Letters of Franz Liszt, Volume 1, "From Paris to Rome:
Franz Liszt; Letters assembled by La Mara and translated
Part 8 out of 9
[There does not seem to be any equivalent to this proverb in
English: the nearest approach to it is, perhaps, "A poet is born,
227. To Dr. Franz Brendel
It is of great consequence to me not to delay any longer the
publication of my "Gesammelte Lieder." Forgive me, therefore, if
today I am somewhat troublesome to your friendship..--.
It seems to me that the best plan would be if, before you confer
with Herr Schulze, you would first have a consultation with
Klemm, and come to a thorough understanding on the matter with
him. [Liszt evidently wished to have the songs engraved first at
his own cost, and to let Klemm undertake the sale on commission.]
Beg him also, in my name, to show a friendly sympathy to the
work. The songs can hold their ground in their present form
(regardless of the criticism of our choking and quarrelling
opponents which will infallibly follow!); and if a few singers
could be found, not of the raw and superficial kind, who would
boldly venture to sing songs by the notorious non-composer, Franz
Liszt, they would probably find a public for them.
I think I told you that a couple of them made a furore in certain
salons which are very much set against me, as posthumous songs of
Schubert, and were encored!--Of course I have begged the singer
to carry the joke on further.
Klemm need not therefore be in the least ashamed of undertaking
the publication of the work in a friendly spirit.
Best thanks beforehand for your kind trouble in this matter--and
ever faithfully yours,
Weymar, December 6th, 1859
P.S.--I have just received your letter. The two K.'s--Kompel and
Kahnt--shall be made most welcome. Pohl had already told me of
Kahnt's coming; it will be a pleasure to me not to verlangweilen
[To make the time hang heavily] his visit here (if that word is
not quite German, still I consider it is comprehensible!). Julius
Schuberth had also the intention of rescuing something [Namely,
Liszt's composition] from Kuehn. [Music publisher] Your idea of
giving Bronsart the conductorship of the Euterpe Concerts is a
most excellent one. I suppose the letter which I wrote about this
to P. Fischer (to your address) came to hand (?). The day before
yesterday I also let Bronsart know that possibly some favorable
openings might occur for him in Leipzig, and recommended him not
to neglect them. Bronsart would be just in his right post in
Leipzig, and I do not doubt that he would in every respect
maintain it in the most honorable manner. In addition to this, it
would be especially agreeable to me to begin constant intercourse
with him as my next neighbor. He is now working at his Opera, and
sent me a little while ago the libretto which he has himself
composed to it, and which seems to me very successful in the most
important scenes, as well as in the dialogue. [It was afterwards
composed by his wife ("King Hiarne").]
Address your letters to "Herr von Bronsart, c/o Herr General von
Bronsart, Commandant of Dantzig, Dantzig."
In consequence of the performance of my Mass in Munich (on the
King's birthday, at the end of November), which, as I am told on
many sides, was well given and--which seems wonderful--was
acknowledged by many musicians there to be a work of importance--
so that even Lachner spoke favorably of it--the "Allgemezne"
Zeftung again breathes forth poison and gall (supplement of 3rd
December), without forgetting therewith the "Neue Zeitschrift fur
Musik." I should like to take the opportunity of making this pack
of critics, such as W., B., G., B., and whatever all the
assistants' assistants are called, understand the following
thoughts as Xenie:--[Epigram]
"Ye break your staff over me, but your staff has indeed long
since become rotten from all the dust and dirt that stick to it,
and it scarcely serves any longer to cut the air!"
Tell this idea to Lohmann--perhaps he may be inspired with a
happy rhyme for it.
I cannot say anything better to you about Pohl than what you tell
Herewith, for your private delectation, is a copy of some lines
from my letter to Herr Gustav Eggers (in Berlin), brother of the
well-known Art-journal Eggers, now very much concerned in the
Prussian paper. Gustav E. was here at the September Festival
(1857), when he heard the Faust Symphony, and sent me lately a
very pretty book of songs, begging me to recommend them to
Hartel.--Send me the little paper back soon.
228. To Eduard Liszt
By the loving friendship which you have shown me, especially
during the last decade in which so many trials have been laid on
me, our close relationship in heart and character has been for
ever firmly sealed, dearest Eduard. You are, and will ever be to
me, a support and a courage-giving comforter in the battles and
straits of my life. God grant me grace to go through them without
wavering, as a faithful servant of the truth in Christ!
You have decided upon just what is most right and suitable in the
arrangement of the funeral ceremony of my son. [He died in
Vienna, where he was studying law.] The selection of Terziani's
Requiem was a very suitable one under the existing conditions. I
thank you for everything from the depths of my soul!
I shall write a couple of lines to Herbeck tomorrow, and send him
at the same time the score and parts of the "Prometheus," as well
as two Marches of Schubert which I have instrumented for him. The
sending off of this parcel has been delayed by the circumstance
that it was necessary to have the whole score of the "Prometheus"
written out afresh, and to make some alterations in the parts.
The earlier score was indeed sufficient for me--but any strange
conductor would scarcely find his way through it. I hope Herbeck
will be pleased with the instrumentation of the Schubert Marches.
I fancy I have been successful in this little work, and I shall
continue it further, as it offers much attraction to me. The four
other Marches will follow shortly, which should make the half-
Cornelius arrived here the day before yesterday. His friendly
attachment to you is a very warm and sincerely devoted one. On me
Cornelius's pure mind and thoroughly honorable disposition always
have the most beneficial effect; but it is especially welcome to
me just now to hear more of you from him, and thus to be more
Be as good to me as you are dear to my heart!
Weymar, December 28th, 1859
229. To Josef Dessauer
[Autograph in the possession of Herr Von Hannen, painter in
Venice.--The addressee ("Maitre Favilla," as George Sand named
her friend) was known as the composer of refined songs (1798-
1876). Three of these Liszt transcribed (1847, Berlin,
Dear honored Friend,
It is possible that the delicacy of your perception may have
brought you much trouble, but it assures you a soft place in the
better region of the heart of your friends. This I again felt in
reading your dear letter.
Accept, therefore, the heartfelt thanks of your old friend, whose
"manly formed nature" must further prove itself; he has still
many duties to fulfill and more than one battle to fight. May the
Cross remain his support, his strength, and his shield!
Whatever fatality also may hang over me, be assured of the
faithful attachment of your
Weymar, December 30th, 1859
The crucifix from you (after the Gran Mass) has grown still
dearer to me!--
When I have finished with some works which cannot be postponed
any longer, Daniel shall receive his Requiena.
230. To Wilkoszewshi, Secretary of the Concerts of the
"Hofcapelle" in Munich.
[From a copy in Liszt's own handwriting (amongst the letters to
The performance of new works on the part of so renowned an
orchestra as that of Munich must ever remain a mark of special
attention for the composers. But I must rate it still higher
that, in face of the strong prejudice against my name, one of my
ill-famed Symphonic Poems should have been included in the
programme of the concerts of the Munich Hofcapelle.
It is ill preaching to deaf ears, and it is well known that there
is no worse deafness than that of people who will not hear. Hence
it is that the Festklange, as well as the Mass and everything
that I and others better than my humble self have been able to
compose, is prejudiced. But the more unseemly and malicious
factiousness may show itself against new works, the more am I
laid under a grateful obligation to those who do not accept as
their artistic criterion the injustice inflicted on me.
Time levels all things, and I can quietly wait until people are
more occupied in learning to know and to hear my scores than in
condemning and hissing them. Mean-spirited, blackguard tricks,
even when played in concert-rooms and newspaper reports, are no
arguments worthy of a lasting import.
I beg you, dear sir, to convey to General Music-Director Lachner
my best thanks for his well-meant sentiments towards me, and I
remain, with high esteem, yours very sincerely,
Weymar, January 15th, 1860.
231. To Johann von Herbeck.
[Received, according to him, on January 26th, 1860]
On getting back from Berlin yesterday evening I find your letter,
which has given me especial pleasure by the assurance that the
"Prometheus" choruses and, the instrumentation of the "Schubert
Marches" fulfill your expectations. You shall very shortly
receive two more "Schubert Marches" (the "Funeral March" in E
flat minor, and the "Hungarian March" in C minor out of the
"Hungarian Divertissement". [Op. 40, No. 5, and "Marcia" from Op.
54] They could be played one immediately after the other.
The "Prometheus" choruses, together with the "Symphonic Poem"
which goes before them (and which has been published by Hartel as
No. 5), were composed in July 1850 for the Herder Festival, and
were performed in the theater here on the eve of that festival.
My pulses were then all beating feverishly, and the thrice-
repeated cry of woe of the Oceanides, the Dryads, and the
Infernals echoed in my ears from all the trees and lakes of our
In my work I strove after an ideal of the antique, which should
be represented, not as an ancient skeleton, but as a living and
moving form. A beautiful stanza of Andre Chenier,
"Sur des pensers nouveaux faisons des vers antiques," ["On modern
thoughts let us fashion verses antique."]
served me for precept, and showed me the way to musical plastic
art and symmetry.
The favorable opinion you have formed of the work in reading it
through is a token to me that I have not altogether failed--I
hope that the performance will not spoil your sympathy for it. I
leave the direction, with the utmost confidence, entirely in your
hands.--You always hit on the right thing, and navigate
satisfactorily with your entire forces the occasional
difficulties of the dissonant entries, and of the pathetic
delivery which is absolutely essential in several places. It
would certainly be a great pleasure to me, dear friend, if I
could be present at the performance in Vienna on the 26th
February, to enjoy your intelligent and inspired performance, but
I am prevented from doing this by various circumstances (an
explanation of which would lead me too far).
I beg you therefore not to induce the directors to invite me,
because I might not be in a position to make my excuses. So
please do you undertake the office of unchaining Prometheus in
Vienna; this labour of Hercules will become you well [Footnote
below]. There are certainly no powerful eagles to hack and rend
in pieces the Titan's liver--but there is a whole host of ravens
and creeping vermin ready to do it.--Once more best thanks and
greetings from your most highly esteeming and very devoted
[It took place on the 26th February, 1860. Herbeck notes as
follows about it in his diary: "Prometheus, Symphonic Poem,
pleased fairly. Chorus of Tritons pleased extremely. The
Vintagers' and Reapers' choruses and concluding chorus pleased,
but of course there was a formally organized opposition hissing.
They had sworn the overthrow of this music, without even
knowing a note of it."]
232. To Dr. Franz Brendel.
So then it has happened well that the editor of the Neue
Zeitschrift has also become the editor of my "Gesammelte Lieder."
Best thanks, dear friend, for the means you have taken to promote
this. Kahnt has only to come to an understanding with
Schlesinger; I on my side do not wish to place any limitation on
his rights. Whether a transcription of this or that song may be
made I do not know; if this should be the case I will only beg
Kahnt to let me know of any such chance transcriptions before
allowing them to appear, mainly because it would not be pleasant
to me if any really too stupid arrangements should come out. This
is only a matter of artistic consideration--beyond that I have
neither restriction nor reservation to make to the proposed
edition. As soon as Kahnt is in order with Schlesinger I am
satisfied with everything. This or that song may then appear
singly, or transcribed for guitar or zither; so much the better
if Kahnt can thereby make it pay. N.B.--I should be glad if, in
bringing out the songs singly, the same outside cover could be
employed as in the complete edition, on account of the index.
Probably Kahnt will say nothing against this, as the back of the
cover serves as an advertisement of the entire collection of
Yesterday evening Fraulein Berghaus (a daughter of the Potsdam
professor) sang two numbers, Freudvoll and leidvoll and Es muss
ein Wunderbares sein (out of the sixth part), at a concert given
by Singer and Cossmann. I had indeed forbidden it, because this
winter I will not have my name put on any concert programme at
all--but her exquisite delivery of these songs, which were also
received with approbation, reconciled me to it.
At the last Court concert in Berlin Fraulein Genast [A highly
gifted singer, afterwards Frau Dr. Merian in Weimar] selected the
"Loreley" as her concluding song, and the Frau Princess Victoria
expressed herself very favorably about it, remarking that a
Schubert spirit breathed in the composition. One of these days
Fraulein Genast is again singing the "Loreley" at the
Philharmonic Concert in Hamburg. Otten has specially begged her
to do so. The same gentleman wrote about eighteen months ago to
Frau von Milde that he must beg to remark "that in regard to the
choice of compositions to be performed Robert Schumann is the
extreme limit to whom his programme could extend!"
I cannot quite remember whether I sent Gotze a copy of my songs.
Please ask him, and if I have not yet done so let me know. Gotze
has a special claim to them, for in earlier years he had the
courage to sing several of my nonentities--and I will see that he
has a copy at once. At the same time ask Fraulein Gotze also
whether she has received the copy of the Ballade Leonore. [Liszt
had composed this melodrama for Auguste Gotze, and frequently
performed it, as well as his later melodramas, with her.] From
several places (and quite lately from Carlsruhe and Brunswick)
orders for this Ballade have come to me, which--between
ourselves--are not convenient to me. My copyist has already had
to make at least nine copies of it, which is a pretty good
expense. Nevertheless a tenth shall willingly be made, if the one
which was intended for Fraulein Gotze did not reach her, of which
I am somewhat in doubt, owing to the many demands which the
Leonore has brought with it, and which have made me somewhat
It would really be the best for me if Kahnt or Schuberth would
save me the trouble of making further copies by publishing the
"Leonore". But I should not wish in any way to incommode the
publisher, and certainly not to offer anything without knowing
that it would be welcome. Under present circumstances a very
pronounced reserve has become my rule. My business is simply to
continue working unremittingly, and quietly to await the rest.
Accordingly I submit myself without difficulty to your experience
as editor in regard to my Munich letter [To Wilkoszewski]--
although I could maintain good grounds for publishing it.
Certainly it is always the gentlemanly thing entirely to ignore
certain things and people. You may therefore be quite right in
putting aside all other considerations; and as I am convinced of
your most sincere friendship I willingly leave you to decide
whether my coming forward in such matters is of use or not. In
case you had thought it advisable for my letter to be printed in
the "Neue Zeitschrift" (which I left to your judgment), it would
have had of necessity to be printed without the slightest
alteration, because I have purposely written it thus clearly to
Herr W., and any alteration in it might be taken as cowardice
(which is far from me). But probably it is better to abandon the
matter for a while, and to be somewhat more severe on another
occasion. The pack of ragamuffins has richly deserved to be
treated as ragamuffins!
This evening is Wagner's first concert in Paris. I expect little
good to him from it, and consider such a step on Wagner's part as
a mistake. In consequence of this opinion our correspondence is
for the time suspended. More about this viva voce--as well as
about "Tristan and Isolde." A performance of the Opera was
desired--that is to say, commanded for the 8th April (the
birthday of the Grand Duchess). But Frau von Milde cannot
undertake the chief part--and on that account the parts and score
sent to us from Carlsruhe will be sent back again at once!
Has Wagner given his opinion more decidedly about a "Tristan"
performance in Leipzig? Can you let me know the contents of his
With heartfelt greetings, your
Weymar, January 25th, 1860
If you should see Schuberth, tell him that I have something to
communicate to him that would perhaps repay him for the trouble
of coming to see me here for a couple of hours. I have no
intention of coming to Leipzig for the present. Tell him that
delays of this kind make me "nervos" [nervous] (He knows what the
word "nervos" means with me.)
233. To Friedrich Hebbel
[Communicated by Dr. Felix Bamberg, from the original]
The words which you write to me bear the two-fold eloquence of
the praiseworthy man in the fore-rank of Art, and of the friend
dearly loved and highly respected by me. Accept my warmest thanks
for it, and please excuse me for not having told you sooner what
a strengthening and healing effect your letter made on me. Work
of all sorts and a long absence from here occasioned this delay.
In the interim I was often with you in thought; only the day
before yesterday I read to the Princess your two glorious Sonnets
an den Kunstler ["To the Artist"], "Ob Du auch bilden magst, was
unverganglich"--"Und ob mich diese Zweifel brennen
müssen?"["Whether thou canst form what is imperishable": "And
whether these doubts must burn me."]--
From Weymar I have nothing interesting nor especially agreeable
to tell you. This winter will pass away pretty quietly and
insignificantly at the theater, with repertoire works and pieces
that will bring in money, and in society with the customary
pleasures. A new drama by Rost, "Ludwig der Eiserne," made some
sensation, as is peculiar to the very popular productions of this
author, who has achieved a public-house notoriety here. The
nobles ought to have appeared in it yoked to the plough, but on
Dingelstedt's advice Rost toned down that scene!--A translation
by Frau Schuselka (who has performed here sometimes) of the "Pere
prodigue" of Dumas fils was to have come on the boards; but it
appears that there are scruples about making such very ominous
demands on the customary powers of digestion of our un-lavish
fathers of families! Amongst other inconveniences the piece also
contains logarithms, to which the respectable German Philistine
As regards myself, I am quietly waiting for the spring, when I
shall in all probability move on further--of course not to renew
my occupation of conducting, as it is said I shall do in Munich,
Berlin, or elsewhere--an occupation I have gladly given up;--but
in order to be able to pursue my work further than I am able to
do in Weymar, which to me is a more important matter.
Remember me most kindly to your wife, and be assured that I
remain ever in truest devotion yours most faithfully,
Weymar, February 5th, 1860.
234. To Dr. Franz Brendel
Although as a general rule I consider that it is not the business
of the Neue Zeitschrift to go in for polemics, yet it seems to me
that the little notice that Hanslick has put in No. 49 of the
Vienna Presse, Saturday, the 18th February, is of such a kind
that one must not ignore it.
The Presse is a paper with a tremendous circulation in the
monarchy, and Hanslick counts among the leaders of our opponents;
it would therefore be worth while to make an exception by coming
forward on this occasion, unless (which I cannot as yet believe)
your Vienna correspondent has been guilty of the mischievous
conduct which Hanslick so severely reports. This point must first
be made clear--whether in the third (or possibly an earlier)
concert of Herr Boskowitz an exchange of a Schumann for a Liszt
piece occurred. [Instead of the Liszt piece "Au bord d'une
source," which stood on the programme, Boskowitz had played the
"Jagdlied" from Schumann's "Waldscenen," which did not prevent a
correspondent (namely, the correspondent of the Deutsche
Musikzeitung, as the Neue Zeitschrift of 24th February, 1860,
gave out) from loudly carping at the supposed Liszt composition.]
Possibly also your correspondent made use of the expression "The
Vienna Press" in general, and did not refer specially to the
paper Die Presse, [This was actually the case] or was referring
to other remarks of Hanslick's...
This is only the second time for many years past, dear friend,
that I have drawn your attention to notices in the paper. On the
first occasion, when the Augsburger Allgemeine gave that infamous
correspondence about the venality of the Neue Zeitschrift, your
striking answer gave the most convincing proof of what part the
opponents were studying to play!--I hope it will be possible to
despatch Hanslick's notice (which I enclose) in a similar
fashion. But it is necessary to get at the exact truth before
inveighing against them--for Hanslick is no easy opponent, and if
one once attacks him it must be with suitable weapons and without
giving quarter. The words "denunciation proceedings," "Gessler
caps of the party of the future," and especially the concluding
sentence, "As long as Herr Brendel," etc., are a challenge, which
deserves more than a faint-hearted reproof! I would also advise
you to send a duplicate of your reply to the Presse in Vienna, at
the same time as it is published in the Zeitschrift. The editors
of the Presse will be certain to reject it, according to the
usual method of the clique impartiality of those gentlemen. But
the scandalous examples of the latter will be thus increased by
It is easy also to see beforehand that Hanslick will not let the
matter rest at this first notice, and will continue the
F.L.P.S.--In case your Vienna correspondent should be quite in
the wrong, it would be better simply to be silent and wait for a
235. To Dr. Franz Brendel
[March or April 1860]
Do not blame me if this time I follow Pohl's example and keep you
waiting for the promised article. I have been working at it
pretty continuously during the past week, and the sketch of it is
quite ready; but I am not quite satisfied with it, and about
Berlioz and Wagner I must say the right thing in the right
manner. [No article of the kind by Liszt is contained in the Neue
Zeitschrift for the year in question; probably it was
unfinished.] This duty requires me to spend more time on it, and
unfortunately I have so much on hand this week that it is hardly
possible for me to busy myself with polemics. Tomorrow is again a
grand Court concert; Bronsart and Fraulein Stark arrived
yesterday; Frau von Bulow comes today, and I expect Hans on
Saturday. Besides this, there is still more important work for
me, which will take up my time entirely till the end of this
Well, I will see to it that, if possible, Berlioz and Wagner do
not remain forgotten!--
Let me first of all answer your questions.
Whether it would be desirable to hold the second Tonkunstler-
Versammlung this year, I already left it to you, at our last
meeting, to decide. In my opinion we might wait till next year
without injury to the affair. [This was done.] As long as I
myself have not made a secure and firm footing in Weymar, I
cannot invite you to convene the meeting here. If you hold to the
dates of the 17th, 18th, and 19th June, we are bound to Leipzig,
where I can then tell you with certainty whether Weymar will suit
for the next meeting.
It goes without saying that you, dear friend, must arrange about
everything that I can undertake and do for the Tonkunstler-
Versammlung. Only my personal help as conductor must be excepted.
At our next consultation we shall easily come to an understanding
as to the desirability of one conductor or several.
I would indicate and emphasize, as absolutely necessary, the
performance of new works by Bulow, Draseke, Bronsart, Singer,
Seifriz, etc. I think I understand and can manage the art of
programme-making in a masterly manner. When once matters have got
so far, I will fix with you the programme of the three
I agree with the choice of the "Prometheus," and at the religious
performance, if the latter is not filled up with one single great
work, I would suggest perhaps the "Beatitudes," or the 13th Psalm
(the former last about ten minutes, the latter twenty-five).
Will you therefore decide definitely where the Tonkunstler-
Versammlung shall be held this year and the date of it, about
which I have nothing further to say? We will then discuss and
settle the rest together.
You will find my remarks as to the statute scheme on the last
page of it.
With hearty greetings, your
A. The revising of the "Leonore" shall be attended to
B. I shall welcome Fraulein Brauer most cordially.
C. I recommend to you again the manuscripts of Pasque and
Councillor Muller. Have you replied to Muller?
Herewith is a letter from Weitzmann (14th June, 1859), in which
you will find much worthy of consideration and use.
Important! N.B.--When you convene the Tonkunstler-Versammlung,
add to it at once the following: "For the foundation of the
German Universal Musical Society." This is the principal aim,
toward the accomplishment of which we have to work.
[Liszt was, as Princess Wittgenstein distinctly told the editor,
the actual founder of the "German Universal Musical Society." He
conceived the idea and plan of it, and it was only at his wish
that Brendel gave his name to it, and undertook to be president,
236. To Louis Kohler.
My dear, excellent friend,
You have given me a rare pleasure. Your articles on my
"Gesammelte Lieder" are a reproduction, replete with spirit and
mind, of what I, alas! must feel and bear much more than I can
venture to write down! Reviews such as these are not matters of
every-day reviewers--nor must one shame you with such a title.
Accept my warmest thanks for them, and allow me to present to you
herewith a couple of little singable things in manuscript. They
were jotted down after reading your articles, and, if I mistake
not, they spring from the melody of speech. In any case, dear
friend, you have a special right to them--as well as to the
sincere esteem and faithful attachment with which I remain your
Weymar, July 5th, 1860
Towards the end of October the two Symphonic Poems, Nos. 10 and
11, which have still to be published--"Hamlet" and the
"Hunnenschlacht" [The Battle of the Huns]--will appear at
Hartel's; and when these are out all the twelve monsters will
have appeared. Shortly afterwards will follow Faust, the choruses
to Prometheus, a couple of Psalms, and a new number of songs. I
will send you the whole lot. But if possible arrange so that we
may soon meet again--at the latest at the next Tonkunstler-
Versammlung next year, at which we cannot possibly do without
237. To Eduard Liszt
You remain perpetually in the home of my heart, not at all in
countless company, but all the more in picked company. When I
think I have done anything pretty good I think of you and rejoice
that what I have done will be a pleasure to you--and in the hours
when sadness and sorrow take hold of me you are again my comfort
and strength by your loving insight into my innermost wishes and
yearnings! My thanks, my warmest and truest thanks, to you for
all the sustaining and soothing friendship that you show to me.
It is to me a special token of Heaven's favor to me, and I pray
to God that He may unite us for ever in Himself!--
Cornelius writes me word that you will probably come to Weymar
towards the end of the summer. That will be a great pleasure to
me; I often feel as if I must have a talk with you out of the
depths of my heart--for with writing, as you know, I don't
exactly get on. I expect the Princess towards the middle of
August. Meanwhile I receive good and satisfactory tidings from
Rome. I hope all will turn out for the best.
In these latter weeks I have been completely absorbed in my
composing. If I mistake not, my power of production has
materially increased, while some things in me are made clear and
others are more concentrated. By the end of October the last two
of the Symphonic Poems will be out ("Hamlet" and the
"Hunnenschlacht"). Then come the Psalms, which you do not yet
know, and which I much want you to know-and also a new number of
songs which will please you. I shall then work at the Oratorio
St. Elizabeth, exclusive of all else, and get it completely
finished before the end of the year. May God in His grace accept
I must express myself not entirely in accord beforehand with your
plan for your son, although I consider your way of looking at the
present state of things by no means a wrong one. I am also
convinced that, when it comes to settling definitely, the talents
and capabilities, as well as the bent of mind, of your child will
be satisfactory to you. If the young one has a mind for a
uniform--well, let it be so. To cut one's way through life with a
sabre is indeed for the most part pleasanter than any other
mode...The business paper for the Princess I will keep till her
return, unless you write to me to forward it to her in Rome.
May I bother you with a commission for provisions? Forgive me for
the way in which I am always making use of you, but I do so want
to make a little joke for Bulow, and I have no one now in Vienna
who could help me in it except just you. It is about sending a
pretty considerable amount of Hungarian Paprika [Hungarian,
Turkish, or Spanish pepper from Hungary] and a little barrel of
Pfefferoni (little green Hungarian pepper-plants preserved in
vinegar). Please ask Capellmeister Doppler where these things are
to be procured genuine, and send them me as soon as possible to
Weymar. I won't hide from you that I intend to go shares with
Bulow, as I am particularly fond of Paprika and Pfefferoni. So
take care that there is enough sent, and that it arrives in good
condition.--And as this will give you occasion to see Doppler,
give him my warm thanks for the instrumentation of the Pester
Carnaval (in which musical Paprika and Pfefferoni are not
wanting). He has again been most successful in it, and I intend
to push on in the autumn the publication of the six Rhapsodies
for orchestra, for which indeed I shall have to obtain the
permission or consent of three separate publishers (Schott,
Senff, Haslinger)--a circumstance which may of itself occasion
some delay, especially if the gentlemen behave in regard to my
wish as Spina did in so unpleasantly surprising a manner in
regard to the instrumentation of the Schubert Marches. To tell
you this incident briefly: I wrote to Dachs and asked him to
request Spina in my name either to publish the three Marches
himself in score--without any remuneration for me!--or else to
give me permission to bring them out through another publisher.
Spina's answer, as Dachs gave me to understand, was that he could
not consent to either the one or the other of my proposals (which
were certainly reasonable enough)! And thus I must wait until
Spina can hit on a better plan! When I have an opportunity, I
shall venture to apply to him direct.
For the present, in consideration of the fact that Paprika and
Pfefferoni make one very thirsty, a barrel of Gumpoldskirchner
(with a slightly sharp, flowery after-taste) would be very
welcome to me, if by chance you are able to find a good kind and
cheap.--Forgive me for all these Lucullian extravagances!--
I will write soon to Cornelius. Give him my heartfelt greetings.
Also please remember me kindly to Dr. Kulke. I will give him my
thanks by letter on the first opportunity for his Prometheus
articles, as I would have already done through Cornelius, had he
not started so suddenly.--
Now farewell, dearest Eduard. Spare yourself and take care of
your health. Assure your dear wife of my heartfelt attachment,
and kiss your children for your faithful
Weymar, July 9th, 1860
238. To Ingeborg Stark
If a sort of idiosyncrasy against letters did not hold me back I
should have told you long ago what pleasure your charming letter
from Paris gave me, and what a sincere part I have taken in your
late successes, dear enchantress. But you must know all that far
better than I could succeed in writing it.
So let us talk of something else--for instance, Baron
Vietinghoff's [He took the noun de plume Boris Scheel, and in
1885 he performed his opera "Der Daemon" in St. Petersburg, which
originated twenty years before that of Rubinstein.] Overture,
which you were so kind as to send me, and which I have run
through with B[ronsart] during his short stay at Weymar--too
short to please me, but doubtless much too long for you!--The
Overture in question is not wanting either in imagination or
spirit. It is the work of a man musically much gifted, but who
has not yet sufficiently handled his subject. When you have an
opportunity, will you give my best compliments to the author, and
give him also the little scale of chords that I add? It is
nothing but a very simple development of the scale, terrifying
for all the long and protruding ears, [Figure demonstrating a
descending whole-tone scale] that Mr. de Vietinghoff employs in
the final presto of his overture (page 66 of the score).
Tausig makes a pretty fair use of it in his Geisterschaff; and in
the classes of the Conservatoire, in which the high art of the
mad dog is duly taught, the existing elementary exercises of the
piano methods, [Figure: Musical example; a five-finger exercise]
which are of a sonorousness as disagreeable as they are
incomplete, ought to be replaced by this one, which will thus
form the unique basis of the method of harmony--all the other
chords, in use or not, being unable to be employed except by the
arbitrary curtailment of such and such an interval.
In fact it will soon be necessary to complete the system by the
admission of quarter and half-quarter tones until something
better turns up!--
Behold the abyss of progress into which the abominable "Musicians
of the Future" precipitate us!
Take care that you do not let yourself be contaminated by this
pest of Art!
For a week past it has done nothing but rain here, and I have
been obliged to have fires and stoves lighted in the house. If by
chance you are favored with such a temperature at Schwalbach, I
invite you to profit by it to make some new Fugues, and to make
up, by plenty of work for the pedals, for the pedestrian exercise
of which you would be necessarily deprived.
B., to whom I beg you to give my cordial and kind remembrances,
led me to hope that you will stay a couple of days at Weymar
after your cure. If this could be so arranged I for my part
should be delighted, and should pick a quarrel with you (even if
it were a German quarrel!) if you were not completely persuaded
Remember me most affectionately to la Sagesse, and do me the
kindness to count, under all circumstances, on
Your very sincerely devoted
239. To Dr. Franz Brendel
Your last proposition is the best. Come quite simply to me at
Weymar. As I am now quite alone at home we can hold our
conference and arrange matters most conveniently at the
Altenburg. I am writing at the same time to Bulow at Wiesbaden
(where he is giving a concert tomorrow, Friday), to beg him to
arrange with you about the day on which the meeting shall be held
here. You two have to decide this. Of course you will stay with
me. There shall also be a room in readiness for Kahnt.
With regard to Wagner's pardon [Wagner had been exiled from
Germany for political reasons.] I am expecting reliable
information shortly. It seems strange that the Dresden papers
should not have been the first to give the official announcement,
and that an act of pardon of H.M. the King of Saxony should be
made known through the "Bohemia" (in Prague). Wagner has not yet
written to me.
To our speedy meeting. Heartily your
August 9th, 1860
240. To Princess Caroline Sayn-Wittgenstein.
[Portions of the above were published in the Neue Zeitschrift fur
Musik of 4th May, 1887.]
Weymar, September 14th, 1860
I am writing this down on the 14th September, the day on which
the Church celebrates the Festival of the Holy Cross. The
denomination of this festival is also that of the glowing and
mysterious feeling which has pierced my entire life as with a
Yes, "Jesus Christ on the Cross," a yearning longing after the
Cross and the raising of the Cross,--this was ever my true inner
calling; I have felt it in my innermost heart ever since my
seventeenth year, in which I implored with humility and tears
that I might be permitted to enter the Paris Seminary; at that
time I hoped it would be granted to me to live the life of the
saints and perhaps even to die a martyr's death. This, alas! has
not happened--yet, in spite of the transgressions and errors
which I have committed, and for which I feel sincere repentance
and contrition, the holy light of the Cross has never been
entirely withdrawn from me. At times, indeed, the refulgence of
this Divine light has overflowed my entire soul.--I thank God for
this, and shall die with my soul fixed upon the Cross, our
redemption, our highest bliss; and, in acknowledgment of my
belief, I wish before my death to receive the holy sacraments of
the Catholic, Apostolic, and Romish Church, and thereby to attain
the forgiveness and remission of all my sins. Amen.
I thank my mother with reverence and tender love for her
continual proofs of goodness and love. In my youth people called
me a good son; it was certainly no special merit on my part, for
how would it have been possible not to be a good son with so
faithfully self-sacrificing a mother?--Should I die before her,
her blessing will follow me into the grave.
I owe it to my cousin Eduard Liszt (Dr. and Royal County
Councillor of Justice in Vienna) to repeat here my warm and
grateful affection for him, and to thank him for his faithfulness
and staunch friendship. By his worth, his talents, and his
character he does honor to the name I bear, and I pray God for
His blessings on him, his wife, and his children.
Among our Art-comrades of the day there is one name which has
already become glorious, and which will become so ever more and
more--Richard Wagner. His genius has been to me a light which I
have followed--and my friendship for Wagner has always been of
the character of a noble passion. At a certain period (about ten
years ago) I had visions of a new Art-period for Weymar, similar
to that of Carl August, in which Wagner and I should have been
the leading spirits, as Goethe and Schiller were formerly,--but
unfavorable circumstances have brought this dream to nothing.
To my daughter Cosima I bequeath the sketch of Steinle
representing St. Francois de Paul, my patron saint; he is walking
on the waves, his mantle spread beneath his feet, holding in one
hand a red-hot coal, the other raised, either to allay the
tempest or to bless the menaced boatmen, his look turned to
heaven, where, in a glory, shines the redeeming word "Caritas."--
This sketch has always stood on my writing-table. Near it there
is an ancient hour-glass in carved wood with four glasses, which
is also for my daughter Cosima. Two other things which have
belonged to me are to be given as a remembrance to my cousin
Eduard Liszt and to my much-loved and brave son-in-law Hans von
Some of the members of our Union of the "New German School"--to
whom I remain deeply attached--must also receive some remembrance
of me; Hans von Bronsart, Peter Cornelius (in Vienna), E. Lassen
(in Weymar), Dr. Franz Brendel (in Leipzig), Richard Pohl (in
Weymar), Alex. Ritter (in Dresden), Felix Draseke (in Dresden),
Professor Weitzmann (in Berlin), Carl Tausig (from Warsaw)--
either a ring with my sign-manual, a portrait, or coat-of-arms.--
May they continue the work that we have begun--the honor of Art
and the inner worth of the artist constrains them to do so. Our
cause cannot fail, though it have for the present but few
One of my jewels set as a ring is to be sent to Madame Caroline
d'Artigaux, nee Countess de St. Cricq (at Pau, France). To the
Princess Constantin Hohenlohe (nee Princess Marie Wittgenstein) I
bequeath the ivory crucifix (cinque-cento) which was given to me
by my kind patron the Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen--also a
pair of studs with five different stones, which form the five
initials of my name.
And now I kneel down once more to pray "Thy kingdom come; Thy
will be done on earth as it is in heaven; forgive us our
trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us; and
deliver us from evil. Amen."
Written the 14th September, 1860, on the Festival of the raising
of the Holy Cross.
To Herr Gross, a member of the Weymar Grand Ducal Royal Orchestra
(trombone and double-bass player), who has for a number of years
looked after the copying of my works and the arranging of the
orchestral and voice parts of them in the library of the
Altenburg, I bequeath a present of one hundred thalers for the
faithful, devoted service he has rendered me.
To the names of my friends of the New German School is to be
added one more, or rather I ought to have mentioned it first; it
is that of Mr. Gaetano Belloni (in Paris).--He was my Secretary
during the period of my concert tours in Europe, from 1841 to
1847, and was always my faithful and devoted servant and friend.
He must not be forgotten. Moreover, whether he will or no, he
belongs to the New German School, by his attachment to me, and
also by the part he took later on in the Berlioz and Wagner
concerts. I wish to be buried simply, without pomp, and if
possible at night.--May light everlasting illumine my soul!
241. To Dr. Franz Brendel
September 20th, 1860
I send you by my friend Lassen [Born 1830, became Court music-
director 1858, and Court conductor in Weimar after Liszt's
withdrawal (1861); celebrated as a composer of songs] a little
parcel of songs (eight numbers), which I beg you to give to
Kahnt. Of several of them I have kept no copy--and I therefore
beg Kahnt not to lose them. As regards the numbering of them (the
order of succession), they are to be kept as I noted down some
time ago (on a bit of paper which I gave Kahnt when he was here).
I also add a Quartet for men's voices. It is the Verein song
"Frisch auf zu neuem Leben," ["Uprouse to newer life."] written
for the New Weymar Verein by Hoffmann von Fallersleben. The
passage "von Philister Geschrei;" ["Of Philistine cry."] will
probably amuse you, and the whole thing is kept rather popular
and easy to be performed. If it does not make a bother let it be
tried in Leipzig when you have an opportunity.
N.B.--If you think the designation on the title-page "Written and
composed for the New Weymar Verein" will give offence, it can be
left out, and the title can run simply, "Vereins Lied," by
Hoffmann von Fallersleben, composed for male chorus by F. L. In
any case I shall be glad if Kahnt can bring the little thing out
soon, and will give some sort of illustrated title-page,
expressive of the sense of the poem.
The remarks which I have added in pencil are to be engraved with
it. I hope the printer will be able to read my bad writing--if
not will you be so kind as to make it clear to him?
I am writing to Vienna today. The "Prometheus" parts and score
will be sent to you immediately.
I expect Bronsart here at the end of this month..--.
Your statute-sketch is in all essential points as judicious as it
is practical. It offers a sure basis of operations for the next
Tonkunstler-Versammlung, where assuredly the great majority of
the members will agree with your proposals. Then the point will
be to work on vigorously towards the accomplishment, and to put
aside the much that is "rotten in the State of Denmark."
Before the Euterpe concerts begin I shall in any case see you.
Next Sunday I go to Sondershausen, where Berlioz' "Harold," a new
Oboe Concerto by Stein, Schumann's "Genoveva" Overture, the
Introduction to "Tristan and Isolde," and my "Mazeppa" will be
given. The latter piece is popular to wit...in Sondershausen!--
Very sonderhauslich, [A play on the words Sondershausen and
sonderbar = strange] isn't it?
Hearty greetings to your wife from your
P.S.--The ninth song by Cornelius is still wanting. [The song
"Wieder mocht' ich Dir begegnen" ("Once again I fain would meet
thee")] But in the meantime the printing can be going on. The
nine numbers form the seventh part of the "Gesammelte Lieder." If
Kahnt wishes, each song can be published separately, especially
the Zigeuner; Nonnenwerth, etc.
Draseke has been with me a couple of days, and is coming shortly
to you. His works captivate me in a special degree, and
personally I am very fond of him, which indeed I also was
formerly, but this time still more. Capacity and character are
there in abundance.
242. To Eduard Liszt
Weymar, September 20th, 1860
The true and loving character of your whole being, as well as of
your letter, dearest Eduard, touches me always with joy, and
fortifies me; but with your letter of today is mingled also
somewhat of sadness. It is conceivable that the ebb of the
Milanese and Hungarian Civil Service employes, with its effect on
Vienna, has acted as a check upon your very justifiable and well-
founded prospects of promotion. This is all the more to be
regretted as, years ago, I was assured many times from a
trustworthy official source that your suitability and deserts
were far above the official position that you hold. Without
wanting to preach to you unseasonably, let me assure you of my
sincere sympathy in the disappointments you have so undeservedly
to bear, and remind you also how things generally go badly in
this world with the better and best sort of men. One must not let
oneself be embittered by bitter experiences, and one must bear
all sorts of mortifications without mortification.
I will also repeat for your amusement a droll saying of General
Wrangel's: "A man should never vex himself;--if there must be
vexation anywhere, let him rather vex somebody else!"--The best
way, in case of extreme necessity to vex others, is to bear
imperturbably many an injury and unpleasantness--without
prejudice to any defense or help that may offer, when opportunity
occurs--for we were not born to sleep our lives away!--
Under the given circumstances one cannot do otherwise than agree
with your resolution to let your son go into the Military Academy
when he is eleven years old. May this young Franz bring you all
the happiness that your older Franziskus wishes you from his
innermost heart.--[He did not become a soldier, but the renowned
Professor of Law now teaching at the University of Halle.]
In the expectation of this we will comfort ourselves by
swallowing Pfefferoni and Paprika together with Gumpoldskirchner.
Have I ever told you how excellent the latter, which you had
chosen just right, tasted?
It is almost impossible to further B.'s affairs. You think it
would be right to let his drama be examined by a "competent
authority." Undoubtedly; but that will not help him, so long as
this competent authority, who here could be none other than
Dingelstedt, is not able to help him any further. As far as I
know our Intendant he will NOT condescend to perform King
Alphonso; but none the less I will speak to Dingelstedt about it,
and will prevail on him first of all to write a few lines to B.,
as the rules of courtesy demand. I scarcely hope to effect more
than this, glad as I should be if it happened so, for you know
that I am glad to show myself obliging. It is doubtful also
whether B. will have much better chances with other Intendants--
for, as it seems, the good man has decidedly bad luck. Please
make my excuses to him if I do not answer his letter other than
by a silent condolence (in German Beleidsbezeugung!).--It has
become horribly difficult nowadays to make a footing on the
boards--"which signify the world"--especially for writers of
classic tragic-plays, whose lot is far more a tragic than a
playing one!--Things certainly are not much better with most of
the Opera composers, although that genre is the most thankful one
of all. Without a strong dose of obstinacy and resignation there
is no doing anything. In spite of the comforting proverb
"Geduldige Schafe gehen viele in den Stall," [The English
equivalent seems to be "Patience and application will carry us
through."] there is for the greater number and most patient of
the sheep no more room in the fold, to say nothing of food!--Thus
the problem of the literary and artistic proletariat becomes from
year to year more clamorous.
Your orchestral concert plan has surprised me very much, and I
thank you from my heart for this fresh proof of your energy and
goodwill. Yet for this year I think it would be more judicious to
pause, for several reasons which it would lead me rather too far
to explain, and which, therefore, I prefer to reserve for a viva
voce talk. They relate to (A) my personal position and something
connected with it socially; (B) the position of musical matters
among artists and in the Press, which not only influence but
intimidate the public, disconcert it, and palm off upon it ears,
with which it cannot hear. This temporary very bad state of
things I think I have, alas! at all times quite rightly
acknowledged, and, if I do not greatly mistake, it must surely
soon perceptibly modify in our favor. Our opponents "triumph far
more than they conquer us," as Tacitus says. They will not be
able to hold their narrow, malicious, negative, and unproductive
thesis much longer against our quiet, assured, positive progress
in Art-works. A consoling and significant symptom of this is that
they are no longer able to support their adherents among living
and working composers, but devour them critically while the
public is so indifferent. The resume of the whole criticism of
the opposition may be summed up in the following words: "All the
heroes of Art in past times find, alas! no worthy successors in
our day." But our time will not give up its rights--and the
rightful successors will prove themselves such!
More of this when we have an opportunity. You have doubtless
heard that a similar plan to yours is in progress in Leipzig. My
friend Bronsart undertakes the direction of the Euterpe concerts
for this winter, and there will be some rows about it. We will
await the result; if it should not be satisfactory, yet the
matter is so arranged that it cannot do us any great harm. As
regards Vienna I think it would be wisest to let this winter pass
by without troubling ourselves about it. Messrs. B., V.B., and
their associates may peacefully have Symphonies and other works
performed there and mutually blow each other's trumpets.
I have still a request to make to you today, dearest Eduard.
Persuade Herbeck to send the score and the chorus and orchestral
part of my "Prometheus" at once to C.F. Kahnt, the music
publisher in Leipzig. The work is fixed for performance at one of
the Euterpe concerts, which will take place before Christmas of
this year; so it is necessary that the choruses should be studied
in time. Kahnt has already written to Herbeck and also to Spina--
but as yet he has received neither an answer nor the parts and
score of Prometheus that he wants.
Take the same opportunity of telling Herbeck that I should like
once to hear the four Schubert Marches which I instrumented for
him, and I beg him to send the score of them to me at Weymar.
Forgive me that I always trouble you with all sorts of
commissions--but my Vienna acquaintances are so lazy and
unreliable that I have no other alternative but to set you on
Heartfelt greetings to your wife and children from your faithful
P.S.--I have written something to Cornelius about my latest
compositions, which he will tell you.
I expect the Princess here in October only. I will tell you,
later on, much about her stay in Rome, some of which is
243. To Hoffman von Fallersleben
My dear, honored Friend,
The melancholy tidings were reported to me by Grafe on Monday
evening (in the New Weymar Verein). [Hoffmann, after he had
obtained in May, 1860 the position of librarian to the Duke of
Ratibor at Schloss Corvey, near Hoxter-on-the-Weser, lost his
wife.] It came upon us all with a most mournful shock, and truly
it needs no further words to assure you of my heartfelt sympathy
in your grief!--Thank you for having thought of me. The Princess,
who was always so attached to your dear good wife, has not yet
returned from Rome--and I do not expect her till towards the end
of November. Unfortunately I must remain here entirely until
then--otherwise I should assuredly come at once to you...Forgive
me, therefore, that only from afar can I tell you how sincerely
and truly I remain your faithfully attached friend,
October 30th, 1860
I have sent your charming birthday gift for October 22nd (text
and music) to the Princess.
244. To Professor Franz Gotze in Leipzig
Dear, honored Friend,
Do not think me indiscreet if I say something to you about which
you yourself must know best. The artistic gifts of your daughter
are as rare as they are pronounced. I have heard her sing and
declaim several times in the last few days, and each time with
increasing interest. Will you not give her carte blanche, and
grant your consent to the artistic career which is hers by nature
and which can hardly be put aside? [Liszt, like others, was
laboring under the mistake (for reasons which cannot be discussed
here) that Gotze did not intend his daughter to pursue the career
of an artiste, though he had had her educated both as a singer
and dramatically.] I know that this may not be a very easy
decision for you,--but, much as I usually refrain from giving
advice of this kind, yet I cannot do otherwise than make an
exception in this case, and intercede with you to let your
daughter come out in public--because I am convinced that you will
not regret having supported her with fatherly compliance in this.
Dr. Gille much wishes to gain your daughter for the next concert
in Jena. I think that a debut there would in any case do her no
harm. Later on I shall ask you whether you will allow Auguste
shortly to appear here at a Court concert.
Excuse my interference in so delicate a matter by reason of the
sincere interest I take in your daughter, and the faithful
friendship with which I remain Your unalterably sincerely
Weymar, November 4, 1860
Send a telegram to Gille in reply--if possible, "Yes," as the
concert takes place next Sunday.
245. To Dr. Franz Brendel
.--. I take a sincere interest in the progress of the Euterpe
concerts--a progress which up to now has been favorable on the
whole; you have the chief merit in this, just because it rests
with you to neutralize difficult and opposing elements.
I rejoice much that Bronsart so thoroughly fulfills my
expectations. He is a director-gentleman ["Gentleman" put in
English by Liszt]. I shall hear more about the concerts through
Weissheimer [A composer; was for some time second director of the
Euterpe concerts], who is advertised here for the day after
tomorrow; until now I have only heard something about them from
Fraulein Hundt [A composer, at that time in Weimar; has since
With best greetings, yours in all friendship,
Weymar, November 16th, 1860
Will you be so kind as to send me at once a couple of copies of
Muller's new brochure?
.--. If it is possible to hurry the bringing out of my seventh
book of songs I shall be glad. Also the "Vereins-Lied."
Give my most friendly greetings to Gotze--and at the same time
tell him that his daughter (of whose great artistic powers there
is no doubt) sang and declaimed last Sunday in Jena with the
greatest success. The vocal numbers were "two songs by Schumann,"
one of which was encored--and at the end of the concert she
declaimed the Ballade Leonore (with my melodramatic pianoforte
Have you heard anything of Wagner? Rienzi is being studied here,
and I have undertaken to conduct the rehearsals. With regard to
the performance I have at once mentioned decidedly that nothing
will induce me to make an exception and conduct it--consequently
Musik-director Stor will conduct it.
246. To Dr. Franz Brendel
Since I have again had a conference with respect to the
Tonkunstler-Versammlung in Weymar next August, I am happy to be
able to tell you that not only will there be no obstacle to it,
but that we may expect that much will be done to further the
matter here. In your next announcement in the Neue Zeitschrift
about the Tonkunstler-Versammlung you are therefore fully
authorized to intimate the readiness of the artists, both vocal
and instrumental, here and in the neighborhood (Jena, Eisenach,
Sondershausen, etc.), as also the favorable disposition of H.R.H.
the Grand Duke, for the matter. This latter point must be
mentioned with some formality, so that I can submit your article
to my gracious master.
According to my opinion it would be well if, in this connection,
you were to touch upon the musical antecedents of Weymar
(performances of Wagner, Berlioz, Schumann), also the founding of
the Academy of Painting by the Grand Duke which took place
lately, and also the protectorate which H.R.H. has undertaken of
the Allegemeine deutsche Schiller-Stiftung [The Universal German
Schiller Scholarship] (the first place of which is to be Weymar
Yours in all friendship,
December 2nd, 1860
P.S.--With the next Tonkunstler-Versammlung I join three
(1) The founding and establishing of the Tonkunstler-Vierein.
(2) That the States should take part (according to your idea) in
the principal musical interests to be supported.
(3) The introduction and proposal of the projected music school.
[Liszt was endeavoring at that time to found a music school in
247. To C.F. Kahnt, Music Publisher in Leipzig
[Kahnt was the publisher of the Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik for
more than thirty years (ever since 1855); also the publisher of
several of Liszt's compositions, co-founder and for many years
cashier of the Allgemeine deutsche Musikvereins, and, after 1873,
Councillor of Commission in Weimar.]
I send you herewith the proof-sheets of the seventh book of my
songs, and of the "Vereins-Lied" for the chorus of men's voices.
I quite concur in the new title-page, which can also be employed
for each single song. It is better than the former one, only I
shall be glad if there are no other advertisements on the back
side, and it is left bare.
On the 17th of this month the Neu-Weymar-Verein intends to give a
little Beethoven-Festival, and the "Vereins-Lied" is included in
the programme. I beg, therefore, that you will send me some
proof-copies by the 12th December--if it is not possible to get
the edition ready so soon.--.
The three Chansons and arrangement of the three Quartets for
men's voices (published in Basle) are all completed in my head;
you shall have them as a new manuscript at the end of the week.
There is no hurry about the publishing of the Chansons and
Quartets (probably I shall entitle them "Aus dem Zelt," or "Aus
dem Lager," three songs, etc.). ["From the Tent," or "From the
Camp." They were eventually entitled "Geharnischte Lieder"
("Songs in Armour").] But as you are kind enough to place some
reliance on my songs, I should like to commit to you next a
little wish of mine--namely, that my Schiller Song (which
appeared in the Illustrated in November last) may soon be
published, and also a somewhat repaying (rather sweet!) Quartet
for men's voices, with a tenor solo--"Huttelein, still and
klein." It has been already sung with success by the Vienna
Manner-Gesangverein, and by some Liedertafeln. I add the two
manuscripts to the parcel of proofs--perhaps you will take an
opportunity of trying both the little things in a small circle.
If Herr Professor Gotze would have the kindness to undertake the
solo-part in the "Huttelein" I should be very much obliged to
him. Herr Wallenreiter might make a good thing of the baritone
solo-part in the "Schiller Song."
In case you should be disposed to acquiesce in my wish, and to
undertake the publishing of the two or three men's choruses, I
would propose to you to bring them out as the opening numbers of
a short succession of "Compositions for Male Voices," and also,
as with the Songs, to give them a title page (with a statement of
the different numbers--to which the Basle Quartets might also be
added; thus six numbers up to now). Do not fear, dear sir, an
over-productiveness in this genre on my part! But if by chance
one or other number of these Quartets should have some spread, I
should not dislike to write a couple more, either secular or
sacred. Among the latter I hope that the Psalm "The Heavens
declare," which will be performed next summer at a great Festival
of Song, will produce a good effect.
Pray pardon my verbosity--it is not usually my way to indulge in
unnecessary words; and accept, dear Sir, the assurance of the
well-known sentiments with which I remain,
Yours most truly,
Weymar, December 2nd, 1860
The first performance of "Rienzi" is announced for the second day
of the Christmas holidays. I have engaged to conduct the
rehearsals, but at the same time have positively refused to
conduct the performances. Herr Musik-director Stor undertakes
that. [After the opposition of a coterie that was inimical to
Liszt, to which, as is well known, Cornelius's "Barber of
Baghdad" fell a sacrifice, Liszt had finally resigned his post as
conductor of the theater.]
248. To the Music Publisher C.F. Kahnt
.--. With regard to the publishing of my Songs for men's voices I
do not wish in the least to hurry you, dear sir--yet I should be
glad if you could advertise the things soon--and possibly on the
back of the title-page of my songs (?), if that does not seem
impracticable to you. The two collections (the songs and the
men's songs) have a certain connection, and that is why I make
this suggestion, about which you must decide. A couple of months
ago Louis Kohler wrote to me in his witty, friendly manner, "You
really owed us some Quartets for men's voices, which Bierbruder
["Beer-drinkers," "brothers of the glass"] metamorphosed into
demi-gods!" and when the songs were published, I was already
intending to let the men's songs follow shortly after. As most of
these latter are tolerably short, I think that the score of the
twelve will not require more than forty, or at the most fifty,
plates (small size). Economy might be employed in publishing the
parts by having them well copied. Of course engraving is always
the best, but I do not want to precipitate you into a too ruinous
outlay--and if the copying is done by an experienced copyist it
looks very well, and is quite easy to read.
I am writing to Schuberth by the next post to tell him (what he
might know without that) how unwillingly and how seldom I meddle
with dedications--especially dedications to people and societies
that I don't at all know, as he would like me to do! In the
somewhat numerous works of mine that have appeared of late years
you will find very few dedications. The twelve Symphonic Poems
have none. The Gran Mass is also without one--and in the Songs I
have left out the earlier dedications. Therefore, before I try in
America a method which I have almost given up in Europe, some
time may yet elapse. Schuberth means thoroughly well by me, for
which I am obliged to him--but he means well in his own way,
which cannot always be mine.
May I beg another little favor of you? At the Court concert on
the 1st January I should like to let the Reiter-Marsch of F.
Schubert (not Julius!), which I instrumented, be performed, and I
have no longer either the score or the parts. You would lay me
under an obligation if you could quickly send them to me. I have
never heard the piece; and as it has already been given with
success in Vienna and Leipzig I may almost venture to expect that
the company here may be bold enough to go half-way in the same
Possibly I shall also attempt the Mephisto Waltz the same
evening, as well as a couple of my orchestrated songs. (I may
mention, by the way, that I have orchestrated six songs of
Schubert's--"the Erlkonig, Gretchen, the junge Nonne, the
Doppelganger, Mignon, and Abschied"--and three of my own--
"Loreley, Mignon, and the three Zigeuner." Later on, if a weak
moment should come over you, I should be glad to impose these
three latter upon you in score--but you shall hear them first.)
A thousand apologies for all this random talk about compositions,
and best greetings from yours in all friendliness,
Weymar, December 19th, 1860
249. To Dr. Franz Brendel
Your article "For the New Year" is most capital and worthy of
you. In three places I would merely venture to propose some
slight alterations for your consideration. You will find them
marked + and with the letters A, B, C.
At + A it would suit things better to say as follows: "Concert-
rooms and theaters, the scene of the most palpable speculation,
personal passion, and severing struggles." Or, if you think the
word "most palpable" too strong, let us put another, such as "the
commonest" or "the most mercantile speculation," etc.
+ B, instead of opinion, "the most affected assumption" Here
there is more question of assumption than of opinion. If
angenommen [affected] sounds too much like Anmassung
[assumption], let us put "the widespread assumption."
+ C, instead of "outward forces," I would rather have another
word, such as "powers," "factors," "levers," or any one that is
better. I do not know why the "Machle" [forces] do not seem to me
quite right here.
Finally, + D, I think it would be advisable ruthlessly to strike
out the following short sentence: "Indeed it would not be saying
too much if it were to be asserted that in many circles it takes
the place of religion,"--apart from the consideration of whether
it is accurate or not, because for the most part the men of the
State are sure to take offence at it. "How," they will say, "you
wish us to support a movement that aims at nothing less than the
doing away with religion?"--and, behold, there is a new bugbear
ready, and the most healthy and just endeavors are checked for
many a year!--
I am in perfect agreement with all the rest, with the exception
of the parenthesis marked *--"without thereby, as has often been
the case hitherto, falling into the unpractical mistake of
conceding to the public things which they do not want, and
diminishing the revenues." For, by the way, let me also say
parenthetically that, if I had not done this with most resolute
intention for many years, Wagner could not truly have said in his
letter to Villot (page 40 of the French edition of his
translation of the four Operas): "Tout a coup mes relations avec
le public prirent un autre tour, sur lequel je n'avais pas compte
le moins du monde: mes operas se repandaient." ["All at once my
relations with the public took a fresh turn, on which I had not
calculated the least bit in the world: my operas were becoming
Both on this account and for other reasons I think this
parenthesis dangerous, and can in no wise subscribe to it!
With friendliest greetings, your sincere
December 19th, 1860
I have written a long letter to Kahnt today. In case he cannot
read my writing, will you be so good as to help him with it?
250. To Felix Draseke
You have again encouraged and rejoiced me, my excellent friend,
by your affectionate comprehension of my meaning and endeavors in
the "Dante" Symphony.
Once more my heartfelt thanks for it. Later on, when "Hamlet" and
the "Hunnenschlacht" are published, please do not refuse me the
special satisfaction of publishing the whole of your articles on
the Symphonic Poems in the form of a pamphlet. We will speak
further of this by word of mouth, and possibly a few musical
examples could be added to the earlier ones.
How far have you got with the "Loreley"?--Only take hold of the
witch with tender force.--Geibel has lately brought out his
opera-text to the "Loreley," and several composers are already
setting to work on it (or under it). In the present state of
things there is not much to be expected from effusions and feeble
attempts of that kind. On the other hand I am expecting something
great, beautiful, and magical from the Symphonic form into which
you will shape this story--a story which just as easily becomes
dry and tedious as, on the other hand, it can be melting. Take
care that we bring your work to a hearing at the next
Tonkunstler-Versammlung (in July-August) here.
O. Singer's "Entschwandenes Ideal" ["Vanished Ideal"] is full of
music; noble in conception and powerfully worked out. I shall
write to him shortly about it, and send him my seventh book of
songs, as you told me that he rather liked the earlier ones.--
An excellent little work by our friend Weitzmann lies before us
again: "The New Science of Harmony at Variance with the Old." The
"Album Leaves for the Emancipation of Fifths" as a supplement are
stirring; and the "Anthology of Classical Following Fifths," with
quotations from Hiller and Hauptmann,. is especially instructive.
In Harmony, as in other things, it is no longer a question of
reforming what has been laid aside, but rather of the fulfilling
of the law.------
On any day, my dear friend, you will be heartily welcome to
Yours very gratefully,
December 30th, 1860
Towards the middle of January I am going to Paris or a couple of
weeks to see my mother (who is still constantly ill).
251. To Dr. Franz Brendel.
[Beginning of January, 1861]
A thousand thanks for your letter, and still more excuses that I
have delayed so long with my answer. On New Year's Day we had a
grand Court-concert--on the top of which there was a banquet at
the Erbprinz, which lasted till four o'clock in the morning; on
the other days perpetual dinners and suppers, at which I was also
obliged to be present. Besides all this, the final revision of my
second concerto (and a couple of smaller piano pieces) occupied
me much. Schott had undertaken the publication of them, and I did
not wish to annoy him by letting the somewhat numerous
alterations which had to be made in them wait to be corrected
until the proofs were printed, etc., etc.
From all the transitions and connection of the movements (which I
am now most carefully working out in the Concerto), I pass at
once without transition to the answering of your questions.
1. I think Bronsart's engagement for next year at four hundred
thalers is advisable.
2. If Weissheimer has really made himself impossible, Damrosch
should be the next one to be thought of, as a colleague of
Bronsart. There is no hurry about this affair, and we will talk
over it again viva voce.
3. The remaining four hundred thalers for X. I will send you at
the end of this month. If you should require them sooner write me
a couple of lines.
4. The question of leave of absence is not easy to decide, so
long as no definite date is fixed for the concert. Frau Pohl, for
instance, had had leave once already--but then the date of the
concert was altered, and in consequence of her absence it was of
no use. For the rest I don't doubt that Frau Pohl can get leave
of absence once more--I only beg you to let me know definitely
the day, so that I may inform Dingelstedt of it.
5. With regard to the co-operation of Messrs. v. Milde and
Singer, it has its difficulties. They are both not without
scruples in regard to the Euterpe, which, though they do not say
so in so many words, might be summed up as follows: "If we co-
operate in the Euterpe, we shut the golden doors of the
Gewandhaus in our faces, and injure ourselves also in other
towns, in which the rule of the Gewandhaus prevails. Ergo, it is
more desirable, prudent(!), for us to act..." The rest you can
add for yourself. Milde complains of the thanklessness of the
part in the "Sangers Fluch," ["The Singer's Curse," by Schumann]
the awful cold of the winter season, all the disagreeables in
connection with obtaining leave, etc. Singer does not know what
piece to choose, and also the E string of his violin is not quite
safe, and more of that kind.
6. Fraulein Genast is in a still worse position, for she is not
quite independent of the intimidation (on classical grounds) of
her father, and is, moreover, engaged for the next Gewandhaus
concert (for the part of the Rose in Schumann's "Rose's
Pilgrimage"). None the less she said to me from the beginning
that she was perfectly ready to do whatever I thought advisable.
In view of this surmise I must naturally be all the more
cautious. She sings on the 22nd in Zwickau, on the 24th
(probably) at the Gewandhaus, and on the 31st in Aix-la-Chapelle.
I have therefore advised her to come to an understanding with you
herself personally in Leipzig on the 23rd, and to co-operate with
you by preference as a singer of Lieder (with pianoforte
accompaniment) at the soiree of the Euterpe on the 29th.
Yesterday evening I marked the following three songs for her, as
the most suitable for the purpose:--
A. "The Pilgrimage to Kevlaar" (composed for E. Genast lately by
Hiller, and still in manuscript).
B. A song of Rubinstein's: for instance, "Ah! could it remain so
for ever!" (Tender allusion to the Gewandhaus!)
C. The three Zigeuner (by me).
The three songs would make up two numbers of the programme.--
I especially beg of you, dear friend, not to make any protest
against the song of Hiller. The plainly fair and just thing,
which has nothing in common with the "elevated right" which is
bestowed exclusively on Capellmeister Rietz and his associates
(as the Leipzig University expressed it), consists simply in not
shutting the door to publicity in anybody's face, or maliciously
and slyly casting stones and mud at him. Regardless of the fact
that we must not expect that they on their side will deal thus
with us, we must consistently and faithfully carry out and
fulfill this simple justice and fairness, and thus show the
gentlemen how people of a nobler mind and more proper cultivation
behave. You perhaps remember the opinion which I have many times
given and proved by actions--especially at the Versammlung-
Versammlung, when Frau Dr. Reclam sang Hiller's (somewhat
mediocre) Psalm, and...etc. After that I vote especially for the
performance of one of Rubinstein's larger works, such as the
proposed Symphony, and beg you to appoint Bronsart for it.--It
would lead me too far to explain my views in detail; that I have
no concessions or favoritisms in view in this matter goes without
7. The co-operation of the violinist recommended by Schuberth
must be considered, and even qualified, according to his talent.
8. "Tasso" can quite well be performed without the harp. A
pianino will do quite well, and I beg you most earnestly not to
put yourself to any inconvenience for my things. In my orchestral
works I have taken the larger measure of instrumentation (Paris,
Vienna, Berlin, Dresden--or, if you prefer personal names,
Meyerbeer, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Berlioz); but in spite of this
most of them can be performed in smaller proportions, as has been
most strikingly shown, for instance, in Sondershausen. The chief
thing before all else is the conductor; if he be a good and
reliable musician things may then be well managed in a variety of
ways--and in "Tasso" especially the harp is hardly wanted. So
don't bother yourself any more about it, and soothe Bronsart.
If I am not mistaken, I think I have now answered all the
principal questions in your letter. As to what concerns personal
matters we will talk about that shortly. I shall write one of
these next days to Schuberth (as soon as I have finished my
revisions for Schott). He has made me a proposal to which I am
inclined to agree. [The rest of the letter is missing.]
252. To Dr. Franz Brendel
I expressly wish that Weissheimer should accompany the songs
which Fraulein Genast will sing at the Euterpe soiree. I have
especially commissioned him to make the motive of this wish of
mine, if necessary, still clearer to you. With regard to the
choice of songs you will easily come to an understanding with the
amiable singer. But I, for my part, hold to the opinion that
Hiller's "Wallfahrt nach Kevlaar" is well suited to the
The "Faust" Symphony must be written out quite fresh once more
before I send it to Schuberth. By the 15th February he will
receive the manuscript, together with a couple of lines for
Dorffel, who is almost indispensable to me as the corrector of
this work. I shall be over head and ears in work the next few
weeks, in order to do all that is necessary before I start on my
journey to Paris, which I shall probably do on the 20th February.
Best thanks for all the information in your last letter. Some
things, indeed most things, are still going very badly--upon
which we cannot and must not make ourselves any illusions;--but
if we are proof against these things we shall come out of them.
Before and after Lowenberg (in the middle of February) I shall
come and see you in Leipzig.
Meanwhile hearty greetings and thanks from your
January 20th, 1861
You shall have the small sum for X. in the course of the week.
253. To Dr. Franz Brendel
By yesterday's post I sent you--
A. The score of the second act of the "Flying Dutchman"--and two
orchestral parts of the duet (these latter in order that the
copyist, in writing it out, may guide himself by these, and may
not add the terzet-ending, as it stands in the score--Weissheimer
will give Thumler the exact speed). Beg Thumler to send me the
score back soon, as it may possibly be wanted at Easter in the
B. The last part (Mephistopheles and final chorus) of the "Faust"
Symphony in score--and the complete arrangement of this same
Symphony for two pianofortes.
Will you be so good as to give these manuscripts to Schuberth? I
hope he will keep his promise and not delay the publication of
the work. At the end of this week I will send Schuberth the score
and the four-hand piano arrangement of the two Faust-episodes
("Der nachtliche Zug" "The Nocturnal Procession")--and the
"Mephisto-Waltz"). I should be glad if these two things could
come out in the course of this year.
C. For Kahnt, the small score of the chorus "Die Seligkeiten"
["The Beatitudes"], which I also hope may soon be published. It
has been given here a couple of times in the Schloss orchestra
and the parish church, and, as I have been told many times, has
been spoken of in an exceptionally favorable manner. I have
written few things that have so welled up from my innermost soul.
I think I shall be ready with the revision of the "Prometheus"
score by next Saturday. I have already made two arrangements (for
two and four hands, not two pianofortes) of the Reapers' Chorus,
which I give Kahnt gratis. He shall get the whole packet early
next Monday at the latest. Weissheimer tells me that the edition
of the score shall be ready by the middle of July. If Kahnt
prefers to let the Prometheus be copied, I have nothing to say
against it; I only beg that in this case he will employ a very
clever and exact copyist-and, as I have already told him, that he
will preserve the size of the other Symphonic Poems.
N.B.--The division and distribution of the score--so that there
may be as few unnecessary rests as possible, and that, where it
can be done (as, for instance, at the beginning of the Tritons'
Chorus, the Reapers' Chorus, etc), two sets of staves should be
printed on one page--I beg that this may be entrusted to Herr
Dorffel. I also do not wish the work to look like a conductor's
score on the outside!--and, before it is given into the hands of
the engraver or copyist, it is necessary that the parts where two
sets of staves come on to one page should be clearly indicated.
My copyist here has made a very careless scrawl of the
"Prometheus" score, and I have therefore taken other work out of
his hands, and have given him a good scolding. But there is no
time to have a new score written, and therefore Dorffel must
largely help out with the matter.
N.B.--The piano arrangement must be put below the score, as it is
in the manuscript.
Kahnt can publish the arrangement of the Reapers' Chorus sooner
or later, as he likes. The date of the Tonkunstler-Versammlung
can remain fixed for the 15th August. I think it would be
advisable for you to come soon to Weymar (perhaps at Easter), and
to come to a direct understanding with Dingelstedt, M[usic]
D[irector] Montag, and some others among those who are
principally concerned in the matter.
I would propose to you Dr. Gille, in Jena, as a lawyer, and a
zealous co-operator in this affair. He is very ready to help, and
Are you really thinking of still giving the "Prometheus" at the
Tonkunstler-Versammlung? It certainly would not be incompatible
with the "Faust" Symphony (which I wish for in any case)--but I
fear that it will bring in its train too much vexation and
We will speak further about this.
Weissheimer will tell you some things with regard to the
Riedel ought to conduct Beethoven's Mass.
With heartfelt greetings, your
Weymar March 4th, 1861
P.S.--Advise Schuberth once more to bring out the book of songs
by Lassen immediately--as he promised me.
254. To Peter Cornelius in Vienna
Your letters, dearest friend, are ever a joy to my heart, as also
this time on the 2nd April [Liszt's name-day]. Although on that
day I felt the absence of the Princess the most keenly, and the
Altenburg was for me equally perturbed, yet the loving attachment
of a few friends touched and filled me with comfort. Remain ever
to me, as I remain to you, faithful and steadfast, trusting in
Unfortunately I have been able to do but very little work this
winter. Revisions and proof-correcting took up almost my whole
time. The two last Symphonic Poems, "Hamlet" and the
"Hunnenschlacht," will come out directly. I will send them to
you, together with a dozen Quartets for men's voices which Kahnt
is publishing. By the end of July the choruses to "Prometheus"
and the "Faust" Symphony will also be out. If we should not see
each other sooner, I count on you, for certain, to be here for
the Tonkunstler-Versammlung (5th, 6th, 7th August), to which I
give you, dearest Cornelius, a special invitation. I hope that
Eduard, [Liszt's cousin] Tausig, Porges, Laurencin, [Count
Laurencin, a writer on music in Vienna] Kulke, Doppler, [Franz
Doppler (1821-83), a flute virtuoso; music-conductor at the Royal
Opera in Vienna. He arranged with Liszt some of the latter's
"Hungarian Rhapsodies" for orchestra.] are coming--and I beg you
to give them a preliminary intimation of my invitation. The next
number of Brendel's paper will give the programme--with the
exception of the third day, which cannot be fixed until later.
Perhaps you will give us a fragment of your "Cid." In any case I
wish your name not to be wanting; and, if you should not have
anything else ready, a couple of numbers from the "Barber Abul
Hassan Ali Eber" shall be given. The charming canon at the
beginning of the second act would be the best.
I am delighted to think that you have been entirely absorbed for
a time in "Tristan." In that work and the "Ring des Nibelungen"
Wagner has decidedly attained his zenith! I hope you have
received the pianoforte arrangement of "Rheingold" which Schott
has published. If not I will send it you. You might render a
great service by a discussion of this wonderful work. Allow me to
stir you up to do this. The summer days allow you now more
working hours; realize some of these with "Rheingold." The task
for you is neither a. difficult nor a thankless one; as soon as
you have seized upon the principal subjects representing the
various personages, and their application and restatement, the
greater part of the work is done. Let us then sing with Peter
"O Lust am Rheine, Am heimischen Strande! In sonnigem Scheine
Ergluhen die Lande; Es lachen die Haine, Die Felsengesteine Im
Strahlengewande Am heimischen Strande, Am wogenden Rheine!"
"O joy of the Rhine And its homelike shore! Where the bright
sunshine Gilds the landscape o'er; Where the woods are greenest,
The skies serenest, In that home of mine By the friendly shore Of
the billowy Rhine!"]
On the 30th of this month I am going to Paris for a couple of
weeks--and towards the end of May I shall meet my daughter Cosima
in Reichenhall, where she has to go through the whey-cure. Thank
God, she is again on the road to recovery! You can imagine what
grief took possession of me when I saw Cosima last winter
suffering from a similar complaint to Daniel!--
I have satisfactory tidings from the Princess from Rome. The
climate is having a very beneficial effect on her nerves, and she
feels herself, in that respect, far more at home than in
She writes wonders to me about the last cartoons of Cornelius,
[The celebrated painter was the uncle of the addressee.] and her
personal relations with the great master have proved most
What will become of me in the latter part of the summer does not
yet appear. But let us hold fast to our meeting again here at the
beginning of August.
Yours from my heart,
April l8th, 1861
A thousand hearty greetings to Tausig.
255. To Hoffmann von Fallersleben
Dear, excellent friend,
I have received the enclosed note for you from the Princess. It
comes to you with my most heartfelt greetings. Please forgive me
for not having this time sent you my good wishes on the 2nd
April; [Hoffmann's birthday, and at the same time Liszt's name-
day] but as long as the Princess's absence lasts I recognize only
sorrowful anniversaries and no festivals of rejoicing. Meanwhile
rest assured that I think of you always with faithful friendship,
and remain ever truly devoted to you.
April 18th, 1861
P.S.--I send you herewith the "Vereins-Lied"--and three other of
256. To Peter Cornelius
[Autograph in the possession of Constance Bache.]
Will you quickly sign the accompanying announcement to the
Tonkunstler-Versammlung with your good, beautiful name? You must
not fail me on this occasion in Weymar!
And yet another request, dearest friend. Will you go and see F.
Doppler and tell him that I very much wish he could arrive with
you on the 4th August at latest? I hope he will not refuse me
this pleasure--and if it is not inconvenient to him will he also
bring his flute and undertake the part in Faust?
With regard to the travelling expenses I have already written to
my cousin Eduard; he is to put a couple of hundred florins at
your disposal; for it goes without saying that neither you nor
Doppler will be allowed to spend a groschen out of your own purse
for the journey.
You will meet Eduard here--and also Wagner, Hans, Draseke,
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