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"I will sing in a perfunctory manner, but with the best intentions and the best will in the world, the air from...(here follows the name of the piece), and the duet from "Semairamide"
with Milde or Mademoiselle Aghte, next Sat.u.r.day; and in order not to put anybody out, I will arrive at the exact time of the rehearsal, on Friday at four o'clock."
If any such idea as this should come into your head please let me know (by telegram if need be), so that by Monday night, or, at latest, Tuesday midday, I may be able to make the programme, which must appear by Wednesday morning at latest.
With homage and friendship,
Friday, October 11th, 1850 Be so kind as to give a friendly shake of the hand from me to Joachim; recommend him not to be too late in arriving at Weimar, where we expect him for the evening of the 14th.
P.S.--At the moment when I was going to send my letter to the post the following lines reached me. I send them to you intact, and you will see by them that you could not have friends better disposed towards you than those of Weimar.
Please do not fail to write direct to Ziegesar to thank him for his kindness, of which you have been sensibly informed by me (without alluding to his letter, which you will return to me), and at the same time say exactly which week you will arrive in Berlin; unless, however, you prefer to come and tell him this verbally on Friday or Sat.u.r.day evening at the Altenburg, after you have again chanted to us and enchanted us. [Literal translation, on account of play on words.]
70. To Carl Reinecke
Here are the letters for Berlioz and Erard that I offered you. I add a few lines for the young Prince Eugene Wittgenstein, with whom you will easily have pleasant relations; he is an impa.s.sioned musician, and is remarkably gifted with artistic qualities. In addition, I have had a long talk about your stay in Paris, and the success which you ought to obtain, with Belloni, who came to me for a few days. You will find him thoroughly well disposed to help you by all the means in his power, and I would persuade you to have complete confidence in him. Go and look for him as soon as ever you arrive, and ask him for all the practical information you require. Make your visit to Messrs. Escudier with him. (N.B.--He will explain why I have not given you a letter for Brandus.)
The greater number of your pieces have hitherto been printed exclusively by Escudier, and in my opinion you would do well to keep well with them in consequence. In your position it is not at all necessary to make advances to everybody--and, moreover, it is the very way to have no one for yourself. Look, observe, and keep an intelligent reserve, and don't cast yourself, German-wise, precipitately into politeness and inopportune modesty.
In one of your leisure hours Belloni will take you to Madame Patersi, who is entrusted with the education of my two daughters, for whom I beg a corner of your kind attention. Play them your Polonaise and Ballade, and let me hear, later on, how their very small knowledge of music is going on. Madame Patersi, as I told you, will have much pleasure in introducing you to her former pupil, Madame de Foudras, whose salon enjoys an excellent reputation.
Need I renew to you here the request of my four cardinal points?- -No, I am sure I need not!--Accept then, dear Reinecke, all my heartiest wishes for this new year, as well as for your journey to Paris. Let me hear of you through Belloni, if you have not time to write to me yourself, and depend in all circ.u.mstances on the very cordial attachment of
Yours sincerely and affectionately,
F. Liszt January 1st, 1851 My return to Weymar is unfortunately again postponed for twenty days, by the doctor's orders, to which I submit, although not personal to myself. [They referred to Princess Wittgenstein, who was ill.]
71. To Leon Escudier, Music Publisher in Paris
[autograph in the possession of M. Arthur Pougin in Paris.--The addressee was at that time the manager of the periodical "La France Musicale," in which Liszt's Memoir of Chopin first appeared in detached numbers (beginning from February 9th, 1851).]
Weymar, February 4th, 1851
My dear Sir,
The proofs of the two first articles of my biographical study of Chopin ought to have reached you some days ago, for I corrected and forwarded them immediately on my return to Weymar. You will also find an indication of how I want them divided, which I shall be obliged if you will follow. Both on account of the reverence of my friendship for Chopin, and my desire to devote the utmost care to my present and subsequent publications, it is important to me that this work should make its appearance as free from defects as possible, and I earnestly request you to give most conscientious attention to the revision of the last proofs. Any alterations, corrections, and additions must be made entirely in accordance with my directions, so that the definitive publication, which it would be opportune to begin at once in your paper, may satisfy us and rightly fulfill the aim we have in view. If therefore your time is too fully occupied to give you the leisure to undertake these corrections, will you be so good as to beg M. Chavee [an eminent Belgian linguist, at that time a collaborator on the "France Musicale"] (as you propose) to do me this service with the scrupulous exact.i.tude which is requisite, for which I shall take the opportunity of expressing to him personally my sincere thanks?
In the matter of exact.i.tude you would have some right to reproach me (I take it kindly of you to have pa.s.sed it over in silence, but I have nevertheless deserved your reproaches, apparently at least) with regard to Schubert's opera ["Alfonso and Estrella,"
which Liszt produced at Weimar in 1854]. I hope Belloni has explained to you that the only person whom I can employ to make a clear copy of this long work has been overwhelmed, up to now, with pressing work. It will therefore be about three months before I can send you the three acts, the fate of which I leave in your hands, and for which, by the aid of an interesting libretto, we may predict good luck at the Opera Comique. I will return to this matter more in detail when I am in the position to send you the piano score (with voice), to which, as yet, I have only been able to give some too rare leisure hours, but which I promise you I will not put off to the Greek Calends!
As far as regards my opera, allow me to thank you for the interest you are ready to take in it. For my own part I have made up my mind to work actively at the score. I expect to have a copy of it ready by the end of next autumn. We will then see what can be done with it, and talk it over.
Meanwhile accept, my dear sir, my bestthanks and compliments.
The proofs of the third and fourth articles on Chopin will be posted to you tomorrow.
Has Belloni spoken to you about F. David's "Salon Musical"
(twenty-four pieces of two pages each, very elegantly written and easy to play)?--I can warmly recommend this work to you, both from the point of view of art, and of a profitable, and perhaps even popular, success. [Presumably Ferdinand David's "Bunte Reihe," Op. 30, which Liszt transcribed for piano alone.]
72. To Carl Reinecke
My dear Mr. Reinecke,
I am still writing to you from Eilsen; your two kind and charming letters found me here and have given me a very real pleasure. You may rest quite a.s.sured during your life of the sincere and affectionate interest I feel for you, an interest of which I shall always be happy to give you the best proofs as far as it depends on me.
Madame Patersi is loud in her praises both of your talent and of yourself,--and I thank you sincerely for having so well fulfilled my wishes with regard to the lessons you have been so kind as to give to Blandine and Cosima. [Liszt's daughters. Blandine (died 1872) became afterwards the wife of Emile Ollivier; Cosima is the widow of Wagner.] Who knows? Perhaps later on these girls will do you honor in a small way by coming out advantageously with some new composition by their master Reinecke, to the great applause of Papa!
Hiller shows tact and taste in making sure of you as a coadjutor at the Rhenish Conservatorium, which seems to be taking a turn not to be leaky everywhere. Cologne has much good, notwithstanding its objectionable nooks. Until now the musical ground there has been choked up rather than truly cultivated!
People are somewhat coa.r.s.e and stupidly vain there; I know not what stir of bales, current calculations, and cargoes incessantly comes across the things of Art. It would be unjust, however, not to recognize. the vital energy, the wealth of vigor, the praiseworthy activity of this country, in which a group of intelligent men, n.o.bly devoted to their task, may bring about fine results, more easily than elsewhere.
At any rate I approve of what you have done, and compliment you on having accepted Hiller's offer, [Namely, a position as Professor at the Conservatorium of Cologne, which Reinecke occupied from 1851 to 1854.] and shall have pleasure in sending to your new address some of my latest publications, which will appear towards the end of May (amongst others a new edition, completely altered and well corrected, I hope, of my twelve great Etudes, the Concerto without orchestra dedicated to Henselt, and the six "Harmonies Poetiques et Religieuses"). I have also written a very melancholy Polonaise, and some other trifles which you will perhaps like to look over.
Let me hear from you soon, my dear Mr. Reinecke, and depend, under all circ.u.mstances, on the faithful attachment of
Yours affectionately and sincerely,
Eilsen, March 19th, 1851
73. To Dr. Eduard Liszt in Vienna
[An uncle of Liszt's (that is, the younger half-brother of his father), although Liszt was accustomed to call him his cousin: a n.o.ble and very important man, who became Solicitor-General in Vienna, where he died February 8th, 1879. Franz Liszt clung to him with ardor, as his dearest relation and friend, and in March, 1867, made over to him the hereditary knighthood.]
Dear, excellent Eduard ,
It will be a real joy to me to take part in your joy, and I thank you very cordially for having thought first of me as G.o.dfather to your child. I accept that office very willingly, and make sincere wishes that this son may be worthy of his father, and may help to increase the honor of our name. Alas! it has been only too much neglected and even compromised by the bulk of our relations, who have been wanting either in n.o.ble sentiments, or in intelligence and talent--some even in education and the first necessary elements--to give a superior impulse to their career and to deserve serious consideration and esteem. Thank G.o.d it is otherwise with you, and I cannot tell you what a sweet and n.o.ble satisfaction I derive from this. The intelligent constancy which you have used to conquer the numerous difficulties which impeded your way; the solid instruction you have acquired; the distinguished talents you have developed; the healthy and wise morality that you have ever kept in your actions and speech; your sincere filial piety towards your mother; your attachment, resulting from reflection and conviction, to the precepts of the Catholic religion; these twenty years, in fine, that you have pa.s.sed and employed so honorably,--all this is worthy of the truest praises, and gives you the fullest right to the regard and esteem of honest and sensible people. So I am pleased to see that you are beginning to reap the fruits of your care, and the distinguished post to which you have just been appointed [He had been made a.s.sistant Public Prosecutor in 1850.] seems to justify the hopes that you confided to me formerly, and which I treated, probably wrongly, as so much naive ambition. At the point at which you have arrived it would be entirely out of place for me to poke advice and counsel out of season at you. Permit me, for the sake of the lively friendship I bear you, and the ties of relationship which bind us together, to make this one and only recommendation, "Remain true to yourself!" Remain true to all you feel to be highest, n.o.blest, most right and most pure in your heart! Don't ever try to be or to become something (unless there were opportune and immediate occasion for it), but work diligently and with perseverance to be and to become more and more some one.--Since the difficult and formidable duty has fallen upon you of judging men, and of p.r.o.nouncing on their innocence or guilt, prove well your heart and soul, that you may not be found guilty yourself at the tribunal of the Supreme Judge,--and under grave and decisive circ.u.mstances learn not to give ear to any one but your conscience and your G.o.d!--
Austria has shown lately a remarkable activity, and a military and diplomatic energy the service of which we cannot deny for the re-establishment of her credit and political position. Certainly by the prevision of a great number of exclusive Austrians--a prevision which, moreover, I have never shared--it is probable that the Russian alliance will have been a stroke of diplomatic genius very favorable to the Vienna Cabinet, and that, in consequence of this close alliance, the monarchical status quo will be consolidated in Europe, notwithstanding all the democratic ferments and dissolving elements which are evidently, whatever people may say, at their period of ebb. I do not precisely believe in a state of tranquility and indefinite peace, but simply in a certain amount of order in the midst of disorder for a round dozen of years, the main spring of this order being naturally at Petersburg. From the day in which a Russian battalion had crossed the Austrian frontier my opinion was fixed, and when my friend Mr. de Ziegesar came and told me the news I immediately said to him, "Germany will become Russian, and for the great majority of Germans there is no sort of hesitation as to the only side it remains to them to take."
The Princess having very obligingly taken the trouble to tell you my wishes with regard to my money matters, I need not trouble you further with them, and confine myself to thanking you very sincerely for your exactness, and for the discerning integrity with which you watch over the sums confided to your care. May events grant that they may prosper, and that they may not become indispensable to us very soon.--
Before the end of the winter I will send you a parcel of music (of my publications), which will be a distraction for your leisure hours. I endeavour to work the utmost and the best that I can, though sometimes a sort of despairing fear comes over me at the thought of the task I should like to fulfill, for which at least ten years more of perfect health of body and mind will be necessary to me.