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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, Klosterga.s.se 4." [A pupil of Chopin's]
Wend yourway thither--and, in case you do not find the Princess at home, leave the ma.n.u.script 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. G.o.d 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 much attention). I played with her my arrangement of the Symphonic Poems for 2 pianofortes--the "Heroide funebre,"
"Ta.s.so," and the "Preludes"--which she received with kindly and courteous tolerance. Without desiring more--for ample experience has taught me that my compositions more readily rouse estrangement than attraction--I should, nevertheless, like the musical threads of our pleasant relations not to be entirely dropped, and wish therefore to present her, first of all, with various pieces of music by way of making amends. In the badly stocked music shops of Rome I could not find anything suited to her talent, and promised to ask your help in the matter. I beg you, therefore, dearest Eduard, to get the following works simply and neatly bound in one volume (in the following order), and to present them soon to the Princess Cz.:--
1. "Glanes de Woronice" (Leipzig, Kistner).
2. "Melodies de Chopin", transcrites par Liszt (Berlin, Schlesinger).
3. "Mazurka" (Senff, Leipzig).
4. "2 Polonaises" (idem).
5. "2 Ballades" (1 and 2. Kistner, Leipzig.) 6. "Consolations" (Hartel, Leipzig).
If the volume is not too thick with the above you might add the "Valse melancolique" and "Romanesca" (second edition of Haslinger). Of course let all this, contents and binding, be put down to my account, and given to the Princess-artist as a present from me. If the pieces cannot be procured in Vienna, order them speedily from Leipzig through Haslinger or Spina.
A propos of Spina: has the arrangement for 2 pianofortes of my orchestral setting of Schubert's magnificent C major "Fantasia"
not yet been published? This delay, or, more properly, this remissness, is by no means a pleasant matter to me. With all my heart, thine,
Rome, May 22nd, 1863
17. To Dr. Franz Brendel
I had to remain in bed all last week--and am still pretty weak on my legs. But there is nothing further wrong: my head is free again; the rest can be imagined. The day after tomorrow I quit my rooms in the Via Felice and move to Monte Mario (an hour's distance from the city). Father Theimer is kind enough to allow me to occupy his apartments in the almost uninhabited house of the Oratorian. The view is indescribably grand. I mean now, at last, to try and lead a natural kind of life. I hope I may succeed in approaching more closely to my monastico-artistic ideal...Meanwhile you may laugh at me about it. In my next letter I will tell you where to address me.
Pastor Landmesser will bring you further news about me to Leipzig, before the end of July, on his way back to Dantzig. I shall get him to take you the ma.n.u.script of the Psalms (of which I spoke to you). They are now ready for publication, and will not disgrace Kahnt's house of business.
The corrected copy of the Faust Symphony, too, I will send you by this opportunity, for Schuberth.
With regard to performances of my works generally, my disposition and inclination are more than ever completely in the negative. My friends, and you more especially, dearest friend, have done their part in this respect fully and in the kindest manner. It seems to me now high time that I should be somewhat forgotten, or, at least, placed very much in the background. My name has been too frequently spoken of; many have taken umbrage at this, and been uselessly annoyed at it. While "paving the way for a better appreciation," it might be advisable to regard my things as a reserve corps, and to introduce new works by other composers.
This will sufficiently intimate that the "Legend of St.
Elizabeth" may quietly go on slumbering in my paper-box. As may also the work upon which I am now engaged, and which to my regret is making but very slow progress, owing to the many interruptions which perpetually plague me.
Should any one of the programmes be filled with one of my compositions, it would be best to select one of those already published, in order that, at all events, the publisher's approval may, in some measure, be held up to view.
In my opinion you have made a good choice in Porges. The young man is reliable, intelligent, and capable of inspiration, and what he may still lack in skilfulness he will easily acquire. The essential point in a task of this kind is a modest, honest, and not too dry effort. What I have heard and know of Porges makes me feel a.s.sured that he will best fulfil the various demands made by the editorial office.
What is one to think of the marvels which Pohl has brought back from Lowenberg? I haven't sufficient imagination to form any clear idea about them from the preliminary hints you communicated to me. Let me have a fuller report, therefore, if you think that, under certain conditions, I should mix myself up with the matter.
And also tell me frankly, without periphrase, what the Musik- Verein wishes and expects from the patronage of the Grand Duke of Weimar?--One ought not to shoot about at random with Royal Highnesses! It would only lead to a vexatious loss of powder.
How is Kap[ellmeister] Wehner? Is he still in his King's good graces? [He was in the service of the King of Hanover; and is long since dead.] Kapellmeister Bernhard Scholz was here last month--but he did not honor me with a visit.
Today's post has brought me some very friendly lines from my worthy precentor Gottschalg in Tieffurt. He tells me of a concert in Denstedt, where several pieces of mine were performed--among others one of the Psalms (which I shall shortly send to Kahnt by Landmesser, an essentially improved version); they were sung by Fraulein Genast. This lady, so Gottschalg writes, is to be married today. Do you know to whom? I am so entirely cut off from all my Weimar connection that I had not heard anything about this. But as I still retain a very friendly recollection of this excellent lady-exponent of my songs, I beg you, dear friend, to let me have her new name and to tell me whether her husband resides in Weimar or elsewhere.
I am perfectly satisfied with my new abode at Monte Mario.-- Pastor Landmesser will give you a description of it--and perhaps I may find a photograph of the place--if not I shall order one for you later.
Your sincerely devoted
Rome, June 18th, 1863
18. To Dr. Franz Brendel
You will receive these lines in the lovely Sondershausen Park.
One gladly accustoms oneself to the place, and the admirable performances of the Loh-concerts--I derive the word from "Lohe"
[flame]--give the atmosphere a certain spiritual stimulus. My friendly greetings to Stein--and present my warm thanks to the courageous orchestra, which has not been scandalised by the "Symphonic Poems"! ...
The parcel from Kahnt reached me safely a few days after your letter (of 26th June). Mililotti [Director of the Cla.s.sical Music a.s.sociation in Rome; he had requested Professor Riedel to send him the programmes of his concerts.] intends writing to Riedel to thank him for his kindness in forwarding his programmes. When Mililotti's concerts prove more of a success he may, by way of a return, send his Roman programmes to Leipzig. But at present the musical doings here are of but small interest to other countries.
By sending me the score edition of "Mignon" and "Loreley" Kahnt has given me peculiar pleasure. It seems to me correct, and I am foolish enough to find the instrumentation pretty. By the way, other instrumental settings occur to me: those of several of Schubert's songs ("Erlking," "Gretchen," "The Young Nun," and a few others) that I wrote for Fraulein Genast. They are not mere manufactured arrangements, and might not altogether displease musicians of fine feeling. The ma.n.u.script of the scores was left with Seifriz in Lowenberg. If any publisher should feel inclined to accept them they are at his disposal. .--.
In answer to an important point in your letter, I quite agree about presenting the Grand Duke of Weimar with a Report describing the object and aims of the Allgemeine Deutsche Musik- Verein. And on this occasion H.R.H. should be respectfully and graciously invited to address an appeal to his ill.u.s.trious relatives to take some interest in the progress and success of the a.s.sociation; in plain language, to strengthen his protectorship by letters of recommendation, or in some other way.
In presenting the Report (which might most appropriately be undertaken by Pohl and Regierungsrath Muller) the Grand Duke or His Excellency Count Beust might be addressed directly by word of mouth, and be distinctly given to understand the desirability of obtaining the sympathy of the Grand d.u.c.h.ess, the Queen of Prussia, the King of Holland, T.R.H. the Grand d.u.c.h.esses Helene and Marie (of Russia), the Grand Duke Peter of Oldenburg (in St.
Petersburg), the Grand Duke and Grand d.u.c.h.ess of Baden, the Hereditary Prince of Meiningen, the Dukes of Altenburg and Coburg, etc. I give these names because, owing to their near relationship with the Grand Duke and their own personal fondness for music, they should stand first as patrons and supporters of the Allgemeine Deutsche Musik-Verein.
Gladly would I have undertaken the duties of diplomatist to the a.s.sociation in Weimar, and endeavored to obtain the Grand Duke's active intervention...But at this distance I cannot, for the time being, accomplish anything. My gracious Master has no leisure for lectures on artistic subjects that I might concoct in the Eternal City; and if I tried to enlighten him in any such way his first and only word in reply would be "Why does not Liszt come back, in place of writing such allotria?" [Observations beside the mark.]- -A short time ago I received from him a very kind, monitory letter, calling upon me to return to Weimar for the Kunstler- Versammlung in August. .--. I would advise you to make use of your stay at Sondershausen by getting an introduction to the Prince, and by obtaining his support as regards the Musik-Verein.
Discuss this matter with Stein, for he is best able to attend to it. Possibly a larger performance in the Loh might be got up for the benefit of the a.s.sociation. .--.
This letter is so filled up with Royal Highnesses, Majesties, and ill.u.s.trious personages, that it offers me a natural transition to tell you of an extraordinary, nay, incomparable honor I received last Sat.u.r.day evening, the 11th of July. His Holiness Pope Pius IX. visited the Church of the Madonna del Rosario, and hallowed my apartments with his presence. After having given His Holiness a small proof of my skill on the harmonium and on my work-a-day pianino, he addressed a few very significant words to me in the most gracious manner possible, admonishing me to strive after heavenly things in things earthly, and by means of my harmonies that reverberated and then pa.s.sed away to prepare myself for those harmonies that would reverberate everlastingly.--His Holiness remained a short half-hour; Monsign. de Merode and Hohenlohe were among his suite--and the day before yesterday I was granted an audience in the Vatican (the first since I came here), and the Pope presented me with a beautiful cameo of the Madonna.--
I must add one other princely personage to this letter, and with this I am obliged to close. A visit at this very moment is announced from the Principe della Rocca, who has driven up with his photographic apparatus. You shall, therefore, ere long have a little picture of the Madonna del Rosario which, since the Pope's visit here, has been the talk of Rome.
A thousand hearty greetings.
July 18th, 1863
19. To Breitkopf and Hartel.