Letters of Franz Liszt, Volume 1, "From Paris to Rome:
Franz Liszt; Letters assembled by La Mara and translated
Part 2 out of 9
In your Revue Musicale for October last my name was mixed up with
the outrageous pretensions and exaggerated success of some
executant artists; I take the liberty to address a few remarks to
you on this subject. [The enthusiastic demonstrations which had
been made to him in Hungary, his native land, had been put into a
category with the homage paid to singers and dancers, and the
bestowal of the sabre had been turned into special ridicule.
Liszt repelled this with justifiable pride.]
The wreaths thrown at the feet of Mesdemoiselles Elssler and
Pixis by the amateurs of New York and Palermo are striking
manifestations of the enthusiasm of a public; the sabre which was
given to me at Pest is a reward given by a NATION in an entirely
national form. In Hungary, sir, in that country of antique and
chivalrous manners, the sabre has a patriotic signification. It
is the special token of manhood; it is the weapon of every man
who has a right to carry a weapon. When six of the chief men of
note in my country presented me with it among the general
acclamations of my compatriots, whilst at the same moment the
towns of Pest and Oedenburg conferred upon me the freedom of the
city, and the civic authorities of Pest asked His Majesty for
letters of nobility for me, it was an act to acknowledge me
afresh as a Hungarian, after an absence of fifteen years; it was
a reward of some slight services rendered to Art in my country;
it was especially, and so I felt it, to unite me gloriously to
her by imposing on me serious duties, and obligations for life as
man and as artist.
I agree with you, sir, that it was, without doubt, going far
beyond my deserts up to the present time. Therefore I saw in that
solemnity the expression of a hope far more than of a
satisfaction. Hungary hailed in me the man from whom she expects
artistic illustriousness, after all the illustrious soldiers and
politicians she has so plentifully produced. As a child I
received from my country precious tokens of interest, and the
means of going abroad to develop my artistic vocation. When grown
up, and after long years, the young man returns to bring her the
fruits of his work and the future of his will, the enthusiasm of
the hearts which open to receive him and the expression of a
national joy must not be confounded with the frantic
demonstrations of an audience of amateurs.
In placing these two things side by side it seems tome there is
something which must wound a just national pride and sympathies
by which I am honored.
Be so kind as to insert these few lines in your next issue, and
believe me, sir,
Hamburg, October 26th, 1840
30. To Franz von Schober
I will write German to you, dear Schober, in order to tell you
all the quicker how much your letter pleased me. I have to thank
it for a really happy hour; and that comes so rarely in my
intolerable, monotonous life! For a fortnight past I have again
put my neck into the English yoke. Every day which God gives--a
concert, with a journey, previously, of thirty to fifty miles.
And so it must continue at least till the end of January. What do
you say to that?--
If I am not more than half-dead, I must still go at the end of
February to Berlin and Petersburg,--and come back to London by
the first steamer at the beginning of May. Then I think I shall
take a rest. Where and how I do not yet know, and it depends
entirely upon the Pecuniary results of my journeys. I should like
to go to Switzerland, and thence to Venice, but I can't yet say
.--. I have today written a long letter to Leo Festetics. I am
hungering and thirsting to go back to Hungary. Every recollection
of it has taken deep root in my soul...And yet I cannot go back!
I am grieved that you can tell me nothing better of Lannoy. I
cannot understand how that is possible. The news of the Queen has
given me great pleasure--if you hear anything more about her let
me know. I have a kind of weakness for her.
About the Cantata I will write to you fully later.
Farewell, and be happy if possible, dear Schober; write again
soon, and remain ever my friend.
Excuse the spelling and writing of these lines! You know that I
never write German; Tobias [Tobias Haslinger, the Vienna music
publisher.] is, I think, the only one who gets German letters
Manchester, December 5th, 1840
31. To Breitkopf and Hartel
London, May 7th, 1841
Schlesinger has just told me that Mendelssohn's Melodies which I
sent you from London have come out. I can't tell you, my dear Mr.
Hartel, how much I am put out by this precipitate publication.
Independently of the material wrong it does me (for before
sending them to you these Melodies were sold in London and
Paris), I am thus unable to keep my word to Beale and Richault,
who expected to publish them simultaneously with you.
The evil being irremediable I have only thought how to get a
prompt vengeance out of it. You will tell me later on if you
think it was really a Christian vengeance.
The matter is this: I have just added a tremendous cadenza, three
pages long, in small notes, and anentire Coda, almost as long, to
Beethoven's "Adelaide". I played it all without being hissed at
the concert given at the Paris Conservatoire for the Beethoven
Monument, and I intend to play it in London, and in Germany and
Russia. Schlesinger has printed all this medley, such as it is.
Will you do the same? In that case, as I care chiefly for your
edition, I will beg you to have the last Coda printed in small
notes as an Ossia, without taking away anything from the present
edition, so that the purists can play the integral text only, if
the commentary is displeasing to them.
It was certainly a very delicate matter to touch "Adelaide", and
yet it seemed to me necessary to venture. Have I done it with
propriety and taste? Competent judges will decide.
In any case I beg you not to let any one but Mr. Schumann look
over your edition.
In conclusion allow me to remind you that I was rather badly paid
for "Adelaide" formerly, and if you should think proper to send
me a draft on a London bank, fair towards you and myself, I shall
always receive it with a "new pleasure"--to quote the favorite
words of His Majesty the King of the French.
With kind regards, believe me, my dear sir, yours most sincerely,
Be so kind as to remember me very affectionately to Mendelssohn.
As for Schumann, I shall write to him direct very shortly.
32. To Simon Lowy In Vienna
[Autograph in the possession of Madame Emilie Dore in Vienna.]
London, May 20th, 1841
I am still writing to you from England, my dear friend. Since my
last letter (end of December, I think) I have completed my tour
of the three kingdoms (by which I lose, by the way, 1000 pounds
sterling net, on 1500 pounds which my engagement brought me!),
have ploughed my way through Belgium, with which I have every
reason to be satisfied, and have sauntered about in Paris for six
weeks. This latter, I don't hide it from you, has been a real
satisfaction to my self-love. On arriving there I compared myself
(pretty reasonably, it seems to me) to a man playing ecarte for
the fifth point. Well, I have had king and vole,--seven points
rather than five! [The "fifth" is the highest in this game, so
Liszt means that he won.]
My two concerts alone, and especially the third, at the
Conservatoire, for the Beethoven Monument, are concerts out of
the ordinary run, such as I only can give in Europe at the
The accounts in the papers can only have given you a very
incomplete idea. Without self-conceit or any illusion, I think I
may say that never has so striking an effect, so complete and so
irresistible, been produced by an instrumentalist in Paris.
A propos of newspapers, I am sending you, following this, the
article which Fetis (formerly my most redoubtable antagonist) has
just published in the "Gazette Musicale". It is written very
cleverly, and summarises the question well. If Fischhof [A
musician, a Professor at the Vienna Conservatorium.] translated
it for Bauerle [Editor of the Theater-Zeitung (Theatrical
Times).] it would make a good effect, I fancy. However, do what
you like with it.
I shall certainly be on the Rhine towards the end of July, and
shall remain in that neighborhood till September. If Fischhof
came there I should be delighted to see him and have a talk with
him. Till then give him my most affectionate compliments, and
tell him to write me a few lines before he starts.
In November I shall start for Berlin, and shall pass the whole of
next winter in Russia.
Haslinger's behaviour to me is more than inexcusable. The dear
man is doing a stupidity of which he will repent soon. Never
mind; I will not forget how devoted he was to me during my first
stay in Vienna.
Would you believe that he has not sent me a word in reply to four
consecutive letters I have written to him? If you pass by Graben
will you be so kind as to tell him that I shall not write to him
any more, but that I expect from him, as an honest man of
business, if not as a friend, a line to tell me the fate of two
manuscripts ("Hongroises," and "Canzone Veneziane") which I sent
I have just discovered a new mine of "Fantaisies"--and I am
working it hard. "Norma," "Don Juan," "Sonnambula," "Maometto,"
and "Moise" heaped one on the top of the other, and "Freischutz"
and "Robert le Diable" are pieces of 96, and even of 200, like
the old canons of the Republic of Geneva, I think. When I have
positively finished my European tour I shall come and play them
to you in Vienna, and however tired they may be there of having
applauded me so much, I still feel the power to move this public,
so intelligent and so thoroughly appreciative,--a public which I
have always considered as the born judge of a pianist.
Adieu, my dear Lowy--write soon, and address, till June 15th, at
18, Great Marlborough Street, and after that Paris.
Yours most sincerely,
Is the Ungher [Caroline Ungher, afterwards Ungher-Sabatier, a
celebrated singer.] at Vienna? Will you kindly give or send to
her the letter which follows?
Have you, yes or no, sent off the two amber pieces which I gave
you at the time of my departure? I have been to fetch them from
the Embassy, but they were not there. Let me have two words in
reply about this.
33. To Franz von Schober
Truly, dear friend, I should like pages, days, years, to answer
your dear letter. Seldom has anything touched me so deeply. Take
heart for heart, and soul for soul,--and let us be for ever
You know how I am daily getting more concise; therefore nothing
further about myself, nothing further about Berlin. Tomorrow,
Thursday, at 2 o'clock, I start for Petersburg.
I have spoken to A. It is impossible on both sides. When we meet
and you are perfectly calm, we will go into details. I still hope
to meet you next autumn, either in Florence or on the Rhine.
Leo [Count Festetics] has written to me again. Write to me at
once to Konigsberg, to tell me where to address my next letter to
you. But write directly-simply your address.
I have sent all the proofs of your pamphlet to Brockhaus. Be so
good as to give him direct your final orders in regard to this
publication. I shall be so pleased to have some copies of it
while I am in Petersburg. The subject is very congenial to
me; I thank you once more most warmly for it.
One more shake of the hand in Germany, dearest friend, and in
heartfelt love yours ever,
Remember me kindly to Sabatier, [The husband of Caroline Ungher,
the celebrated singer previously mentioned.] and don't quarrel
with him about me. To Caroline always the same friendship and
Berlin, March 3rd, 1842.
34. To the faculty of philosophy at the university of Konigsberg.
[Printed in L. Ramann's "Franz Liszt," vol. ii., I.]
Much Esteemed and Learned Gentlemen,
It is in vain for me to attempt to express to you the deep and
heartfelt emotion you have aroused in me by your rare mark of
honor. The dignity of Doctor, granted by a Faculty in which, as
in yours, men of European celebrity assemble, makes me happy, and
would make me proud, were I not also convinced of the sense in
which it is granted to me.
I repeat that, with the honorable name of Teacher of Music (and I
refer to music in its grand, complete, and ancient
signification), by which you, esteemed gentlemen, dignify me, I
am well aware that I have undertaken the duty of unceasing
learning and untiring labour.
In the constant fulfillment of this duty-to maintain the dignity
of Doctor in a right and worthy manner, by propagating in word
and deed the little portion of knowledge and technical skill
which I can call my own, as a form of, and a means to, the True
["The beautiful is the glory of the true, Art is the radiancy of
thought." (Author's note.)] and the Divine--
In the constant fulfillment of this duty, and in any results
which are granted to me, the remembrance of your good wishes, and
of the touching manner in which a distinguished member of your
Faculty [Professors Rosenkranz and Jacobi invested Liszt with the
Doctor's Diploma.] has informed me of them, will be a living
support to me.
Accept, gentlemen, the expression of my highest esteem and
Mittau, March 18th, 1842
35. To Court-Marshal Freiherr von Spiegel at Weimar
[Given by L. Ramann, "Franz Liszt," vol. ii., 1.]
Monsieur le Baron,
It is very difficult to reply to so gracefully flattering a
letter as your Excellency has been good enough to write to me.
I must nevertheless say that I wish with all my heart and in all
ways that I could answer it. I shall reach Weimar, bag and
baggage, towards the middle of October, and if I succeed in
communicating to others a little of the satisfaction I cannot
fail to find there, thanks to the gracious kindness of their
Highnesses and the friendly readiness of your Excellency, I shall
be only too glad.
Meanwhile I beg to remain, Monsieur le Baron, with respectful
Cologne; September 12th, 1862. F. Liszt
36. To Carl Filitsch.
[Autograph in the possession of Count Albert Amadei in Vienna.--
Addressed to the talented young pianist, born at Hermannstadt in
the Siebenburgen in 1830, died at Venice 1845, studied with
Chopin and Liszt in Paris in 1842-43, and created a sensation
with his concerts both there and in London, Vienna, and Italy.
According to Lenz, Liszt said of him, "When the youngster goes
travelling I shall shut up shop!"]
Compiegne, Wednesday Morning [1842 or 1843].
Dearly beloved conjurer,
How sorry I am to disappoint [Literally. "to make a false skip,"
a play-of-words with the next sentence.] you of our usual lesson
tomorrow! Your "false skips" would be a great deal pleasanter to
me! but, unless we could manage to put you where we could hear
you from the towers of Notre Dame to the Cathedral of Cologne,
there is a material impossibility in continuing our sort of
lessons, considering that by tomorrow evening I shall already be
If I return, or when I return--I really don't know. Whatever
happens, keep a little corner of remembrance of me, and believe
me ever yours affectionately,
Affectionate remembrances to your brother Joseph. Farewell again.
I embrace you affectionately.
37. To Franz von Schober in Paris
Berlin, March 4th, 1844
You are a dear, faithful friend, and I thank you with all my
heart for your kind letter. God reward you for your love to such
a jaded, worn-out creature as I am! I can only assure you that I
feel it deeply and gratefully, and that your words soothe many
At the end of this month we shall certainly see each other in
Paris. Villers [Alexander von Villers, a friend of Liszt's,
attache of the Saxon Embassy in Vienna.] is coming also. In case
Seydlitz is still there make my excuses to him, and tell him
that, owing to my delay at Dresden, I only got his letter
yesterday. I will answer him immediately, and will address to
Lefebre, as he tells me to do. I have had several conferences
with the H[ereditary] G[rand] D[uke] and Eckermann. [The editor
of Goethe's "Gesprachen"] Our business seems to me to stand on a
firm footing. Next autumn the knots will be ready to tie. [Refers
probably to Schober's subsequent appointment at Weimar.]
My room is too full. I have got a tremendous fit of Byron on. Be
indulgent and kind as ever!
Remember me to the Sabatiers, and stick to me! Yours most
38. To Franz Kroll
[Pupil and friend of Liszt's (1820-1877); since 1849 settled in
Berlin as a pianoforte teacher; rendered great service by his
edition of Bach's "Das wohltemperirte Clavier."]
My dear good Kroll,
What a first-rate man you are to me, and what pleasure your
letter has given me! Probably you already know that I also have
been figuring as an invalid these last five weeks.--God be
thanked and praised that I am already pretty fairly on my legs
again, without rheumatism in the joints or gout! In a few days I
shall begin my provincial tour (Lyons, Marseilles, Toulouse,
Bordeaux), and then towards the end of August by steamer to
Stockholm and Copenhagen. Weymar, our good, dear Weymar, will
again be our Christmas Day! Oh what beautiful apples and trifles
we will hang on our Christmas tree! and what talks and
compositions, and projects and plans! Only don't you disappoint
me, and mind you come fresh and well. Leave the bad looks to me,
and see that you fill out your cheeks properly. This winter we
must be industrious, and struggle through much work.
Your Mazurkas are most excellent and talented. You have put a
great deal into them--and, if you will allow me to speak quite
freely--perhaps too much into them, for much of it halts.
Although the dedication to me is both pleasing and gratifying, I
cannot help thinking that it would be to your interest not to
publish anything before next spring. Take advantage of being as
yet unknown, and give to the public from the beginning a proper
opinion of your talent by a collective publication. Write a
couple of pleasing, brilliant Studies--perhaps also a Notturno
(or something of that sort), and an effective Fantasia on some
conspicuous theme. Then let Schlesinger, Hartel, or Mechetti (to
whom I will most gladly speak about your works beforehand)
publish the six pieces--your Concerto and the C major Study,
together with the later pieces--all together, so that publisher,
critic, artist, and public all have to do with them at the same
time. Instead of dishing up one little sweetmeat for the people,
give them a proper dinner. I am very sorry I did not follow this
plan myself; for, after much experience, I consider it far the
best, especially for pianoforte works. In Weymar we will talk
more fully and definitely about this. Conradi [Musician and
friend in Berlin] is also to come. I don't require the Huguenot
Fantasia at present. He will have time enough for it in Weymar.
En attendant, [A German letter, so Liszt's own French expression
is kept] Schlesinger will give him a modest payment for the work
he has begun. Please kindly see about the enclosed letters for
Freund as soon as possible.
With all good wishes, I am, dear Kroll,
Yours most sincerely,
Port Marly, June 11th, 1844
39. To Freund
[Autograph in the possession of Professor Hermann Scholtz in
I am shockingly behindhand with you, my dear Freund, but I won't
make any excuses, although an illness of more than a month comes
rather a propos to justify me fully and even more.
Herewith letters and cards for Baron Lannoy (Haslinger will give
you the address), for Prince Fritz Schwarzenberg, and for Doctor
Uwe, Kriehuber, and Simon Lowy, who will soon be back in Vienna.
I shall be glad if you will give them in any case, whether now or
later. If you want to give me a pleasure you will go and see my
uncle Eduard Liszt, and try to distract him a little.
I detest repeating myself in letters so much that I can't write
over again to you my plans of travel up to the beginning of
winter; these I have just told Kroll in full, and you already
know them from Hanover.
Teleky, Bethlen (Friends of Liszt's), and Corracioni are here,
and form a kind of colony which I call the Tribe of the Huns!
Probably Teleky will come and pick me up at Weymar towards the
middle of February, and we shall go together to Vienna and Pest--
not forgetting Temesvar, Debreczin, and Klausenburg!
I hope then to find you in Vienna, and shall perhaps be able to
give you a good lift.
Meanwhile acknowledge the receipt of these lines: enjoy yourself,
and remain to me always friend Freund. [A play on his name
Freund, which means friend.]
Yours most sincerely and affectionately,
Port Marly, June 11th, 1844.
40. To Franz Von Schober.
Gibraltar, March 3rd, 1845.
Your letter pleases me like a child, my dear good Schober!
Everything comes to him who can wait. But I scarcely can wait to
congratulate you and to see you again in Weymar [as Councillor of
Legation there]. Unhappily it is not probable that I can get
there before the end of next autumn. Keep me in your good books,
therefore, until then, and accept my best thanks in advance for
all you will have done for me and fought for me till then, both
in Weymar and in Hungary!
With regard to Vienna, Lowy writes me almost exactly the same as
you. To tell the truth I am extremely thankful to the Vienna
public, for it was they who, in a critically apathetic moment,
roused and raised me [When he came from Venice to Vienna in the
spring of 1838, to give a concert for the benefit of his
Hungarian compatriots after the inundations, on which occasion,
although Thalberg, Clara Wieck, and Henselt had been there before
him, he aroused the utmost enthusiasm.]; but still I don't feel
the slightest obligation to return there a year sooner or later.
My Vienna journey will pretty much mark the end of my virtuoso
career. I hope to go thence (in the month of August, 1846) to
Constantinople, and on my return to Italy to pass my dramatic
Rubicon or Fiasco.
So much for my settled plans.
What precisely is going to become of me this coming spring and
summer I do not exactly know. In any case to Paris I will not go.
You know why. My incredibly wretched connection with _____ has
perhaps indirectly contributed more than anything to my Spanish-
Portuguese tour. I have no reason to regret having come, although
my best friends tried to dissuade me from it. Sometimes it seems
to me that my thoughts ripen and that my troubles grow
prematurely old under the bright and penetrating sun of Spain...
Many kind messages to Eckermann and Wolff. [Professor Wolff,
editor of "Der poetische Hausschatz."] I will write to the latter
from the Rhine, where I shall at any rate spend a month this
summer (perhaps with my mother and Cosima). If he is still
inclined to return to his and your countries (Denmark and
Sweden), we can make a nice little trip there as a holiday treat.
Good-bye, my dear excellent friend. Allow me to give you as true
a love as I feel is a necessity of my heart! Ever yours,
What is Villers doing? If you see him tell him to write me a line
to Marseilles, care of M. Boisselot, Pianoforte Maker.
41. To Franz Kroll at Glogau
Weymar, March 26th, 1845
My very dear Kroll,
The arrival of your letter and the packet which accompanied it
decided a matter of warm contest between our friend Lupus
[Presumably Liszt's friend, Professor Wolff (1791-1851).] and
Farfa-Magne-quint-quatorze! [For whom this name was intended is
not clear.] It consisted in making the latter see the difference
between the two German verbs "verwundern" (to amaze) and
"bewundern" (to admire), and to translate clearly, according to
her wits, which are sometimes so ingeniously refractory, what
progress there is from Verwundern (amazement) to Erstaunen
(astonishment). Imagine, now, with what a wonderful solution of
the difficulty your packet and letter furnished us, and how
pleased I was at the following demonstration:--
"We must admire (bewundern) Kroll's fine feeling of friendship;
we may be amazed (verwundern) at the proof he has given of his
industry in copying out the Mass; should this industry continue
we shall first of all be astonished (erstaunen), and by degrees,
through the results he will bring about, we again attain to
I don't know how you will judge, critically, of this example, but
what is certain is that it appeared to be quite conclusive to our
Ernst [The celebrated violinist (1814-65)] has just been spending
a week here, during which he has played some hundred rubbers of
whist at the "Erbprinz." His is a noble, sweet, and delicate
nature, and more than once during his stay I have caught myself
regretting you for him, and regretting him for you. Last Monday
he was good enough to play, in his usual and admirable manner, at
the concert for the Orchestral Pension Fund. The pieces he had
selected were his new "Concerto pathetique" (in F~ minor) and an
extremely piquant and brilliant "Caprice on Hungarian Melodies."
(This latter piece is dedicated to me.) The public was in a good
humor, even really warm, which is usually one of its least
Milde, who is, as you know, not much of a talker, has
nevertheless the tact to say the right thing sometimes. Thus,
when we went to see Ernst off at the railway, he expressed the
feeling of us all--"What a pity that Kroll is not here!"
For the most part you have left here the impression which you
will leave in every country--that of a man of heart, talent,
tact, and intellect. One of these qualities alone is enough to
distinguish a man from the vulgar herd; but when one is so well
born as to possess a quartet of them it is absolutely necessary
that the will, and an active will, should be added to them in
order to make them bring out their best fruits,--and this I am
sure you will not be slow to do.
Your brother came through here the day before yesterday, thinking
he should still find you here. I have given him your address, and
told him to inquire about you at Schlesinger's in Berlin, where
he expects to be on the 8th of April; so do not fail to let
Schlesinger know, in one way or another, when you get to Berlin.
As M. de Zigesar [The Intendant at Weimar.] I was obliged to
start in a great hurry for The Hague, in the suite of the
Hereditary Grand Duchess, I will wait till his return to send you
the letters for Mr. de Witzleben. I will address them to
Schlesinger early in April.
We are studying hard at the Duke of Coburg's opera "Toni, oder
die Vergellung," ["Toni, or the Requital"] which we shall give
next Saturday. The score really contains some pretty things and
which make a pleasing effect; unluckily I cannot say as much for
Your castle in the air for May we will build up on a solid basis
in Weymar; for I am quite calculating on seeing you then,
together with our charming, good, worthy friend Conradi. Will you
please, dear Kroll, tell Mr. Germershausen and his family how
gratified I am with their kind remembrance? When I go to Sagan I
shall certainly give myself the pleasure of calling on him.
Believe me ever your very sincere and affectionate friend,
42. To Abbe de Lamennais
[Autograph in the possession of M. Alfred Bovet at Valentigney.]
Permit me, illustrious and venerable friend, to recall myself to
your remembrance through M. Ciabatta, who has already had the
honor of being introduced to you last year at my house. He has
just been making a tour in Spain and Portugal with me, and can
give you all particulars about it. I should have been glad also
to get him to take back to you the score, now completed, of the
chorus which you were so good as to entrust to me ("The iron is
hard, let us strike!"), but unfortunately it is not with music as
with painting and poetry: body and soul alone are not enough to
make it comprehensible; it has to be performed, and very well
performed too, to be understood and felt. Now the performance of
a chorus of the size of that is not an easy matter in Paris, and
I would not even risk it without myself conducting the
preliminary rehearsals. While waiting till a favorable
opportunity offers, allow me to tell you that I have been happy
to do this work, and that I trust I have not altogether failed in
it. Were it not for the fear of appearing to you very indiscreet,
I should perhaps venture to trespass on your kindness for the
complete series of these simple, and at the same time sublime,
compositions, of which you alone know the secret. Three other
choruses of the same kind as that of the Blacksmiths, which
should sum up the most poetical methods of human activity, and
which should be called (unless you advise otherwise) Labourers,
Sailors, and Soldiers, would form a lyric epic of which the
genius of Rossini or Meyerbeer would be proud. I know I have no
right to make any such claim, but your kindness to me has always
been so great that I have a faint hope of obtaining this new and
glorious favor. If, however, this work would give you even an
hour's trouble, please consider my request as not having been
made, and pardon me for the regret which I shall feel at this
beautiful idea being unrealized.
As business matters do not necessarily call me to Paris, I prefer
not to return there just now. I expect to go to Bonn in the month
of July, for the inauguration of the Beethoven Monument, and to
have a Cantata performed there which I have written for this
occasion. The text, at any rate, is tolerably new; it is a sort
of Magnificat of human Genius conquered by God in the eternal
revelation through time and space,--a text which might apply
equally well to Goethe or Raphael or Columbus, as to Beethoven.
At the beginning of winter I shall resume my duties at the Court
of Weymar, to which I attach more and more a serious importance.
If you were to be so very good as to write me a few lines, I
should be most happy and grateful. If you would send them either
to my mother's address, Rue Louis le Grand, 20; or to that of my
secretary, Mr. Belloni, Rue Neuve St. George, No. 5, I should
always get them in a very short time.
I have the honor to be, sir, yours very gratefully,
Marseilles, April 28th, 1845
43. To Frederic Chopin
[Autograph in the possession of M. Alfred Bovet at Valentigney.--
The great Polish tone-poet (1809-49) was most intimate with Liszt
in Paris. The latter, in his work "F. Chopin" 1851, second
edition 1879, Breitkopf and Hartel; German translation by La
Mara, 1880), raised an imperishable monument to him.]
M. Benacci, a member of the Maison Troupenas, and in my opinion
the most intelligent editor, and the most liberal in business
matters, in France, asks me for a letter of introduction to you.
I give it all the more willingly, as I am convinced that under
all circumstances you will have every reason to be satisfied with
his activity and with whatever he does. Mendelssohn, whom he met
in Switzerland two years ago, has made him his exclusive editor
for France, and I, for my part, am just going to do the same. It
would be a real satisfaction to me if you would entrust some of
your manuscripts to him, and if these lines should help in making
you do so I know he will be grateful to me.
Yours ever, in true and lively friendship,
Lyons, May 21st, 1845
44. To George Sand.
[Autograph in the possession of M. Alfred Bovet at Valentigney.--
A friendship of long years subsisted between Liszt and France's
greatest female writer, George Sand. At her home of Nohant he was
a frequent guest, together with the Comtesse d'Agoult. Three
letters which he wrote (in 1835 and 1837) for the Gazette
Musicale--clever talks about Art, Nature, Religion, Freedom,
etc.--bear George Sand's address.]
Without wishing to add to your other inevitable troubles that of
a correspondence for which you care little, allow me, dear
George, to claim for myself your old indulgence for people who
write to you without requiring an answer, and let me recall
myself to you by these few lines through M. Benacci. Their
ostensible object is to recommend the above-mentioned Benacci, so
that you, in your turn, may recommend him more particularly to
Chopin (and I may add in parenthesis that I should abstain from
this negotiation were I not firmly persuaded that Chopin will
never regret entering into business relations with Benacci, who,
in his capacity of member of the firm of Troupenas, is one of the
most important and most intelligent men of his kind); but the
real fact of the matter is that I am writing to you above all--
and why should I not confess it openly?--for the pleasure of
conversing with you for a few moments. Therefore don't expect
anything interesting from me, and if my handwriting bothers you,
throw my letter into the fire without going any further.
Do you know with whom I have just had endless conversations about
you, in sight of Lisbon and Gibraltar? With that kind, excellent,
and original Blavoyer, the Ahasuerus of commerce, whom I had
already met several times without recognising him, until at last
I remembered our dinners at the "Ecu" (Crown) at Geneva, and the
During the month's voyage from Lisbon to Barcelona we emptied I
cannot tell you how many bottles of sherry in your honor and
glory; and one fine evening he confided to me in so simple and
charming a manner his vexation at being unable to find several
letters that you had written to him in Russia, I think, and which
have been stolen from him, that I took a liking to him, and he
did the same to me. The fact is that there could not possibly be
two Blavoyers under the sun, and his own person is the only
pattern of which he cannot furnish goods wholesale, for there is
no sort of thing that he does not supply to all parts of the
A propos of Lisbon and supplies, have you a taste for camellias?
It would be a great pleasure to me to send you a small cargo of
them from Oporto, but I did not venture to do it without knowing,
in case you might perhaps have a decided antipathy to them.
In spite of the disinterestedness with which I began this letter,
I come round, almost without knowing how, to beg you to write to
me. Don't do more than you like; but in any case forgive me for
growing old and arriving at the point when noble recollections
grow in proportion as the narrowing meannesses of daily life find
their true level. Yes, even if you thought me more of a fool than
formerly, it would be impossible for me to hold your friendship
cheap, or not to prize highly the fact that, somehow or other, it
has not come to be at variance nor entirely at an end.
As the exigencies of my profession will not allow me leisure to
return so soon to Paris, I shall probably not have the
opportunity of seeing you for two years. Towards the middle of
July I go to Bonn for the inauguration of the Beethoven Monument.
Were it not that a journey to the Rhine is so commonplace, I
should beg you to let me do the honors of the left and of the
right bank to you, as well as to Chopin (a little less badly than
I was able to do the honors of Geneva!). My mother and my
children are to join me at Cologne in five or six weeks, but I
cannot hope for such good luck as that we might meet in those
parts, although after your winters of work and fatigue a journey
of this kind would be a refreshing distraction for you both.
At the close of the autumn I shall resume my duties at Weymar;
later on I shall go to Vienna and Hungary, and proceed thence to
Italy by way of Constantinople, Athens, and Malta.
If, therefore, one of these fine days you should happen to be in
the humor, send me a word in reply about the camellias; if you
will send your letter to my mother (20, Rue Louis le Grand) I
shall get it immediately. In every way, count upon my profound
friendship and most respectful devotion always and everywhere.
Lyons, May 21st, 1845
45. T Abbe De Lamennais
[Autograph in the possession of M. Alfred Bovet at Valentigney.]
Oh no, there is not, and there never could be, any indiscretion
from you towards me. Believe me that I do not deceive myself as
to the motive which determined you to write to me with such great
kindness, and if it happened that I replied too sanguinely and at
too great length I beg you to excuse me. Above all do not punish
me by withdrawing from me the smallest particle of your sacred
M. de Lamartine, with whom I have been spending two or three days
at Montceau, told me that you had read to him "Les Forgerons," so
I played him the music. Permit me still to hope that some day you
may be willing to complete the series, and that I, on my side,
may not be unworthy of this task.
Yours most heartily,
Dijon, June 1st, 1845
46. To Gaetano Belloni in Paris
[Autograph in the possession of M. Etienne Charavay in Paris.--
Addressed to Liszt's valued secretary during his concert tours in
Europe from 1841-1847.]
Dear and Most Excellent Belloni,
Everything is moving on, and shall not stop either. Bonn is in a
flutter since I arrived and I shall easily put an end to the
paltry, under-hand opposition which had been formed against me.
By the time you arrive I shall have well and duly conquered my
[This refers to the Festival in Bonn, of several days' duration,
for the unveiling of the Beethoven Monument (by Hahnel), in which
Liszt, the generous joint-founder of the monument, took part as
pianist, composer, and conductor.]
Will you please add to the list of your commissions:
The cross of Charles III.
and the cross of Christ of Portugal, large size? You know it is
worn on the neck.
Don't lose time and don't be too long in coming.
July 23rd, 1845.
Kindest regards to Madame Belloni.--I enclose a few lines for
Benacci, which you will kindly give him.
47. To Madame Rondonneau at Sedan
[Autograph in the possession of M. Etienne Charavay in Paris.]
In spite of rain, snow, hail, and frost, here I am at last,
having reached the hotel of the Roman Emperor at Frankfort after
forty-eight hours' travelling, and I take the first opportunity
of telling you anew, though not for the last time, how much I
feel the charming and affectionate reception which you have given
me during my too short, and, unhappily for me, too unfortunate
stay at Sedan. Will you, dear Madame, be so kind as to be my
mouthpiece and special pleader to Madame Dumaitre, who has been
so uncommonly kind and cordial to me? Assuredly I could not
confide my cause (bad as it may be) to more delicate hands and to
a more persuasive eloquence, if eloquence only consists in
reality of "the art of saying the right thing, the whole of the
right thing, and nothing but the right thing," as La
Rochefoucauld defined it; a definition from which General Foy
drew a grand burst of eloquence--"The Charter, the whole Charter
(excepting, however, Article 14 and other peccadilloes!), and
nothing but the Charter."
"But don't let us talk politics any longer," as Lablache so
happily remarked to Giulia Grisi, who took it into her head one
fine day to criticize Don Juan!
Let us talk once more of Sedan, and let me again say to you how
happy I should be to be able one day to show those whose
acquaintance I have made through you in what grateful remembrance
I keep it.
Will you, Madame, give my best and most affectionate thanks to M.
Rondonneau, and accept my very respectful and devoted homage?
Frankfurt, February 11th, 1846
P.S.--Being pressed for time, and owing, perhaps, to a stupid
feeling of delicacy, I came away without paying my doctor.
If you think well, would you be so kind as to credit me with a
napoleon and give it him from me: Madame Kreutzer will be my
banker in Paris. Adieu till we meet again.
48. To Monsieur Grillparzer
[Original, without date, in the possession of the Baroness
Mayrhofer-Grunbuhel at Klagenfurt. It might belong to the year
1846, during which Liszt arranged ten concerts in Vienna, from
March 1st to May 17th, and lived there during a great part of the
summer. From the same year dates a poem of homage to the
incomparable magician of the piano from the great poet. This
slight and unimportant letter is the only one of Liszt's found
among Grillparzer's effects.]
Will you do me the favor, my dear sir, to come and dine, without
ceremony, with several of your friends and admirers on Friday
next at 3 o'clock (at the "Stadt Frankfurt")? I should be very
much gratified at this kindness on your part. M. Bauernfeld leads
me to hope that you will not refuse me. Permit me to think that
he is not mistaken, and allow me to express once more my high
esteem and admiration.
Tuesday Morning. [1846?]
49. To Franz von Schober, Coucillor of Legation in Weimar
Prague, April 11th, 1846. [According to the postal stamp.]
Your commissions have been attended to. The Wartburg has been
sent through Bauernfeld to the Allgemeine, and will, I trust, not
have to warten [Wait; a play on the words Wartburg and warten. A
treatise on the proposed completion of the Wartburg.] too long. I
have sent a second copy of this article to Paris, where it is to
appear in French garb. The report figures already in the Vienna
Theater-Zeitung, a paper with a wide circulation (and none the
better on that account!), where it makes quite a good appearance.
You would get the best connection with Frankfort through O. L. B.
Wolff (and through his medium, which is at any rate an honest and
proper one, with the German Frankfurtes Journal, or the
Oberpostamts-Zeitung, and even with the Didaskalia).
Talk this over with Wolff!
The same with the "illustrated" Leipzig Journal, in which the
article on the Wartburg should appear as soon as possible with an
illustration. Wolff can also arrange that, and in case it were
necessary, why, in Heaven's name, the sketch can be paid for. The
State of Weimar will not be ruined by it. Pereat Philistia and
its powerless foolery!!!
You have only to write a line to Brockhaus, and the columns of
the Deutsche Allgemeine stand open to you. Your personal and
official position in Weimar entitle you to this. Later on, in
passing through Leipzig, you can very easily consolidate this
connection. My stay in Hungary (Pest) will probably be limited to
the first half of May. I shall in any case see Schwab.
"Sardanapalus" [An opera planned by Liszt] (Italian) will most
probably be produced next season (May) in Vienna.
My stay in Weimar this summer...?? [The continuation of the
letter is missing.]
50. To Franz von Schober, Councillor of Legation in Weimar
Castle Gratz (at Prince Lichnowsky's)
May 28th, 1846
You are curious people at Weimar. You stride on towards a
possibility, and as soon as the thing is well in train you take
fright at it! However that may be, here are the instructions I
have received from Paris, and if you still wish an article on the
Wartburg to appear in a French paper you must conform to them,
and therefore send to my mother's address (20, Rue Louis le
Grand) the indispensable little notice.
The note from my Paris correspondent is as follows:--
"The article in its present form would not be suitable for
publication in any French paper; it will be necessary to write
another, explaining in a few words in what and how the Wartburg
is historically interesting to Europe, and why Europe ought to
interest herself in its restoration; then make a short
architectural description of the castle; but above all do not
forget that the article is to be read by Frenchmen, careless of
what is happening in Germany, and utterly ignorant of German
history and legend."
1st.--A short account, historical and legendary, of the Wartburg.
2nd.--How it has been allowed to fall into ruins.
3rd.--How it is to be restored.
Finally, plenty of facts and proper names, as M. de Talleyrand so
well said. Agreed then! As soon as you have got this sketched out
on the lines above mentioned (it will serve also for the
illustrated), send it to my mother by Weyland. My mother will
already know through me to whom she has to give it.
There is nothing to be done with Schwab. His "Delirium" (as I
call it) [It was a "Tellurium"] stood in my room for a week, and
we stood there not knowing what to make of it. But never and no
how could we bring that good Schwab to try to make us see any
basis or proof of his calculation. My opinion is that, in order
to take away the incognito from his discovery, he ought to send a
sample to the Vienna Academy, and two others to the Berlin and
Paris Academies, for trial and discussion. If I can help him in
this matter with letters to Humboldt and Arago I will do it right
gladly; but it is as plain as day that incompetent private
sympathies are of no import in such a sensitive discovery, and
therefore can do nothing. Meanwhile they have made a subscription
of eight hundred guldens in money, and have bought the machine
for the Pest Museum.
The relic with authentic verification is in the locked-up box at
Wolff's. Beg the Herr Librarian (it would really make me ill if
he is not appointed) to be so good as to find this relic--he will
have no difficulty in recognising it--and to send it me to
Haslinger's address, Graben, Vienna.
About my law-suit more anon in Weimar. Meanwhile thank my
excellent advocate (does he take snuff?) warmly, and beg him to
continue to keep me in his good graces.
If I know that it will be agreeable to his Grace [The former
Hereditary Grand Duke and present Grand Duke of Saxony.] to see
me in Weimar this summer, I shall come, in spite of the upset
which this journey will occasion to me. You know how I am,
heartily and personally, in his favor without any interest. I
should like also to tell him many things, and for this a stay
there in the summer with walks (which as a rule I can't abide, as
you know) would be pleasanter and more convenient.
My stay in Pest might bear serious fruit, were it not that the
Byronic element, which you combat in me, becomes ever more and
Farewell and work hard! I cannot arrange any meeting with you. I
am not my own master. In August I mean to make a peregrination to
Oedenburg, and thence to Leo and Augusz (the latter in Szegzard).
If I come to Weimar it will be in July.
Address always to Haslinger's.
Adieu, my dear excellent Schober. Remain as good to me as you are
Yours ever affectionately,
Remember me most kindly to Ziegesar and Wolff.
51. To Alexander Seroff
[Russian musical critic and composer (1820-71)]
I am most grateful, my dear sir, for the kind remembrance you
keep of me since Petersburg, [Seroff was at that time in the
Crimea.] and I beg you to excuse me a thousand times for not
having replied sooner to your most charming and interesting
letter. As the musical opinions on which you are kind enough to
enlarge have for long years past been completely my own, it is
needless for me to discuss them today with you. There could, at
most, be only one point in which we must differ perceptibly, but
as that one point is my own simple individuality you will quite
understand that I feel much embarrassed with my subject, and that
I get out of it in the most ordinary manner, by thanking you very
sincerely for the too flattering opinion that you have formed
The Overture to "Coriolanus" is one of those masterpieces sui
generis, on a solid foundation, without antecedent or sequel in
analogous works. Does it remind you of Shakespeare's exposition
of the tragedy of the same name (Act i., Scene I)? It is the only
pendant to it that I know in the productions of human genius.
Read it again, and compare it as you are thinking of it. You are
worthy of those noble emotions of Art, by the fervent zeal with
which you worship its creed. Your piano score of the Overture to
Coriolanus does all honor to your artist conscience, and shows a
rare and patient intelligence which is indispensable to bringing
this task to a satisfactory end. If I should publish my version
of the same Overture (it must be among my papers in Germany) I
shall beg your permission to send you, through Prince Dolgorouki
[Prince Argontinski-Dolgorouki, a devoted lover of music. A
friend of Liszt's: had rich property in the Crimea.] (I can't
tell you half the good I think of him), an annotated copy, which
I will beg you to add to the insignificant autograph which you
really estimate too highly in attaching so affectionate a price
to it! Accept once more, my dear sir, my most affectionate
Elisabethgrad, September 14th. 1847
52. To Carl Haslinger in Vienna
[The original (without address) in the possession of M. Alfred
Bovet at Valentigney.--There is no doubt that it was written to
the above music publisher (son of the well-known Tobias H.), who
was a pupil of Czerny, and at the same time a pianist and
composer (1816-68), and friend of Liszt]
Woronino, December 19th, 1847
My dear Karolus,
I am delighted to hear from you of the arrival of my box from
Galatz. Will you be so good as to send it off speedily and safely
to Weymar, so that I may find it when I arrive there (at the end
of this month)? and, as I am away, address it to M. le Baron de
Ziegesar, Chamberlain to H.R.H. the Hereditary Grand Duchess. Beg
Lowy to take the same opportunity of sending me the other boxes
belonging to me, which remained behind, whether with him or
elsewhere, to my Weymar address, unless he prefers to bring them
with him when he comes to see me.
In my last letter to my uncle I gave him a commission for you--
namely, to beg you to send me the Melodies and Rhapsodies
Hongroises complete; also the Schwanengesang and the Winterreise
(transcriptions), large size edition, made into a book. As you
have had some proofs made of my new Rhapsodies, make up a parcel
of it all, which will be an agreeable surprise to me on my
I have worked pretty well these last two months, between two
cigars in the morning, at several things which do not displease
me; but I want to go back to Germany for some weeks in order to
put myself in tune with the general tone, and to recreate myself
by the sight and hearing of the wonderful things produced there
by...Upon my word I don't know by whom in particular, if not the
whole world in general.
If you want me to...[editor's note: impossible to decipher this
word in Liszt's original letter] anything for you, tell me, and
give me your ideas as to cut and taste.
Send me also the Schumann Opus (Kreisleriana, etc.) published by
yourself and Mechetti, together with Bach's six Pedal Fugues, in
which I wish to steep myself more fully. If the three Sonnets
(both voice and pianoforte editions) are already re-corrected,
kindly send me also an author's copy.
Adieu, dear Karolus. I commend my box to you, and commend myself
to you also
As your sincere friend,
I need not say that of course you shall be repaid immediately for
sending the box--only hurry on the sending.
Best regards to your wife.
Lowy will tell you what I wish in regard to the credit for my
53. To The Hochwohlgeboren Herr Baron von Dornis, Jena.
[Autograph in the possession of Herr C. Geibel, bookseller in
Leipzig.--The addressee was a sculptor.]
The confidence which you place in me, most esteemed Herr Baron,
is naturally very flattering; but in order to meet it according
to your wishes, I ought to have quite other means at my disposal
than those I have.
It would of course be very gratifying to me to possess one of
your valued works; yet I cannot help taking this opportunity of
remarking that, in view of the far too many busts, medallions,
statuettes, caricatures, medals, and portraits of all kinds
existing of my humble self, I long ago resolved not to give
occasion to any further multiplication of them.
Accept, esteemed Herr Baron, my expressions of great regret that
I cannot meet your kind proposal as you wish, and with the
assurance of my highest esteem,
Believe me yours very truly,
Weymar, March 6th, 1848
54. To Franz von Schober, Councillor of Legation at Weimar.
Castle Gratz, April 22nd, 1848.
My Dear and Honored Friend,
Your dear letter has brought me still nearer to you in the crisis
of the estro poetico, which the "Hungaria" [One of Liszt's
symphonic poems.] brought forth in me; and, thanks to this good
influence, I hope you will not be dissatisfied with the
Since my Beethoven Cantata I have written nothing so striking and
so spontaneous. One of these next days the instrumentation will
be completed, and when we have an opportunity we can have it
performed in Weimar in your honor and that of "Weimar's dead."
[Refers to a poem entitled "Weimar's Todten."]
Regardless of the blocking of the Russian frontier the Princess
Wittgenstein has safely passed through Radziwillow and Brody with
a special official outrider, and established herself at Castle
Gratz four days ago with her very charming and interesting
daughter. As it is still somewhat early for the German bath
season, I should like to persuade her to spend a couple of weeks
in Weimar before her Carlsbad "cure" (which, alas! is very
necessary for her). If my wishes should be successful I shall
arrive at Weimar between the 10th and 15th of May, in order to
prepare a suitable house or suite of apartments for the Princess.
I should be so pleased if you had an opportunity of getting to
know the P. W. She is without doubt an uncommonly and thoroughly
brilliant example of soul and mind and understanding (with
immense esprit as well).
It won't take you long to understand that henceforth I can dream
of very little personal ambition and future wrapped up in myself.
In political relations serfdom may have an end, but the dominion
of one soul over another in the region of spirit, is not that
indestructible?...You, my dear, honored friend, will assuredly
not answer this question with a negative.
In three weeks I hope we shall see each other again. Be so good
as to present my respects to our young Duke. What you tell me of
him pleases me. As soon as possible you shall hear more, and more
fully, from me, but do not write to me till then, as my address
meanwhile will be very uncertain. But continue to love me, as I
love and honor you.
55. To Bernhard Cossmann in Baden-Baden
[The addressee became in 1850 solo-violoncellist and chamber
virtuoso in Weimar, and, later, in Moscow, and has been, since
1878, a Professor at the Hoch Conservatorium at Frankfort-on-
Circumstances! Conditions! My dear sir, these are now the very
ceremonious expressions and excuses of theatrical and directorial
beings. Unfortunately that is the case here too, although our
dear Weymar continuing free, not only from the real cholera, but
also from the slighter, but somewhat disagreeable, periodical
political cholerina, may peacefully dream by its elm,
yet...yet...I am sorry to say I am obliged not to answer your
kind letter affirmatively. Should circumstances and conditions,
however, turn out as I wish, then the Weymar band would consider
it an honor and a pleasure to possess you, my dear sir, as soon
as possible as one of its members.
Meanwhile accept the assurance of high regard of yours very
Weymar, September 18th, 1848
56. To Carl Reinecke
[The present conductor of the Gewandhaus Concerts in Leipzig
(born 1824), and celebrated composer, pianist, and conductor]
Your kind letter has given me much pleasure, and the prospect
which you hold out to me, of seeing you soon again at Weymar, is
very agreeable to me. But come soon, and if possible for a few
days; I on my side shall certainly do all I can to prolong your
stay here and make it seem short to you. The promised Concerto
interests me keenly; it will be sure to give us ample material
for musical talks, and perhaps after many a talk we shall set to
work again and both write a new Concerto.
Would not the best results of criticism altogether be to incite
to new creation?
However that may be, do not put off too long taking up your
quarters at the Erbprinz, and rest assured that your visit is
much desired by me.
Yours very sincerely,
Weymar, March 25th, 1849
My very best thanks for the splendid stuff for the coat, which
will give me quite an important, well-to-do, stately appearance!
57. To Count Sandor Teleky(?)
[The original (without address) in the possession of Count Albert
Amadei in Vienna.--The recipient of this letter was presumably
Count Teleky, a friend of Liszt's, who often accompanied the
latter on his triumphal European journeys, and who was himself an
active musician and literary man. He died in June, 1892.]
I have to give you threefold thanks, dear Count, and I feel that
I can undisguisedly do so! Your verses, in addition to your prose
and music, are three times welcome to me at Weymar, and the
Fantaisie dedicated to the royal hours of leisure of H.R.H. has
also charmed my leisure hours, as rare as they are modest.
If it would not be a trouble to you to come to Weymar, it would
be most kind of you to give us the pleasure of your company for a
day or two during our theatrical season, which concludes on the
15th of June. We could then chat and make music at our ease (with
or without damages, ad libitum), and if the fantasy took us, why
should we not go to some new Fantasie of leisure on the "Traum-
lied (dream song) of Tony, [No doubt meaning Baron Augusz,
Liszt's intimate friend at Szegzard, who died in 1878.] for
instance, at the hour when our peaceable inhabitants are
sleeping, dreaming, or thinking of nothing? We two should at
least want to make a pair.
May I beg you, dear Count, to recall me most humbly to the
indulgent remembrance of your charming and witty neighbor
[Nachbarin, feminine.] of the Erbprinz, and accept once more my
most cordial expressions for yourself?
Weymar, May 5th, 1849
58. To Belloni(?)
[The letter written apparently to Belloni (who has already been
mentioned) was, like the present one, published by Wilhelm
Tappert, in a German translation and in an incomplete form, in
the Neue Musik-Zeitung (Cologne, Tonger) of October 1st, 1881.
The editor unfortunately could not obtain possession of it
complete and in the original. According to Tappert, a Belgian
musical paper pronounced it spurious, for reasons unknown to the
Weimar, May 14th, 1849
Richard Wagner, a Dresden conductor, has been here since
yesterday. That is a man of wonderful genius, such a brain-
splitting genius indeed as beseems this country,--a new and
brilliant appearance in Art. Late events in Dresden have forced
him to a decision in the carrying out of which I am firmly
resolved to help him with all my might. When I have had a long
talk with him, you shall hear what we have devised and what must
also be thoroughly realized. In the first place we want to create
a success for a grand, heroic, enchanting musical work, the score
of which was completed a year ago. [Lohengrin.] Perhaps this
could be done in London? Chorley, [Chorley (1808-72) had
considerable influence in London as author, critic, and writer in
the Athenoeum.] for instance, might be very helpful to him in
this undertaking. If Wagner next winter could go to Paris backed
up by this success, the doors of the Opera would stand open to
him, no matter with what he might knock. It is happily not
necessary for me to go into long further discussions with you;
you understand, and must learn whether there is at this moment in
London an English theater (for the Italian Opera would not help
our friend!), and whether there is any prospect that a grand and
beautiful work from a master hand could have any success there.
[It was not in London, but in Weimar, as is well known, that the
first performance of "Lohengrin" took place (on August 28th,
1850). It was not until twenty-five years later that London made
acquaintance with Wagner's work on the stage, in the Italian
Opera and with Nicolini in the title-role; and the composer
himself heard it for the first time in Vienna on May 15th, 1861.]
Let me have an answer to this as quickly as possible. Later on--
that is, about the end of the month--Wagner will pass through
Paris. You will see him, and he will talk with you direct about
the tendency and expansion of the whole plan, and will be
heartily grateful for every kindness. Write soon and help me as
ever. It is a question of a noble end, toward the fulfillment of
which everything must tend.
59. To Carl Reinecke
Weymar, May 30th, 1849
Thank you much, dear M. Reinecke, for your welcome lines, and I
am glad to hope that you are happily arrived at Bremen, which
ought to be proud to possess you. The musical taste of that town
has always been held up to me, and I feel assured that the
inhabitants will have the good taste to appreciate you at your
full value, and that you will create a good and fine position for
yourself there without many obstacles.
Wagner, who will probably be obliged to lose his post at Dresden
in consequence of recent events, has been spending some days with
me here. Unluckily the news of the warrant against him arrived
the day of the performance of "Tannhauser", which prevented him
from being present. By this time he must have arrived in Paris,
where he will assuredly find a more favorable field for his
dramatic genius. With the aid of success he will end, as I have
often said, by being acknowledged as a great German composer in
Germany, on condition that his works are first heard in Paris or
London, following the example of Meyerbeer, to say nothing of
Gluck, Weber, and Handel!
Wagner expressed his regret to me that he had not been able to
send a better reply to the few lines of introduction which I had
given you for him. If ever you should be in the same place with
him do not fail to go and see him for me, and you may be sure of
being well received.
I am very much obliged to you for having spoken of me to Schumann
in such a manner as he at least ought to think of me. It
interested me much to make acquaintance with his composition of
the epilogue to "Faust". If he publishes it I shall try to have
it performed here, either at the Court or at the theater. In
passing lately through Frankfort I had a glance at the score of
"Genoveva", a performance of which had been announced to me at
Leipzig for the middle of May at latest. I am very much afraid
that Schumann will have a struggle with the difficulties and
delays which usually occur in trying to get any lofty work
performed. One would say that a bad fairy, in order sometimes to
counterbalance the works of genius, gives a magic success to the
most vulgar works and presides over the propagation of them,
favoring those whom inspiration has disdained, in order to push
its elect into the shade. That is no reason for discouragement,
for what matters the sooner or the later?
A thousand thanks for your exact and obliging packet of cigars.
If you should have the opportunity of sending me some samples of
a kind neither too thin nor too light, at about twenty to twenty-
five thalers the thousand, I shall willingly give an order for
some, which might be followed by a larger order.
Schuberth of Hamburg has just sent me your transcriptions of the
Schumann songs, which have given me real pleasure. If you publish
other things kindly let me know, for you know the sincere
interest I feel both in yourself and in your works,--an interest
I hope to have the opportunity of showing you more and more.
Meanwhile believe me yours affectionately,
P.S.--I have not forgotten the little commission you gave me
relative to the "Fantasie-Stucke," and in a few weeks I will let
you have a copy of the new edition.
60. To Robert Schumann
[original in the Royal Library in Berlin]
Dear, esteemed Friend,
Before everything allow me to repeat to you what, next after
myself, you ought properly to have known best a long time ago--
namely, that no one honors and admires you more truly than my
When opportunity occurs we can certainly have a friendly
discussion on the importance of a work, a man, even a town
indeed. For the present I am specially rejoicing in the prospect
of an early performance of your opera, and beg you most urgently
to let me know about it a few days beforehand, as I shall most
certainly come to Leipzig on that occasion, and then we can also
arrange for it to be studied in Weymar as soon as possible
afterwards. Perhaps you will also find time there to make me
acquainted with your "Faust." For this composition I am anxiously
waiting, and your resolution to give this work a greater length
and breadth appears to me most judicious. A great subject demands
generally a grand treatment. Although the Vision of Ezekiel
attains in its small dimensions the culminating point of
Raphael's greatness, yet he painted the School of Athens and the
entire frescoes in the Vatican.
"Manfred" is glorious, passionately attractive! Don't let
yourself be stopped in it; it will refresh you for your "Faust"--
and German art will point with pride to these twin productions.
Schuberth has sent me your "Album fur die Jugend" [Album for the
Young], which, to say the least, pleases me much. We have played
your splendid trio here several times, and in a pretty
Wagner stayed some days here and at Eisenach. I am expecting
tidings from him daily from Paris, where he will assuredly
enlarge his reputation and career in a brilliant manner.
Would not your dear wife (to whom I beg to be kindly remembered)
like for once to make a romantic country excursion into the
Thuringer Wald [the Thuringian Forest]? The neighborhood is
charming, and it would give me great pleasure to see her again at
Weymar. A very good grand piano, and two or three intelligent
people who cling to you with true sympathy and esteem, await you
But in any case there will appear in Leipzig as a claqueur
[clapper (to applaud)]
Your unalterably faithful friend,
F. Liszt Weymar, June 5th, 1849
61. To Robert Schumann
[original in the Royal Library in Berlin]
Best thanks, dear friend, for your kind information about the
performance of your "Faust" on the 28th of August.
To draw "das Ewig-Weibliche" rightly upwards ["Das Ewig-Weibliche
zicht uns hinan" ("The Eternal-Womanly draws us upwards").--
Goethe's "Faust"] by rehearsing the chorus and orchestra would
have afforded me great pleasure--and would probably have
succeeded. ["Gelangen" and "gelingen"--untranslatable little
pun.] But unfortunately obstacles which cannot be put aside have
intervened, and it will be utterly impossible for me to be
present at the Goethe Festival, as I have to betake myself in a
few days' time to an almost unknown but very efficacious bath
resort, and my doctor's orders are most strict that I must not
make any break in my "cure" during six weeks.
Notwithstanding this very deplorable contretemps for me, I
immediately informed Herr Councillor A. Scholl, as head of the
Goethe Committee, of your friendly proposal. Herewith his answer.
Allow me meanwhile to refresh your memory with an old French
proverb, "Ce qui est differe n'est pas perdu" [What is put off is
not given up], and give me the hope that soon after my return to
Weymar we may occupy ourselves seriously with the performance of
Hearty greetings to your dear wife, and believe me yours ever
F. Liszt Weymar July 27th, 1849
62. To Robert Schumann
[autograph in the Royal Library in Berlin]
A summons which cannot be put off obliges me to be present at the
Goethe Festival here on the 28th of August, and to undertake the
direction of the musical part.
My first step is naturally to beg you to be so good as to send us
soon the score of your "Faust." If you should be able to spare
any of the voice or orchestral parts it would be a saving of time
to us; but if not we shall willingly submit to getting the parts
copied out as quickly as possible.
Kindly excuse me, dear friend, for the manner in which this
letter contradicts my last. I am very seldom guilty in such a
way, but in this case it does not lie in me, but in the
particulars of the matter itself.
For the rest I can assure you that your "Faust" shall be studied
with the utmost sympathy and accuracy by the orchestra and
chorus.--Herr Montag, the conductor of the Musik-Verein [Musical
Union], is taking up the chorus rehearsals with the greatest
readiness, and the rest will be my affair!--Only, dear friend,
don't delay sending the score and, if possible, the parts.
Weymar, August 1st, 1849
If your opera is given not later than the 1st of September I
shall certainly come to Leipzig.
63. To Carl Reinecke
Heligoland, September 7th, 1849
I am very sorry, my dear M. Reinecke, not to have met you at
Hamburg. It would have been such a real pleasure to me to make
acquaintance again with your Nonet, and it seems to me, judging
from its antecedents in the form of a Concerto, that by this
decisive transformation it ought to be a most honorably
The "Myrthen Lieder" have never been sent to me. If you happen to
have a copy I should be very much obliged if you would send it me
to Schuberth's address.
With regard to the article which has appeared in "La Musique" I
have all sorts of excuses to make to you. The editors of the
paper thought fit, I do not know why, to give it a title which I
completely disavow, and which would certainly have never entered
into my mind. Moreover the printer has not been sparing of
changing several words and omitting others. Such are the
inevitable disadvantages of articles sent by post, and of which
the proof correctors cannot read the writing.
Anyhow, such as it is, I am glad to think that it cannot have
done you any harm in the mind of the French public, which has
customs and requirements that one must know well when one wishes
above all things to serve one's friends by being just to them.
Two numbers of your "Kleine Fantasie-Stucke" have been
distributed, up to about a thousand copies, with the paper "La
Musique," under the title of "Bluettes,"--a rather ill-chosen
title to my idea,--but, notwithstanding this title and the words
"adopted by F. Liszt," which the editors have further taken the
responsibility of putting, I am persuaded that this publication
is a good opening (in material) into the musical world of France,
and, looking at this result only, I am charmed to have been able
to contribute to it.
I shall return to Hamburg by the last boat from Heligoland on the
27th of September, in order to go to the baths of Eilsen, where I
expect to spend all the month of October. In November I shall be
back in Weymar for the rest of the winter.
If you would have the kindness to send to Schuberth's address a
case of 250 cigars of a pretty good size from the Bremen
Manufactory, I should be very much obliged to you, and would take
care to let you have the money (which in any case will not be a
very great sum) through Schuberth. The samples you sent me to
Weymar did reach me, but at a moment when I was extremely
occupied, so that I forgot them. Pray let me hear from you from
time to time, my dear M. Reinecke, and regard me as a friend who
is sincerely attached to you.
64. To Breitkopf and Hartel
My dear Sir,
The arrival of your piano is one of the most pleasant events in
my peacefully studious life at Weymar, and I hasten to send you
my best thanks. Although, to tell the truth, I don't intend to do
much finger-work in the course of this year, yet it is no less
indispensable for me to have from time to time a perfect
instrument to play on. It is an old custom that I should regret
to change; and, as you kindly inquire after the ulterior
destination of this piano, allow me to tell you quite frankly
that I should like to keep it as long as you will leave it me for
my private, personal, and exclusive use at Weymar. In being
guilty of the so-called indiscretion I committed in claiming of
your courtesy the continued loan of one of your instruments I
thought that, under the friendly and neighborly relations which
are established between us (for a long time to come, I hope), it
would not be unwelcome to your house that one of its productions
should play the hospitable to me, whilst receiving my hospitality
at the same time. However retired and sheltered I live from stir
and movement at Weymar, yet from time to time it does happen that
I receive illustrious visitors, or curious and idle ones who come
and trouble one for this or that; henceforth I shall be delighted
to be able to do the honors of your piano both to the one and to
the other, and that will be, besides, the best proof of the
strength of the recommendation that I have had the pleasure of
making, for a long time past, of your manufactory. If however,
contrary to expectation, it should happen that you were in
pressing need of an instrument, very little played upon, the one
at Weymar would be at your disposal at any moment.
With regard to the Beethoven Lieder-Cyclus I have just received a
letter from Mr. Haslinger which I do not communicate in full
because of the personal details it contains, but this is the
passage, as laconic as it is satisfactory, with regard to this
"I give you with pleasure my fullest consent to the edition of
the Beethoven Liederkreis by Breitkopf and Hartel."
So by tomorrow's post I shall have the honor of returning you the
proofs of the Lieder-Cyclus, which forms a continuation to the
Beethoven Lieder which you have already edited, and which you
will publish when you think well. .--.
With the proofs of my third piece on the "Prophete" I will also
send you all the pieces on it (piano and voice) which you have
been so good as to lend me, as well as the piano score, which I
don't require any more; for, unless I should have a success which
I dare not hope for (for these three pieces), and an express
order from you for another series of three pieces, which I could
easily extract from that vast score, I shall make this the end of
my work on the "Prophete." I come at last to a question, not at
all serious, but somewhat embarrassing for me,--that of fixing
the price of the manuscripts that you are so good as to print. I
confess that this is my "quart d'heure de Rabelais!" [The "quart
d'heure de Rabelais" refers to an incident in his life, and
means, in round terms, the moment of paying--i.e., any
disagreeable moment.] In order not to prolong it for you, allow
me to tell you without further ceremony that the whole of the six
works together, which are as follows:--
Lieder of Beethoven, Lieder-Cyclus of Beethoven, Consolations
(six numbers), Illustrations of the "Prophete" (three numbers),
published by your house, are worth, according to my estimation,
80-100 louis d'or.
If this price does not seem disproportionate to you, as I am
pleased to think it will not, and if it suits you to publish
other pieces of my composition, I shall have the pleasure of
sending you in the course of the year:--
1. A "Morceau de Concert"(for piano without orchestra), composed
for the competition of the Paris Conservatoire, 1850.
2. The complete series of the Beethoven Symphonies, of which you
have as yet only published the "Pastorale" and the "C minor." (In
the supposition that this publication will suit your house, I
will beg you to make the necessary arrangements from now onwards
with Mr. Haslinger; perhaps it will even be expedient that the
Symphony in A (7th), which Haslinger published several years ago
from the arrangement that I had made, should reappear in its
proper place in the complete series of the symphonies.)
3. Bach's six fugues (for organ with pedals), arranged for piano
In the middle of February I shall send you the complete
manuscript of my little volume on Chopin, and a little later in
the same month we shall set ourselves to work here on the study
of Schubert's opera, the performance of which will take place in
the first days of April. If, as I do not doubt, the performance
of the "Prophete" draws you to Dresden, I shall certainly have
the pleasure of seeing you there, for I have just begged Mr. de
Luttichau to be so good as to reserve me a place for that
evening, and I shall not fail to be there. Meanwhile, my dear M.
Hartel, believe me,
Yours sincerely and affectionately,
F. Liszt Weymar, January 14th, 1850
On the occasion of Schubert's opera I shall probably set to work
on the arrangement of the symphony, of which, meanwhile, I hold
the score.--Compliments and best regards to Madame Hartel, which
I know you will be kind enough to convey to her.
65. To Breitkopf and Hartel
February 24th, 1850
My dear Sir,
.--. With regard to Schubert's opera ["Alfonso and Estrella." It
was given for the first time on June 24th, 1854, the birthday of
the Grand Duke (but not without some necessary cuts)], a recent
experience has entirely confirmed me in the opinion I had already
formed at the time of the first rehearsals with piano which we
had last spring--namely, that Schubert's delicate and interesting
score is, as it were, crushed by the heaviness of the libretto!
Nevertheless, I do not despair of giving this work with success;
but this success appears possible only on one condition--namely,
to adapt another libretto to Schubert's music. And since, by a
special fate, of which I have no reason to complain, a part of
Schubert's heritage has become my domain, I shall willingly busy
myself, as time and place offer, with the preparatory work and
the mise-en-scene of this opera, for which it would be
advantageous, in my opinion, if it could be first produced in
Paris. Belloni informs me that it will be pretty easy for you to
ensure me the entire rights of this work for France. If such be
the case I would take suitable measures for the success of this
work, on occasion of which I should naturally have to make a
considerable outlay of time and money, so that I should not be
disposed to run any risk without the guarantee of proportionate
receipts from the sale of the work in France, and author's rights
which I shall have to give up to the new poet.
This matter, however, is not at all pressing, for I shall only be
able to set to work in the matter in the course of next year
(1851); but I shall be very much obliged to you not to lose sight
of it, and to put me in possession, when you are able, of the
cession of the French and English rights, in consideration of
which I will set to work and try to get the best possible chances
Many thanks to you for so kindly sending the score of Schubert's
Symphony. That of the "Prophete" not being wanted by me any
longer, I enclose it in the parcel of proofs and manuscripts
which I beg you to undertake to send off to Mr. Belloni's address
On Easter Monday we shall give the first performance of "Comte
Ory." [By Rossini] Would you not feel tempted to come and hear
it? It is a charming work, brimming over and sparkling with
melody like champagne, so that at the last rehearsal I christened
it the "Champagner-Oper" ["Champagne Opera."] and in order to
justify this title our amiable Intendant proposes to regale the
whole theater with a few dozens of champagne in the second act,
in order to spirit up the chorus.
"Qu'il avait de bon vin le Seigneur chatelain!"
Cordial remembrances from yours affectionately,
I should be glad for the publication of No. 3 of the pieces on
the "Prophete," and the "Consolations," not to be put off long.
66. To Professor J. C. Lobe in Leipzig
[Autograph in the possession of M. Alfred Bovet at Valentigney.--
The addressee (1797-1881), a writer on music (formerly Court
Musician at Weimar), lived from 1846 in Leipzig.]
My esteemed Friend,
It is with much pleasure I send you the good news that H.R.H. the
Grand Duchess has graciously accepted the dedication of your
"System of Composition." [Published in 1850.] Our gracious
protector [feminine] started yesterday for The Hague, and will
not be back till towards the middle of August.
I hope you will be sure not to fail us at the Herder Festival in
Weymar (August 25th), as well as at the "Lohengrin" evening
(28th); we have been already waiting for you so long!
Between the performances of the "Messiah" and "Lohengrin" (to say
nothing of my "Prometheus" choruses) will also be the best
opportunity for you to present your work in person to the Grand
Remember me kindly to your dear family, and remain my friend as I
F. Liszt Weymar, July 10th, 1850
67. To Friedrich Wieck in Dresden
[published in the "Neue Musik-Zeitung" in 1888.--The addressee
was the well-known pianoforte master, the father of Clara
It will be a real pleasure to me to welcome you here, and your
daughter [Marie Wieck, Hohenzollern Court Pianist in Dresden],
whom I have already heard so highly commended. Weymar, as you
know it of old, offers no brilliant resources for concerts; but
you may rest assured beforehand that I, on my side, shall do
everything that is possible in this connection to make things
easy for you. To me it seems especially desirable that you should
wait until the return of H.R.H. the Grand Duchess, which will be
within a fortnight; should you, however, be tied by time and come
here before that date, I bid you heartily welcome, dear sir, and
place myself at your disposal.
Weymar, August 4th, 1850
68. To Simon Lowy in Vienna.
[Autograph in the Royal Library in Vienna. Printed in a German
translation, La Mara, "Letters of Musicians during Five
Centuries," vol. ii.]
Weymar, August 5th, 1850
My cousin Edward writes me word that you are a little piqued at
my long silence,--and I, shall I tell you frankly? am a little
piqued that you have not yet thought of coming to see me, and of
transferring your bath season to some place in the neighborhood
of Weymar. Will you make peace with me?--
Accept as a friend the invitation I give you in all friendship.
Arrive at Weymar the 23rd of August, and stay till the 30th at
least. You will find several of your friends here,--Dingelstedt,
Jules Janin, Meyerbeer (?), etc.,--and you will hear, firstly, on
the evening of the 24th, a good hour and a half of music that I
have just composed (Overture and Choruses) for the "Prometheus"
of Herder, which will be given as a Festal Introduction to the
inauguration of his statue in bronze by Schaller of Munich, which
is fixed for the 25th; secondly, on the evening of the 25th,
Handel's "Messiah"; thirdly, on the 28th, the anniversary of
Goethe's birth, a remarkably successful Prologue made, ad hoc,
for that day by Dingelstedt, followed by the first performance of
Wagner's "Lohengrin." This work, which you certainly will not
have the opportunity of hearing so soon anywhere else, on account
of the special position of the composer, and the many
difficulties in its performance, is to my idea a chef-d'oeuvre of
the highest and most ideal kind! Not one of the operas which has
entertained the theaters for the past twenty years can give any
approximate idea of it.
So don't be piqued any longer, or rather, dear friend, be piqued
with curiosity to be one of the first to hear such a beautiful
thing. Sulk with Vienna, for a few weeks at least, instead of
sulking with me, which is all nonsense, and believe me always and
ever your most sincerely attached, but very much occupied, very
much pre-occupied, and oftentimes very absorbed friend,
69. To Mathilde Graumann
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