I thank you for thinking about them, I think it is wiser to wait a little bit. I am not in the slightest hurry to force myself on to the public, and can quietly let a little more of the nonsense about my failure in attempts at composition be spread abroad. Only in so far as I am able to do something lasting may I place some modest value upon it. This can and will be decided by time alone. But I should not wish previously to impose on any of my friends the disagreeables which the performance of my works, with the widespread presuppositions and prejudices against them, brings with it. In a few years I hope things will go better, more rationally, and more justly with musical matters.
Until then we will go forward composedly and contemplatively on our way! Once more best thanks and greetings from yours in all friendship,
Weymar, November 22nd (St. Cecilia’s Day), 1858
208. To Felix Draseke
My very dear Friend,
Herewith the piano edition of the two first acts of “Sigurd.” [Opera by Draseke.]–Imagining that you may also want the score of the first act, which had remained here, I send it also, sorry as I am to part from this monumental work. Under present existing circumstances, which on my side are passive and negative, as I intimated to you after the performance of Cornelius’s Opera, there is no prospect of putting Sigurd on the boards at present. But I promise myself the pleasure and satisfaction of letting all your “Tamtis” and “Beckis” be heard, when I have again resumed my active work at the Weymar theater, for which there may probably be an opportunity next season.
After you left Weymar we had to swallow a kind of second piece or supplement to the performance of the “Barber of Baghdad,” on occasion of Madame Viardot’s performance as “guest” here. But I will not weary you with tales of our local miseries and crass improprieties. I will only intimate thus much–that, under the present Intendant régime, to my sorrow, the inviting of Frau Schroder-Devrient to play here as guest is met by almost unconquerable difficulties from within. Tell our excellent friend Bronsart this, and tell him into the bargain that a concert (in the room in the Town Hall), at which he and Frau Schroder- Devrient should appear without any other assistance, would certainly be very welcome to the public, and I should look upon this as in any case a practical introduction to the performance as guest. This matter lies outside my present sway, but it goes without saying that I will not fail to let my slight influence towards a favorable solution of the matter be felt.–
The day before yesterday I heard at Gotha your countryman’s new opera (Diana von Solange) for the second time. The work was received with great approval, and is shortly to be given in Dresden, where you will be best able to judge of it. Mitterwurzer and Frau Ney have some very effective moments in it.
The concerts of the joint Weymar and Gotha orchestras (a matter which I broached long ago) again came under discussion, and possibly this March an attempt will be made to set them going. Meanwhile let us look after our cordial [Magen-Starkung] “mentre che il danno e la vergogna dura,” [“Whilst prejudice and shame last.”] as Michael Angelo says.–
Friendly greetings from your faithful and devoted
January 12th, 1859
Will you give the enclosed letter to Bronsart?
209. To Heinrich Porges In Prague
[Now Royal music-director and conductor of a first-rate Gesang- verein [vocal union] in Munich, where he has lived since 1867. Born 1837. Is also a writer on music.]
Dear Sir and Friend,
Owing to your affectionate understanding of what I have striven after in the “Dante Symphony” and the “Ideale”, you have a special right to both works. Allow me to offer them to you as a token of my sincere attachment, as also of the grateful remembrance which I keep of the Prague performance. [At Porges’ initiative the medical students had invited Liszt, in 1858, to a concert, at which his Dante Symphony and the Icdeale were given. In 1859 Bulow was also invited at Porges’ inducement.] Taking your kindness for granted, I beg you to give the other two copies to Herr Professor Mildner and Herr Dr. Ambros with my best thanks.
It is to be hoped that this year’s “Medical” Concert will have favorable results. My valiant son-in-law, H. von Bulow, cannot fail to be recognized among you as an eminent musician and noble character. I thank you and Herr Musil (to whom I beg you to remember me most kindly) for offering Bülow this opportunity of doing something in Prague.–There is no doubt that he will fulfill all your expectations.
For the next “Medical” Concert I willingly place myself at your disposal. Possibly we might on this occasion venture on the Symphonic Poem No. I “Ce qu’on entered sur la Montagne”–the chorus “An die Kunstler,” and the “Faust Symphony?”–The respected medical men would thus take the initiative in the new musical pathology!–
For the Tonkunstler-Versammlung, etc. [Meeting of Musicians], in Leipzig at the beginning of June Dr. Brendel is expecting you, and I rejoice at the thought of meeting you again there. If the affair is not too much hampered in its natural course by local miseries and malevolence, it may do much for the bettering of our suffering musical position. In any case we will not fail in doing our part towards it.
With highest esteem, yours most truly,
Weymar, March 10th, 1859
210. To Capellmeister Max Seifriz in Lowenberg
[Autograph in the possession of Herr Alexander Meyer Cohn in Berlin.]
I feel the most heartfelt sympathy with you in your sad days at Lowenberg, and trust with you that they will not last much longer. When there is a suitable opportunity, express to our Prince my heartfelt, grateful devotion. Then tell me quite openly and candidly whether my visit to Lowenberg, in the course of next month, will be welcome and will make no trouble. I had planned to spend the Easter week there, and only await preliminary tidings from you to announce myself by letter to His Highness. Dr. Brendel wished at the same time to pay his respects to the Prince. The press of work upon him just now especially will only allow him to stay a couple of days with you; but I for my part, if I am assured that my visit will not come inopportunely, should like to prolong my stay a little. Perhaps, as you are so kindly intending to invite Damrosch, it might be arranged for him to come at the same time. It would be a great pleasure to me to see the valiant friend and comrade in Art again with you.
I give you once more my best thanks for the kind attention which you have caused to be bestowed on my works. The many attacks on me which I have to bear enhance still more the value I place on the sympathy and concurrence of my friends.
By today’s post I send you the scores of the Dante Symphony, the “Ideale,” and the Goethe March, which have just come out–the former merely to read through (as a memento of the Dresden performance, which served as a rehearsal to me, after which several alterations in the score occurred to me)-but the other two might not be wholly unsuitable for a performance with your gallant orchestra, to whom I beg you to remember me most kindly.
May the things be welcome to you, dear friend, as a token of the very high esteem of
Yours in all friendship,
Weymar, March 22nd, 1859
211. To Eduard Liszt
Warmest thanks for all you have done, said, and felt, dearest Eduard. I hope that I am only going a few steps in front of you, and that in a couple of years the same distinction will fall to your lot, in which I shall then have the same pleasure as is granted to you today. [This would be the bestowing of the title of nobility on Liszt, who, however, as is well known, never used it.]
Herewith my letter of thanks to S. E. von Bach. [Austrian Minister of the Interior.] Perhaps you would think it well to deliver the letter yourself. Take the opportunity of remembering me to Wurzbach, who has always been most friendly to me. I will write to Daniel one of these next days. The Princess goes tomorrow to Munich, where Kaulbach is painting the portrait of Princess Marie. On the 30th of this month I again make a visit to Prince Hohenzollern at Lowenberg (Shlesia), and shall then soon take up my quarters at Leipzig, where we shall have to live through some rather warm days on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd June. For the rest there are good prospects for us there; and, even if dishonesty and malevolence make the utmost exertions (as we may expect they will do), this can do us but very little injury (where it does not help us).
You have possibly already heard that the Schiller Festival in Weymar has been frustrated by the imprudence of Dingelstedt. In spite of that I am composing the Introduction to the Festival by Halm, which may find its use here or elsewhere. With heartfelt thanks and greetings, your
[Weimar,] April 5th, 1859
212. To N. N., Music-Director at Weimer
[Autograph in the possession of Herr Gille, Privy Councillor in Jena.]
Dear Herr Music-Director,
I learn today by chance of the measures which have been taken a posteriori against the concert conducted and arranged by Herr Gotze [Carl Gotze, chorister, afterwards music-director.] and sincerely regret that a Weimar music-director and Weymar Court musician could deem such a thing suitable.
I, with my exceptional and only occasional dealings with the orchestra here, can only draw your attention to the fact of how deplorably such occurrences run counter to a nice feeling of decorum, and still more to the nobler artist feeling.
April 17th, 1859
213. To Peter Cornelius In Vienna Weymar
May 23rd, 1859
I learn with joy from your letter (which has just crossed mine from Lowenberg), that things are going well and comfortably with you in Vienna. It is easy to see that your stay there, when once you have made a firm footing, will become very advantageous–and whatever I can do towards helping this you may be sure I shall do. Herewith a few lines for Herr von Villers, Secretary of the Saxon Embassy (where you will learn his address). He is one of my older friends who has remained very dear to me. In his refined poetic and musical feeling many kindred tones will sound for you. Tell him all about Weymar and play him something from the “Barbier”. [Cornelius’ Opera] Although he lives somewhat a part, he can prove himself agreeable to you in many things,–firstly, by his own personal intercourse–and then also by his relations with Baron Stockhausen (the Hanoverian Ambassador), at whose house there is frequently really good music, etc.–Don’t delay, therefore, looking up Villers.
For today I must beg you also to get the Prologue for the Leipzig days [The Leipzig Tonkunstler-Versammlung (Meeting of Musicians), from which the Allgemeine Deutsche Musikverein (Universal German Musical Society) sprang] ready as quickly as possible. I shall settle down at the end of this week (Saturday) in Leipzig–Hotel de Pologne. It would be very good of you if you could send me the Prologue to Leipzig within eight days. Address to Brendel, Mittelstrasse, 24. I still do not possess a single copy of my Mass, because I sent on the two or three that had been previously sent to me at once to M[usic]-D[irector] Riedel for studying the work. But my cousin, Dr. Eduard Liszt, will certainly be delighted to give you your copy at once. You have only to tell Daniel to bring it to you, if you have not time to call on Eduard.
Frau von Milde, Bulow, Bronsart, Draseke, Lassen, etc., etc., etc., are coming to Leipzig from Monday, 30th May, until Sunday, 4th June. You must not fail us, dearest friend, and we await you with open arms and loving hearts. Your
The Princess stays a little longer in Munich, and will not get to Leipzig till towards the end of this month. Remember me most respectfully and warmly to Hebbel.
Best greetings to Catinelli.
Once more, please send the “Prologue”.
214. To Dr. Franz Brendel
[Autograph in the possession of Herr A.O. Schulz, bookseller in Leipzig.]
Herewith is an answer to the nine points of your letter of today, my dear friend [Referring to the Tonkunstler-Versammlung in Leipzig, in June, 1859].
1. The Mildes have got leave of absence from Monday, 30th April, till Friday, 3rd June, inclusive. Your programme remains as already fixed. Duet from the “Flying Dutchman”, “Cellini Aria”, Songs by Franz and Schumann (etc. ad libitum).
2. I will bring all the orchestral parts that there are with me, or, better still, I will send you the whole lot tomorrow. For “Tasso” the whole set is complete–but for the “Duet” from the “Dutchman”, and the “Cellini Aria” and “Overture” a couple of copies of the quartet will have to be written out afresh in Leipzig.
3. I do not possess the “Overture to the Corsair” [By Berlioz] (and would not recommend it for performance), and the “Prelude to Tristan” Bülow will see after.
4. I expect more particulars from Bülow in the course of the week.
5. I am writing today to Cornelius about the Prologue affair.
6. Herewith is the German text of the Mass,[Lizst’s “Gran Festival Mass.”] which is to be printed in Leipzig in the same manner as in Vienna–namely, with the addition of the Latin text- -and which belongs to the General Programme of the Festival. This programme we will settle and revise together next Sunday.
7. Leave of absence for Frau Pohl will be attended to.
8. I reserve to myself the matter of deciding on what pianists shall accompany the Ballads, and undertake the piano part of the “Trios” that are to be given. If possible I want Bronsart to take a part in it.
9. I will send off the definite invitations to the nobility next Sunday (at latest) from Leipzig to Gotha and Meiningen. I am coming to you on Saturday afternoon, 21st May [Must be 28th May, as the letter is dated the 23rd], and shall then stay in Leipzig till the end of the Festival. For the present a suitable room (without sitting-room) will satisfy me, and I beg you to bespeak this for me in the Hotel de Pologne for Saturday. My ministering spirit should have his room close to mine, because looking for him and calling is highly disagreeable to me.
Goodbye till Saturday. Your
Monday, May 23rd, 1859
P.S.–The performance of “Judas Maccabaeus” (for the Handel Festival) is announced here for next Wednesday, 25th May. Tomorrow, Tuesday, there will be a similar Handel celebration in Erfurt with a performance of the “Messiah.” Frau von Milde will sing the soprano part there. Let Pohl know this–perhaps he may like to hear “Judas.”
The rehearsals of Rietz’s little Opera are in progress, and Pasque (who has written the libretto for it) told me yesterday that the first performance will take place next week. Probably Rietz will undertake to conduct it, as I proposed.
215. To Felix Draseke
Where, my dear, excellent friend, have you got hold of the extraordinary idea that I could be angry with you? How to begin such a thing I really should not know. You are far too good and dear to me for me not to remain good to you also in all things!– Herewith are a few lines for Wagner, which however you don’t in the least need. I am glad that you are not putting off this journey any longer. But before you set out WRITE to Wagner (you can add my lines to your letter extra), and inquire whether he will be staying at Lucerne still, so that your Swiss pilgrimage may not be in vain.–You will be certain to get an answer from Wagner by return of post, and will thus be sure of your object.
Schuberth tells me that “King Helge” will ride into his shop almost immediately…to Sigrun, the ever blooming delicious sorrow!–How scornfully, “without greeting or thanks,” will “King Helge” look down upon all the other wares in Schuberth’s shop. Somewhat as the hippopotamus looks on toads and frogs.–But it is quite right to let the Ballade come out, and I am impatiently awaiting my copy.–[Liszt subsequently formed out of Draseke’s song the melodrama of the same name.]
I hope it may be possible for me to come to Lucerne at the end of August. But send some tidings of yourself before then to
Your sincere and faithful
[Weimar,] July 19th, 1859
216. To Peter Cornelius in Vienna
You are quite right in setting store upon the choice and putting together of the three Sonatas. The idea is an excellent one, and you may rest assured of my readiness to help in the realization of your intention as well as of my silence until it is quite a settled thing. If Bronsart could decide on going to Vienna, his cooperation in that matter would certainly be very desirable. Write about it to him at Dantzig, where he is now staying with his father (Commandant-General of Dantzig). Tausig, who is spending some weeks at Bad Grafenberg (with Her Highness the Princess von Hatzfeld), would also adapt the thing well, and would probably be able to meet your views better than you seem to imagine. As regards Dietrich, I almost fear that he does not possess sufficient brilliancy for Vienna–but this might, under certain circumstances, be an advantage. He plays Op. 106 and the Schumann Sonata capitally–as also the “Invitation to hissing and stamping,” as Gumprecht designates that work of ill odor–my Sonata. Dietrich is always to be found in the house of Prince Thurn and Taxis at Ratisbon. He will assuredly enter into your project with pleasure and enthusiasm, and the small distance from Ratisbon makes it not too difficult for him. You would only have to arrange it so that the lectures come quickly one after the other.
Where Sasch Winterberger is hiding I have not heard. Presupposing many things, he might equally serve your purpose.
In order to save you time and trouble, I will send you by the next opportunity your analysis of my Sonata, which you left behind you at the Altenburg.
Draseke is coming very shortly through Weymar from Lucerne. I will tell him your wish in confidence. It is very possible that he would like to go to Vienna for a time. I have not the slightest doubt as to the success of your lectures, in conjunction with the musical performance of the works.–I would merely advise you to put into your programme works which are universally known–as, for instance, several Bach Fugues (from “Das wohltemperierte Clavier”), the Ninth Symphony, the grand Masses of Beethoven and Bach, which you have so closely studied, etc. [The proposed lectures did not come off.]
Well, all this will come about by degrees. First of all a beginning must be made, and this will be quite a brilliant one with the three Sonatas. Later on we will muster Quartets, Symphonies, Masses, and Operas all in due course!
A propos of operas, how are you getting on with the “Barbier” and the publication of the pianoforte edition? Schuberth told me for certain that printing would begin directly they had received the manuscripts. Don’t delay too long, dearest friend–and believe me when I once more assure you that the work is as eminent as the intrigue, to which it momentarily succumbed, was mean-spirited.
Schuberth has no doubt told you that I want to make a transcription of the Salamaleikum. But don’t forget that another Overture is inevitably NECESSARY, in spite of the refined, masterly counterpoint and ornamentation of the first. The principal subject
[Figure: Musical example of the principal subject.]
must begin, and the “Salamaleikum” end it. If possible, bring in the two motives together a little (at the end). In case you should not be disposed to write the thing I will do it for you with pleasure–but first send me the complete piano edition for Schuberth. The new Opera can then afford to wait a while, like a “good thing”–only may weariness at it remain long absent [Untranslatable play on the words Weile and Langeweile]!–In order that you may not have a fit of it in reading this letter, I will at once name to you the magic name of Rosa [Rosa von Milde, the artist and friend of Cornelius, who wrote poetry upon her]…
In consequence of an insinuating intimation of our mutual patroness, I have still to add the excuses of our good friend Brendel to you. When I have an opportunity I will tell you in person about the Prologue disturbances at the Leipzig Tonkunstler Versammlung. Pohl had also supplied one–but the choice was given over to Frau Ritter, and she chose her good “Stern,” whose prologue was indeed quite successful and made a good effect. But oblige me by not bearing any grudge against Brendel, and let us always highly respect the author of “Liszt as a Symphonic Writer”!–
A thousand heartfelt greetings from your faithful
Weymar, August 23rd, 1859
Princess Marie will thank you herself for the Sonnet, and at the same time tell you about the musical performances of the 15th August. Lassen’s song, “Ave Maria,” of which you gave him the poem long ago, was especially successful. The Quartet:
“Elfen, die kleinen,
Wollen dich grussen,
Zu deinen Fussen”
[“Elfin world greeting
To thee is sending,
Fairy forms lowly
At thy feet bending.”]
composed by Lassen), and
“Wandelnde Blume, athmender Stern,
Duftende Bluthe am Baum des Lebens”
[“Swift-changing flowers, pulsating star, Sweet-scented blossoms on life’s living tree.”]
(composed by Damrosch), which we had sung together two years ago, rejoiced us anew and most truly this time.
217. To Dr Franz Brendel
[In this letter, the programme refers to some theater concerts, which were to be arranged according to Brendel’s design. The sketch was as follows:–
“1st Concert: Paradise and the Peri.
2nd Concert: Eroica, Prometheus.
3rd Concert: Overture of Wagner. Solo (Bronsart). Overture of Beethoven.
2nd part: L’enfance du Christ of Berlioz. 4th Concert: Festival Song of Liszt. Solo. Draseke. Chorus for men’s voices from his Opera.
2nd part: Walpurgisnacht of Mendelssohn. 5th Concert: Overture of Berlioz, Wagner, or Beethoven. Solo. Preludes.
2nd part: Manfred.
6th Concert: Overture. Solo. Tasso. 2nd part: B-flat major Symphony.”
To this Liszt adds, besides some remarks about getting the parts for No. 5:
“An orchestral work of Hans von Bulow (possibly the Caesar Overture) would be suitable for this concert. I would also recommend that Bronsart’s “Fruhlings-Phantasie” [“Spring Fancy”] should be included in one of the programmes.
“Of Berlioz’ works I should recommend the following as the most acceptable for performance:–
“The festival at Capulet’s house (Romeo), The Pilgrims’ March (from Harold),
Chorus and Dance of Sylphs (Faust), Terzet and Chorus (from Cellini), with the artists’ oath, Overture to Lear.
“N.B.–We can bring out the Terzet from Cellini at the next Tonkunstler-Versammlung. It is a very important and effective piece.”]
The sketch for your programme is excellent, and if I have some doubts as to the entire project, yet your proposed programme seems to me in any case the most suitable, both as regards choice of works and their order and grouping. With regard to the doubts which I have so often mentioned I will only make the general remark that a competition with the Gewandhaus in Leipzig brings a good deal of risk with it, and for this winter a passive attitude on our side would not specially injure our cause (at least not according to my opinion). Whether Wirsing and Riccius will be able to give the requisite support to the theater concerts, or are willing to do so, I cannot undertake to say, as the ground of Leipzig lies in many ways too far removed from me. In this I rely entirely on your insight and circumspection, dear friend. In case you end by deciding in the affirmative I will willingly do something to help–as, for instance, to undertake the conducting of the “Prometheus.” I would rather not let myself in for much more than that, because conductings in general become more burdensome to me every year, and I don’t in the least desire to offer further active resistance to the ill-repute with which I am credited as a conductor. Indeed I owe my friend Dingelstedt many thanks for having (without perhaps exactly desiring to do so) given me the chance of freeing myself from the operatic time- beating here, and I am firmly resolved not to wield the baton elsewhere except in the most unavoidable cases! Bülow must now often mount the conductor’s desk. He has the mind, liking, talent, and vocation for this. If the theater concerts should be arranged, be sure to secure his frequent co-operation. He will certainly bring new life into the whole affair, and possesses the necessary amount of experience and aplomb, [Employed in French by Liszt] to be their solid representative.
I have just written to Klitzsch [Music-conductor at Zwickau] and promised him to conduct the “Prometheus” in Zwickau. The concert will take place at the end of October (perhaps on my birthday, the 22nd). Although you have heard the Prometheus choruses in Dresden, I wish very much that you could come to Zwickau this time. I have again worked most carefully at it, have amplified some things, and have arranged others in a simple and more singable manner, etc. Now I hope that it will thoroughly hold its ground and stand the test of proof. So do come to Zwickau.
I have still one more request to make to you today, dear friend. P. Lohmann [A music colleague of the Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik, living in Leipzig] was so kind as to send me his drama some weeks ago. I have read The Victory of Love with much interest, but I have not yet been able to get so far as the other, and as little have I been able to express my thanks to him in writing. Kindly undertake my excuses to him, and tell him that I am exceedingly obliged by his letter and what he sent me. On the occasion of my journey to Zwickau I will call on Lohmann in Leipzig, and tell him personally what an impression his dramas make on me. I specially take notice of his article in the paper.
I thank you most truly for the kindness which you have shown to B. He is in many things somewhat awkward, impractical–and almost looks as though he could not devote himself to any productive and consistently carried-out form of activity. None the less is there in him a certain capacity and worth which, in a somewhat more regular position than he has yet been able to attain, would make him appear worth more. A more frequent application of a few utensils such as soak tooth-brush, and nail brush might also be recommended to him!–I expect much good to result from your influence on B.’s further work and fortunes, and hope that your store of patience will not be too sorely tried by him.
With heartfelt greetings, your
Weymar, September 2nd, 1859
Herewith the programme scheme with two or three little remarks appended. Weigh again the pros and cons of the matter, and keep the right balance between the risk and the possible gain. Motto: “First weigh, then risk it!”–[The nearest English equivalent seems to be “Look before you leap.”
.–. I have had so much of notes [musical] to write lately that my writing of letters [of the alphabet] has got still worse. But where you can’t read what I have written, you can guess it all the easier.–
218. To Louis Koehler
Your letter was a real joy to me, for which I thank you heartily. You are far too honorable, brave, and admirable a musician for our paths to remain long sundered. For the very reason that people cannot (as you so wittily remark) immediately “label and catalogue me correctly and place me in an already existing drawer,” I am in hopes that my efforts and working will eventually prove in accordance with the spirit of the time, and will fructify. I promise you also that I am not wanting in pains and labour in honor of my friends. But I certainly cannot recognize weaklings and cowards as such. It is only with high- minded, brave, and trusty comrades that we move forwards, no matter though the number remain small. In matters of intelligence the majority always follows the minority, when the latter is sufficiently strong to hold its own.–Welcome, therefore, dear friend, welcome most truly. If there is still a lot of scandal which we have to bear quietly and without mortification, we will by no means let ourselves be confounded by it!
I have written at once to Hartel to send you the arrangements for two pianofortes of the Symphonic Poems that you wished for. But there is a better way for the scores than that of a bookseller. Fraulein Ingeborg Stark is going to St. Petersburg on the 20th of this month, and will stay a day in Konigsberg. She will bring you the Dante Symphony, etc., and if there should be an opportunity she will play the things through with Bronsart (who is also going to Konigsberg at the same time). I have grown very much attached to Fraulein Stark, as hers is a very particularly gifted artistic nature. The same will happen to you if you hear her striking Sonata. Ingeborg composes all sorts of Fugues, Toccatas, etc., into the bargain. I remarked to her lately that she did not look a bit like that. “Well, I am quite satisfied not to have a fugue countenance,” was her striking answer.
The Pohls are both still in Baden-Baden (whence I hear the excerpts from Berlioz’ manuscript opera Les Troyens [The Trojans] spoken of with enthusiasm). Madame Viardot sang a grand scena and a duet from it in the concert conducted by Berlioz–and Fraulein Emilie Genast is staying a couple of weeks longer with her sister Frau Raff in Wiesbaden. On her return I will give her your greetings, and Emilie will certainly be glad to make known the concert song which you mention to her. In her performance a beautiful and sympathetic “melody of speech” is reflected. As I write this word I can’t help at the same time wishing that you may find in my “Gesammelte Lieder” something that appeals to your feelings, which you have so cleverly represented in the “melody of speech.” You will receive a proof-copy of the six numbers at the same time as the Dante Symphony. I wanted to dedicate the last number, “Ich mochte hingehn” (poem by Herwegh), specially to you, and when next you have occasion to come to Weymar, I will look for the manuscript for you on which your name is put. But as I have left out all other dedications in this complete edition, I propose to dedicate something else to you later–probably some bigger and longer work.
A Ballade of Draeseke’s–“Koenig Helge”–has just appeared, which pleases me extremely. You must look closely into this wonderful Opus 1.
In conclusion one more request, dear friend. Do me the kindness to be perfectly free and open and regardless of consequences in the discussion of my works. Do not imagine that the slightest vanity comes over me or impels me. I have long ago done with all that sort of thing. So long as you allow that I possess the necessary musical equipments to create freely in Art, as I gather from your letter that you do, I can but be grateful to you for all else, even were it severe blame. I have often expressed my opinion to my friends that, even if all my compositions failed to succeed (which I neither affirm nor deny), they would not on that account be quite without their use, owing to the stir and impetus which they would give to the further development of Art. This consciousness so completely satisfies me that I can consistently persevere and go on composing.
With all respect and attachment I remain,
Yours most sincerely,
Weymar, September 3rd, 1859
If the Koenigsberg Academy does not take alarm at my name (as has indeed been the case in other places, owing to the foolish prattle of the critics), they might try the “Prometheus” choruses there by-and-by. They are to be given almost directly (at the end of October) at Zwickau, and probably later on in Leipzig, where I shall then also have them published.
In the matters of the prize-subject we will wait and see what comes. You very justly remark that it hinges now upon enharmony.
It is a pity that you do not bring something. Perhaps you will still find time to do so.
219. To Dr. Franz Brendel
I beg you to send me by return of post a copy of the intricate biography (“Liszt’s Life and Work”–if I am not mistaken) by Gustav Schilling. Siegel and Stoll in Leipzig have taken the work from the Stuttgart publisher, and there will surely be some way of getting a copy in Leipzig. Ask Kahnt to be so good as to see after one and to send it me immediately by post, for I require the work in connection with a special and pressing question which I can best answer by a quotation from Schilling’s book.
With friendliest greetings, your
Weymar, September 8th, 1859
Why does not Schuberth send me my dedicatory copy of Draeseke’s Ballade “Koenig Helge”?
220. To Johann von Herbeck
Warmest thanks for your persevering and well-wishing sympathy. It is a great pleasure to me that you are bringing about the performance of the Mass for men’s voices on the 23rd October, and I hope that, as you have once “made your way through it,” we shall also not succeed ill.
The “sneaking brood” (as you well name the people) can henceforth growl as much as they like. What does that matter to us, so long as we remain true and faithful to our task? In the performance last year at Jena (at the secular celebration of the University) I had the opportunity of convincing myself how capital your instrumentation of the Mass sounds, and I especially beg that you will not leave out one iota of it in the oboes or trombones. The organ alone is not sufficient, especially if there is a large chorus, and the completion of the accompaniment could not have been better accomplished than you have done it.
N.B.–At the Jena performance I hit upon the following alterations at the conclusion of the Gloria:
[Here, Liszt illustrates with a vocal score musical excerpt]
If you are agreed with this, then let this simplification serve for Vienna. I can only send you the score and parts of the “Prometheus” choruses towards the middle of November, as Klitzsch (in Zwickau) has arranged a performance of this work on the 12th to the 14th November, and I have already placed the parts at his disposal. If this delay does not hinder your kind intention of having the “Prometheus” choruses performed in Vienna, I will send the whole packet of parts to your address in Vienna, free, immediately after the Zwickau Concert. For the poem belonging to it, which I will also send with the rest, it is desirable that you should get an adequate tragic declaimer. In Dresden Davison undertook this, and in Zwickau Frau Ritter will declaim it. I am writing today to Herr von Bulow, but rather doubt whether he will be able to accept your invitation for this winter. According to what he told me lately, he thinks of going to Warsaw and Paris in the latter part of the winter. With regard to the eventual choice of a piece you may, moreover, pacify the strict gentlemen of the Committee. In case Bulow should make his appearance at the Philharmonic Concert he will, on my advice, not play my A major Concerto (nor any other composition of mine), but just simply one of the Bach or Beethoven Concertos. My intimate friends know perfectly well that it is not by any means my desire to push myself into any concert programme whatever…With regard to the scores and parts that you want, I have noted on a separate sheet which ones I have at my disposal, and where you can obtain the rest. In conclusion allow me once more to beg you kindly to let me have a couple of lines about the performance of the Mass. Perhaps some things may occur to you which might still be altered and simplified. Do not deprive me, dear friend, of your good advice, which I shall be glad to make use of in the score edition of the Mass which must shortly ensue. Naturally your name will stand on the title-page, and the responsibility of the instrumentation will be remitted to you.
With friendly thanks and highest regard, I am
Yours most truly,
Weymar, October 11th, 1859
221. To Felix Draseke
Dear excellent friend,
Your surmise that I could not go away from Weymar at present was quite correct. The Altenburg is indeed very deserted, as Princess Marie went away directly after her marriage on the 15th October, and the Princess went to Paris yesterday for several days–yet I will not leave my own hearth so soon, even if my outward activity be much limited henceforth (as I have already intimated to you) both here and elsewhere.–I require my whole time for my further works, which must go on incessantly–consequently I have resolved to keep at a distance all the delights of conductorship, and to give the baton a rest equally with the piano.–
On the 9th November the festival play by Halm, “A Hundred Years Ago,” will be given here with the music I have composed to it– and on the 11th the “Kuenstler-Chor” is to introduce the Festival-oration by Kuno Fischer at Jena. Damrosch writes to me also from Berlin that he intends to include the “Kuenstler-Chor” in the programme of the Schiller Festival there. The Zwickau Concert is fixed for the 15th November–and I am delighted to think of meeting the Ritters there. By the way, I am of opinion that Sasch [Sasch, i.e., Alexander, Ritter’s Christian name] will undertake two numbers of the programme, and will fulfill Klitzsch’s wish with the “Chaconne” as well as mine with the original Concerto, on the same evening. Zwickau chances to belong to the few towns where the “Chaconne” (so Klitzsch writes me word) has never been heard in public. Sasch can take this fact into consideration, and without doing anything derogatory can grant the public the enjoyment of the “Chaconne.” The assured success which he will have with it may also act beneficially on the receptiveness of the audience in connection with his Concerto. Tell our dear friend this, with the proviso that, if he only undertakes one number on the programme, I advise him in any case to choose his Concerto. The piece has much that is interesting and effective in itself, and it will be useful to Sasch to test the relation of the orchestra to the solo part by a public production. If necessary, therefore, force him to do it, by my order.
With regard to the causes and excuses for your pretended “obstinacy, dogmatism,” and imaginary “arrogance,” I beg you, dearest friend, to rest assured that you will never find any such suspicion in me. What you think, feel, compose, is noble and great–therefore I take a sympathetic interest in it.–The next time we are together I will merely endeavour to make “amputation” more bearable to you by chloroform!–
With highest esteem I remain,
Yours in all friendship,
[Weimar,] October 20th, 1859
222. To Heinrich Porges in Prague.
Your letter for the 22nd October gave me heartfelt pleasure, and you need not be in doubt as to the correctness of the affectionate and deep perception of my endeavour, which “has proceeded both from man’s need of freedom as well as of love,” and which, by and with the grace of God, has been impelled to raise itself toward the “Divine.”–I cannot say much on this subject; but may my works only remain no dumb witnesses, and may your intimate understanding of them give you some satisfaction.
I send you herewith Dingelstedt’s Festal Song for the Schiller Celebration, which I have purposely composed in a very simple, national manner. Perhaps there might be an opportunity of bringing the thing to a hearing during the Schiller Festival in Prague. Will you ask Apt whether he would be disposed to do it? The studying of it would not give the least trouble. It requires only a baritone or bass for the solo part, and an ordinary chorus of men’s voices without any accompaniment.–
Leaving it entirely in your hands to act about it as you may think best, and either to promote the performance or to let it alone, I remain, with best thanks and high esteem,
Yours very truly,
October 30th, 1859
My composition to Halm’s festival play has been sent through H. von Dingelstedt to Herr Thome, and will probably be performed on the 9th or 10th November. [The festival play was given in Prague under the theater conductor Thome. The music to it was never published. The Weimar archives probably possess the score.] Write and tell me how the matter is settled.
223. To Ingeborg Stark
[A pupil of Liszt’s, who afterwards married Liszt’s pupil Hans von Bronsart, now General Manager of the Weimar Court theater: she was also known as a composer.]
It is very charming and graceful of you, dear Mademoiselle Inga, to remember the 22nd October so kindly, and I should have thanked you sooner for your letter, which gave me sincere pleasure, had I not been kept to my bed for nearly a week in consequence of much emotion and fatigue.
Through our friend Bronsart I have had some preliminary good tidings of you; you have fulfilled your role of charmer in the best possible manner, and Bronsart is full of raptures about you. But all this is ancient history for you, something like a chapter of Rollin on the history of the Medes,–after whom come the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans…
For the present it is the turn of Russia, which you are in the way of conquering, and I see from here the enchantment of your admirers of St. Petersburg, who are all ears and all eyes around the piano where you are enthroned.
Will you remember me affectionately to Prince Odoyewski, and give a friendly shake hand [Written in English by Liszt] from me to Mr. Martynoff. As for our dear Tartar, [The composer Alexander Seroff] tell him how much I am attached to him; he will be all the more agreeably persuaded of this if you tell him. Ask him also to write to me after your first concert, for I would not risk offending your modesty so far as to beg you to send me an exact account of your undoubted successes. But I don’t intend on that account to let you stand still as regards letter-writing, and you will give me great pleasure if, for example, you will continue your history of the musical prowess of Rubinstein (that you have begun so well).
You know that I am truly interested in what he is doing, considering that he has all that is wanting to compose good and beautiful things, provided that he does not persist in writing straight off too hurriedly, and guards a little against excess in the very exercise of these grand qualities.
The “Ocean” of which Rubinstein has sung might serve as his model in this; he knows how to restrain his waves in their liberty and power–and I hope Rubinstein would not be offended by the comparison!–Let me know then about his artistic actions and attitudes, of which, I presume, he will have every occasion to be satisfied and proud. Our little Weymar has remained, as usual, pretty tame since you left; but in a week’s time we shall be celebrating here the centenary of Schiller’s birth with all the enthusiasm of which we are susceptible (which is not saying much).
On the 9th November the music that I have composed for Halm’s Festival-play, “A Hundred Years Ago,” will be given at the theater, and Jena has put on its festival programme my chorus “An die Kuenstler,” which will terminate the ceremony of the 11th (Friday next).
In addition you will find in the Schiller number of the Leipzig Illustrirte Zeitung, which will appear on the 12th November, a Festival song “im Volkston” [In the style of a folk-song] of my composition. Do not be shocked at the extreme simplicity of this song; it was not the occasion to make a display of musical knowledge–but simply to write forty bars or so which could be quite easily sung and remembered by tutti quanti. In order to do this I had to dress my Muse in a blouse, or, if you prefer a more German comparison, “ich habe der Dame eine bayrische Joppe angezogen!” [“I have dressed the lady in a Bavarian jacket.”]
How are you getting on with your truly Samsonic Variations–and with your Fugue “Martha”? Don’t make too great a martyr of yourself over it, and reserve for yourself also the better part…that of Mary. [She had written a fugue on the musical letters of the names Martha and Maria [Mary]–the names of her friends, the sisters Von Sabinin.]
As I have mentioned this name I will tell you that Princess Marie Hohenlohe will spend her winter in Vienna.
I, for my part, shall not stir from the Altenburg, where I am reckoning on finishing my Elizabeth, and on living more and more as a recluse–indeed, even a little like a bear–but not in the style of those estimable citizens of the woods, whom the impresarii of small pleasures degrade by making them dance in the market-places to the sound of their flutes and drums! I shall rather choose a model ideal of a bear–be sure of that–and the flutes and drums which might lead me into the slightest future temptation of cutting capers have still to be invented.
Will you be so good, dear Mademoiselle Inga, as to present my very affectionate respects to Madame, your mother, as well as my best remembrances and compliments to la Sagesse Olivia–[Liszt’s name for the sister of Ingeborg Stark] and believe me invariably
Your very devoted
Weymar, November 2nd, 1859
224. To Johann von Herbeck.
I only returned a few hours ago from Zwickau, and find your friendly letter here, in reply to which I must excuse myself for not having been able to fulfill your wish so soon as I had intended, in respect to the Schubert Marches. This delay, which was very unpleasant to me, was occasioned by an indisposition which obliged me to keep my bed for a whole week at the end of October. The Weymar and Jena Schiller Festivals, following on the top of that, made it utterly impossible for me to get on with the instrumentation of the Marches. But I promise you that you shall have the score by Christmas at latest.
“Prometheus” will present himself to you by the end of this month. If after looking through the score, dear friend, you think the work suitable for a performance in Vienna, I shall be glad. If not, I beg you to tell me so with perfect candor, and without the slightest scruple of thereby wounding my vanity. Whether the stomach of the critics and of the public will be able to digest such a liver cut out of the vulture as this of my “Prometheus,” or whether at the very first bars all will not be lost, I cannot determine; but still less would I prepare superfluous disagreeables for you by the performance of my “Tonschmiererei;” [Tone-daubing] of such ill-odor from the beginning!
Decide therefore entirely according to your own judicious opinion–and, whatever that may be, rest assured of the sincere acknowledgment and esteem with which I remain
Yours in all friendship,
November 18th, 1859
225. To Dr. Franz Brendel
Of the three prize essays (which I return to you herewith) the one with the motto “Try all things and maintain the best” is, according to my opinion, very significant and suitable to the definite solving of the question. The writer develops his thesis with so safe, so rightly apprehending, and so far grasping a logic that it shows convincingly that the now indispensable practice is in complete union with the results of the theory. It is to be hoped that our excellent colleague and friend Lobe will also give his weighty judgment in favor of this prize essay, and will also scientifically explain his motives for doing so–for I cannot suppose that Lobe is in agreement with the opponents of the enharmonic system, whose theory would make us have to do musical penance.
In the two other essays with the mottoes “Our eyes see, but they require the light to do so,” and “Look, this is what man has done!” there is much that is true and worthy of consideration (especially in the former), which might be made prominent after reading through all the essays sent in.
Come to an understanding next with Lobe about the final business of the causes for the award of the prize, and let me have a draft of it. It cannot be otherwise than profitable if the affair is treated somewhat exhaustively and thoroughly, which you, dear friend, in conjunction with Lobe and Weitzmann, are much better able to do than my humble self, since I, as Hauptmann justly observes, should appear to be too much prejudiced by my own practice. In matters of harmony, as in other greater matters, I believe also that Nature is in everlasting union with Genius.
“What one promises, the other surely performs.” And Beethoven was quite right to assert his right to allow that which was forbidden by Kirnberger, Marpurg, Albrechtsberger, etc.!–Science must only investigate more and more the nature of things and the freedom of genius, and become experienced in their further development.—– —–
Ever faithfully yours,
[Weimar,] December 1st, 1859
I quite agree with your project of giving two prizes. The first prize will be awarded to the above-mentioned treatise, unless, which I doubt, a still more successful one should be sent in.
226. To Anton Rubenstein
Certainly, my very honored friend, I shall not leave off taking a very sincere and loyal part in the unfolding of the career that you are pursuing with such rare prowess, and all that you can tell me of your doings in composition and musical conducting will always find in me a lively interest. Thank you, therefore, for your nice letter, which contains also a promise which I shall be very much pleased to see you fulfill–namely, that of your visit next spring, in company with your Opera in four acts–and probably also with your “Song of Songs,” which you do not mention to me, but which I am none the less desirous, on that account, of knowing.
Have you thought well to give your “Paradise Lost” at St. Petersburg? I urged you strongly to do so, for it is a capital work, which does you great honor, and the place of which seems fixed in your concerts. And on this subject allow me to compliment you very sincerely upon the idea (all the less frequent as it is just) which has been uppermost in the distribution of the programme of these concerts. If it continues to predominate, and if in effect they take it into their heads at St. Petersburg to do justice (as you tell me) “to all the masters of all schools and of all times” (not excepting our own!), the famous verse
“‘Tis from the North that light comes to us today”
will be justified, and even by Music! In France and Germany we are far from this–and classical Pharisaism swells its voice there to make a diversion to Mercantilism, that rich disgraceful one, who succeeds perfectly well in making the principal papers and their numerous readers dance to the sounds of his harsh flute, whilst his antagonist (Pharisaism) only ends in “Improperias” and “Jeremiads”…not composed by Palestrina!
Your choice of the introduction to the second act of the Fliegender Hollander seems to me an excellent one, and I shall get the score (of this scene) copied for you, as it is very difficult to get a complete score of the Opera, and as I only possess the autograph, with which it would be a matter of conscience to me to part. In about a fortnight I will send you what you want for your programme.
Princess Marie Hohenlohe is at the present time at St. Petersburg, and will be much delighted to see you again. Her husband does a good deal in the way of music, and plays several “Lieder ohne Worte” of his own composition very nicely. He and his wife will assuredly have pleasure in being amongst the first to applaud at the time of the performances of your Opera in Vienna.
A revoir then, my dear Rubinstein, in the spring–and ever yours in sincere esteem and affection,
Weymar, December 3rd, 1859
P.S.–When you see Mademoiselle Ingeborg Stark, please give her my very affectionate remembrances. If her journey from Paris should bring her back by Weymar she would be sure to find me there; for, in spite of what the papers say, which, among other fancies, have taken it into their heads to make me travel hither and thither, I shall not stir from here for several months, but continue to work my best–if only to prove to the “kindly critic” and the idlers that it is very much to be regretted that I should have taken it into my head to turn composer!–This recalls the proverb, “On devient cuisinier, mais on nait rotisseur!”