Letters of Franz Liszt, Volume 2: "From Rome to the End"
Franz Liszt; letters collected by La Mara and translated
Part 3 out of 10
already invited Herbeck. Bulow is giving some concerts this month
and next in Berlin, Dresden, Prague, etc. Hence he cannot begin
rehearsing the Elizabeth till later. Of the Munich performance
you shall hear details when the time comes.
With regard to your communication to the Princess, I assure you
again that as soon as and as often as it is possible for me to do
you a service, as certainly shall it be done.
Kindest greetings to your wife from
Your truly devoted
[Rome,] November 1st, 1865.
45. To Dr. Franz Brendel
My answer to you has been delayed in order that I might at the
same time tell you of a variety of things.
A) At the beginning of March I intend going to Paris. The Gran
Mass is to be given on March 15th in the Church of St. Eustache
at the anniversary "de l'oeuvre des ecoles" to which the Maire of
the 2nd Arrondissement, M. Dufour, sent me an official invitation
the other day.
B) The report spread in various newspapers about the Hungarian
Coronation-Mass which I am to compose, is for the present only
officiously correct. Probably it may become true shortly. [This
did occur, as is well known.]
C) At the opening of the Dante Gallery here at the end of the
month my "Dante Symphony" is to be performed. I enclose the
article from the Osservatore Romano in which this extraordinary
event is discussed in detail--also another number of the same
paper containing a short notice on the "Stabat mater speciosa" (a
very simple chorus from my "Christus Oratorio"), that was sung
last Thursday in the Franciscan Church Ara Coeli (on the
D) I am quite determined to attend the Tonkunstler-Versammlung in
Coburg, and expect to hear from you shortly more about it. It is
to be hoped that Bulow will conduct. If there should be any
thought of giving the "Elizabeth," Bulow will be indispensable.--
As regards the Elizabeth, pray make my best excuses to Kahnt. I
did not reply to his friendly request, because I have made up my
mind not to have this work published meanwhile, and hold fast to
this negative determination. Do not let Kahnt take this ill of
me, and let him be assured of my sincere willingness to meet his
wishes in all other matters.
.--. I am in want of a great many things, but most of all in want
of more time!
With friendliest greetings, sincerely and devotedly yours,
The Vatican, January 14th, 1866
46. To Dr. Franz Brendel
So there is to be no Tonkunstler-Versammlung this year; in place
of it war-cries, and symphonies of bayonets and cannon! Here,
probably, we shall remain in peaceful quietude under the
protection of France.--As regards my humble self, I mean to try,
during the second half of this 66th year, to overtake what I was
compelled to neglect during the first half of it. My "Christus
Oratorio" shall be finished by Christmas.--Prince Hohenlohe, with
whom I have been residing since April 1865, has been made
Cardinal and shortly leaves the Vatican. Last Sunday I returned
to my old quarters at Monte Mario, Madonna del Rosaraio, where I
am as comfortable as possible. Next year I think of going to
Germany, first to Munich. As you know, the King of Bavaria has
conferred upon me the title of Knight of the Grand Cross of the
Order of St. Michael. And the Emperor Maximilian that of the
My stay in Paris will not prove unfruitful. People may say of it
what they like.--I must mention to you the name of Camille Saint-
Saens in Paris, as specially deserving of notice in the Neue
Zeitschrft as a distinguished artist, virtuoso and composer. Last
year he was in Leipzig, so he told me, and played his Concerto at
the Gewandhaus there. But people could not make anything out of
him, and in dignified ignorance allowed him to pass. Langhans [A
Berlin musical composer and critic who died in 1892.] sees him
frequently and could give you fuller information about him for
Give Kahnt my grateful thanks for carefully carrying out the
orders from Paris. I mean to wait another year before publishing
the "Elizabeth." I also want several illustrations for it, for,
as the work is dedicated to the King of Bavaria, I wish it to
present the choicest and noblest appearance.
If Kahnt should be disposed to take it next year, I shall be glad
to come to some arrangement with him about it. Still I am
determined not to have the "Elizabeth" published till then; to
several publishers who have offered to undertake the publication
I have already replied,--may every kind of printing long be held
at a distance from this score.--
Allow me to recommend to your friendly interest a few other
things I have at heart.
Ask Kahnt, in my name, not to be sparing in supplying Bulow with
copies of the Liszt-compositions he has published. I should more
especially like my Quartets for male voices circulated, and a few
complimentary copies from Kahnt would be useful in this respect.
No fear need be entertained of Bulow's making indiscreet demands,
and one may confidently grant him all he wishes.
.--. Hartel will shortly be sending me some music. Please enclose
the last numbers of the Neue Zeitschrft in the parcel in order
that my ignorance on matters musical may be relieved.
In sincere attachment I remain in unalterable friendship,
Rome, June 19th, 1866
The score of the Gran Mass presumably reached Riedel safely (6
weeks ago). The vocal parts I have meanwhile left with
Giacomelli. Later an edition of the choral and orchestral parts
will become a necessity.
47. To Dr. Franz Brendel
Your last letter but one, the registered one, has reached me
safely. As it contained more in the way of answers than was
wanted I hesitated to write to you. As already said, I have made
up my mind to wait another year before publishing the
"Elizabeth." In the first place it is necessary that I should
correct the frequent errors in the copy of the score--a piece of
work that will take a couple of weeks.--Then, before its
appearance, I should like an opportunity of quietly hearing the
work once in Germany, and this perhaps might occur next year.
Meanwhile give Kahnt my best thanks for his ready consent, of
which, however, I cannot make use till later, provided that an
honorarium of a couple of thousand francs (which has been offered
me elsewhere) does not frighten him. .--. So far as one can plan
a journey nowadays, I intend to be in Germany again for a few
weeks during the summer of 1867.--Tomorrow I shall write to Dr.
Hartel and tell him that you have kindly expressed yourself ready
to discuss with him the small matter about the Draseke brochure.
It would please me greatly to hear that some amicable arrangement
had been made.
With regard to the publications of the Allgemeine Deutsche
Musikverein, I would vote for the Overture by Seifriz. Likewise
for the continuation of the Chamber music performances in
Leipzig--and, of course, for the compensation from the Society's
purse due to you.
Stade's article on the "Faust Symphony" I have not yet received.
My last number of the Zeitschrift is that of July 6th. I am glad
that Stade does not disapprove of these Faust-things.--
Schondorf's Polonaise, Impromptu, etc., which Kahnt has sent me,
I have read through with pleasure and interest. With the next
sending to Rome please enclose the "Petrus" Oratorio by Meinardus
(the pianoforte score). In case the pianoforte score has not
appeared, then let me have the full score. And together with the
"Petrus" Oratorio please also send me the fragment of the
"Christus" Oratorio by Mendelssohn (published by Hartel).
My "Christus" Oratorio has, at last, since yesterday got so far
finished that I have now only got the revising, the copying and
the pianoforte score to do. Altogether it contains 12 musical
numbers (of which the "Seligkeiten" and the "Pater Noster" have
been published by Kahnt), and takes about three hours to perform.
I have composed the work throughout to the Latin text from the
Scriptures and the Liturgy. After a time I shall ask Riedel for
his assistance and advice with regard to the German wording.
Please give Alex Ritter my cordial thanks for his Amsterdam
I cannot, at present, promise you any literary contributions for
the proposed Annual of the D. M. If the instrumental Introduction
to the "Elizabeth" (for piano-forte) would suit you I would
gladly place it at your disposal, reserving the copyright for the
subsequent publisher of the score, that is, his right to publish
the same Introduction again.
As far as I can foresee I shall remain here the whole winter. My
address is simply: To Commandeur Abbe Liszt--Rome.
Fuller performances of the Beethoven Symphonies and of the Dante
Symphony are to be given next Advent in the Dante Gallery.
Sgambati is to conduct them, and I have promised to attend the
Heugel of Paris (Director of the Menestrel) is shortly to publish
a new edition of my Franciscus-legends.
With friendliest greetings, your attached
October 2nd, 1866
48. To Breitkopf and Hartel
Much Esteemed Herr Doctor,
It is very mortifying to me to have to confess that I have most
awkwardly come to a standstill with the transcription of the
Beethoven Quartets. After several attempts the result was either
absolutely unplayable--or insipid stuff. Nevertheless I shall not
give up my project, and shall make another trial to solve this
problem of pianoforte arrangement. If I succeed I will at once
inform you of my "Heureka." [Discovery (from a Greek word).-
TRANS.] Meanwhile I am occupied exclusively with the "Christus
Oratorio," which has, at last, advanced so far that all I have
now to do is to put the marks of expression in the score and the
Pray kindly excuse me if a small piece of vanity leads me to
address you with a wish. My "Symphonic Poems" have, as you know,
had a regular deluge of halberds hurled at them by the critics.
After all these murderous and deadly blows that have been aimed
at them, it would be very gratifying to me if the analyses of
these "Symphonic Poems" in which, a few years ago, Felix Draseke
discussed them severally in the Anregungen [Notices] could now be
published by you all together in the form of a brochure, for they
are written with a thorough knowledge of the subject, yet in a
On this account I begged Dr. Brendel to discuss the matter with
you, and now take the liberty of addressing you personally on the
subject of my wish.
With much esteem, yours sincerely,
Rome, October 4th, 1866
Will you kindly send Cantor Gottschalg in Tieffurt a good copy of
my pianoforte scores of the nine Beethoven Symphonies? 49. To Dr.
My heartfelt sympathy in the grievous loss which you have
sustained. [On November 15th, 1866, Dr. Brendel lost his wife,
Elizabeth nee Trautmann (born in St. Petersburg 1814). She was a
pianist and a pupil of Field and Berger. Dr. Brendel survived her
only two years.] It is an immeasurable sorrow on which one can
only be silent!--
Let us pass over to the business part of your letter. Our Grand
Duke informs me that there is to be a Wartburg Festival this
summer (a Jubilee in celebration of the 800th year of the
Wartburg's existence). And for this fete he wishes a performance
of the "Elizabeth-Legend" under my personal direction. I have
agreed to this, for, as the occasion is an exceptional one, I too
am enabled to make an exception to meet his commands. Now as the
Duke is Patron of the Tonkunstler-Verein, it seems to me
appropriate that this year's T. K. Versammlung should be brought
into some connection with the Wartburg Jubilee. Think the matter
over and discuss it with Gille. The date of the Wartb. Festival
has not been announced to me, and will probably not be settled
till later. As for myself I could not promise to remain more than
one month in Germany. Hence it would be agreeable to me
personally if the T. K. Versammlung were not kept apart from the
Wartburg Jubilee, and were arranged for about the same date; I
could then attend both. In case Bulow cannot undertake to act as
conductor, those to be mentioned as substitutes would be, no
doubt, Seifriz, Riedel, Damrosch, Lassen.-- Seifriz's hesitation
with regard to the publication of his Overture I consider to be
scrupulous beyond measure, and am of the opinion that he should
not hold to it any longer. Gille's circular (of December 9th) I,
of course, agree with, only the compensation of 50 thalers [about
71 British pounds sterling, 0s., 0d.] is somewhat too modest. I
should like to see an 0 added to the 50.--
The full score and pianoforte score of the "Elizabeth" contain a
mass of errors. The revising will take me a couple of weeks. At
the beginning of February I will send you the manuscript for
Kahnt's disposal, that is, if he is willing to comply with my
conditions about the publication (which I will write out
carefully for you). You know that I should have preferred to
postpone the publication of the "Elizabeth" for some time longer-
-still I understand Kahnt's difference of opinion, and desire to
prove myself willing, provided that you approve of my
.--. Kindly, when you have an opportunity, remind Hartel about
sending the dedication-copy of my pianoforte scores of the
Beethoven Symphonies to Bulow. The copy ought to be properly
bound (in three volumes--3 Symphonies in every volume), and
addressed to Bulow, Johanniss-Vorstadt 31, Basel.
With sincere thanks and hearty good wishes for the year 1867, I
remain in unchanging friendship, yours,
Rome, January 6th, 1867
The Neue Zeitschrift has not come for more than six months.
50. To Doctor Cuturi, Pisa
[From a rough copy of Liszt's in possession of Herr Alexander
Ritter in Munich]
I am told that you would be good enough to take into
consideration my recommendation of Mr. Alexander Ritter. I hasten
therefore to assure you of the sincere esteem in which I hold his
remarkable talent as a violinist and his capability as an
orchestral conductor. His very extensive musical knowledge, his
frequent and close connection with virtuosi and celebrated
composers, and his practical experience of the best-known works
and orchestras qualify him in a high degree for the post that
would be offered to him at Pisa. The best judges discern in Mr.
Ritter not merely a brilliant virtuoso, able to obtain everywhere
applause and approbation, but also--which is more rare--a
consummate musician, endowed with the most noble feeling for Art,
and possessing the most perfect understanding of the works of the
Besides this, sir, I am sure that you will find much pleasure in
your personal relations with him. All who know him bear testimony
to his honorable character as well as to his gentlemanly manners;
and I will merely add that amongst all my German friends there
are few of whom I preserve so affectionate a remembrance.
Pray accept, Monsieur le Docteur, the expression of my esteem and
Rome, January 22nd, 1867
51. To Julius von Beliczay in Vienna
[Hungarian composer, living in Budapest since 1871]
Accept my sincere thanks for your very friendly letter and for
the dedication of the Beethoven Cadenza. It sounds well and is
pleasant to play. Of course somewhat more might have been made of
the thing, and a different key taken at the outset than C minor.
But it is easier for me to play the critic than to do things
myself, and so today I will merely thank you and assure you of my
interest in your efforts and your success.
Very truly yours,
Rome, April 29th, 1867
52. To Madame Jessie Laussot
I cannot tell you how your generosity of mind and heart touches
me. The favorable reception you have obtained at Florence for the
"Beatitudes" and the "Pater noster" is a link the more in the
chain of my musical obligations to you, dear and valliant
Maestra. Will you kindly convey my best thanks to your co-
As a slight musical indication observe that in the "Pater noster"
I simply modulate and develop somewhat,--in the somewhat confined
limits of a sentiment of trusting and pious submission,--the
Gregorian intonation as sung in all our churches--
[Figure: Musical score excerpt setting the words "Pater noster
qui es in coelis"]
following the traditional intonations for each verse. This
framework was naturally adapted to the arranging of my Oratorio--
"Christ",--in which I employed two or three other intonations of
the plain-song, without considering myself guilty of a theft by
such a use.
You know that the rehearsals of the "Christ" have begun. With the
help of our dear and admirable Sgambati it will be able to be
given here at the end of June. I shall invite you to come and
hear it, and shall send you shortly the programme of the whole
work, which is going to be published previously.
But since you interest yourself with so rare a zeal in my poor
works and in making them known, I am tempted to propose to you
the 23rd and 137th Psalms for your Florence programmes. The
latter has been sung here this winter with some success. It is
not very troublesome to study; provided that the singer
understands what she has to say the rest goes of itself. The
accompaniment is limited to four instruments,--Harp, Violin,
Harmonium and Piano; and, as in the Magnificat of the Dante
Symphony, the chorus is written for Soprano and Alto voices
(without Tenors or Basses). The text is excessively simple, and
is reduced to the one word, Jerusalem!
Perhaps you may also meet with a kind soul who is willing to
translate into Italian the Chorus of Reapers ("Schnitterchor")
from the Prometheus, which could be performed quite simply with
I will permit myself to send you the two Psalms next week by Mrs.
Pearsoll (of New York), to whom I have sung your praises, a
matter in which I yield to no one. Happily the opportunity for
practising this recurs often: Mme. d'Usedom (whom I met the other
evening at Bn. Arnim's) will speak to you of it. .--.
As soon as I receive positive tidings about the coronation at
Pest you shall know. I shall certainly not stir from Rome this
time without coming to spend some hours with you at Florence.
Continue your friendship to me, and believe in mine, very cordial
Rome, May 24th, 1867
The success of Bronsart's Trio delights me. You will give him
great pleasure if you will write him a couple of lines, which you
must address simply "H. v. B. Intendant des Hoftheaters.
Hannover." Tell him about Sgambati and his Trio at Rome and
Florence. I, on my side, will write to Bronsart as soon as my
summer plans are fixed.
53. To Eduard Liszt
Very dear Eduard,
You know that the Coronation Mass has met with the most kind
reception. [At its performance at Ofen (Budapest)] None of my
works up to the present time had been so favorably accepted. I
have begged Franz Doppler in particular to let you know about it,
knowing that you would like to hear me praised, even with some
exaggeration, by a friend as competent as he is affectionate.
Since the performance of the "Gran Mass" Doppler has always shown
the kindest feelings towards me. Tell him that I am very
sincerely grateful to him. I am anxious to thank Schelle [Musical
critic of the Vienna Presse, since dead] for his excellent
article in the Presse, and send you herewith a few lines which
you will be good enough to give him...
The rehearsals of my Oratorio "Le Christ" are progressing. It
will probably be performed in the early part of July, and I will
have the programme sent to you.
Towards the end of July I shall go to Weimar. The "Wartburg
Festival" is fixed for the 28th August. On that day the Elisabeth
will be heard in the hall of the Minnesingers. A fortnight before
that the concerts of the Tonkunstler-Versammlung will take place
at Meiningen. Possibly you may be able to come and look me up in
the course of this same month of August.
Yours ever from heart and soul,
Rome, June 20th, 1867
54. To William Mason in New York
Dear Mr. Mason,
Your kind letter gives me a very cordial pleasure, and I beg you
to be assured of the continuance of my very affectionate
feelings. I frequently hear your success in America spoken of.
You deserve it, and I rejoice to know that your talent is justly
appreciated and applauded. Your compositions have not yet reached
me, but I am fully disposed to give them a good reception. In
about a fortnight I shall start for Weimar. The Tonkunstler-
Versammlung is to take place at Meiningen this year from the 22nd
to the 25th August. I shall be present at it, as also at the
Jubilee Festival at the Wartburg, at which my Oratorio "Saint
Elizabeth" will be performed on the 28th August. Perhaps I shall
meet there Mr. Theodore Thomas and Mr. S.B. Mills, of whom you
speak. I have heard the highest praises of the capability of Mr.
Thomas, whom I have to thank particularly for the interest he
takes in my Symphonic Poems. Artists who are willing to take the
trouble to understand and to interpret my works cut themselves
off from the generality of their fraternity. I, more than any
one, have to thank them for this, therefore I shall not fail to
show my thanks to Messrs. Thomas and Mills when I have the
pleasure of making their acquaintance.
The news which reaches me from time to time about musical matters
in America is generally favorable to the cause of the progress of
contemporaneous Art which I hold it an honor to serve and to
sustain. It seems that, among you, the cavillings and blunders
and stupidities of a criticism adulterated by ignorance, envy and
venality exercise less influence than in the old continent. I
congratulate you on this, and give you my best wishes that you
may happily pursue this noble careerof an artist,--with work,
perseverance, resignation, modesty, and the imperturbable faith
in the Ideal, such as was indicated to you at Weimar, dear Mr.
Mason, by your very sincerely affectionate and attached
Rome, July 8th, 1867
55. To E. Repos, director of the "Revue de Musique sacree" in
[Autograph of all the letters to Repos in the possession of Herr
Dr. Oscar von Hase in Leipzig.]
I am very much obliged to you for the kind feelings you express
to me, and beg to assure you of my desire to correspond to them.
By your activity and the character of your publications our
interests are naturally similar; I will take care to make them as
agreeable as possible to you.
The day after tomorrow I will send you four or five small pages
which, if I mistake not, will suit you,--and which may be
propagated. It is a simple and easy version for Organ of the hymn
"Tu es Petrus," lately performed here on the eighteen-hundredth
anniversary of St. Peter. I hope you will find an organist in
Paris who is willing to appropriate this piece and by his talent
to make it worth hearing.
As I am anxious that your edition should be perfectly correct I
beg that you will send me the proofs. Address them to me, from
the loth to the 30th August, at Weimar, Grand Duke of Saxe-
Weimar, Germany. The performance of my Oratorio "Saint
Elizabeth," at the jubilee Festival of the Wartburg on the 28th
August, calls me into those parts of Thuringia which "Saint
Elizabeth" has illustrated.
I shall start from here in about a week. Will you therefore defer
what you are so kindly intending to send me until my return to
Rome (end of October)? Accept, dear sir, my best thanks, together
with the assurance of my very distinguished and devoted
Rome, July 12th, 1867
Here, as in Germany, my name is enough without any more detailed
56. To Prince Constantine Czartoryski
[From a rough copy in Liszt's own handwriting enclosed in the
following letter. The addressee, President of the Society of the
Friends of Music, died in 1891 in Vienna, where he was Vice-
President of the Herrenhaus.]
The two letters which you have done me the honor to address to me
at Rome and Munich have reached me at the same time. I cannot but
feel myself highly flattered at your kind proposition with regard
to the performance of my Oratorio "Saint Elizabeth" at one of the
concerts of the musical society over which you preside. The great
renown of these concerts, the rare capability of their conductor
Mr. Herbeck, the talent of the artists who take part in them, and
the care that is taken to maintain the traditions of the musical
glory of Vienna, make it very desirable for every serious
composer to take a place in their programme. Thus I am most
sincerely grateful to you, my Prince, for procuring me this
honor, which however, much to my regret, I should not be able to
accept without some delay.
It would be wearisome to enter into many details; one fact alone
will suffice: the score of the "Elizabeth" is to be sent back to
be engraved, and I promised the editor not to let it go anywhere
else before its publication. Besides this the voice and
orchestral parts which were used at the Wartburg are no longer
Kindly pardon me therefore that I cannot in this matter satisfy
your favorable intentions as I should like. "What is deferred is
not lost," says a proverb to which I prefer to attach myself
today, while begging you to accept, my Prince, the expression of
the sentiments of high esteem and consideration with which I have
the honor to be
Your Highness's very humble and devoted servant,
Munich, October 14th, 1867
57. To Eduard Liszt
My hearty thanks to you for your letter. It almost made me
determine to send Prince Czartoryski an answer in the
affirmative; but when I came to think the matter over more fully
it did not seem suitable, considering my peculiar position.
Enclosed is a copy of my letter to Czartoryski; I hope you may
not disapprove of it; let me give you a few more reasons.
1st. I really cannot at present send off the only existing copy
of the score of the "Elizabeth", for it is required for printing.
Nor should I care to have the orchestra and chorus parts from
Munich used, and this I wrote to Prince Cz. It was for this very
same reason that I declined offers respecting performances of the
"Elizabeth" from Dusseldorf, Leipzig, Dresden, etc.
2nd. I do not share your rosy hopes of this work proving a
success in towns where my earlier works not only met with little
appreciation, but even received unseemly rebuffs. In Vienna,
Leipzig, Berlin and even larger cities, the hisses of half a
dozen stupid boys or evil-disposed persons were always sufficient
to delude the public, and to frustrate the best intentions of my
somewhat disheartened friends. In the newspaper criticisms these
hissing critics are sure to find numerous supporters and pleasant
re-echoes as long as the one object of the majority of my judges
of this species is to get me out of their way. The improvement,
which is said of late to have shown itself in regard to my
position, may be interpreted somewhat thus: "For years in his
Symphonic Poems, his Masses, Pianoforte works, Songs, etc., Liszt
has written mere bewildering and objectionable stuff; in his
"Elizabeth" he appears to have acted somewhat more rationally--
still, etc., etc."--Now as I am in no way inclined to cry peccavi
for all my compositions, or to assume that the castigations they
received were just and justifiable, I do not consider it
advisable to subscribe to the supposed extenuating circumstances
of the "Elizabeth". I well know the proverb: "Non enim qui se
ipsum commendat, ille probatus est," and do not think I am
sinning against it. However it is possible that my resolute
friends may, in the end, be right in asserting that my things are
not so bad as they are made out to be!--Meanwhile what I have to
do is to go on working quietly and undismayed, without in the
smallest degree urging the performance of my works-nay in
restraining some friendly disposed conductors from undertaking
3rd. After having two years ago excused myself to Herbeck about
allowing a performance of the "Elizabeth" in Vienna, I cannot now
immediately accept the friendly offer of Prince Czartoryski. It
might be somewhat different had Herbeck attended the Wartburg
performance, as I invited him to do through Schelle. But much as
I appreciate and admire Herbeck's talent as a conductor, still I
cannot know in advance whether he likes my work or not, or how
far he agrees with my intentions. At all events I should have to
come to some personal understanding with him on the subject
before a performance is given in Vienna, just because this is a
matter of importance to me, and the performance ought not to be a
dementi of the preceding ones. It is much more to my advantage
not to have my works performed at all, than to allow them to be
performed in a half-and-half or unsatisfactory manner.--I may say
quite frankly that it would certainly be very agreeable to me to
stand in a somewhat better light in Vienna as a composer than I
have hitherto done. But the time has not come for that--and if it
should ever come, half a dozen of my compositions, for instance
the 13th Psalm, the Faust and Dante Symphonies, some of the
Symphonic Poems, and even, horribile dictu! the Prometheus
Chorus, would have to be introduced to the public in proper
style. Three concerts would be necessary for this, and would have
to be announced beforehand, arranged and rehearsed, and there the
"Elizabeth" might also then find a place among them. Herbeck
would be an excellent one to arrange and conduct these concerts,
provided he were not too much afraid of the obligations due to
criticism. My personal position will not permit of my taking any
part in them as a conductor; nevertheless I should not care to be
altogether idle on the occasion, and hence should like, first of
all, to have a careful discussion with Herbeck about various
points that must absolutely be given thus and in no other way. It
was in this sense that I wrote to Czartoryski that: "Ce qui est
differe nest pas perdu" ("Aufgeschoben ist nicht aufgehoben")
["Put off is not given up."]--and so I may possibly come to
Vienna--in the winter of '69.
First of all, however, I need several quiet months in Rome in
order again to take up the work that has been interrupted for so
long. The Bulows have persuaded me to spend my birthday with
them. The Munich Musik-Schule is in full activity and seems as if
it were likely to outstrip the other Conservatoires. Bulow is
assuredly justified in saying, "Go and do likewise"!--
Before the end of the month I shall be back in Rome. All hearty
good wishes to you and yours, from your faithfully attached,
Munich, October 16th, 1867
P.S.--Before long you will receive a visit from August Rockel.
This name will probably call up to your imagination--as it has
done in many other cases--an ultra-revolutionary agitator; in
place of which you will find a gentle, refined, kindly and
excellent man. I should like you to cultivate his acquaintance,
and can cordially recommend him to you. His daughter (at the Burg
Theater) you are sure to know--and you will also know of his old
friendship with Wagner and Bulow. It was not till I came here
that I became acquainted with Rockel and learned to value him.
Have you read in the Augsburger Allgem. Zeitung the extremely
kind notice of my stay in Stuttgart? Best thanks also for sending
me your article on the "Wanderer."
58. To Eduard von Liszt
By some mistake I did not receive your letter of the 16th till
today. From my last you will have clearly seen that I do not wish
any further performance of the "Elizabeth" before the score is
published. As I told you, I have declined the offers from
Dusseldorf, Dresden and other towns. Even as regards Leipzig,
where I am under special obligations to Riedel (for he has on
several occasions got his Society to give excellent performances
of the "Gran Mass," the "Prometheus" choruses, the "Seligkeiten,"
etc.), I shall endeavor to defer the promised performance of the
"Elizabeth." The matter would be one of special importance to me
as regards Vienna,--and for this very reason I am anxious not to
be in too great a hurry. Hence I most gratefully accept your
mediation with Prince Czartoryski. Be my kind mediator and point
out to him my peculiar position, so that there may not be any
sort of vexation--and let the "Elizabeth" remain unperformed. I
think I have clearly stated my reasons for this passive, or, if
you prefer it, this expectative mode of action.
It would interest me to know how the "Coronation Mass" was
performed and received in Vienna. Ask Herbeck in my name not to
drag the tempi; the "Gloria," more especially, must be taken the
more rapidly as it proceeds--the time to be beaten throughout
alla breve. Send me word about this to Rome.
To please the Bulows I shall remain here till October 24th,--and
be back in Rome, at latest, on the 30th.
If Bulow goes on working here for a couple of years, Munich will
become the musical capital of Germany. In addition to my interest
in all musical matters here, my stay has offered many other
points of interest and pleasure by my intercourse with Kaulbach,
Liebig, Heyse, Geibel, Redwitz, etc.--
Munich, October 20th, 1867
Enclosed is a tolerably good photograph of my humble self.
59. To Peter Cornelius in Munich
I am grieved not to have met you yesterday, so as to have thanked
you at once for the indescribable pleasure your poem gave me. The
little interpreter Lulu [Daniela, the eldest daughter of H. v.
Bulow, now married to Prof. Dr. Thode] recited it twice admirably
without the smallest error or stumbling. I most sincerely wish
that all your works may find such interpreters as Lulu, so fully
able to grasp your sentiments that your audience has nothing to
do but to weep--as was our feeling yesterday with Cosima, when we
both wept like children!
With all my heart, your
Wednesday, October 23rd, 1867 [Munich]
60. To Eduard von Liszt
The enclosed letter from Chordirector Kumenecker [The Director of
the Altlerchenfelder Kirchenmusik-Verein, in Vienna, had
requested Liszt to grant him permission to give a performance of
the "Coronation Mass."] I received only on my return to Rome
(November 6th). Be so good as to pay the writer of it a visit in
my name, and ask him kindly to excuse my not complying with his
request. Also tell him that I have not got either the chorus or
the orchestral parts of the "Coronation Mass." The only existing
copies are those belonging to the Court orchestra of Vienna;
hence these parts would have either to be obtained or to be
copied if a performance of the work is to be given elsewhere, and
this I should not care either to advise or disadvise.
The Mass fulfilled its object in Pest on the Coronation Day. If
it should be given on any future occasion, I would recommend the
conductor to take the tempi solemnly always, but never dragging,
and to beat the time throughout alla Breve. And the "Gloria,"
more especially towards the middle and before the commencement of
the "Agnus Dei" up to the Prestissimo, must be worked up
brilliantly and majestically. Whether and when the "Coronation
Mass" is to appear in print I do not know. Dunkl (Roszavoglyi) in
Pest had intended to publish it, but the honorarium of 100 ducats
seems to make him hesitate, and I will not accept any smaller
sum. Two movements from it (the "Offertorium" and "Benedictus") I
have transcribed for the piano, and these may be bought
separately, which will be an advantage to the publisher. And the
pianoforte arrangements for one or two performers are to appear
simultaneously with the score.--It is of no importance to me to
have the work published immediately. If you should meet Carl
Haslinger and have an opportunity, ask him whether he would risk
100 ducats upon it. As he has already published a number of
Masses, this one might suit him as well. If not, it is all the
same to me. Only I cannot make any alteration about the
honorarium I have now fixed upon. [The "Coronation Mass," like
the "Gran Mass," was published by Schuberth, Leipzig.]
Rome, November 6th, 1867
61. To E. Repos
Pray excuse me for replying so late to your kind and cordial
letter. Various matters detained me in Germany longer than I
expected, and I have only been back three days at my house at
"Santa Francesca Romana," where I shall spend the winter. Your
publications will be excellent company to me here. I accept with
gratitude the Gradual and Vesperal [Gradual--a portion of the
Mass. Vesperal--book of evening prayer] (in--12) that you are
kind enough to offer me, and beg you to let me have them shortly.
What can I on my side send you that will be agreeable to you?
Something will be found, I hope, for I sincerely desire to
It seems to me that it would not be of any use for you to
undertake to publish now one or two large works of my
composition. In order to be somewhat accredited, they must first
of all be performed and heard, not en passant, but seriously and
several times. For this I have no support in France, and should
even expose myself to unpleasant dispositions and interpretations
if I in the least endeavored to bring myself forward there. It is
only in Germany, Hungary, and Holland that, in spite of frequent
and lively opposition, my name as a composer has acquired a
certain weight. In those countries they continue performing my
music by inclination, curiosity, and interest, without my asking
anybody to do so. You have probably heard of the favorable
reception that the "Legend of St. Elizabeth" met with at the
Festival of the Wartburg at the end of August. For two years past
this work has been performed several times at Pest, Prague,
Munich, and I have recently been asked for it from Vienna,
Dresden, Leipzig, Aix-la-Chapelle, etc., but as the score has to
be sent to be engraved I have not been able to lend it further. I
shall give myself the pleasure of sending you a copy towards
Easter.-It is also in Germany (probably at Munich) that my
Oratorio "Le Christ" will be first given: now, as it is important
to me that the first complete performance (for the one in Rome on
the occasion of the centenary of St. Peter was only a tentative
and partial one) should be as satisfactory as possible, I must be
present at it. Consequently it will not take place till the
winter of '69--if I am still in this world then,--it being my
intention not to leave Rome for a year.
Pardon me these details, dear sir. As the cordiality of your
letter assures me that we shall have long business relations with
one another, it is better to put you at once in possession of the
facts of my musical situation. It prescribes to me duties
attached to many restrictions which my ecclesiastical capacity
increases still more. "Providemus enim bona non solum coram Deo
sed etiam coram hominibus."--
To return to your publications. Palestrina, Lassus, the masters
of the 16th and 17th centuries, are your models par excellence.
You have plenty of work for years to come to edit their admirable
works, and to put yourself on a par with the collection published
(cheap) at Ratisbon under the title of "Musica divina." Moreover
there is nothing to prevent you from adding many a composition
more or less modern. Dispose of my few, as you are pleased to
admit them. You might begin with the "Credo" (from the
"Coronation Mass"), and the "Te Deum" in plain song [cantus
planus] of which you speak. Later on a tolerably simple Mass,
with organ accompaniment only, might perhaps find a place. Then,
two excerpts from the Oratorio "Christ,"--"the Beatitudes" and
the "Pater noster"--which have already appeared at Leipzig, might
reappear in Paris, especially if there were any favorable
opportunity of getting them heard. As to the Oratorio entire, it
will be better still to wait awhile longer.
"Expectans expectavi"...and let my biographical notice which you
have in view also wait. In order to make it exact and
comprehensive, it would be necessary for me to give some data to
the writer who would undertake the task of representing me today
to the public. Many things have been printed about me in a
transient way. Amongst the most remarkable articles that of Mr.
Fetis, in his "Biographie universelle des Musiciens" (second
edition), of which you tell me, takes the foremost place.
Nevertheless, however much disposed I am to acknowledge the
conscientious and kind intentions towards myself of the
illustrious and learned man, and even whilst really thanking him
for raising the importance of my works which he connects with
"one of the transformations of Art," I shall not have the false
humility of accepting some of his valuations as definitive
judgments. Of all the theorists whom I know, Mr. Fetis is the one
who has best ascertained and defined the progress of harmony and
rhythm in music; on such chief points as these I flatter myself
that I am in perfect accord with him. For the rest he must excuse
me for escaping in different ways from the critical school whose
ways he extols. According to his theory Art ought to progress,
develop, be enriched, and clothed in new forms; but in practice
he hesitates, and kicks against the pricks,--and, for all that,
would insist that the "transformation" should take place without
in the least disturbing existing customs, and so as to charm
everybody with the greatest ease. Would to Heaven that it might
be so! Between this and them, pray accept, dear sir, my best
thanks, together with the expressions of my very distinguished
and devoted sentiments.
Rome, November 8th, 1867--Santa Francesca Romana
P.S.--My sincere congratulations for the cross of St. Sylvestre.
People outside are quite mistaken in thinking that they are
lavish with decorations here.
I have informed the Princess W. of your kind arrangements
relative to the edition of the work that Monseigneur de Montault
mentioned to you.
62. To Madame Jessie Laussot
No one knows better than you how to relieve the virtue of
obligingness by the most cordial kindness. You make a point of
persuading your friends that you are in their debt for the
services you render them. In so far as they give you the
opportunity of exercising your fine qualities you are perfectly
right, but further than that you are not; and for my part I beg
you to be as fully assured of my sincere gratitude as of my
I am not going to set about pitying you much for the difficulties
and contradictions that your artistic zeal encounters. The world
is so formed that the practice of the Good and the search for the
Better is not made agreeable to any one; not in the things of
Art, which appear the most inoffensive, any more than in other
things. In order to deserve well one must learn to endure well.
The best specific for the prejudice, malice, imbroglios and
injustice of others is not to trouble oneself about them. It
seems that such and such people find their pleasure where we
should not in the least look for it: so be it, reserving to
ourselves to find ours in nobler sources. Besides, how could we
dare to lament over difficulties that run counter to our good
pleasure? Have not the worthiest and most illustrious servants of
Art had to suffer far more than we?...This consolation has its
melancholy side, I know; nevertheless it confirms the active
conscience in the right road.
This a propos of the prelude extra muros of your last concerts.
Let us pass on to the programmes of them, dear and victorious
The "Panis Angelicus," [By Palestrina.] the Schumann Quintet and
the sublime Prelude to "Lohengrin" are works which a well-
brought-up public ought to know by heart. You will do well
therefore to reproduce them often. There is no criticism
admissible on this subject; and, if you absolutely exact it that
I should make one at all, it would only be on the adjective
"celebrated," appended to the Schumann Quintet, which would do
without it without disadvantage. Pardon me this hairsplitting.-
As to the "Beatitudes" I entirely approve of your not having
exhibited them a second time. You know, moreover, that I usually
dissuade my friends from encumbering concert programmes with my
compositions. For the little they have to lose they will not lose
it by waiting. Let us then administer them in homoeopathic doses-
I am delighted with what you tell me of Wilhelmj. Please assure
him of my best regard and of the pleasure I shall have in showing
it to him with more consequence. The Concerto for which he asks
has already been begged for several times from me by Sivori and
Remenyi. I don't know when I shall find time to write it. There
is not the least hurry for it, as long as criticism constrains
violin-virtuosi to limit themselves to a repertoire of four or
five pieces, very beautiful doubtless, and no less well known.
Joachim naively confessed to me that after he had played the
Beethoven and Mendelssohn Concertos and the Bach Chaconne he did
not know what to do with himself in a town unless it were to go
on playing indefinitely the same two Concertos and the same
Sgambati and Pinelli announce six matinees of Chamber Music every
Wednesday, beginning the day after tomorrow. The audience will be
more numerous this year than formerly. People are beginning to
talk about these matinees in the aristocratic salons in which it
is often de bon ton not to listen to good music.--
Towards spring Sgambati will bring you his new laurels, and will
also tell you about his future prospects. The deciding of his
marriage will influence all the rest: it might almost be
regretted that our friend should abandon himself to an excess of
Without offending any one, the famous saying about the Chassepot
rifle may be applied to the Chickering Piano; it is doing wonders
at Rome. Everybody talks to me of it, and wants to see and hear
it. One of my archeological friends calls it "the Coliseum of
My affectionate respects to your mother;--sympathetic
remembrances to Miss Williams; a friendly shake of the hand to
Callander;--admiring chirps to Bocage;--warmest compliments to
the Pearsolls, and
Very cordially yours,
Rome, January 13th, 1868
63. To Dr. Franz Brendel
My hearty congratulations upon our Falcon-colleagueship [Brendel
had received the Weimar Order of the Falcon of Watchfulness
(Falkenorden der Wachsamkeit)] and henceforth always, "Vigilando
As I was expecting parcels and news from Leipzig I delayed
answering your friendly letter. I have not yet received either
the Almanack, or the corrected proofs of the "Elizabeth". How did
the performance in the Pauliner Church [Riedel had arranged a
performance of the "Elizabeth" in Leipzig.] go off? Ask Kahnt to
let me have one or two of the notices of it--especially the
unfavorable ones. Remind him also to write to Otto Roquette about
the translation of the Latin chorus at the end, to which I
referred in my last letter to him.
Berlioz's "Requiem" is the corner-stone of the programme for the
Altenburg Tonkunstler-Versammlung. I have often speculated about
the possibility of having this colossal work produced.
Unfortunately the Weimar churches were not sufficiently spacious,
and in Brunswick, where the Egidien church would be a magnificent
place for musical festivals of any kind, other difficulties stood
in the way. Probably Altenburg also does not possess any building
sufficiently large to hold an orchestra for the "Dies Irae", and
Riedel will have to reduce the 16 drums, 12 horns, 8 trumpets and
8 trombones to a minimum. But, even though it should not be
possible to give a performance of the whole work, still there are
portions of it--such as the "Requiem Aeternam," the "Lacrymosa
and Sanctus"--that are extremely well worth hearing and
The sketch of the programme furnishes an excellent antidote to
Berlioz's Requiem, in Handel's "Acis and Galatea"; and some
smaller things of Draseke, Lassen and my humble self might be
introduced in between.
Sgambati's co-operation will depend upon my journey. I am unable
as yet to say anything definite about it. Not till June can I
decide whether I can come or not. To speak frankly it will be
difficult for me to leave Rome at all this year.
With regard to your personal affairs I can but again assure you
that I take the liveliest interest in them. The modesty of your
claims, dear friend, is very much out of proportion with the
importance of the services you have rendered. One rarely meets
with demands that are as just and as unpretending as yours. Be
assured of my sincere readiness to promote your interest in
higher quarters, and to do what I can to satisfy you.
With warmest thanks and kindest greetings yours,
Rome, January 26th, 1868
Sgambati's matinees for Chamber-music are better attended than
ever this winter. They include all that is musically interesting
as regards Rome.
64. To Walter Bache
Dear Mr. Bache,
I thank you cordially for your kind letter, and beg you to rely
always on my feelings of sincere affection and esteem.
It would certainly be a great pleasure to me to see you again in
London this summer, yet I could not venture to promise or to keep
my promise, and must abstain from either.
Please therefore to make my excuses to the Secretary of the
Philharmonic Society, and to thank him for his kind intentions
towards me. If an opportunity of realising them should occur
later on,--without disappointment or disagreeableness to any
one,--I should be much pleased. As regards the present time it is
superfluous to give any thought to the proposition you transmit
to me, in view of the obligations which will retain me elsewhere.
I am even doubtful whether it will be possible for me to accept
the invitation of my German friends to the Tonkunstler-
Versammlung at Altenburg in July.--
The good news you give me of Klindworth is very pleasant to me.
May he remember me sufficiently well to know how much I
appreciate him and what an affection I have for him.
Sgambati is very much in fashion this winter, and the fashion is
perfectly right in this. He sends you a thousand affectionate
greetings, and Lippi, [A Roman pupil of Liszt's] Mdlle. Giuli
[Liszt's best lady-pupil in Rome] and the other patients of the
"Scuola" [School] hold you in warm remembrance.
Accept also, dear Mr. Bache, the assurance of my very sincere
Rome, January 30th, 1868
The performance of my symphonic works in London must, like the
concert of the Phil. Society, be postponed. Your zeal in this
matter touches me much. I would not wish tosuppress it, and only
beg you to moderate it so that it may be all the more fruitful.
65. To Dr. Franz Brendel
I have nothing to find fault with in the sketch of the Altenburg
programme except that my name occurs too often in it. I am afraid
of appearing obtrusive if several works of mine are produced at
every Tonkunstler-Versammlung. Certainly the repetition of the
13th Psalm might be permissible and even advantageous to myself,
as you kindly remark; also I should not care to raise any protest
against the chorus "An die Kunstler," and simply because it has
hitherto been more screamed at than heard, for it has been
accounted one of my most culpable heresies to have set these
words of Schiller's to music after Mendelssohn, and indeed
without copying Mendelssohn and without humoring the customary
taste of Vocal Societies. Parenthetically be it said that
Schiller and "Manhood's dignity" forbade me to make this
composition any pleasanter. I dreamt a temple and not a kiosk!--
If you run the risk of giving this Artists' Chorus in Altenburg I
must beg the conductor to take all possible care in rehearsing
it--and to aim at the most dignified composure in the
performance. Like reverberating marble-pillars must be the effect
of the singing!--
Please thank Stade [Director of the Court orchestra, and Court
organist in Altenburg (born 1817); he was a friend of Liszt's for
many years.] most warmly for his friendly intention to play one
of my Organ pieces. He will probably choose either the Variations
on the Basso continuo of Bach's Cantata "Weinen, sorgen, seufzen,
klagen" ("Weeping, grieving, sighing, lamenting")--or the BACH-
Discuss the matter again with Riedel and Stade, as to whether 3
items by Liszt on the programme are not too much. I will gladly
yield to your decision, and wish only there were more prospect of
my being able to attend this Tonkunstler-Versammlung. However I
cannot say anything definite about it till June.
Sgambati gives a concert next week in Florence. On his return at
the end of April it will be decided whether he can undertake the
journey to Altenburg or will have to remain here all summer.
Sgambati is decidedly not an artist for a watering-place,
although as a virtuoso his talent is extraordinary and
undoubtedly effective. He plays Bach, Beethoven, Chopin,
Schumann, and my most troublesome things with perfect
independence and in a masterly style. His artistic tendencies and
sympathies are altogether "new-German." This winter we heard two
of his larger works: a Pianoforte-Quintet and a Nonet for
strings. Both of these deserve to be brought out by our Musik-
Ad vocem of the dedication of Seifritz's Overture, you have come
to the right resolution in dedicating the 2nd year's issue of the
Almanack to Prince Hohenzollern. I likewise approve of the
following numbers being dedicated to the Princes in whose
capitals the Tonkunstler-Versammlungen are held.
The first number of the Almanack seems to me very successful. But
the historical Calendar might gain in interest by omissions and
additions. Mediocre local celebrities such as "H.S. in E., T.D.
in B., L.A. in L.," etc., etc., do not need to figure as
historical. As little do a couple of first performances that were
given in Weimar under my conductorship. See to it, dear friend,
that more important data are collected in good time, and that
superfluous data are rejected.
As I told you in Leipzig, the Grand Duke has determined to have
me in Weimar for a couple of months during the winter (towards
the beginning of '69). Perhaps I may go somewhat sooner.
With the next sending of proofs please ask Kahnt to enclose the
manuscript of the 18th Psalm ("The Heavens declare the glory of
God") for male voices. It is written on very large sheets of
music-paper and bound in boards. But in order that the parcel may
be made a more convenient size let the boards be removed and the
manuscript paper doubled up. Kahnt will remember that I left him
this manuscript seven years ago.
With hearty greetings, yours most sincerely,
March 3lst, 1868
66. To Johann von Herbeck
My cousin Eduard will bring you the score of the 18th Psalm
intended for the Mannergesang-Verein [Vocal Society for Men's
Voices] in Vienna. Allow me at this opportunity again to offer
you my sincerest thanks for the kindly feelings you have always
entertained for me. The further fate of the Psalm forwarded to
you I leave wholly in your hands. You will have to decide whether
it is suitable for being performed at the Jubilee Festival of the
Mannergesang-Verein. If you think it is I shall be glad; still I
beg you not to make it any special consideration, and if you
think it more advisable not to burden the Festival-programme with
it, I shall be quite content, feeling convinced, dear friend,
that you will know best what is most to my advantage.
Otherwise the study of it would give no trouble. The Psalm is
very simple and massive--like a monolith. And, as in the case of
other works of mine, the conductor has the chief part to play.
He, as the chief virtuoso and artifex, is called upon to see that
the whole is harmoniously articulated and that it receives a
living form. In the rhythmical and dynamical climax, from letters
B to E (repeated from H to L), as also in some of the ritenuti;
especially in the passage:
"The law of the Lord is perfect,
Converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure,
Making wise the simple, etc.,"
you will find substance to prove your excellence as a conductor.
Well, dear friend, you know what it is brilliantly to arouse a
flaming spirit out of dead notes.
Accept the assurance of my sincere esteem and affection.
Rome, June 9th, 1868
67. To Dr. Franz Brendel
[This is the last of the many letters Liszt addressed to Brendel,
who died a few months afterwards.]
As might have been foreseen, I must unfortunately give up all
thought of paying you and my friends of the Tonkunstler-
Versammlung a visit this year. Were it possible for me to get
away from here, I should today start for Munich, in honor of the
"Meistersinger" which is to be performed next Sunday--and thence
I should go to Weimar and Altenburg. In place of this I have to
remain here till the end of the month. After that I mean to go to
the neighborhood of Ancona for some sea baths. Please send me at
once, in a wrapper, the notices of the Altenburg Musical Festival
that have appeared in the Neue Zeitschrift.
Sgambati asks me to send you his kindest excuses. He would have
much liked to wander to Germany, but he too is nailed here for
this summer. His concerts in Florence with Wilhemj a few weeks
ago were very successful. Sgambati is quite a phenomenal pianist
for Italy, and is certain to do himself credit elsewhere on
account of his sterling qualities, and his rare excellence as a
virtuoso is combined with a personality of the greatest
amiability and reliable artistic feeling. There is some talk of
his getting an appointment in St. Petersburg.
A fortnight ago I heard from Paris that Berlioz was failing in
health and suffering greatly. When I saw him last (in the spring
of '66) he was then already physically and mentally broken down.
Our personal relations always remained friendly, it is true, but
on his side there was somewhat of a gloomy, cramped tone mixed
Neither Schumann nor Berlioz could rest satisfied at seeing the
steady advance of Wagner's works. Both of them suffered from a
suppressed enthusiasm for the music of the future.
I shall not be able to decide about my proposed stay in Weimar
till the end of the year. Till then I shall keep quiet here or in
the neighborhood, the extreme boundary to which is indicated by
the sea baths of Ancona. Several other invitations have had to be
courteously declined. But next year a considerable change may
take place in my outward circumstances, and may again draw me
closer to Germany. How this last chapter of my life will shape
itself I cannot yet foresee.
The Vienna Mannergesang-Verein have kindly asked me to provide a
composition for their Jubilee Festival. This is the reason why I
asked Kahnt for the score of the 18th Psalm ("The Heavens declare
the glory of God"), which has at last come, and was despatched to
Vienna the day before yesterday [published by Schuberth,
Leipzig]. Kahnt has no doubt also received the corrected
pianoforte score of the "Elizabeth." And there happily remains
only the full score to do, the proofs of which I am expecting
During the winter my innumerable social duties rendered it
absolutely impossible for me to write any longer compositions.
This enforced idleness vexes me extremely--and I intend to assume
an air of rudeness to rid myself of a great many people. It is
more especially intrusive correspondents who are a vexatious
waste of time to me. Since the "Coronation Mass," I have in fact
only written one solitary work: a "Requiem" for male voices with
simple organ accompaniment [published by Kahnt, Leipzig].
How much I should like to hear Berlioz's colossal Requiem in
Altenburg!--Think, when there, in all friendliness of
Your sincerely attached
Rome, June 17th, 1868
Again I beg you to send me regularly the programmes and the
notices of the Altenburg T.K.V. in the Neue Zeitung.
68. To E. Repos
As you are kind enough still to remember about the "Ave Maris
Stella" it would be inexcusable of me to forget it. My first
manuscript having gone astray I spent the whole of yesterday in
rewriting this very simple song, of which you will receive two
versions at once by the next possible occasion; one for
mezzosoprano voice with Piano or Harmonium accompaniment, the
other for 4 male voices with a little Organ accompaniment. In
this latter please excuse my very bad writing, over and above
whatever there may be defective in the composition. I cannot,
here, have several copyists at my disposal as in Germany. The
only one whom I can employ is ill--and I have not time to wait
till he gets well, for from tomorrow I undertake my pilgrimage to
Assisi and Loretto--after which I shall make a villeggiatura of
at least six weeks at Grotta-mare (near Ancona, on the shores of
I depend on your kindness to send me the final proofs of the "Ave
Maris Stella" to the address which I will give you shortly.
How shall I manage to get you my biographical notice published in
1843 in the voluminous collection of the Biographae Pascallet? I
really do not know. This notice is both the most exact, the best
edited, and the kindest of all that have appeared about me in
French. Mr. Fetis quotes it in my article of the Biographie univ.
des Musiciens, and I have asked Mr. le Chanoine Barbier de
Montault to look for it at Angot the editor's.--The entire
collection of the Biographaie Pascallet must be, amongst others,
in the library of Mr. Emile de Girardin, but the illustrious
publicist has so many great matters to attend to that I should
scruple to trouble him about such a trifle.
In any case it will be easy to unearth our unhappy little Opus in
question in the Bibliotheque imperiale, where, if necessary, it
can be copied for the use of Mr. le Ch. de Montault.
Please, dear sir, count on my very sincerely affectionate and
Rome, July 1st, 1868
A thousand thanks for your kind sending of the Repertoire of St.
Sulpice, which is this moment come.
69. To Prof. Carl Riedel in Leipzig
[1827-88, founder and director of the celebrated Riedel Verein in
Leipzig, and after Brendel's death President of the Allgemeine
My sincere congratulation upon your glorious accomplishment--the
performance of Berlioz's Requiem in Altenburg, and also my
kindest thanks for all the trouble and care you have bestowed
upon the "Elizabeth" and the "13th Psalm." I hope to hear
Berlioz's "Requiem" next winter in Leipzig, and also some of
Bach's contrapuntal "feste Burgen." My ears thirst for them!
Meanwhile let me ask Frau Professor Riedel kindly to accept me
herewith in effigy as an inmate.
With sincere esteem, I remain, dear friend,
Your gratefully attached
Grotta Mare, August 12th 
70. To E. Repos
By the same post I return you the proofs of the "Ave Maris
Stella," which reached me yesterday. Will you be kind enough to
have the various errors of these first proofs corrected on the
plates. Exactitude in editions is a duty of the profession, too
I will send you, by the first opportunity, a short "Offertoire"
(of some 40 bars) for men's voices. The text forms part of the
service of St. Francis--"Mihi autem adhoerere Deo bonum est," and
I composed it lately at Assisi.--In about a week's time I shall
be back in Rome, where I left my manuscripts; amongst others a
"Requiem" for men's voices with Organ accompaniment. The style of
it is very simple, and whatever goodwill one brings to it the
execution will also be very simple. If it would suit you to
publish this "Requiem" (of about some thirty small pages of
print) I will send it you with the "Offertoire" of St. Francis.
Accept, dear sir, the expression of my distinguished and devoted
Grotta Mare, August 26th, 1868
Address Rome.--I have not received any letter from you for
71. To Prof. Dr. Siegmund Lebert in Stuttgart
[The addressee was a distinguished pianoforte teacher (1822-
1884), co-founder of the Stuttgart Conservatoire, co-editor of
the Grosse Clavierschule (Lebert and Stark), and of the
instructive edition of Classical pianoforte--works published by
Cotta, in which Liszt, Bulow and Faisst took part. It is to these
last-mentioned works that the letters here given refer.]
To satisfy rational and righteous people is the better part of my
life. I am very glad that you approve of the letter to the French
edition of your Method, and that you find it appropriate. I have
simply said what I think. I pledge myself always to be true in
speech and action, however many annoyances and misinterpretations
may be hurled at me in return. In confidence I will tell you what
is the rule of my whole existence; it consists of the daily
prayer: "O veritas Deus, fac me unum tecum in perpetua
Excuse the delay in the return of the 3rd part of the Method. I
thought of making use of some favorable opportunity of sending it
to Stuttgart to save you the expense of postage; but no such
opportunity has presented itself, and so this concluding volume
of the Method was despatched to you through the agency of Herr
Kolb (Wurtemberg consul in Rome). The added notes are very
unimportant, because, in fact, I had no other weightier remarks
to make. While playing through the Etudes I found myself put into
a thorough good humor, and this must be my excuse for the few bad
jokes which my mischievous pencil scribbled down. Please do not
let them go further; such jests must be kept quietly to
In Grotta mare I wrote about 20 pages of the technical exercises.
Unfortunately a host of correspondence prevents my making
progress with the work I have already begun and which is finished
in my head. The Italians say: Give time, time ("dar tempo al
tempo"), which often provokes me utterly!--
First of all I shall set to work at the Weber and Schubert
edition, which I hope to send you by the beginning of November.
Please present my best thanks to Baron Reischach for his kind
letter. The business point of it (the Weber and Schubert edition)
I herewith answer; that I shall redeem my promise by the
beginning of November; and that with an easy conscience I shall
then give proof of my gratitude by writing to Baron R. myself.
In sincere and friendly collaboratorship, I am
Yours most sincerely,
Rome, September l0th, 1868
72. To E. Repos
Dear Chevalier and Friend,
Your last letter interests me much, and I thank you very
sincerely for the confidence you show me. Certainly I should ask
nothing better than to reply to it as you wish; but there is the
difficulty. Shall you reproach me with "claudicare in duas
partes"? No, I do not think you will, for I do not intend to have
any hitch; it is simply that the small influence which, in
certain given circumstances, I could exercise, is paralysed by
other circumstances that now predominate. I should be obliged to
explain various things to make you understand my extrinsic
inaptitude, and consequently my obligatory abstention on some
points which touch me closely. I prefer not to enter into these
details in writing; perhaps we shall have an opportunity of
speaking about them: as to the present time the following is my
reply, reduced to the most concise terms:
I entirely approve of your two projects of the competition of
sacred Music, and of the definitive, normal and really Catholic
edition of the Plain-Song of the Church. These two enterprises
are opportune and desirable, and may be carried out to your honor
and advantage. All the same I am not in a position to serve you
efficaciously utraque. Therefore I ought not to be mixed up with
it,...unless any contingency as unforeseen as decisive should
You will have read in the Correspondance de Rome that the work of
M. Sre. Alfieri has remained in suspense. It is not a posthumous
obstacle with which your edition would have to contend, but
another, which might also be called Legion.
The "Requiem" and the "Offertoire of St. Francis" shall be sent
to you in a fortnight. Before sending them to you I want
carefully to look through the copy, so as to save the engraver as
many corrections as possible.
I shall not leave Rome till Christmas; from January till the end
of March I shall be at Weimar.--
Pray accept, dear Chevalier and friend, the assurance of my
September 19th, 1868
When will the 1st volume of your publication of the History of
the Popes and Cardinals come out? I shall be much obliged if you
will send it me.
73. To C.F. Kahnt, the Musical Publisher
[Facsimiles of this and No. 99 appeared in the Neue Zeitschrift
fur Musik, June 18th, 1890.]
Dear Sir and Friend,
The delay in the receipt of your letter did not in any way lessen
the very welcome news it contained, for which I thank you
cordially. Herewith also my warm congratulations in regard to the
little red-colored Altenburg volume.
Of the gracious acceptance accorded to the dedication copy of the
"Elizabeth" I have already received a full report, which is
altogether satisfactory. The second copy de luxe please to keep
for the present. I should like to present it to our Grand Duke ad
honorem of the Wartburg Library.
Your intention of sending the third copy next Easter to the
Exhibition of the German Products of the Printing Press, I, as
the author, consider both very appropriate and a pleasant piece
As I am expecting corrected proofs of the "Elizabeth" score, I
beg you to enclose Wieseneder's "Kindergarten Lieder-Buchlein"
[Book of Kindergarten Songs]. Probably this will be your last
sending to Rome for the year '68, as I shall be in Weimar again
by the beginning of January. I shall, therefore, leave all
further discussions in extenso till then. Meanwhile there is
scarcely anything positive or to the point to write about.
My friendly greetings to Brendel; he knows how much it is my wish
to obtain reliable support and some profitable advantage for the
endeavors of the A. D. Musik-Verein. Rest assured of this, dear
friend, and count upon my sincere and unalterable attachment.
Rome, September 20th 
Be quick with and out with the 69th Almanack!--
74. To E. Repos
Dear Monsieur Repos,
Here is the Requiem. If you think it would be well to publish the
five parts separately (Requiem, Dies irae, Offertoire, etc.) in
the 5 numbers of the Revue de Musique sacree, I have not the
slightest objection to it; and will only ask you to announce the
complete edition, to be had by itself, at the same time as the
detached pages appear.
The copy is very distinct and correct; please beg the engraver
not to add any wrong notes of his own composition, and send me
the proofs to Rome.
I should be glad if the "Offertoire" of St. Francis (added to the
book of the Requiem) could come out at once. The manuscript is
only two pages,--and I do not think I shall be infringing too
much St. Francis's rule of poverty by reserving to myself, for
this Offertoire as well as for all my compositions that you
publish, author's rights for Germany and Italy, in order to keep
my promise to several publishers.
Accept, dear Monsieur Repos, the expression of my very
distinguished and devoted sentiments.
Rome, September 22nd, 1868
75. To Prof. Dr. S. Lebert
Today I deserve a little praise. The Weber task is finished, and
hence I have kept my promise a few weeks in advance.
How I have understood my task you will see from the short Preface
on the first page of the various readings to the "Conzertstuck."
The printer will have to act in strict conformity with what is
there stated, and to give the necessary letters and signs.
Unfortunately I cannot help giving this unusual trouble, for two
kinds of letters and signs are positively indispensable.
My responsibility with regard to Cotta's edition of Weber and
Schubert I hold to be: fully and carefully to retain the original
text together with provisory suggestions of my way of rendering
it, by means of distinguishing letters, notes and signs,--and
these I beg you will again have fully explained to the printer.
In the various readings you will probably find some things not
inappropriate;--I flatter myself that I have thus given
performers greater licence, and have increased the effect without
damaging or overloading Weber's style. Get Pruckner, who is
acquainted with my bad musical handwriting, to play the various
readings to you.
N.B.--They must be printed in small notes throughout the whole
The parcel containing the "Conzertstuck," "Momento capriccioso,"
4 Sonatas of W[eberj (and the 2 Beethoven ones of the Bulow
edition) will be despatched to you tomorrow by Kolb. Send me, at
your early convenience, Weber's 2 Polonaises (Hartel's last
edition), which must not be omitted in Cotta's edition; also let
me have all Schubert's Dances (Valses, Landler, Eccossaises, in
Holle's edition revised by Markull). And as I have now got into
the way of revising, I should like at once to prepare the
Schubert volume and submit to you, before the end of November,
the result of many years of most delightful communion with
Weber's and Schubert's pianoforte compositions, with fingering,
marks for pedal and expression, and various readings.
The Schubert volume I shall limit to 3 or 4 Sonatas, the great
Fantasia, some 8 Impromptus, the Moments Musicals, and all his
Dances. A few other pieces as duets may follow later, more
especially his Marches and the Hungarian Divertissement.
Let me hope that my work may prove intelligible, temperate and
satisfactory, and also of some service to ordinary pianists.
Any remarks and objections you may have to make in connection
with these, I shall be quite willing to consider.
With friendly greetings and thanks,
Yours most sincerely,
Rome, October 19th, 1868
P.S.--Let me hear from you at once, as soon as you receive the
76. To Richard Pohl at Baden-Baden.
Rome, November 7th, 1868
.--. My very kind biographer La Mara writes me a few charming
lines telling me that she is shortly sending me her volume
"Studienkopfe" ["Studies of heads"]. "Das junge Volk hat Muth,"
["Young folk have pluck"] as you say, and I quite approve of
their not letting themselves be intimidated. Courage is the vital
nerve of our best qualities; they fade away when it is wanting,
and unless one is courageous one is not even sufficiently
prudent. To examine, reflect calculate and weigh are assuredly
necessary operations But after that one must determine and act
without troubling too much about which way the wind blows and
what clouds are passing. .--.
77. To Johann von Verbeck
Much esteemed Friend,
I have just answered the invitation of the "Musikfreunde," and
trust you will agree with what I have written. I am quite aware
that the performance of the "Elizabeth" in Vienna--which is
considered a mark of honorable distinction to me--I owe to you.
My not having complied with your offer before was mainly due to
my desire to spare you any embarrassments in connection with the
performance, embarrassments which I, owing to my peculiar
position and my distance from active circles of the Press, can
readily ignore without the slightest "bitterness of feeling."
Well, let us hope that your favorable augury will prove true.
Your earlier letter I have not received. But I was heartily
delighted with your last. Shortly before receiving it I had been
hearing a number of excellent things about the composer,
conductor and friend Herbeck, all of which tallied perfectly with
what I remembered and of what I myself feel convinced. You will
guess who communicated all this to me.
To return to the "Elizabeth" performance in Vienna; I should like
to be present. The Committee of the Musikfreunde name two days in
March; the last mentioned would be the most convenient one for
me. I must tell you beforehand, in confidence, that on this
occasion I should not be able to remain in Vienna beyond a couple
of days, and that I wish especially to keep quiet while there,
and to meet as few people as possible. It is no longer in any way
appropriate that I should appear anywhere in person; [Liszt had
been requested to conduct his "Elizabeth", a request he declined
(probably in consideration of his having taken holy orders).] it
suits me much better, when necessary, to be trodden down an
effigy by all the different chatter. And as you, much esteemed
friend, are the one and only person who shall conduct the
"Elizabeth" in Vienna, I wish to leave the distribution of the
vocal parts entirely to your care. I would merely remind you that
my two compatriots Bignio and Fraulein Rabatinsky (now in Vienna)
sang splendidly in the parts of the Landgrave Ludwig and the
spiteful Landgravine Sophie, at the first performances of the
Oratorio in Pest. Hence, if no categorical objections are raised
against them by the worthy theatrical potentates, it would seem
advisable and well to secure these singers for parts for which
they have already proved themselves competent.
As an unnecessary remark let me add that the small Magyar
Cantilena of the Magnate (in the first number) requires a
In sincere esteem, I remain yours in all friendliness,
Villa d'Este, December 1st, 1868
P.S.--I am expecting the promised manuscript of the
"Tanzmomente." [Composed by Herbeck for orchestra; transcribed by
Liszt for the pianoforte] By the beginning of January I hope to
be in Weimar.
78. To Prof. Dr. S. Lebert
The annotations to Schubert's Sonatas demanded more time than I
had anticipated. For some weeks past I have been working
industriously at them--now they are finished ad unguem.
Our pianists scarcely realise what a glorious treasure they have
in Schubert's pianoforte compositions. Most pianists play them
over en passant, notice here and there repetitions,
lengthinesses, apparent carelessnesses, and then lay them aside.
It is true that Schubert himself is somewhat to blame for the
very unsatisfactory manner in which his admirable piano-forte
pieces are treated. He was too immoderately productive, wrote
incessantly, mixing insignificant with important things, grand
things with mediocre work, paid no heed to criticism, and always
soared on his wings. Like a bird in the air, he lived in music
and sang in angelic fashion.
O never-resting, ever-welling genius, full of tenderness! O my
cherished Hero of the Heaven of Youth! Harmony, freshness, power,
grace, dreamings, passion, soothings, tears and flames pour forth
from the depths and heights of thy soul, and thou makest us
almost forget the greatness of thine excellence in the
fascination of thy spirit!----
Let us limit our edition of Schubert's pianoforte compositions to
2 Sonatas, the G major Fantasia (a Virgilian poem!), the splendid
"Wanderer"-dithyramb (C major Fantasia), 2 books of Impromptus,
Moments Musicals and all his Valses (among which there are gems
of the first water). All this will be sent to you forthwith; and
in addition Weber's Polonaises.
In the Sonatas you will find some various readings, which appear
to me tolerably appropriate. Several passages, and the whole of
the conclusion of the C major Fantasia, I have re-written in
modern pianoforte form, and I flatter myself that Schubert would
not be displeased with it.
The pianoforte Duets of Schubert (Holle's edition) please address
to Weimar, as I have no time left for revisings in Rome. Send me
also a copy of the "Aufforderung zum Tanz" ["Invitation to the
Dance"] that is so drummed at everywhere. You forgot to let me
have this piece of salon-fireworks with the other music, and I
too did not remember it at the time; years ago I had to play this
"Invitation" over and over again, times innumerable--without the
smallest "invitation" on my part--and it became a detestable
nuisance to me. However, such a show-piece must not be omitted in
Cotta's edition of Weber.
Your visit to Weimar, dear friend, will be very welcome and
agreeable to me. When there we shall be able to discuss, weigh
and settle a number of things very conveniently.
With sincere thanks, I remain
Yours in all friendship,
Villa d'Este, December 2nd, 1868
P.S.--I have not received the French translation of your Method.
79. To Eduard von Liszt
Your promotion [Eduard von Liszt had been appointed
Oberstaatsanwalt (Chief State attorney) in Vienna.] is a real and
great joy to me. It does my heart good to see your continual
services receive recognition, and to know you about to enter a
more promising sphere. Your new position does not, indeed, free
you from all effort and exertion, but you have long since become
accustomed to bear the yoke on work-days like a man, and although
the yoke may not appear altogether enviable, still it is always
the most honorable and most secure.
I wish only that you may ever remain true to yourself, and by
perfectly satisfying your own conscience you may deeply feel
God's unfailing promise "Dominus non privabit bonis eos qui
ambulant in innocentia."--
.--. From the President and the Vice-President of the Society of
Musikfreunde, Drs. Egger and Dumba, I received a very friendly
letter inviting me to fix upon one of the three day--2lst
February, 7th or 23rd March--for the performance of the
"Elizabeth" in Vienna, and to undertake to conduct the work. To
do the latter is absolutely impossible to me, for reasons that
you know; hence I shall decline to fix upon a date. My answer
conveys to the above-named gentlemen my thanks for this
distinguishing mark of their good-will, and, at the same time, I
express my wish to attend the performance, and mention that the
end of March would be the most convenient time for me.
I also wrote to Herbeck pretty fully, saying that he, and he
alone, should conduct this performance; it is to be hoped that
under his direction the whole thing will run a successful course.
Hearty greetings to all yours, and I look forward to seeing you
December 6th, 1868 [Villa d'Este]
80. To Johann von Herbeck
Very dear Friend,
Although I feel absolutely sure that you will conduct the
"Elizabeth"-performance in a perfect and brilliant style, I
gladly comply with your wish that I should be in Vienna a few
days beforehand. As I have already said, it would be more
convenient to me to leave here towards the end of March.
Meanwhile present my most gracious thanks to the Committee of the
"Musikfreunde," with the request that they will in future regard
me as quite inadmissible as a conductor. Your question whether I
attach "any special importance" as to how the different parts
should be filled, I answer simply thus: arrange things wholly and
entirely as you think best. The few indefinite suggestions in my
last letter are of importance only in so far as they agree with
your competent arrangement, otherwise in no way. One point only I
should like adhered to in the Vienna performance, namely that no
foreign singers be engaged for it. To have one's own house in
good order is always the wisest and safest plan.
I have heard much in praise of Fraulein Ehnn [A singer at the
Royal Opera House in Vienna]; and should feel specially indebted
to her if she would undertake the Elizabeth: the part does not go
against the grain, and should Fraulein Ehnn wish any alterations
I should be quite willing to consider them.
With warm thanks, yours most sincerely,
Rome, December 29th, 1868
The "Tanzmomente" are still dancing on their way here, for they
have not yet come.
81. To Edvard Grieg
[Published in Gronvold "Norwegische Musiker" (Norwegian
Musicians, Warmuth, Christiania).--The addressee was the clever
leader of the Young School of Northern Composers. He was born at
Bergen in 1843, and educated at Leipzig.]
I am very glad to tell you what pleasure it has given me to read
your Sonata (Op. 8). It bears testimony to a talent of vigorous,
reflective and inventive composition of excellent quality,--which
has only to follow its natural bent in order to rise to a high
rank. I am pleased to think that in your own country you are
meeting with the success and encouragement that you deserve:
these will not be wanting elsewhere either; and if you come to
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