This etext was produced by John Mamoun with the Online Distributed Proofreading Team of Charles Franks.
Letters of Franz Liszt, Volume 2: “From Rome to the End”
by Franz Liszt; letters collected by La Mara and translated by Constance Bache
BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
FRONTISPIECE TO VOLUME II, HONORING LISZT TABLE OF LETTER CONTENTS
THE LETTERS OF FRANZ LISZT, VOL. 2
INFO ABOUT THIS E-TEXT EDITION
BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
The Austrio-Hungarian 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 399 are translated into English in this second of a 2-volume set of letters (the first volume contains 260 letters).
Those who knew him were 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 little of a Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Cage, Adams, and certainly none of a 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.
FRONTISPIECE TO VOLUME II, HONORING LISZT
We welcome thee, from southern sunnier clime, To England’s shore,
And stretch glad hands across the lapse of time To the once more.
Full twice two decades swiftly have rolled by Since thou wast here;
A meteor flashing through our northern sky Thou didst appear.
Thy coming now we greet with pleasure keen, And loyal heart,
Adding tradition of what thou hast been To what thou art.
No laurel can we weave into the crown Long years entwine,
Nor add one honour into the renown
Yet might these roses waft to thee a breath Of memory,
Recalling thy fair Saint Elizabeth
We welcome her, from out those days of old, In song divine,
But thee we greet a thousand fold,
The song is thine!
[Presumably written by Constance Bache, this trite paean would likely not have appealed to Liszt, who repeatedly affirmed his humility.]
TABLE OF LETTER CONTENTS (LETTER NUMBER, FOLLOWED BY ADDRESSEE)
1. Dr. Franz Brendel. December 20th, 1861 2. A. W. Gottschalg in Tieffurt. March 11th, 1862 3. Dr. Franz Brendel. April 12th, 1862
4. Mme. Jessie Laussot in Florence. May 3rd, 1862 5. Dr. Franz Brendel. June 12th, 1862
6. the same. July 12th, 1862
7. the same. August 10th, 1862
8. the same. August 29th, 1862
9. the same. November 8th, 1862
10. A.W. Gottschalg. November 15th, 1862 11. Eduard Liszt. November 19th, 1862
12. Dr. Franz Brendel. December 30th, 1862 13. Breitkopf and Hartel. March 26th, 1863 14. A.W. Gottschalg in Weimar. April 14th, 1863 15. Dr. Franz Brendel. May 8th, 1863
16. Eduard Liszt. May 22nd, 1863
17. Dr. Franz Brendel. June 18th, 1863 18. the same. July 18th, 1863
19. Breitkopf and Hartel. August 28th, 1863 20. Dr. Franz Brendel. September 7th, 1863 21. Dr. Gille in Jena. September 10th, 1863 22. Dr. Franz Brendel. October l0th, 1863 23. Mme. Jessie Laussot. October 15th, 1863 24. Dr. Franz Brendel. November 11th, 1863 25. Breitkopf and Hartel. November 16th, 1863 26. Dr. Franz Brendel. January 22nd, 1864 27. the same. May 28th, 1864
28. Dr. Franz Brendel. June 13th, 1864 29. The Committee of the Society for the Support of Needy Hungarian Musicians in Pest. June 18th, 1864 30. Eduard Liszt. June 22nd, 1864
31. Dr. Franz Brendel. July 1st, 1864 32. Walter Bache in London. July 2nd, 1864 33. ? August 7th, 1864
34. Eduard Liszt. September 7th, 1864 35. Breitkopf and Hartel. September 14th, 1864.93 36. the same. October 1st, 1864
37. Mme. Jessie Laussot. March 6th, 1865 38. Dr. Franz Brendel. April 3rd, 1865
39. Prince Constantine (Hohenzollern-Hechingen). May 11th, 1865 40. Breitkopf and Hartel. May 27th, 1865 41. Dr. Franz Brendel. July 21st, 1865
42. Abbe Schwendtner. September 20th, 1865 43. Dr. Franz Brendel. September 28th, 1865 44. Eduard Liszt. November 1st, 1865.
45. Dr. Franz Brendel. January 14th, 1866 46. the same. June 19th, 1866
47. the same. October 2nd, 1866
48. Breitkopf and Hartel. October 4th, 1866 49. Dr. Franz Brendel. January 6th, 1867 50. Dr. Cuturi in Pisa. January 22nd, 1867 51. Julius von Beliczay in Vienna. April 29th, 1867 52. Mme. Jessie Laussot. May 24th, 1867 53. Eduard Liszt. June 20th, 1867
54. William Mason. July 8th, 1867
55. E. Repos in Paris. July 12th, 1867 56. Prince Constantine Czartoryski.October 14th, 1867 57. Eduard Liszt. October 16th, 1867
58. the same. October 20th, 1867
59. Peter Cornelius. October 23rd, 1867 60. Eduard von Liszt. November 6th, 1867 61. E. Repos. November 8th, 1867
62. Mme. Jessie Laussot. January 13th, 1868 63. DP. Franz Brendel. January 26th, 1868 64. Walter Bache. January 30th, 1868
65. Dr. Franz Brendel. March 31st, 1868 66. Johann von Herbeck. June 9th, 1868
67. Dr. Franz Brendel. June 17th, 1868 68. E. Repos. July 1st, 1868
69. Carl Riedel in Leipzig. August 12th, 1868 70. E. Repos. August 26th, 1868
71. Dr. Siegmund Lebert in Stuttgart. September 10th, 1868 72. E. Repos. September 19th, 1868
73. C.F. Kahnt. September 20th, 1868 74. E. Repos. September 22nd, 1868
75. Dr. S. Lebert. October 19th, 1869 76. Richard Pohl in Baden-Baden. November 7th, 1868 77. Johann von Herbeck. December 1st, 1868 78. Dr. Siegmund Lebert. December 2nd, 1868 79. Eduard von Liszt. December 6th, 1868 80. Johann von Herbeck. December 29th, 1868 81. Edvard Grieg. December 29th, 1868
82. Carl Bechstein in Berlin. January 19th, 1869 83. Johann von Herbeck. January 27th, 1869 84. E. Repos. March 3rd, 1869
85. Laura Kahrer in Vienna. April 15th, 1868 86. Franz Servais. May 21st, 1869
87. William Mason. May 26th, 1869
88. Heinrich Schulz-Beuthen. June 18th, 1869 89. Franz Servais. July 4th, 1869
90. Mme. Jessie Laussot. July 16th, 1869 91. Camille Saint-Sa2ns. July 19th, 1869 92. the same. August 4th, 1869
93. Mme. Jessie Laussot. October 7th, 1869 94. Dr. Ludwig Nohl. November i7th, 1869 188 95. Princess Wittgenstein. November 27th, 1869 96. Franz Servais. December 20th, 1869
97. Dr. Franz Witt in Ratisbon. Towards end of 1869 98. Dr. Siegmund Lebert. January loth, 1870 99. C.F. Kahnt. February 11th, 1870
100. Dr. Gille. February 26th, 1870 101. Baroness Schwartz in Crete. March 15th, 1870 102. Camille Saint-Saens. May 12th, 1870 103. Johann von Herbeck. June 20th, 1870 104. Sophie Menter. August 11th, 1870
105. the same. August 29th, 1870
106. Kornel von Abranyi in Budapest, November 2nd, 1870 107. Sophie Menter. March 22nd, 1871
108. Edmund von Mihalovich in Budapest. May 29th, 1871 109. Marie Lipsius. July 23rd, 1871
110. Franz Servais. August 25th, 1871 111. Walter Bache. October 25th, 1871
112. Marie Lipsius. October 25th, 1871 113. Breitkopf and Hartel. November 22nd, 1871 114. Mme. Anton Rubinstein. January 9th, 1872 115. Edmund von Mihalovich. April 18th, 1872 116. Johanna Wenzel. June 10th, 1872
117. Wilhelm von Lenz. September 20th, 1872 118. Otto Lessmann. September 26th, 1872 119. Eduard von Liszt. November 6th, 1872 120. Princess Wittgenstein. January 10th, 1873 121. Eduard von Liszt. January 13th, 1873 122. Dr. Emil Thewrewk von Ponor in Budapest. January 14th, 1873 123. Dr. Franz Witt. January 20th, 1873
124. Eduard von Liszt. January 28th, 1873 125. the same. February 10th, 1873
126. the same. March 3rd, 1873
127. Mme. Jessie Laussot. March 30th, 1873 128. Casar Cui. May, 1873
129. Franz Servais. June 5th, 1873
130. Adelheid von Schorn. July 30th, 1873 131. Eduard von Liszt. August 19th, 1873 132. Franz Servais. August 19th, 1873
133. Walter Bache. August 20th, 1873 134. Max Erdmannsdorfer. September 16th, 1873 135. Otto Lessmann. September 24th, 1873 136. Kornel von Abranyi. October ist, 1873 137. Martha Remmert. December 27th, 1873 138. ? 1873
139. Countess Marie Donhoff in Vienna. January, 1874 140. B. Bessel in St. Petersburg. February 2nd, 1874 141. Skiwa in Vienna. March 21st, 1874
142. C. F. Kahnt. March 29th, 1874
143. Dr. Franz Witt. 1874?
144. Carl Riedel. April 17th, 1874
145. Dr. Franz Haberl, 1874?
146. Carl Riedel. May 5th, 1874
147. Princess Julie Waldburg. May 10th, 1874 148. Peter Cornelius. May 16th, 1874
149. A. F. Eggers in Liverpool. June 21st, 1874 150. Walter Bache. June 21st, 1874
151. Dr. Franz Witt. Early Summer, 1874 152. Dr. Franz Haberl. Early Summer, 1874 153. Edmund von Mihalovich. July 30th, 1874 154. Peter Cornelius. August 23rd, 1874
155. Ludwig Bosendorfer in Vienna. August 28th, 1874 156. Adelheid von Schorn. October 12th, 1874 157. Breitkopf and Hartel. November 24th, 1874 158. Count Albert Apponyi in Budapest. December 6th, 1874 159. Edmund von Mihalovich. December 8th, 1874 160. Carl Hoff bauer in Munich. End of 1874 161. Edmund von Mihalovich. December 29th, 1874 162. Carl Hoff bauer. Beginning of 1875
163. Julius Stern. February 4th, 1875 164. Count Albert Apponyi. February 18th, 1875? 165. Johann von Herbeck. March 3rd, 1875 166. Eduard von Liszt. April 22nd, 1875
167. Adelheid von Schorn. May 17th, 1875 168. Eduard von Liszt. July 17th, 1875
169. Louis Kohler. July 27th, 1875
170. Carl Hillebrand in Florence. August 2nd, 1875 171. Adelheid von Schorn. August 7th, 1875 172. Dr. Franz Witt. August or September, 1875 173. Lina Ramann. September 28th, 1875
174. Eduard von Liszt. September 29th, 1875 175. Kornel von Abranyi. October 14th, 1875 176. Walter Bache. October 26th, 1875
177. Eduard von Liszt. October 31st, 1875 178. Mme. Jessie Laussot. November 17th, 1875 179. Eduard von Liszt. November 26th, 1875 180 Hans Schmitt in Vienna. End of 1875 181. Kornel von Abranyi. January 20th, 1876 182. Eduard von Liszt. January 23rd, 1876 183. Dr. Eduard Kulke in Vienna. January 23rd, 1876 184. Marie Lipsius. February 3rd, 1876
185. August von Trefort in Budapest. March 1st, 1876 186. Walter Bache. March 8th, 1876
187. Mme. Jessie Laussot. March 9th, 1876 188. Dr. Leopold Damrosch in New York. April 15th, 1876 189. Friedrich von Bodenstedt. June 8th, 1876 190. B. Bessel. June 20th, 1876
191. Prince Carl Lichnowsky. June 21st, 1876 192. Max Erdmannsdorfer. June 27th, 1876 193. Kornel von Abranyi. August 6th, 1876, 194. Richard Wagner. August, 1876
195. Marie Breidenstein in Erfurt. September 18th, 1876 196. Camille Saint-Saens. October 2nd, 1876 197. L.A. Zellner in Vienna. October 31st, 1876 198. Hans Richter in Vienna. November 10th, 1876 199. Breitkopf and Hartel. November 12th, 1876 200. Constantin Sander in Leipzig. November 15th, 1876 201. Breitkopf and Hartel. November 23rd, 1876 202. Constantin Sander. November 29th, 1876 203. Vera Timanoff. November 29th, 1876
204. Otto Reubke in Halle. November, 1876 205. Marianne Brandt in Berlin. December 3rd, 1876 206. Committee of the Beethoven Monument. December 10th, 1876 207. Eduard von Liszt. January 2nd, 1877 208. Walter Bache. March 9th, 1877
209. Eduard von Liszt. July 3rd, 1877 210. Ludwig Bosendorfer. July 12th, 1877 211. Edmund von Mihalovich. July 20th, 1877 212. Kornel von Abranyi. July 28th, 1877 213. Constantin Sander. September 5th, 1877 214. Adelheid von Schorn. September 15th, 1877 215. Breitkopf and Hartel. September 26th, 1877 216. Frau Ingeborg von Bronsart. October 2lst, 1877 217. Eduard von Liszt. November 23rd, 1877 218. Jules de Zarembski. December 13th, 1877 219. Mme. Jessie Laussot. January 29th, 1878 220. the same. February 3rd, 1878
221. B. Bessel. March 11th, 1878
222. Walter Bache. March 19th, 1878 223. Dr. Ludwig Nohl. March 20th, 1878
224. Dr. Siegmund Lebert. March 27th, 1878 225. Edmund von Mihalovich. April 13th, 1878 226. Kornel von Abranyi. April 14th, 1878 227. Fran Ingeborg von Bronsart. April 20th, 1878 228. Eduard von Liszt. April 26th, 1878
229. Edmund Singer. May 10th, 1878
230. Adolf von Henselt. June 5th, 1878 231. Eduard von Liszt. June 6th, 1878
232. Carl Riedel. June 7th, 1878
233. Vera Timanof£ Summer, 1878
234. Eduard von Liszt. July 6th, 1878 235. Robert Franz. July 12th, 1878
236. Kornel von Abranyi. September 13th, 1878 237. Eduard von Liszt. November 4th, 1878 238. Freiherr Hans von Wolzogen. November 15th, 1878 239. Eduard von Liszt. November 21st, 1878 240. the same. January 22nd, 1879
241. Ludwig Bosendorfer. February 19th, 1879 242. Adolf von Henselt. February, 1879
243. Marie Lipsius. March 2nd, 1879 244. Otto Lessmann. March 23rd, 1879
245. Von Trefort. May 12th, 1879
246. Walter Bache, May 25th, 1879
247. Ludmilla Schestakoff. June 14th, 1878 248. A. Borodin, C. Cui, An. Liadoff, and N. Rimsky-Korsakoff. June 15th, 1879
249. Josef Bohm. June 22nd, 1879
250. Vera Timanoff. Summer, 1879
251. Adolf von Henselt. July 12th, 1879 252. Dr. Siegmund Lebert. September 25th, 1879 253. Bassani in Venice. October 28th, 1879 254. Anatole Liadoff. December 25th, 1879 255. Fran Reisenauer.Pauly in Rome. January 30th, 1880 256. Carl Klindwo1th. February 16th, 1880 257. Herrmann Scholtz. April 29th, 1880
258. Sophie Menter. May 26th, 1880
259. Jules de Zarembski. June 1st, 1880 260. Bassani. June 4th, 1880
261. Marie Lipsius. June l0th, 1880 262. Kornel von Abranyi. June 20th, 1880 263. Freiherr Hans von Wolzogen. July 28th, 1880 264. Friedrich Hofme1ster. August 17th, 1880 265. Baroness Helene Augusz. September 1st, 1880 266. Mme. Anton Rubinstein. October 24th, 1880 267. Frau Amalie von Fabry in Budapest. November 1st, 1880 268. Frau Anna Benfey-Schuppe. November 11th, 1880 269. Committee of Antwerp Musical Society. November 16th, 1880 270. Sophie Menter. December 2nd, 1880
271. Dr. Friedrich Stade. December 11th, 1880 272. S. Jadassohn. January l0th, 1881
273. Frau Reisenauer-Pauly in Konigsberg. January 29th, 1881 274. Dionys von Pazmandy. February 15th, 1881 275. Fran Colestine Bosendorfer. April 17th, 1881 276. the Committee of the Wagner-Verein. April 25th, 1881 277. Kornel von Abranyi. May 13th, 1881
278. the same. May 22nd, 1881
279. Frau Charlotte Blume-Arends. August 29th, 1881 280. Otto Lessmann. September 8th, 1881
281. Francois Auguste Gevaert in Brussels. September 19th, 1881 282. the same. October 8th, 1881
283. Edmund von Mihalovich. October 8th, 1881 284. Jules de Zarembski. December 4th, 1881 285. Camille Saint-Saens. December 6th, 1881 286. Ludwig Bosendorfer. December 8th, 1881 287. Pauline Viardot-Garcia. December 12th, 1881 288. Mme. Malwine Tardieu in Brussels. January 20th, 1882 289. Alexander Wereschagin. February 5th, 1882 290. Martha Remmert. February 20th, 1882 291. Mme. Malwine Tardieu. April 11th, 1882 292. Franz Servais. April 22nd, 1882
293. Mme. Malwine Tardieu. April 23rd, 1882 294. Otto Lessmann. April 23rd, 1882
295. Frau Charlotte Blume-Arends. April 23rd, 1882 296. Freiherr Hans von Wolzogen. April 25th, 1882 297. Frau Henriette von Liszt. May 11th, 1882 298. Camille Saint-Saens. May 14th, 1882 299. Mme. Malwine Tardieu. June 10th, 1882 300. Committee of Allgemeine Deutsche Musikverein. June, 1882 301. F. von Jagemann at Freiburg in Breisgau. July 6th, 1882 302. Nicolaus Oesterlein in Vienna. July 16th, 1882 303. Kornel von AbrAnyi. July 23rd, 1882 304. Freiherr Hans von Wolzogen. July 27th, 1882 305. Mme. Malwine Tardieu. September 12th, 1882 306. Otto Lessmann. September 16th, 1882 307. the same. September 20th, 1882
308. Frau Charlotte Blume-Arends. September 27th, 1882 309. Otto Lessmann. October 14th, 1882
310. the same. November 4th, 1882
3ll. Mme. Malwine Tardieu. November 6th, 1882 312. Otto Lessmann. November, 1882
313. Adelheid von Schorn. November 20th, 1882 314. Freiherr Hans von Wolzogen. November 24th, 1882 315. Franz Servais. November 26th, 1882
316. Adelheid von Schorn. December 8th, 1882 317. Carl Riedel. December 9th, 1882
318. Arthur Meyer in Paris. January 28th, 1883 319. Albert Fuchs. February 4th, 1883
320. Saissy in Budapest. February 6th, 1883 321. the same. February eth, 1883.
322. Rich and Mason in Toronto. 1883 323. Mme. Marie Jaell. February 12th, 1883 324. Adelheid von Schorn. February 14th, 1883 325. Otto Lessmann. February 18th, 1883
326. Lina Ramann. February 22nd, 1883 327. Mme. Malwine Tardieu. March 6th, 1883 328. Ferdinand Taborszky in Budapest. March 11th, 1883 329. Baroness M. E. Schwartz. March 22nd, 1883 330. Baroness Wrangel in St. Petersburg. May 20th, 1883 33I. Mason and Hamlin in Boston. June 12th, 1883 332. Mme. Malwine Tardieu. December 14th, 1883 333. Cäsar Cui. December 30th, 1883
334. Otto Lessmann. January 10th, 1884 335. Felix Mottl. February 8th, 1884
336. Frau Henriette von Uszt.February 8th, 1884 337. Camille Saint-Satins. April 29th, 1884 338. Otto Lessmann. May 7th, 1884
339. Camille Saint-Saëns. May 18th, 1884 340. Walter Bache, May 23rd, 1884
341. Carl Navratil in Prague. May 30th, 1884 342. Baron Friedrich Podmaniczky in Budapest, 1884 343. Freiherr Hans von Wolzogen. June 18th, 1884 344. Auguste Gotze. June 22nd, 1884
345. Kornei von Abranyi. July 1st, 1884 345A. Mme. Malwine Tardieu. August 9th, 1884 346. Rahter in Hamburg. August 28th, 1884 347. Richard Pohl. September 12th, 1884
348. Sophie Menter. September 13th, 1884 349. Baron Friedrich Podmaniczky. September 2lst, 1884 350. Walter Bache. October 18th, 1884
351. Mili Balakireff in St. Petersburg. October 2lst, 1884 352. Countess Mercy-Argenteau. October 24th, 1884 353. Mme. Malwine Tardieu. December 7th, 1884 354. Freiherr Hans von Wolzogen. December 18th, 1884 355. Camille Saint-Saens. End of 1884 or beginning of 1885 356. Countess Mercy-Argenteau. January 20th, 1885 357. Camille Saint-Saens. January 27th, 1885 358. Mme. Malwine Tardieu. April 6th, 1885 359. Lina Ramann. April 27th, 1885
360. Camille Saint-Saens. May 8th, 1885 361. Alexander Siloti. May, 1885
362. J. P. von Kiraly in Eisenstadt. June 5th, 1885 363. Ferdinand Taborszky. June 8th, 1885 364. Alfred Reisenauer. September 1st, 1885 365. Otto Lessmann. September 5th, 1885
366. Casar Cui. October 18th, 1885
367. Countess Mercy-Argenteau. October 24th, 1885 368. Eduard Reuss in Carlsruhe. November 4th, 1885 369. Breitkopf and Hartel. November, 1885 370. Walter Bache. November 17th, 1885
370A. the same. November 26th, 1885 370B. the Philharmonic Society. November 26th, 1885 371. Countess Mercy-Argenteau. November 2lst, 1885 372. Camille Saint-Sans. November 28th, 1885 373. Eugen d’Albert. December 26th, 1885 374. Sophie Menter. December 30th, 1885
375. Eduard Reuss. January l0th, 1886 376. Walter Bache. February 11th, 1886
377. Countess Mercy- Argenteau. February 17th, 1886 379. Sophie Menter. March 18th, 1886
379. Countess Mercy-Argenteau. April 14th, 1886 380. Alexander Ritter. April 24th, 1886
381. Frau Amalie von Fabry. May 27th, 1886 382. Mme. Malwine Tardieu. May 29th, 1886 383. Eduard Reuss. June 5th, 1886
384. Frau Reuss-Belce. June 5th, 1886 385. Eduard Reuss. June 22nd, 1886
386. Sophie Menter. July 3rd, 1886
Index of Supplemental Letters
387. Freiherr von Spiegel in Weimar. September 30th, 1841 388. Eugenio Gomez in Sevilla. December 27th, 1844 389. Mme.? End of December, 1844
390. Mme.? Beginning of 1845
391. Mme.? in Milan. 1846
392. Frau Charlotte Moscheles (?). June 22nd, 1848 393. Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst. May 30th, 1801 394. Josef Dessauer (?). Beginning of the fifties 395. Testimonial for Joachim Raff. Beginning of the fifties. 396. Dr. Eduard Hanslick in Vienna. January 31st, 1856. 397. Minister von Bach in Vienna. September 18th 398. ? in Leipzig. Spring, 1859
399. Dr. Eduard Hanslick. September 24th, 1859
THE LETTERS OF FRANZ LISZT, VOLUME 2: FROM ROME TO THE END
1. To Dr. Franz Brendel
[Rome,] December 20th, 1861
For the New Year I bring you nothing new; my soon ageing attachment and friendship remain unalterably yours. Let me hope that it will be granted to me to give you more proof of it from year to year.
Since the beginning of October I have remained without news from Germany. How are my friends Bronsart, Draseke, Damrosch, Weissheimer? Give them my heartiest greetings, and let me see some notices of the onward endeavors and experiences of these my young friends, as also of the doings of the Redactions-Hohle [Editorial den] and the details of the Euterpe concerts.
Please send the numbers of the paper, from October onwards, to me at the address of the library Spithover-Monaldini, Piazza di Spagna, Rome. Address your letter “Herrn Commandeur Liszt,” Via Felice 113. “Signor Commendatore” is my title here; but don’t be afraid that any Don Juan will stab me–still less that on my return to Germany I shall appear in your Redactions-Hohle as a guest turned to stone!–
Of myself I have really little to tell you. Although my acquaintance here is tolerably extensive and of an attractive kind (if not exactly musical!), I live on the whole more retired than was possible to me in Germany. The morning hours are devoted to my work, and often a couple of hours in the evening also. I hope to have entirely finished the Elizabeth in three months. Until then I can undertake nothing else, as this work completely absorbs me. Very soon I will decide whether I come to Germany next summer or not. Possibly I shall go to Athens in April– without thereby forgetting the Athens of the elms! .–.
First send me the paper, that I may not run quite wild in musical matters. At Spithover’s, where I regularly read the papers, there are only the Augsburger Allgemeine, the Berlin Stern-Zeitung [Doubtless the Kreusseitung], and several French and English papers, which contain as good as nothing of what I care about in the domain of music.
Julius Schuberth wrote a most friendly letter to me lately, and asks me which of Draseke’s works I could recommend to him next for publication. To tell the truth it is very difficult for me in Rome to put myself in any publisher’s shoes, even in so genial a man’s as Julius Schuberth. In spite of this I shall gladly take an opportunity of answering him, and shall advise him to consult with Draseke himself as to the most advisable opportunity of publishing this or that Opus of his, if a doubt should actually come over our Julius as to whether his publisher’s omniscience were sufficiently enlightened on the matter!–
Remember me most kindly to your wife.
Yours most sincerely,
Please give my best greetings to Kahnt. Later on I shall beg him for a copy of my songs for a very charming Roman lady.
2. To A.W. Gottschalg, Cantor and Organist in Tieffurt
[“Der legendarische Cantor” [the legendary Cantor] the Master jokingly named this faithful friend of his. “I value him as a thoroughly honest, able, earnestly striving and meritorious comrade in Art, and interest myself in the further progress– which is his due,” wrote Liszt to the late Schuberth. Meanwhile Gottschalg was long ago advanced to the post of Court organist in Weimar. He is widely known as the editor of the “Chorgesang” [chorus singing] and of the “Urania.”]
Although I cannot think otherwise than that you remain ever equally true to me, yet the living expression of your kindly feelings towards me is always a pleasure and a comfort. First of all then accept my warmest thanks for your two letters, which bring back to me the best impressions of your morning and evening visits to me in my blue room on the Altenburg.
It goes without saying that I have no objection to make to the publication of the Andante from the Berg Symphony in the Jubilee Album in honor of Johann Schneider. I only beg, dear friend, that you will look the proof over accurately, and carefully correct any omissions or mistakes in the manuscript.
I should be very glad if I could send you a new Organ work, but unfortunately all incentive to that sort of work is wanting to me here; and until the Tieffurt Cantor makes a pilgrimage to Rome all my organ wares will certainly remain on the shelf.
Ad vocem of the Tieffurt Cantor, I will tell you that I have been thinking of him very particularly these last few days, whilst I was composing St. Francis’s Hymn of Praise (“Cantico di San Francesco”). The song is a development, an offspring as it were, a blossom of the Chorale “in dulci jubilo,” for which of course I had to employ Organ. But how could I be writing an Organ work without immediately flying to Tieffurt in imagination?–And lo, at the entrance to the church our excellent Grosse [The trombonist of the Weimar orchestra (died 1874), who was so faithfully devoted to Liszt, and whom the latter remembered in his will] met me with his trombone, and I recollected an old promise–namely, to compose a “piece” for his use on Sundays. I immediately set to work at it, and out of my “Cantico” has now arisen a Concertante piece for Trombone and Organ. I will send you the piece as an Easter egg by the middle of April. [Published by Kahnt in Leipzig] Meanwhile here are the opening chords:–
[Here, Liszt illustrates with a musical score excerpt of the opening chords of the Concertante, in F major]
and on a lovely evening in May will you play the whole with Grosse in your church at Tieffurt, and perpetuate me with Organ and Trombone!–
It has struck me that your name is not mentioned among the fellow-workers in the Johann Schneider Jubilee Album. If there is still time and space you might perhaps contribute your arrangement of the Fugue from the “Dante Symphony” (with the ending which I composed to it for you). This proposal is open to amendment, on the supposition that Hartels are willing to agree to it–and, above all, that it suits you.
.–. N.B.–I beg you most particularly to make no further use of the two Psalms “By the waters of Babylon,” of which you have a copy, because I have undertaken to make two or three essential alterations in them, and I wish them only to be made known and published in their present form. I send the new manuscript at the same time as the Cantico di San Francesco.
My best greetings to your wife, and rest assured always of my sincere thanks, and of the complete harmony of my ideas with your own.
Rome, March 11th, 1862
When I am sending several manuscripts at Easter, I will write a couple of letters to Weimar and thank Jungmann [A pupil of Liszt’s in Weimar; died there in September 1892] for his letter. I feel the want of time almost as much in Rome as in Weimar, and I have observed a strict Fast in correspondence as a rule, so that for three months past I have hardly sent as many as three to four letters to Germany.
Remember me most particularly to Herr Regierungsrath Miller! [A friend of Liszt’s, a multifarious writer on music; died 1876]
3. To Dr. Franz Brendel.
[Autograph in the possession of Herr Alexander Meyer Cohn in Berlin.]
Your friendly letter has again brought me a whiff of German air, which is all the more welcome to me here as I have not too much of it. One sees extremely few German papers in Rome–also I read them very irregularly–and my correspondents from Germany are limited to two, of whom friend Gottschalg, my legendary Tieffurt Cantor, is the most zealous. His letters flow from his heart–and are therefore always welcome to me.
For all of good news that you tell me I give you twofold thanks. Firstly, because you have for the most part brought it about, prefaced it, and seen it through. And then, because you tell it me in so friendly a fashion. Although I have long been prepared to bear the fiasco of my works quietly and unmoved, yet still it is pleasant to me to learn that the “Faust” Symphony in Leipzig did not have such a very bad fate. [In one of the “Euterpe” concerts, under Bronsart’s conducting, at which Schnorr of Carolsfeld sang the tenor solo.] Do not fail, dear friend, to give Herr Schnorr my best thanks–and if perchance my songs would be a little pleasure to him will Kahnt be so good as to send Schnorr a copy (bound) at my order?
With regard to the Bronsart affair, I sincerely regret that I had not the opportunity of smoothing matters down sooner. Between people of one mind dissension and variance should never appear– much less lead to an outbreak. As you ask me for my opinion, I openly confess that in the main Bronsart appears to me perfectly justified in vindicating his choice of new compositions for the musical directors, in spite of the fact that the two or three experiments he has made do not show in favor of the principle (as seen by the consequences). But between ourselves we must not conceal the fact that a great part of the laxity and corruption of our musical condition in Germany (as also elsewhere) is to be attributed to the too great–or too petty–yielding and pliancy of conductors and music-directors. I well know that the Euterpe Committee nourishes and cherishes quite another idea than that of the company X. Y. Z., or of the Court Theater directors A. B. C. D. Yet the question constantly arises–Shall the cook cook? Shall the coachman drive?–Ergo let the musician also have his own way. The harm that may spring from that is not so very terrible.
On the other side, I consider a change of persons in the management of a new institution is not desirable. In intellectual movements in particular the leaders of them are especially recommended to keep themselves conservative as regards their people. The public requires definiteness before all else–and just this is endangered by a change of persons. The substitute for B., whom you mention to me (his name also begins with B.), is certainly highly to be recommended in all that concerns talent, position, and I think also worthy character; none the less do I vote very decidedly that Bronsart be retained–if possible.
I do not need to add, dear friend, that this opinion of mine is a purely objective one. I have not heard a word from Bronsart since last September, and, as I said to you before, my musical news from Germany is limited to two, or at most three letters which Gottschalg wrote me.
With the wish that all difficulties may be smoothed in the best way by your intelligent gentleness and forbearance, I remain your warmly devoted
[Rome] April 12th, 1862
P.S.–More next time (though little of interest to you, as absolutely nothing occurs here that could touch you closely).–I am preparing to stay here for the summer, and somewhat longer.– In order not to lose the post I only send you today these few lines.
4. To Madame Jessie Laussot in Florence
[Madame Laussot, an English lady, became later the wife of Dr. Carl Hillebrand, the celebrated writer. She was the intimate friend of Liszt, Von Bulow, etc., and is herself a musician of great repute, to whom many artists of note, Sgambati, Bache, Buonamici, etc., owe much of the success of their career. She started a musical society in Florence, the “Societa Cherubini;” which she conducted for many years, and introduced there much of the best music of Germany (Liszt’s included).]
Your charming lines, Madame, reached me at the beginning of Holy Week. At that moment one no longer belongs to oneself in Rome; and I have felt this more than others, for the services and ceremonies of the Sistine Chapel and of St. Peter’s, to which I attached a special musical interest, have absorbed all my time during the last fortnight. Pray excuse me therefore for not having thanked you sooner for your kind remembrance, which touches me much.
Some one has made a mistake in telling you that I am coming to Florence. I have no longer any taste for moving about from one place to another, and, unless something very unforeseen happens, I shall not stir from here so soon. Rome is a more convenient place than others for those who ask nothing better than to work in their own fashion. Now, although I have become very indifferent as to the fate of what I write, work none the less continues to be the first need of my nature. I write therefore simply to write–without any other pretensions or care–and for this it suits me best to remain in one place.
Will you be so kind, Madame, as to give my very affectionate respects to Madame Ritter [Mother of Carl Ritter–Wagner’s friend–and of Alexander Ritter, the composer of “Der faule Hans.”], to which please add my best remembrances to her family, and pray accept also the expression of my very sincere and affectionate regards.
May 3rd, 1862 (Via Felice, 113–Rome.)
5. To Dr. Franz Brendel
Rome, June 12th, 1862
Grand, sublime, immeasurably great things have come to pass here lately. The Episcopate of the whole world assembled here round the Holy Father, who performed the ceremony of the canonisation of the Japanese martyrs at Whitsuntide in the presence of more than 300 bishops, archbishops, patriarchs, and cardinals. I must abstain, dear friend, from giving you any picture of the overpowering moment in which the Pope intoned the “Te Deum;” for in Protestant lands that which I might call the spiritual illumination is wanting. Let us therefore, without any other transition, return to our everyday musical matters!
I am convinced that your determination to make a change in the choice of conductors of the Euterpe has been made only after mature consideration. .–. In my last letter I pointed out, as the chief thing, that in concert societies the principle of stability in the matter of the Musical Direction is the most important thing, whereby I did not in the least mean to say that one must on that account agree to extreme consequences–or rather inconsequences. Well, as your decision is made, any further discussion is useless. Blassmann [He moved to Dresden some years later, and there he died.] has now to approve himself, and actively to fulfil the favorable expectations which his talent and good name justify. So be it, and as Schuberth says, Punktum [a full stop.]
As regards the place of meeting for the next Tonkunstler- Versammlung I am quite of your opinion. First of all I advise you to consult Bulow. Owing to his long connection with the Court at Carlsruhe he is best qualified to take the preliminary measures (“to pave the way”!). If the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess take up the matter favorably, then without doubt all that is requisite and necessary will be done in the most desirable manner. The most essential things are
(a) Letting us have the theater free of charge for two to three evenings–(as at Weimar–would not it perhaps be best to mention this in the 1st letter?).
(b) Official preparatory measures by the Intendant to ensure the co-operation of the Carlsruhe orchestra and chorus, also free of charge.
You will have to consult more fully with Dr. Devrient and Kalliwoda as to the best time for it. But the thing to be done before all else is to gain the Grand Duke’s interest–and if you think it would be practicable for me to write a few lines to H.R.H. later on I will do so with pleasure. I only beg that you will give me exact particulars of the steps already made and their results.
For my part I think that to Bulow, a priori, ought to be entrusted the conducting of the Musical Festival, and this point should be at once mentioned as settled in the introductory letter to the Grand Duke. Otherwise Bedow’s position in the affair would not be sufficiently supported.
To sum up briefly: Request Bulow to undertake the conductorship of the Musical Festival; and address the Grand Duke of Baden, either by letter or by word of mouth (as opportunity may warrant), with the request that H.R.H. would graciously support the proposed Musical Festival of the third Tonkunstler- Versammlung, by giving it his patronage, as the Grand Duke of Weimar did last year, etc., etc.
.–. That excellent Pohl has quite forgotten me. I asked him, through Gottschalg, to send me my Gesam- melte Lieder [complete songs], the “Dante Symphony” (in score and arrangement for 2 Pianos), the 4-hand Symphonic Poems, and a couple of copies of my Catalogue (published by Hartel).
I have been waiting in vain for these for two months. A few days ago I wrote to Frau von Bulow to send Pohl an execution; perhaps this may help matters at length!
The Berlioz parts have remained at Weimar. Grosse knows about them–and possibly they have also gone to Pohl with the rest of the scores. As soon as they are found I shall be happy to make a present of them to the library of the Musikverein for their use, as well as the scores, and I authorise you with pleasure, dear friend, to do the same with the score and parts of the “Gran Mass.”
The newspaper has not reached me from Pohl any more than the parcel.
Hearty greetings to your wife from yours in all friendship,
6. To Dr. Franz Brendel
Well, as the parcel has come at last, Pohl shall not be scolded any more, and his “innocence” shall shine out in full splendor! .–.
I have just received a few lines from Berlioz; Schuberth, whom I commissioned, before I left, to send the dedication-copy of the “Faust” score to Berlioz, has again in his incompetent good nature forgotten it, and perhaps even from motives of economy has not had the dedication-plate engraved at all!!–Forgive me, dear friend, if I trouble you once more with this affair, and beg you to put an execution on Schuberth in order to force a copy with the dedication-page from him. The dedication shall be just as simple as that of the “Dante Symphony,” containing only the name of the dedicatee, as follows,
“To Hector Berlioz.”
After this indispensable matter has been arranged I beg that you will be so kind as to have a tasteful copy, bound in red or dark green, sent, perhaps through Pohl (?), to Berlioz at Baden (where he will be at the beginning of August. In case neither Pohl nor his wife should go to Baden this summer (which however I scarcely expect will be the case), send the copy to Fraulein Genast (who, as I learn from the “Zeitschrift” [periodical], is at present in Carlsruhe) with the request that she will give it to Berlioz.
Is there not any talk of bringing out an arrangement of the “Faust Symphony” for 2 Pianofortes?–Schuberth is sure to have far greater things in contemplation, and I almost regret having incommoded him by giving up the manuscripts!–
Nonetheless, please take him to task about it, or, better, bully him into action with “Faust-Recht” [Faust rights or Faust justice.] In truth the final chorus of Part III. of the Faust tragedy, “faithful to the spirit of Part II. as composed by Deutobold-Symbolizetti-Allegoriowitsch-Mystifizinsky”–
Hier ward es geschmeckt,
Hier war es bezweckt”
[A parody on the concluding lines of Goethe’s Faust. The parody may be freely translated as follows:–
The most insipid
Here was tasted;
In queerest nonsense
Here all was wasted.”]
can often be applied to matters of publishing. And while I am touching on this, to me, very disagreeable chapter, may I also take the opportunity of inquiring how long our amiable friend and patron Julius Schuberth is intending to ignore the 2 Episodes from Lenau’s “Faust” (“Nachtlicher Zug”–and “Mephisto Walzer”), which I recommended to his good graces more than a year ago, and gave him in manuscript?
Must the pages perchance become quite mouldy, or will he bring them out as an oeuvre posthume [posthumous work]? I am tired of doing silent homage to this noble mode of proceedings, and intend next time to help the publisher out of all his perplexities [Untranslatable pun on “Verleger” and “Verlegenheiten.”] by putting the manuscripts back in their place again.–
“O Freunde, nicht diese Tone, sondern lasst uns angenchmere anstimmen!” [A quotation from Schiller’s “Ode to joy” in Beethoven’s “Choral Symphony:” “O friends, not tones like these, but brighter ones let us sing.”] (I am perhaps not quoting exactly, although the sense of the apostrophe remains clearly present, especially in musical enjoyments and experiences!) Amongst the “more pleasant” things I at once place much information given in your letter and the newspaper (which reached me at the same time in some 16 numbers with Pohl’s parcel). My most earnest wishes are, first and foremost, bound up in the complete prospering, upspringing, and blossoming of the “grain of mustard-seed” of our Allgemeine Deutsche Musik-Verein. With God’s help I will also support this in other fashion than mere “wishes.” According to my opinion the third Tonkunstler- Versammlung will be the chief factor in strengthening and extending the Allgemeine Deutsche Musik-Verein, which comprises in itself the entire development and advancement of Art.
Various reasons led me to recommend Carlsruhe to you in my last letter as the most suitable place for the third Tonkunstler- Versammlung, that is, supposing that H.R.H. the Grand Duke gives his countenance to the matter, and grants us favorable conditions with regard to the disposal of the theater, orchestra, and chorus. It behoves Bulow, as conductor of the musical performances, to undertake to “pave the way” towards a favorable promise on the Grand Duke’s side. Within two to three months the necessary preliminaries can be fixed, and I shall then expect fuller tidings from you about the further plans and measures.
Without wishing to make any valid objection to Prague–rather with all due acknowledgment of what Prague has already accomplished and may still accomplish–yet it seems to me that the present political relations of the Austrian monarchy would make it inopportune to hold the Tonkunstler-Versammlung in Prague just now. On the other hand I am of opinion that a more direct influence than has yet been possible on South Germany, which is for the most part in a stagnating condition, would be of service. Stuttgart in particular, through Pruckner, Singer, Stark, etc., might behave at it differently from what it did at a previous Musical Festival in Carlsruhe!
Dr. Gille’s interest in the statutes and deliberations of the M.V. [Musik-Verein] is very advantageous, as also Pohl’s previous removal to Leipzig. .–. The constant intercourse with you, together with the Leipzig acids and gases, will be sure to suit him well.
From Weimar I have received a good deal of news lately from Count Beust, Dingelstedt, Gille, and Stor. To the latter my answer will be little satisfactory; but I cannot continue with him on any other road, and let the overpowering Dominant of his spasmodic vanity serve as the Fundamental note of our relations.
I am writing to Gille by the next post, and also to Muller, who rejoiced me lately by his Erinnerungs-Blatt [remembrance] from Weimar, (in the 8th November issue of the “Zeitschrift,” which I have only now received). Will you, dear friend, when you have an opportunity, give my best thanks to Kulke for his article upon Symphony and Symphonic Poem–and also the enclosed lines to Fraulein Nikolas, from whom I have received a charming little note?
Already more than 140 pages of the score of my “Elizabeth” are written out complete (in my own little cramped scrawl). But the final chorus–about 40 pages–and the piano-arrangement have still to be done. By the middle of August I shall send the entire work
to Carl Gotze at Weimar to copy, together with the “Canticus of St. Francis,” which I composed in the spring. [“Cantico del Sole,” for baritone solo, men’s chorus, and organ. Kahnt.] It would certainly be pleasanter for me if I could bring the things with me–but, between ourselves, I cannot entertain the idea of a speedy return to Germany. If later there seems a likelihood of a termination to my stay in Rome, you, dear friend, shall be the first to hear of it.
With hearty greetings to your wife, I remain
Yours in sincere and friendly attachment,
Rome, July 12th, 1862
Your little commission about Lowenberg shall be attended to. Let me soon have news of you and of my intimate friends again. There is absolutely nothing to tell you from here that could interest you. In spite of the heat I shall spend the summer months in Rome.
7. To Dr. Franz Brendel
[Letters 7, 8, 9, 18, and 24 to Brendel have been partially published in La Mara’s “Musikerbriefe” (Letters of Musicians), Vol. II.]
What a delightful bunch of surprises your letter brings me, dear friend! So Pohl has really set to work on the Faust brochure–and Schuberth is actually not going to let the piano-arrangement of the “Faust Symphony” lie in a box till it is out of date. How curious it all sounds, just because it is so exactly the right thing and what I desired!–If you are back in Leipzig please send me soon a couple of copies of the Faust brochure (those numbers of the journal containing Pohl’s articles have not reached me), and also send me the 2-pianoforte arrangement of the Faust Symphony (a few copies when convenient). I have as yet received nothing of the parcel which Kahnt announced as having sent me with some of my 4-hand things; and as I have fished out here a very talented young pianist, Sgambati [A pupil of Liszt’s, and now one of the first pianoforte players and composers of Italy; has been, since 1871, Professor at the Academia Sta. Cecilia in Rome] by name, who makes a first-rate partner in duets, and who, for example, plays the Dante Symphony boldly and correctly, it would be a pleasure to me to be able to go through the whole cycle of the Symphonic Poems with him. Will you be so good therefore, dear friend, as to ask Hartel for the whole lot in the 2-pianoforte arrangement (a double copy of each Symphonic Poem, for with one copy alone I can do nothing, as I myself can only play the thing from notes!), and also the 4-hand arrangement, with the exception of the “Festklange,” which Hartels have already sent me?
Besides these, I expect in the same parcel the Marches which Schuberth has published (the “Goethe Marsch” and the Duke of Coburg) and the “Kunstler Festzug” [Artists’ procession] (for 4 hands), which I ordered previously.–
The “Legend of St. Elizabeth” is written out to the very last note of the score; I have now only to finish a part of the piano arrangement, and the 4-hand arrangement of the Introduction, the Crusaders’ March, and the final procession–which shall be done by the end of this month at latest. Then I send the whole to Weimar to be copied, together with a couple of other smaller manuscripts. What will be its ultimate fate will appear according as…Meanwhile I will try one or two little excursions into the country (to Albano, Frascati, Rocca di Papa–and a little farther still, to the “Macchia serena” near Corneto, where in earlier times much robbery and violence took place!), and before the end of September I hope to be able to set steadily to work again, and to continue my musical deeds of “robbery and murder”! Would that I only could hear, like you, the Sondershausen orchestra, and were able to conjure friend Stein and his brave phalanx into the Colosseum! The locality would assuredly be no less attractive than the “Loh,” [The Sondershausen concerts are, as is well known, given in the “Lohgarten.”] and Berlioz’s Harold Symphony, or Ce que l’on entend sur la montagne [One of Liszt’s Symphonic Poems], would sound there quite “sonderschauslich” [curious] [Play of words on Sondershausen and “sonderbar” or “sonderlich”]. I often imagine the orchestra set up there, with the execrated instruments of percussion in an arcade–our well–wishers Rietz, Taubert, and other braggarts of criticism close by (or in the Aquarium!)–the directors of the Deutsche Musik-Verein resting on the “Pulvinare,” and the members all around resting on soft cushions, and making a show in the reserved seats of the Subsellia, as senators and ambassadors used to do!–
Tell Stein of this idea, and give him my most friendly thanks for all the intelligent care and pains that he so very kindly gives to my excommunicated compositions. As regards the performances of the Sondershausen orchestra I am quite of your opinion, and I repeat that they are not only not outdone, but are even not often equalled in their sustained richness, their judicious and liberal choice of works, as well as in their precision, drilling, and refinement.–It is only a shame that no suitable concert-hall has been built in Sondershausen. The orchestra has long deserved such an attention; should such a thing ever fall to their lot, pray urge upon Stein to spread out the Podium of the orchestra as far as possible, and not to submit to the usual limited space, as they made the mistake of doing in the Gewandhaus, the Odeonsaal in Munich, etc., etc., and also, alas, in Lowenberg. The concert- hall of the Paris Conservatoire offers in this respect the right proportions, and a good part of the effect produced by the performances there is to be ascribed to this favorable condition.–
According to what I hear Bulow is not disposed to mix himself up in the preliminaries of the next Tonkunstler-Versammlung. Accordingly some one else must be entrusted with the afore- mentioned task in Carlsruhe, although Bulow was the best suited for it. If you do not care to enter at once into direct communication with Devrient, Pohl would be the best man to “pioneer” the way. It would not be any particular trouble to him to go from Baden to Carlsruhe, and to persuade Devrient to favor the matter. This is before all else needful, for without Devrient’s co-operation nothing of the sort can be undertaken in Carlsruhe. If the Tonkunstler-Versammlung takes place not out of the theater season, then one or more theatrical performances can be given in conjunction with it, especially of Gluck’s Operas; as also an ultra-classical Oratorio of Handel’s might well be given over to the Carlsruhe Vocal Unions. .–.
What “astonishing things” are you planning, dear friend? This word excites my curiosity; but, on the other hand, I share your superstition to speak only of actions accomplished (“faits accomplis”). In Schelle you will gain a really valuable colleague. Has his “History of the Sistine Chapel” come out yet? If so, please be so good as to send me the book with the other musical things.–
My daughter, Frau von Bulow, writes to me that Wagner’s new work “Die Meistersinger” is a marvel, and amongst other things she says:–
“These ‘Meistersinger’ are, to Wagner’s other conceptions, much the same as the ‘Winter’s Tale’ is to Shakespeare’s other works. Its phantasy is found in gaiety and drollery, and it has called up the Nuremberg of the Middle Ages, with its guilds, its poet- artisans, its pedants, its cavaliers, to draw forth the most fresh laughter in the midst of the highest, the most ideal, poetry. Exclusive of its sense and the destination of the work, one might compare the artistic work of it with that of the Sacraments-Hauschen of St. Lawrence (at Nuremberg). Equally with the sculptor, has the composer lighted upon the most graceful, most fantastic, most pure form,–boldness in perfection; and as at the bottom of the Sacraments-Hauschen there is Adam Kraft, holding it up with a grave and collected air, so in the ‘Meistersinger’ there is Hans Sachs, calm, profound, serene, who sustains and directs the action,” etc.
This description pleased me so much that, when once I was started on the subject, I could not help sending you the long quotation. The Bulows, as you know, are with Wagner at Biebrich–at the end of this month there is to be a performance of “Lohengrin” at Frankfort under Wagner’s direction. There must not fail to be a full account of this in the Neue Zeitschrift, and for this I could recommend my daughter as the best person. The letters in which she has written to me here and there of musical events in Berlin and elsewhere are really charming, and full of the finest understanding and striking wit.–
Berlioz was so good as to send me the printed pianoforte edition of his Opera “Les Troyens.” Although for Berlioz’s works pianoforte editions are plainly a deception, yet a cursory reading through of “Les Troyens” has nevertheless made an uncommonly powerful impression on me. One cannot deny that there is enormous power in it, and it certainly is not wanting in delicacy–I might almost say subtilty–of feeling.
Pohl will let you know about the performance of Berlioz’s comic Opera “Beatrice and Benedict” in Baden, and I venture to say that this Opera, which demands but little outside aids, and borrows its subject from a well-known Shakespeare play, will meet with a favorable reception. Berlin, or any other of the larger theaters of Germany, would certainly risk nothing of its reputation by including an Opera of Berlioz in its repertoire. [This took place a quarter of a century later.] It is no good to try to excuse oneself, or to make it a reason, by saying that Paris has committed a similar sin of omission–for things in which other people fail we should not imitate. Moreover Paris has been for years past developing a dramatic activity and initiative which Germany is far from attaining–and if special, regrettable personal circumstances prevent Berlioz from performing his works in Paris, the Germans have nothing to do with that.
Hoping soon for news of you (even if not about the “astonishing things”), I remain, dear friend, with faithful devotion,
Rome, August 10th, 1862 Via Felice, 113
Who has corrected the proofs of the “Faust Symphony”? Please impress upon Schuberth not to send out into the world any unworthy editions of my works. Bulow is so good as to undertake the final revision, if only Schuberth will take the trouble to ask him to do so.
8. To Dr. Franz Brendel
Via Felice, 113 [Rome], August 29th 
In explanation of the main point of your last letter (which crossed mine), namely, the question as to where the next Tonkunstler-Versammlung is to be held, let me add the following in colloquial form.
I should not, without further proof, exactly like to consider Carlsruhe as a town altogether unsuitable for the purpose– although Pohl and Bulow are afraid it is, and have various reasons for assuming it to be so. As regards Bulow, I have already asked you not to trouble him with any of the preliminary details. When the time comes, he is certain to do his part–that is, more than could be expected or demanded of him. Only he must not be tormented with secondary considerations, not even where, owing to his position and antecedents, he is best known (for instance, in Carlsruhe, as already said). His individuality is such an exceptional one that its singularities must be allowed scope. Hence let us meanwhile leave him out of the question, he being what he is, with this reservation–that he undertakes to conduct the musical performances–as I hope and trust he will finally arrange to do. But again as to Carlsruhe, I would propose that unless you have important, positive objections to the place, you should write to the Grand Duke yourself and beg him in my name to take the Musik-Verein under his patronage, etc.–The worst that could happen to me in return would be to receive a courteously worded refusal; this, it is true, is not a kind of thing I cultivate as a rule, but as a favor to such an honorable association I would gladly face the danger, in the hope that it might prove of some use and advantage.
Write and tell me, therefore, in what spirit Seifriz has answered you, and what information Riedel has gathered in Prague. Prague, for certain (yet rather uncertain?) considerations, is indeed much to be recommended; only one would need, in some measure, to have the support of the musical authorities and notabilities of the place, as well as that of the civic corporation (because of municipal approbation and human patronage). In short, if the Tonkunstler-Versammlung were taken up and set in a good light there by a few active and influential persons, everything else would be easy to arrange, whereas otherwise all further steps would be so much trouble thrown away. I cannot altogether agree with your opinion, dear friend, that “the difficulties would in no way be greater in Prague than in Leipzig”–you forget that you yourself, in the capacity of a Leipzig citizen, removed most of the difficulties by your unswerving perseverance and your personal influence, whereas in Prague you could act only through the intervention of others. The question, therefore, is whether you can confidently reckon upon reliable friends there.
Until I receive further news from you, it seems to me that Bulow’s idea of preferring Lowenberg to all other places is one very well worth consideration. Our amiable Prince would certainly not fail to give his earnest support to the Tonkunstler- Versammlung, and the small miseries of the little town of Lowenberg might be put up with or put down, for a few days at all events. Think this plan over again carefully, and do not look at Lowenberg through the glasses of our excellent friend Frau von Bonsart!–Of course a date would have to be fixed when the orchestra is assembled there, and the whole programme arranged with Seifriz and drawn up with his friendly co-operation. In my opinion many things might be possible in Lowenberg that could scarcely be broached elsewhere; and as, in fact, Bulow conceived the idea I expressly recommend it you as a means for “paving the way” to a happy issue.–
Together with your last letter I received three of the Faust essays by Pohl. I shall send him my warm thanks for them by next post, and shall add, for his bibliographical and statistical edification, the little remark that Mademoiselle Bertin had an Italian opera performed in Paris before the Revolution of July, entitled “Faust” or “Fausto.” Before Pohl’s articles appear in pamphlet form I should like to have read them all through–but if he is in a hurry about them, do not mention this to him; perhaps, however, if it did not make the pamphlet too thick, it might be well to include Pohl’s essay on the “Dante Symphony” (as it appeared in Hartel’s edition of the score).
In spite of the unsatisfactory performance of the “Dante Symphony” in Dresden (partly, moreover, the fault of the bad, incorrectly written orchestral parts, and my careless conducting), and without regard to the rapture of the spiritual substance (a matter which the general public tolerates only when demanded by the higher authority of tradition, and then immediately gapes at it upside down!)–in spite, therefore, of this grievous Dresden performance, which brought me only theone satisfaction of directly setting to work at some not unessential improvements, simplifications, and eliminations in the score– that had taken hold of me during the rehearsals and the performance, and which I felt at once, without troubling myself about the audience present…–Now, what was I about to say, after all these parentheses and digressions? Yes, I remember now:–the “Dante Symphony” is a work that does not need to be ashamed of its title,–and what you tell me of the impression produced by the “Bergsymphonie” (in Sondershausen) strengthens me in my presumption. Hence I should be glad to see the preface by Pohl printed again, and placed at the end of the “Faust” pamphlet; for, considering what most people are, they require to read first, before attaining the capacity for learning, understanding, feeling, and appreciating.–
The edition of the “Faust Symphony” (arranged for two pianofortes) is worthy of all praise, and, in the language of music-sellers, elegant. The printer has done well in so arranging the type that a number of lines are brought on to one page and a number of bars on to every line. Schuberth shall ere long receive a complimentary note from me, together with a few “proof” indications for the “Faust Symphony.” But, in fact, I have come across only a few and unimportant errors as yet.
The publication of Lenau’s two “Faust Episodes” (a point Pohl touches upon in his essay with fine discrimination) Schuberth might undertake according as he sees fit. I am pretty well indifferent as to whether the pianoforte arrangement or the score appears first; only, the two pieces must appear simultaneously, the “Nachtlicher Zug” as No. 1 and “Mephisto’s Walzer” as No. 2. There is no thematic connection between the two pieces, it is true; but nevertheless they belong together, owing to the contrast of ideas. A “Mephisto” of that species could proceed only from a poodle of that species!–.–.
With the “Elizabeth” (of which I have now to write only the pianoforte score, which will take about a fortnight’s time) I am also sending to Weimar the three Psalms in their new definitive form. It would please me if, some day, a performance of the 13th Psalm, “How long wilt Thou forget me, O Lord?” could be given. The tenor part is a very important one;–I have made myself sing it, and thus had King David’s feelings poured into me in flesh and blood!–
It is to be hoped that Schnorr will be kind enough to adapt himself to the tenor part (the only solo voice in the Psalm, but which affects everything, and penetrates and sways chorus and orchestra). Theodor Formes sang the part very well eight years ago in Berlin; but that performance at Stern’s Concert was to me only a first trial performance!–
With notes alone nothing can be accomplished; one thirsts for soul, spirit, and actual life. Ah! composing is a misery, and the pitiful children of my Muse appear to me often like foundlings in a hospital, wandering about only as Nos. so and so!–
Please give my best thanks to Schnorr for having so kindly interested himself in my orphaned “Songs.” His better self- consciousness–the God we carry in our breasts–requite him for it!–My daughter, Frau von Bulow, writes and tells me marvels about Schnorr and his wife, and of the performance of “Tristan” at Wagner’s in Biebrich. If only we possessed electric telegraphs in favor of musical ubiquity! Assuredly I would not make any misuse of them, and only rarely put myself in correspondence with the music-mongers; but Tristan and Isolde are my “soul’s longing”!
The French journals contain nothing but praise and exclamations of delight at the success of “Benedict and Beatrice,” Berlioz’s new opera, which was performed in Baden. Pohl is sure to give you a full report of it. To judge from his essay, the tenor solo at the end of the “Faust Symphony” caused less offence in Leipzig (it was the stumbling-block in the Weimar performance, so much so that influential and well-disposed friends have urgently advised me to strike out the solo and chorus and to end the Symphony with the C major common chord of the orchestra). It was really my intention at first to have the whole “Chorus mysticus” sung invisibly–which, however, would be possible only at performances given in theaters, by having the curtain lowered. Besides which, I felt doubtful whether the sound would not have thus become too indistinct…
However it may be with this and other things, I will not fail to exercise patience and goodwill–but neither will I make too great a demand upon yours. Enough, therefore, for today from your heartily devoted
P.S.–N.B.–With the next sending of music please enclose the choruses from Schumann’s “Manfred” (Songs and pianoforte accompaniment). I shall probably this autumn be engaged with the same subject, which, in my opinion, Schumann has not exhausted.
9. To Dr. Franz Brendel
You will have heard of the grievous shock I received in the middle of September. [Liszt’s eldest daughter, Mme. Blandine Ollivier, had died.] Shortly afterwards Monsieur Ollivier came to Rome, and during his stay here, which lasted till the 22nd October, I could not calculate upon being able to take any interest in other outward matters. This last week I have had to spend in bed. Hence my long delay in answering you.
So far as I understand the position of affairs with regard to the Tonkunstler-Versammlung, it seems difficult to give any definite advice. The question here is not one of theoretical, but of absolutely practical considerations, with regard to which unfortunately my influence is very limited. In my last letter I believe I told you that I am prepared, in case you decide upon Prague, to subscribe my name to the petition addressed to the Austrian ministry in behalf of state support. At the same time I intimated to you that my cousin Dr. Eduard Liszt would be the best one to draw up the said petition (in accordance with a draft sent to him), and in fact might aid the undertaking with good advice, and otherwise promote its interests. I, on my side, will not spare myself any trouble in order to obtain from the Austrian government a favorable result for the objects of the Tonkunstler- Versammlung. I cannot, of course, guarantee success beforehand; still I consider it not impossible, and when the time comes I will communicate all further details to you.
In the first place, however, comes the question whether I can take any personal part in the meeting of the Tonkunstler- Versammlung in the year ’63? [This meeting did not take place in 1863, but in 1864.] And unfortunately this question I am forced to answer decidedly in the negative. Owing to its being my custom not to enlighten others by giving an account of my own affairs, I avoid, even in this case, entering further into particulars. Of this much you may meanwhile be assured with tolerable certainty: I have neither the intention nor the inclination to make any lengthened stay in Germany. Probably, however, during the course of next summer I may go to Weimar for perhaps a three weeks’ visit to my gracious Master the Grand Duke. From Weimar I should go to Leipzig, and then return here by way of Trieste or Marseilles.
Requests for concert performances of my works under my direction have been addressed to me from several quarters of late. Yesterday again I received a letter on this same subject from London, to which, as in the case of the others, I shall reply with grateful thanks and excuses.–
I am firmly resolved for some length of time to continue working on here undisturbed, unremittingly and with an object. After having, as far as I could, solved the greater part of the “Symphonic” problem set me in Germany, I mean now to undertake the “Oratorio” problem (together with some other works connected with this). The “Legend of Saint Elizabeth,” which was altogether finished a couple of months ago, must not remain an isolated work, and I must see to it that the society it needs is forthcoming! To other people this anxiety on my part may appear trifling, useless, at all events thankless, and but little profitable; to me it is the one object in art which I have to strive after, and to which I must sacrifice everything else. At my age (51 years!) it is advisable to remain at home; what there is to seek, is to be found within oneself, not without; and, let me add, I am as much wanting in inclination to wander about as I am in the necessary means for doing so. But enough of my insignificant self. Let us pass over at once to the subject of those two brave fellows who, in your opinion, ought to play a chief part in the next Tonkunstler-Versammlung: Berlioz–and Wagner.
To class them together thus seemed strange to me at first, considering the present state of affairs. And, so far as their two-headed personality is drawn in, I hold it to be impossible even. So let us take each apart.
A) Berlioz. Considering what has occurred, and what has appeared in print, it strikes me as more than doubtful whether Berlioz would make up his mind to undertake the musical conductorship of the Tonkunstler-Versammlung, even though Benazet should come forward en personne as mediator. Besides which his moral influence at the Festival and the negotiations would be hindering and disturbing. Hence let us leave Berlioz in Paris or in Baden- Baden, and be content in being consistent and in giving him a proof of our admiration by getting up a performance of one of his larger works. (Perhaps the “Te Deum?”–if I am not mistaken it lasts a good hour. For Prague this choice would be appropriate– unless the “Requiem” might be preferred. We might even consider whether the two might not be given together; this would abundantly fill one concert. Discuss the requisite means, etc., for giving these, with Riedel.)
B) Wagner. What am I to say to you of Wagner? Have you had any talk with him lately in Leipzig? On what terms are you with him at present?…Ah, it is a pity that we cannot procure a stream of gold for him, or have some palaces of gold built for him! What can he do with admiration, enthusiasm, devotion, and all such non-essential things?
Nevertheless it is our indebtedness and duty to remain faithful and devoted to him. The whole German Musik-Verein shall raise up a brazen wall in his honor!–He is verily worthy of it!
Hence, dear friend, see what can be arranged with Wagner. Since I left Berlin we have not corresponded. But I am surprised almost that I did not receive a line from him after Blandine’s death! .–.
Au revoir, therefore, dear friend. In Weimar or in Leipzig only can I tell you what I may be able to accomplish later. I must, however, most urgently beg to be exempted from undertaking to direct the German Musik-Verein for the year ’63!–
With cordial and most friendly greetings,
November 8th 
P.S.–Best thanks for your Sondershausen essays.
10. To A. W. Gottschalg
Your kind letter reached me on October 22nd, and this day, which could not pass without sorrow, has this year been brightened by many loving and solemn remembrances. Accept my thanks, and present my best remembrances to all those whose names you mention, and who have so kindly thought of me. Unfortunately there is no prospect of my soon being able to celebrate the 22nd October with Weimar friends; but I may tell you that I intend paying H.R.H. the Grand Duke a visit during the course of the summer. And we two shall then also have a bright and happy day in Tieffurt–and look through a couple of new Organ pieces together. Grosse must not fail to be there likewise, nor his trombone box, which I have specially had in my mind ever since the journey to Paris. [Grosse took his instrument with him on the journey, in order that it might be at hand in case Liszt should want it.] Meanwhile, however, tell dear, good Grosse not to be vexed about the delay in connection with the promised despatch of his “Sonntags-Posaunenstuck.” [Sunday piece for trombone.] It is long since finished, also some three or four Organ pieces, which, dear friend, I wrote for you last spring. But the postal arrangements are so little safe, under present circumstances, that I do not care to send manuscripts by this means. In despatching parcels to Vienna or Paris I could, of course, make use of the courtesy of the embassies; but it is more difficult with Weimar…and so the parcel with the “Legend of Saint Elizabeth,” the three Psalms instrumented (and essentially remodelled), several Pianoforte and Organ pieces, together with Grosse’s “Sunday-piece,” must remain in my box till some perfectly reliable opportunity presents itself. If the worst comes to the worst I shall bring the whole lot myself.
The Schneider-Organ-Album, and the one to appear later–the Arnstadter-Bach-Organ-Album (which is to contain the magnificent fugal subject from Bach’s Cantata that I arranged for the Organ– and not without difficulty), I beg you to keep in your library till my return.
I am very unpleasantly affected by the hyper-mercantile craftiness of one of my publishers whom you mention in your letter. It would truly be unjust if you were not to receive the usual discount, and indeed an exceptional amount, when purchasing the “Faust Symphony.” But who would ever succeed in washing a negro white? And, in addition, one has generally to put up with the inky blackness of his bills!–I could tell many a tale of such doings, and indeed of persons who are afterwards not ashamed to talk braggingly of their friendship for me! “O friends, not these tones, rather let us strike up pleasanter ones,” sings Beethoven.
The “Elizabeth,” it is to be hoped, contains something of the sort. At least, as far as possible, I have labored carefully at the work, and, so to say, lived it through for more than a year. In No. 3 of the score–the “Crusaders”–you will come across the old pilgrim song from the days of the Crusades which you had the kindness to communicate to me. It has rendered me good service for the second subject of the “Crusaders’ March.” In the concluding notice of the score I acknowledge my thanks to you for it and give the whole song from your copy.
Among the pleasant bits of news (exceptions to the rule!) which reach me from our quarters is that about the improvement of your pecuniary position, which is probably accompanied by your appointment as teacher at the newly established Seminary classes. In the way of merit you lack nothing, and nothing in zeal and energetic perseverance. Let me hope, dear friend, that you may more and more meet with your due reward!
With kindest greetings,
Rome, November 15th, 1862
11. To Eduard Liszt
The feeling of our double relationship is to me always an elevating and comforting one. Truly you abide with me, as I do with you–cum sanguine, corde et mente.
Accept my thanks for your kind lines, and excuse my not having written to you long ago. I might indeed have told you many a thing of more or less interest; but all seemed to me tiresome and insufficient in writing to you. I needed more than ever, and above all things, ample time to compose myself, to gather my thoughts, and to bestir myself. During the first year of my stay here I secured this. It is to be hoped that you would not be dissatisfied with the state of mind which my 50th year brought me; at all events I feel it to be in perfect harmony with the better, higher aspirations of my childhood, where heaven lies so near the soul of every one of us and illuminates it! I may also say that, owing to my possessing a more definite and clearer consciousness, a state of greater peacefulness has come over me.
Blandine has her place in my heart beside Daniel. Both abide with me bringing atonement and purification, mediators with the cry of “Sursum corda!”–When the day comes for Death to approach, he shall not find me unprepared or faint-hearted. Our faith hopes for and awaits the deliverance to which it leads us. Yet as long as we are upon earth we must attend to our daily task. And mine shall not lie unproductive. However trifling it may seem to others, to me it is indispensable. My soul’s tears must, as it were, have lacrymatoria made for them; I must set fires alight for those of my dear ones that are alive, and keep my dear dead in spiritual and corporeal urns. This is the aim and object of the Art task to me.
Yon know that I have finished the “Legend of Saint Elizabeth” (200 pages of score–2 and 1/2 hours’ duration in performance). In addition to this some other compositions have been produced, such as: the “SunCanticus (“Cantico del Sole”) of Saint Franciscus”–an instrumental Evocatio in the Sistine Chapel-two Psalms, etc. I trust you may again find us in these, in mind and feeling.
I am now about to set myself the great task of an Oratorio on Christ. By the 22nd October, ’63, I hope to have solved the difficulty as far as my weakness and strength will permit.
As you see, dearest Eduard, it is impossible to get out of my head the idea of writing notes. [Notenkopfe] In spite of all good precepts and friendly counsellors (who mean it much better by me than I can ever understand!) I go so far as to maintain that for several years past and in many yet to come I have not done and shall not do anything more ingenuous than cheerfully to go on composing. And what more harmless occupation could there be? especially as I never force my little works upon any one, nay, have frequently begged persons to refrain from giving certain too unconscientious [Play on words “gewissen” and “ungewissenhaft”] renderings of them,–and that I ask for no further appreciation or approval than can, in fact, be granted according to taste and disposition.
From Pest I have lately received through Baron Pronay, in the name of the Council of the Conservatoire, an invitation to establish my domicile there, and to promote the interests of Hungarian music. Probably you will hear of my excusatory reply.
Between ourselves, and frankly said in plain German, it would be of no advantage to me again to take up any outward musical activity (such as my conductorship in Weimar which came to an end a few years ago, and after September 1861 became a locked door to me through my Chamberlain’s key). But possibly I may later find a fitting opportunity for composing something for Hungary. After the precedent of the “Gran Mass” I might, for instance, on some extraordinary occasion, be entrusted, say, with a “Te Deum” or something of the kind. I would gladly do my best, and only on some such terms could I regard my return to Hungary as becoming.
Meanwhile remains quietly in Rome, honestly striving to do his duty as a Christian and an artist,
Thine from his heart,
Rome, November 19th (St. Elizabeth’s Day), 1862
12. To Dr. Franz Brendel
The difficulties and troubles of the musical situation of which you speak in your last letter but one, I can, unfortunately, only too well understand. No one is better acquainted with such matters than I am, and hence no one is better able to appreciate and recognise the value of your unselfish, persevering work and efforts, which also show you so sincere in your convictions. And one of the dark sides in my present position, dear friend, is that I can be of so little use to you, that I am compelled to remain in a state of passivity and forbearance that does not at all agree with me. However, you may rely upon my readiness to render any assistance wherever I may still be able to help.–In accordance with your wish I shall take an early opportunity of writing to Prince H[ohenzollern] concerning the Tonkunstler- Verein. It is to be hoped that our amiable, noble-minded patron will show himself no less disposed in our favor than he has done on former occasions. And you, on your part, do not fail to discuss with Seifriz by letter the points and modals of the support expected. It is a pity that Bulow’s proposal to hold the next meeting of the T.K. Verein in Lowenberg has not proved feasible. Were it likely to be broached again I should not make any objections to it, because, in fact, the place seems to be precisely a favorable centre at present. But, as already said, it is not my place to express any definite opinion on the subject, and I am entirely satisfied in leaving all that has to be done to your judgment and foresight.
I am delighted to hear of Bulow’s extraordinary success in Leipzig, and still more so to hear of your renewed and intimate relations with him. He is the born prototype of progress, and noble-minded to a degree! Without his active co-operation as director and standard-bearer a Tonkunstler-Versammlung at the present time would at least be an anachronism.
From Wagner I lately received a letter in which he informed me of a performance of his “Tristan” in Vienna towards the end of January. Afterwards he intends arranging some concerts in Berlin- -and, it seems, in St. Petersburg also. My endeavors to secure him comfortable quarters in Weimar seem for the time being to be useless, because of his dislike to an insignificant appointment, and the adverse circumstances of life in a small town. Certainly his project of drawing annually 3,000 thalers (*450 British pounds sterling*), by some agreement between the Grand Dukes of Weimar and Baden, is much more to the point. The question is only whether their Highnesses will consent to it? .–.
With heartiest greetings, most sincerely yours,
December 30th, 1862
13. To Breitkopf and Hartel
Dear Herr Doctor,
The four scores of the Beethoven Symphonies, of which you advised me in your friendly letter, reached me yesterday. My eyes are meanwhile revelling and delighting in all the glories of the splendid edition, and after Easter I shall set to work. Nothing shall be wanting on my part, in the way of goodwill and industry, to fulfil your commission to the best of my power. A pianoforte arrangement of these creations must, indeed, expect to remain a very poor and far-off approximation. How instil into the transitory hammers of the Piano breath and soul, resonance and power, fulness and inspiration, color and accent?–However I will, at least, endeavor to overcome the worst difficulties and to furnish the pianoforte-playing world with as faithful as possible an illustration of Beethoven’s genius.
And I must ask you, dear Herr Doctor, in order that the statement on all the title pages–“critically revised edition”–may be complied with, to send me–together with your new edition of the scores of the “Pastoral,” the C minor, and A major Symphonies–a copy of my own transcriptions of them. Probably I may alter, simplify, and correct passages–and add some fingerings. The more intimately acquainted one becomes with Beethoven, the more one clings to certain singularities and finds that even insignificant details are not without their value. Mendelssohn, at whose recommendation you formerly published my pianoforte scores of the “Pastoral” and C minor Symphonies, took great delight in these minutiae and niceties!–
With regard to the agreement about the A major Symphony I mean shortly to write to Carl Haslinger, and expect that he will be quite willing to meet my wish. [A pianoforte transcription of this Symphony by Liszt had been published by Haslinger.]
With grateful thanks, dear Herr Doctor, I remain yours in readiness and sincerity,
Rome, March 26th, 1863
P.S.–The four Symphonies shall be finished before the end of summer and sent to Leipzig. If you are satisfied with my work would you entrust the arrangement of the Overtures to me when I have finished the Symphonies–provided, of course, that you have not made any agreement with any one else?
14. To A. W. Gottschalg in Weimar
This year my name-day fell in the middle of Easter week, on Maundy Thursday. Your hearty letter again brought what to me is the pleasantest news in the world. Thank you for it, and let those know of it who share your sincere, friendly, and faithful sentiments! First let me mention Carl Gotze, [A chorister in Weimar (a favorite copyist of the Master’s) became a musical conductor in Magdeburg and died in 1886.] whose kindly words I should so gladly like to answer in accordance with his wish, and then my dear Kammer-virtuoso, Grosse. Grosses trombone no doubt officiated brilliantly at Bulow’s concert and at the performance of Berlioz’s opera! An echo of the former reached me, thanks to your inspired notice in Brendel’s paper, where I accidentally came across a little remark which you had addressed to one of the most estimable and graceful of German lady-singers anent my little-heeded songs. I certainly cannot find fault with you for showing some interest in the songs and for thus frankly expressing your opinion. On the contrary, your sympathetic appreciation is always welcome, amid the direct and indirect disparagement which falls to my lot. Unfortunately, however, I must make up my mind that only by way of an exception can I expect to find friends for my compositions. The blame is mine; why should one presume to feel independently, and set the comfortable complacency of other folks at defiance?–Everything that I have written for several years past shows something of a pristine delinquency which is as little to be pardoned as I am unable to alter it. This fault, it is true, is the life-nerve of my compositions, which, in fact, can only be what they are and nothing else.–
In the Psalms I have made some important alterations, and shall shortly send Kahnt the manuscript. A few passages (especially the verse “Sing us one of the songs of Zion”) which had always appeared awkward to me in the earlier version, I have now managed to improve. At least they now pretty well satisfy my soul’s ear.
The “Christus” Oratorio is progressing but slowly, owing to the many interruptions which I have to put up with this winter. It is to be hoped I may obtain some entire months of work during the summer. I thirst for it.
Of the musical undertakings here you will learn the more noteworthy events from a paper I sent to Brendel last week. Further and fuller news about myself is meanwhile uncertain. Probably I shall in the end not find myself able to do anything better than to put my whole story in the musical notes that I am incessantly writing down, but which need not either be printed or heard.
However that may be, I remain, dear friend, in sincere affection, yours gratefully and in all friendship,
Rome, April 14th, 1863
P.S.–The Bach-Album and other music which you say you had to send me (e.g., your arrangement of the Dante fugue if it has been printed) please let me have through Kahnt. Enclose also a copy of the Ave Maria for Organ.
[Figure: Musical Score Excerpt]
15. To Dr. Franz Brendel
The last months brought so many interruptions in my work that I still feel quite vexed about it. Easter week I had determined should, at last, see me regularly at work again; but a variety of duties and engagements have prevented my accomplishing this. I must, therefore, to be true to myself and carry out my former intention, shut myself up entirely. To find myself in a net of social civilities is vexatious to me; my mental activity requires absolutely to be free, without which I cannot accomplish anything.
How things will turn out later about my proposed journey to Germany I do not yet know. Probably my weary bones will be buried in Rome. Till then their immovability will serve you better than my wandering about on railways and steamboats. On the other hand, there is but little for me to do in Germany. War is at the door; drums and cannon will come to the fore; God protect the faith of heroes and give victory to the righteous among humanity! .–.
Where is Wagner, and what about the performances of “Tristan”, the “Nibelungen”, and the “Meistersinger” in Weimar or elsewhere? Tell me of this. I have not written to Weimar for long, and have also not had any news from there. My only German correspondent (Frau von Bulow) is suffering from some eye-trouble, which has interrupted our exchange of letters…so I am absolutely ignorant of what is going on. The February numbers of the “Neue Zeitschrft” are the last I have received. Your articles on Criticism are excellent, and, indeed, nothing else was to be expected. Give Louis Kohler my most friendly thanks for his kind perseverance in “paving the way for my scores to receive more kindly appreciation.” The more thankless the task the more heartily grateful do I feel to my friends.
Most sincerely yours,
Rome, May 8th, 1863
16. To Eduard Liszt
Weariness or something of the sort carried my thoughts back to my “Berceuse.” Various other “Berceuses” rose up in my dreams. Do you care to join my dreams? It shall not cost you any trouble; without touching the keyboard yourself, you will only need to rock yourself in the sentiments that hover over them. A really amiable and variously gifted lady will see to this. She plays the little piece delightfully, and has promised me to let it exercise its charms upon you. I shall, therefore, ere long send you a copy of the new version of the “Berceuse” addressed “to the Princess Marcelline Czartoryska, Klostergasse 4.” [A pupil of Chopin’s] Wend yourway thither–and, in case you do not find the Princess at home, leave the manuscript with your card. I have already told her of your contemplated visit, and have spoken of you as my heart’s kinsman and friend. You will find the Princess Cz. possessed of a rare and fine understanding, the most charming figure in society, and a kindly and enthusiastic worshipper of Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin, and, above all this, the illuminating faith of the Catholic Church reflected in Polish blood.
“Patria in Religione et Religio in patria” might be the motto of Poland. God protect the oppressed!
One other commission for the Princess Cz. please undertake for me. During her residence here she on several occasions expressed the wish to become acquainted with some of my compositions (to which, whether intentionally or not, she had hitherto not paid