Letters of Franz Liszt, Volume 2: "From Rome to the End"
Franz Liszt; letters collected by La Mara and translated
Part 5 out of 10
invitation to play a few pianoforte pieces in the concert
arranged for Robert Franz's benefit. I replied that an interval
of 25 years separated me from my last public appearance as a
pianist, andthat I considered it advisable for me to remain
within the interval. As I told you last October, it is not my
intention to officiate in any way this winter in Vienna.
Herewith I send you an extract from the sitting of the Chamber of
the day before yesterday, the result of which is almost as
unexpected as it is important. The deputies of the conservative
party and of the opposition voted almost unanimously in favor of
raising the funds for establishing a new Musik-Akademie. And an
unusual honor was conferred upon me on the occasion,--for,
although I have never come forward in the matter, it was
nevertheless brought forward in my name, and this certainly puts
rather a heavy burden upon me. I will endeavor conscientiously to
do justice to the honor as well as the burden. For the last
couple of days a stupid feverish cold in the head has kept me in
bed. Tomorrow, however, I shall be up and about again.
Pest, February 10th, 
126. To Eduard von Liszt
My Dear Friend,
Bosendorfer brings you tidings of the Robert Franz Soiree of
yesterday. [At this soiree Liszt played Beethoven's A-flat major
Sonata, Op. 26, No, 4; his own "Soirees de Vienne" (after F.
Schubert); Schumann's "Wie aus der Ferne"; and R. Franz's
"Lied."] In a fortnight's time I shall have a similar work before
me as pianoforte player, at a charity concert which Countess Anna
Zichy is patronising. Then follows, further, a matinee of the
Liszt-Verein at the Stadtpfarrei [The town parsonage], and the
performance of Witt's Mass, of which I undertake the conducting
on the 25th March (in the church). At the beginning of April I
shall be with you.
Heartfelt greetings to you and yours from your faithful
[Pest] March 3rd, 1873
127. To Madame Jessie Laussot
Dear, Excellent Friend,
Your ideas are always very wise, practical and noble; I
participate in them beforehand, and esteem myself happy to have
them communicated to me direct. With regard to Robert Franz's
little capital, I presume that his zealous friends have already
taken decisive measures; on my return to Weimar (before the end
of April) I will learn whether it is possible to carry out your
idea...You know that a thousand thalers have been sent from here,
the result of a soiree arranged in Franzs honor. Perhaps I shall
find an opportunity to send him more soon.--
Walter Bache writes me word of his "Ninth Annual Concert" in
London, with my 13th Psalm. Bache behaves "eroicamente" with
regard to me, and takes rank in the very small group of my
friends who are the most determined to show the public--in spite
of the contrary opinion, much believed by influential papers--
that my music is not absolutely void of sense. I should like to
make the task of these friends a little easier, and I try not to
increase the merit of their devotion by my faults.
Enclosed is the programme of the concert of our friend Mihalovich
yesterday evening. "Romeo and Juliet" was encored, and the
"Geisterschiff" did not founder. The audience, very aristocratic,
was more select than numerous, which is a good sign for our
friend. Item the squashing of some learned articles in the
Will you kindly give my grateful acknowledgments to Mr.
Hillebrand for his friendly remembrance, and for sending me his
new volume on the French? I had read bits of it in the Augsburg
Gazette, and shall take a double pleasure in reading the entire
work. Hillebrand, like Alexander von Humboldt, has a passionate
attachment to France;--I am proud to feel that I am in accord
with him also on this point.
The day after tomorrow I shall be in Vienna, and shall spend a
fortnight with my near relative and friend Eduard Liszt. After
that I return to Weimar, and hope to see you there in the summer.
I will write to you in good time about the performance of the
Respectful homage and cordial friendship,
Pest, March 30th, 1873
128. To Casar Cui
[Russian composer and musical critic.]
Pray excuse my delay in thanking you for your very kind letter
that Mr. Bessel brought me with the piano score of your Opera
William Ratcliff. It is the work of a master who deserves
consideration, renown and success, as much for the wealth and
originality of the ideas as for the skilful handling of the form.
As I am persuaded that all intelligent and honest musicians will
be of this opinion, I should like to add to it some assurance on
the next performance of your Ratcliff in Germany. It should be
done at once at Weimar were I in active function at the theater
as in the preceding years (from 1848 to '59); but since my
retirement I am not any longer in a position to take definite
steps, and must confine myself to recommendations--more often
counteracted than followed.
Accept, sir, my sincere thanks, and with every expression of high
esteem I am, yours truly,
Weimar, May, 1873
129. To Franz Servais.
Dear Monsieur Franz,
My best wishes accompany you "into your cage." [This usually
means "in durance vile," but the word "cage" is preserved here on
account of the context.--Trans.] You do well to put yourself
there, and, if the flight of your genius should find itself
somewhat trammelled, for the time being, before the tribunal of
counterpoint and fugue, it will soar all the more proudly
afterwards. I hope you will come out of your cage glorious and
crowned; in case of bad luck do not be too much disappointed;
more skilful and more valuable men than you and I, dear Franz,
have had to have patience, and to have patience yet again. M. de
Buffon, when he said "genius is patience," did but make the
mistake of an incomplete definition; he took a part for the
whole; but that part is absolutely necessary in the practice of
Art, as in that of earthly life.
Please remember me very affectionately to your mother; give a
shake of the hand to your brother from me,--and depend ever on my
devoted and affectionate feelings.
Weimar, June 5th, 1873
130. To the Canoness Adelheid von Schorn
Dear Excellent One,
My little travelling plans have been upset by a letter from
Cosima. I did not stop either at Salzungen (where I had arranged
to meet Schuberth) or at Meiningen, and came straight here on
Saturday, in accordance with an invitation from Cosima to a
little fete of the workpeople of the theater of the Nibelungen.
Many idle and gossiping people everywhere are troubling their
heads about this theater, and are asking when and how it will be
finished building. Instead of descanting foolishly or maliciously
about it (the two things sometimes go together), it would be
better to get a "Patronats-Schein" [a receipt of membership], and
thus to join in the grandest and most sublime work of art of the
century. The glory of having created, written and published it is
Wagner's intact; his detractors have only to share the disgrace
of having thwarted it and delayed the bringing of it to the full
light of day, by performance.--
Next week I go to Schillingsfurst, and towards the middle of
August I shall be back at Weimar.
A thousand very cordially affectionate and devoted regards.
Bayreuth, July 30th, 1873
131. To Eduard von Liszt
After an absence of 3 weeks I returned here yesterday. I remained
first to days in Bayreuth, from August 26th to September 5th,
[The dates here ought certainly to be from July 26th to August
5th--as Liszt's letter is dated the 19th of August.] and then the
same length of time in Schillingsfurst (with Cardinal Hohenlohe)
and at Langenburg (with Prince Hermann Hohenlohe), whither I had
the honor of accompanying the Cardinal.
Cosima, Wagner and the five children are in the best of health.
The building of the Nibelungen-Theater is progressing famously;
if the necessary sum of 300,000 thalers [some 45,000 pounds] of
which as yet only about 130,000 have been forthcoming, is got
together in time, the performance of the "Festival
Drama"--"The Ring of the Nibelung"--is to take place in the
summer of '75.
.--. Simultaneously with his theater, Wagner is building a
beautiful and exquisitely situated house close to the Hofgarten.
The King of Bavaria has given him 20,000 thalers [some 3,000
pounds] for this. Next spring Wagner will take up his abode
My intercourse with Cardinal Hohenlohe is always pleasant. He
leads a very retired life in Schillingsfurst, receives but few
visits and pays only a few, and occupies himself principally in
building and arranging a large schoolhouse and an institution for
girls under the superintendence of a Benedictine Sisterhood.
Great festivities are being arranged here in honor of the
marriage of the Hereditary Grand Duke. On September 6th the entry
of the bridal pair, on the 7th a Court concert, on the 8th a
Festival-play by Devrient in the theater and a performance of
Beethoven's 9th Symphony, etc., etc. I have undertaken to conduct
the Symphony and also to play a couple of pianoforte pieces at
the Court concert. A second Festival-play, entitled "The Bride's
Welcome to the Wartburg," written by Scheffel and set to music by
me, is to be given on September 2lSt in the Minnesanger Hall in
the Wartburg, where you heard the "Elizabeth" Oratorio.
A few days after this I shall travel to Rome, and remain there 3
or 4 weeks. Before the end of October I shall come to you again
for a couple of days before returning to Pest on November 1st.
The dedication-copies of the "Szoszat" and the "Hymnus" for Count
Andrassy are not yet ready, it seems. Roszavolgyi (Dunkl) has
sent me only a fete ordinary copies of the pianoforte version,
and not one of the score. I shall therefore have to wait till
November before sending or presenting it to Count Andrassy.
From the Grand Duchess I received 1,000 thalers--but these
together with your 500 have all been spent. Be so good as to send
me another 300 thalers next week! For my journey to Rome I shall
probably, towards the middle of September, again have to ask you
for a note of 500 francs. Although I do not go in for any
luxuries, money vanishes quickly and readily in my hands.
Heartiest greetings to your wife and children, and au revoir in
Vienna at the end of October.
Weimar, August l0th, 1873
132. To Franz Servais
Dear Victorious One,
Your letter had been travelling several days in Bavaria before it
reached me here yesterday morning. I thank you for letting me
take an affectionate part in the success you have obtained, and I
wish to keep that part throughout your future successes--and even
failures. The latter will not do you any great harm, provided
that you know how to keep that attachment to work, and that
perseverance in noble ideas, which are the chief heirloom of the
artist. Lassen tells me that we are shortly to hear your "Tasso"
here: my attentive sympathy is wide awake; so fulfil your
promise, dear Franz, by coming before the end of this month, and
we will talk at our ease at the Hofgartnerei of our aims and
Please give my respects to your mother, and my cordial
remembrances to Joseph and Godebski.
Your affectionate and devoted
Weimar, August 19th, 1873
133. To Walter Bache
Often I am behindhand and stop short of thanks with you, but it
is certainly not for want of sincere affection and esteem.
Your "9th Annual Concert" has again shown the worth of your
talents and the firm constancy of your character. Now in our
artistic world character is still more rare than talent.
You nobly unite the two; it is a pleasure to me to acknowledge
it, and to count you amongst the most devoted champions of
progress and of musical good sense.
At their head, by right of age and capability, walks
imperturbably and gloriously Hans de Bulow.
Will you give him the enclosed letter? and believe me ever, dear
Your very cordially affectionate
Weimar, August 20th, 1873
134. To Max Erdmannsdorfer, Hofcapellmeister in Sonderhausen
[At present Capellmeister in Bremen; he has rendered good service
to the cause of the New-German musical tendency both in Germany
Very Dear Herr Capellmeister,
Your friendly invitation for me to attend the performance of your
"Schneewittchen" I am unfortunately unable to accept. Owing to
the festivities at the Wartburg it is impossible for me to get
away next week. Will you kindly convey to the Princess Elizabeth
my regrets as well as my most gracious thanks?
On Sunday, September 28th, I shall have the pleasure of thanking
you personally in Sondershausen for arranging and carrying out
the extraordinary concert programme. It is my special wish that
the two "Faust Episodes" should not be separated--even at the
risk of wearying the public for a few minutes with the
"Nachtlicher Zug." [Two Episodes from Lenau's Faust (Leipzig,
Schuberth).] But this piece does not appear to me altogether so
I beg you again to repeat my sincere praise to the Sondershausen
artists who played so admirably here last Monday in the 9th
Symphony, and remain, very dear Sir, with marked feelings of
Yours in all friendship,
Weimar, September 16th, 1873
Kahnt, Gille, J. Schuberth, Lassen and several other friends of
mine are going to attend the Sondershausen concerts on the 28th
and 29th September.
The Weimar presentation I will bring you.
135. To Otto Lessmann
Best thanks for sending Kiel's "Christus"--a work full of
spiritual substance, of noble and fine sentiments, and masterly
in execution. Riedel proposes to give a performance of it next
winter it Leipzig.
With such a clause as Joachim introduces for the "Novitaten-
Concerten"--"that only such composers shall be taken into
consideration in the programmes whose renown as artistic
representatives of the German nation is established"--Handel,
Bach, Mozart, nay even Beethoven, would have come off badly in
Whether it is appropriate for the Berlin Hochschule to act in so
specially a high and mighty manner remains to be seen. Still it
is to be expected that such procedure is likely itself to meet
with some other restricting "clauses."
Of the arrangement for 8 hands of the Pastorale and March [From
Liszt's Oratorio "Christus."] which I wish to have from you, you
will have already heard from Schuberth. Likewise from Kahnt of
the couple of pieces from the "Elizabeth."
Au revoir on Sunday, the 28th September, in Sondershausen, where
we shall have a curious (sonderliches) Programme. Receive
herewith, dear friend, a special invitation, together with the
assurance of my friendly attachment.
Weimar, September 24th, 1873
I shall bring you back your copy of Kiel's Christus to
136. To Kornel von Abranyi
Dear Valiant Friend,
Your letter, and the printed paper of great fame which
accompanies it, recalls to me the saying, "La joie fait peur."
[Abranyi, who was the Secretary of the Festival Committee which
had been formed for the celebration of Liszt's Artist-Jubilee in
November 1873 at Budapest, had in their name invited Liszt to
take part in this.] Nevertheless I could not suit myself to the
role of a coward; I will therefore endeavor to surmount my fear
and to make myself worthy to share with my brave compatriots in
the joy they have prepared for me.
I beg you, in your capacity of secretary of the Festival
Committee, to present my most grateful thanks, in good Hungarian,
to the most illustrious and most reverend President, Monseigneur
Haynald, [The Archbishop of Kalocsa, afterwards Cardinal, Liszt's
friend of many years. (Being interested in the present
collection, he promised to contribute to it the letters addressed
to him "by the great artist and noble man." His death
unfortunately prevented the fulfilment of his promise, and the
Archiepiscopal Chapter of Kalocsa did not accede to the request
of the editor to be allowed to have these letters.)] and to the
members of the Committee.
Baron Augusz had written me word that he would come here in the
middle of September, to be present at the "Festspiel" [Festival
Play] at the Wartburg. He shall soon receive news from me from
Rome, where I shall arrive on Sunday. Schuberth is sending you
the score and the piano score of the "Christ," together with the
biographical notices for which you asked me. My cousin Eduard
will send you the "postscript" immediately.
Cordial friendship and fruitful collaboration.
Weimar, October 1st, 1873
Herewith the programmes of the 2 concerts at Sondershausen at
which I was present. This afternoon I start for Rome,--and on the
1st November shall be at Pest.
137. To Martha Remmert
[A pupil of Liszt's; became later Kammervirtuosin (court-pianist)
in Weimar, and lives now in Berlin.]
Pest, December 27th, 1873
The best "solution" in reply to the ministerial order lies in
your hands. Merely play the first page of Henselt's Concerto and
no one will doubt that I am very kindly disposed towards you. And
I shall be glad to render you further service in your zeal for
study and your ambition as a virtuosa. No matter whether I be in
Pest or in Weimar.
In all friendliness yours,
138. To ?
[Autograph without address or date in the possession of Count
Albert Amadei in Vienna.--According to him the letter belongs to
the year 1873.]
Very dear Fraulein,
Please reply at once per telegram:--"Please do not come.--Liszt
does not need or wish to be heard, as he has no one for whom he
must strike up."
Tomorrow evening more by word of mouth.
139. To Countess Marie Dunhoff in Vienna
[Sketch of a letter in the possession of Herr O. A. Schulz,
bookseller in Leipzig.--The addressee, the wife of the German
ambassador Von Bulow, lives now in Bucharest.]
[Beginning of January, 1874]
You speak to me so eloquently of the merit, talent and
superiority of Madame L.B. that I am quite ashamed of not
fulfilling her wish subito. But in reality that would be more
difficult than she imagines; a "petit morceau de piano" would
only be a small part of the matter; the public is a very exacting
master, even in its days of favor; the more it gives the more it
Half a dozen such requests as that of Madame L.B. have been
addressed to me at Vienna this week. How can one suffice for such
a business, which, be it said in passing, is at once outside and
far beyond my duties?--At my age one must try to behave
reasonably, and to avoid excess; I shall therefore limit myself
in Vienna to the one concert of the "Kaiser Franz Joseph
Stiftung," [Emperor Francis Joseph Scholarship] which reasons of
great propriety, easy to understand, have led me to accept with
alacrity. I am told that it will take place on Sunday, 11th
January; so be it: I shall willingly conform to the arrangements
of the Committee and have no other wish in this matter than...not
to inconvenience anybody. [The concert for the "Emperor Francis
Joseph Scholarship" did not take place till April; and Liszt did
actually play, in the Easter week, for the Countess's protegee,
though not in the Concert Room, but in the Palais Auersperg.]
Permit me to hope, dear Countess, that you will not, under the
pretext of "discretion," inflict upon me the immense punishment
of seeing you less often this time than formerly, and that you
will not retract any of your kindness, on which I place the
A thousand and a thousand sincere and most respectfully devoted
expressions of homage.
140. To B. Bessel, Music Publisher in St. Petersburg
Horpacs (Chez le Comte Szechenyi), February 2nd, 1874.
Pray excuse me for being so late in thanking you,--you and all
those who signed the telegram sent to Pest on the occasion of my
jubilee fete. I am deeply touched with the noble sentiments it
expresses with a chivalrous eloquence, and beg you to convey the
tribute of my most sincere gratitude to Messrs. Balakireff,
Borodine, Cui, Moussorsky, Rimski-Korsakoff, Scherbatcheff, and
You were kind enough, Sir, to let me see several of their works
at Weimar; I appreciate and esteem them highly, and as far as
depends on myself I will do all I can to make them known, and
shall feel honored thus to respond to the sympathetic kindness
which brave colleagues such as these accord to
Their very devoted
141. To Professor Skiwa in Vienna
[Printed in the Signale, 1874, No. 20.--Skiwa had dedicated his
"Beitrage zur Literatur des Harmoniums" ("Contribution to
Harmonium Literature") to Liszt.]
Very Dear Sir,
Kindly excuse the delay in my sending you my sincere thanks,
which I shall very shortly take the liberty of expressing to you
personally in Vienna. I shall then also ask you to do me the
favor of making me more intimately acquainted with your excellent
transcriptions. In reading them through one at once observes the
author's masterly style and his care and artistic handling of the
characteristic peculiarities of the harmonium, especially in the
management of the basses and the mid-voice parts. But still the
mere reading your transcriptions does not satisfy me, and I
should like to hear them, so as to be able fully to enjoy them.
Herr Bosendorfer will bring you the manuscript of the
"Consolation," the dedication of which is very acceptable to me.
The transcription of this small piece into A major appears to me
very appropriate, and the arrangement excellent.
With marked esteem and friendly thanks,
Pest, March 2lst, 1874
142. TO C. F. Kahnt, the Music Publisher
[Published in the Neue Zeitung fur Musik, 14th September, 1892.]
The day after tomorrow I again go to Vienna, and remain there
about a week. In case the "Prometheus" proofs are ready send them
to me to my usual address ("Schottenhof bei Hofrath E. v. Liszt")
by the middle of Easter week; after that my address will be
rather uncertain, as I intend spending a few days in Pressburg
and Kalocsa (with Archbishop Haynald), and do not return here
till after April 20th. Hence, if the "Prometheus" proofs are not
ready within the next few days, do not send them till after my
return to Pest (April 21).
Please send the proofs of Mihalovich's songs as soon as possible
to the composer, addressed to
"Servitenplatz, im Teleky'schen Haus."
The Vienna concert in the "Palais Auersperg" is announced for
Easter Monday, April 6th. The following Sunday, or at latest on
Sunday the 19th April, the concert of the "Kirchenmusik-Verein"
is to be given in Pressburg, at which I take a part in piano-
playing--it is to be hoped for the last time this year!--
I think of remaining here from April 2lst to the beginning of
May, and then of wandering straightway to Rome, and to the Villa
I wish you in all friendliness a happy Easter, with satisfactory
business at the Easter's fair, and remain your sincerely attached
Pest, March 29th, 1874
Have you sent Countess Oriolla the omitted copy of the "Wartburg
143. To Dr. Franz Witt
I look forward with eager interest to the realisation of your
scheme to found a Catholic School of Music. The numerous and
important services you have rendered as composer, conductor,
teacher, promoter and president of the Cacilien-Verein proclaim
and mark you as pre-eminently fitted to organize and direct this
highly important kind of School. I should wish that Hungary, my
fatherland, might set a good example, and might offer you, my
very dear friend, an honorable and influential post in the Musik-
Akademie that was voted for last year in the Chamber. This wish
of mine was seconded with cordiality by His Eminence the Cardinal
Primate, His Excellency the Archbishop of Kalocsa, Haynald, and
H. E. Trefort, the Minister of Public Instruction. Various
political circumstances interfered with the plan of starting a
Musik-Akademie in Pest; but the idea has by no means been given
up, and I have still the hope that you may yet at some future day
be called upon to give your powerful assistance in connection
with the teaching and practice of Church music in Hungary.
144. To Professsor Carl Riedel
As at all preceding Tonkunstler-Versammlungen, you have again
this year in Brunswick done the best that was possible. [The
Meeting took place in Halle, instead of in Brunswick.] Five
concerts sound almost alarming, but the programmes are drawn up
and arranged with so much forethought and care that your master-
hand and that indescribable "with avec" (as dear Frau Dr. Pohl
called it) are at once to be recognised. It certainly was
advisable to check the "democratic movements" of the orchestra
without interfering with the well-meant "command." That the
Sondershausen set continue to prove themselves reliable and
friendly I am delighted to hear. I wish all possible success to
Erdmannsdorfer's "Schneewittchen." The youthful and captivating
Frau Kapellmeisterin Erdmannsdorfer is especially capable of
doing justice to Raff's Trio (or Concerto) and other pianoforte
pieces. [Pauline Fichtner, who married Erdmannsdorfer, was a
pupil of Liszt's, and became court-pianist at Weimar and Hesse.]
Will Bulow be able to be present? We have not written to each
other for some time past. Do you know where to address him just
In case my Faust Symphony is given at the 5th concert (as your
programme announces), I beg you to ask Bulow to be conductor.
This work has become his property since he conducted it so
magnificently at the Weimar Tonkunstler-Versammlung ('61), when
the whole orchestra was amazed and astounded at his fabulous
memory. You will remember that not only did he not use a score,
but at the rehearsal referred to the numberless letters and
double letters with unerring accuracy.
With regard to two other matters I wish: A, that Steinway may
have the kindness to lend one of his excellent harmoniums for the
Hunnenschlacht, and that the instrument may be so placed as to be
invisible to the public and yet distinctly heard. B, that the
performance of the Sanctus from the Mass for men's voices be
taken from the editio nova (published a few years ago by Hartel),
and not from the earlier edition. Here, too, Steinway's harmonium
would render excellent service, visible and placed close to the
chorus. Perhaps our friend Stade would have the kindness to play
the harmonium part of the Hunnenschlacht and of the Sanctus.--
I truly regret that I shall not be able to hear that sublime,
grand and overpowering Requiem by Berlioz, nor to attend the
Musical Festival in Brunswick. I am physically and mentally very
exhausted, and need several months' rest; besides my remaining
away from Weimar forbids me from meanwhile visiting any other
German towns.--Before the middle of May I shall go direct to
Rome, and remain there till the end of the year in my former
residence at the Villa d'Este (3-1/2 hours from Rome).
With friendly greetings to your wife, I remain, Yours ever in
esteem and sincere attachment,
Pest, April 17th, 1874
Accept my best thanks for cancelling my promise to Metzdorff (in
regard to the performance of his Symphony).
I agree perfectly, of course, with your desideria fog the Musik-
Verein, and hope next year to be able to contribute something
towards their realisation.
"In patientia vestra possidebitis animas vestras."
To Kahnt I wrote at once on my return from Pressburg on Monday.
145. To Dom-Capellmeister [Cathedral Conductor] Dr. Franz Haberl
[This letter, like the subsequent one to Haberl, is a copy of the
draft of a letter of Liszt's by Dr. Mirus in Weimar.--Haberl is a
distinguished musical scholar (born in 1840).]
Pardon me if I again come with claims upon your kindness. You may
know that I am working at an Oratorio on St. Stanislaus, and
perhaps might be able to give me some assistance with it by
communicating to me the liturgic hymns referring to the feast of
St. Stanislaus. The Enchyrydion and Directorium Chori designate
the Mass, Protexisti, etc., on May 7th. To receive fuller
information from you on this point would greatly oblige me.
[Haberl also gave Liszt aural communications regarding the
Stanislaus legend. "On one occasion," says Haberl, "Liszt was
specially and greatly delighted to hear of the man whom
Stanislaus summoned out of the grave as a witness that the field
had been paid for, and gave me a sketch of his proposed motives
and tone pictures."]
Pray accept, reverend Sir and friend, the expression of my marked
esteem, and believe me yours gratefully and sincerely,
146. To Professsor Carl Riedel
Herzogenberg's [Formerly Director of the Leipzig Bach-Verein,
then Kiel's successor at the Berlin Hochschule, which post he
lately resigned.] "Deutsches Liederspiel pleases me very much.
The very first chorus with its mixed species of tempi 6/4-3/2 and
6/4-3/2 is fresh and pithy, and the whole work seems to me.
excellent, pleasant and effective. Hence I should much like to
recommend its being performed.
Where does Herzogenberg live? Has he any appointment anywhere?
Let me know, when you can, something of his former and present
(N.B.--It would be worth while, later, carefully to arrange the
"Deutsches Liederspiel" for orchestra.)
I observe with special pleasure that Grutzmacher has chosen a
Suite of St. Saens'. St. Saens will not, however, be able to
come,--the less so as a few years ago his appearance in quite a
harmless concert in Baden-Baden brought down upon him hideous
rebukes and reproaches from the Parisian Press. And the tone in
France is not yet more temperate; still it is right that German
artists should prove themselves fair and just towards foreigners,
and, as long as Auber's and Gounod's Operas are given in all
German theaters, I see no good reason against considering and
performing other works by French composers. Among modern
composers I regard St. Saens as the ablest and most gifted.
I am much satisfied with the choice you have made of my things,
dear friend, and thank you cordially for it--at the same time I
must express my sincere regret that I am unable to attend the
Tonkunstler-Versammlung, and remain, with much esteem, yours most
Pest, May 5th, 1874
147. To Princess Julie Waldburg at Castle Wurzach
Madame La Princesse,
I feel that I am quite inexcusable. You have been so kind as to
send me some charming Lieder, and to accompany them with the most
gracious lines in the world. How could I fail to thank you for
them immediately? What rusticity!--Deign to think of this no
longer, Princess; and permit me not to "judge" your songs,--
magisterial competency would fail me utterly,--but to tell you
that I have read them with much pleasure. The one of which the
style and impassioned accent please me particularly is dedicated
to Mme. Ehnn--"Liebeshoffnung"; but I do not mean to depreciate
The oriental interval of the augmented fourth, which I scent in
the "Mondlied," would be written, I think, more simply thus:--
[Here, Liszt writes a 2-bar musical score excerpt]
and further on
[Here, Liszt writes another musical score excerpt]
(C instead of B-sharp). And to prove to you, Princess, my
attention in reading your works, I will venture to observe to you
that in the French Romance "Comme a vingt ans" the prosody is
neglected in the third couplet. Instead of the printed version
(with two syllables omitted) it should run something like this:--
[Here, Liszt writes a 7-bar musical excerpt at the point where
the words "Je vis le len--de--main, non plus au hord de l'onde
mais as--si--se as che--min la jeune fi--le blonde" are sung.]
If I still had, as in Vienna, the honor of finding myself in your
neighborhood, I hope you would grant me a word of indulgence; and
meanwhile, Madame la Princesse, I venture to beg you to accept
the most respectful homage of
Your very humble and inexcusable servant,
Pest, May 10th, 1874
148. To Peter Cornelius
Dearest Friend of my Heart,
Again a request. You alone can help me, and give me in German a
faithful poetical rendering of Lamartine's "Hymne de l'enfant a
Years ago I used to sing this hymn, from my inmost heart, to my
three children; you remember them...
And now the composition (what an unknown word for it!) is to
appear in print, and the publisher Taborszky in Pest will send
you my manuscript together with a copy of the poem. In case any
prosodical alterations should seem appropriate, be kind enough to
write them down distinctly in notes on a separate sheet of paper.
Tomorrow I travel direct to Rome, and shall spend the summer and
autumn in the Villa d'Este (Tivoli). There, at length, our
"Stanislaus" shall be pushed forward. [Cornelius translated the
text to the Oratorio "Stanislaus."]
With friendliest greetings to all your circle, I am, dearest
Cornelius, ever your heartily devoted
Pest, May 16th, 1874
149. To A.F. Eggers in Liverpool
[From a copy of the draft of a letter by Dr. Mirus, Weimar.]
[Villa d'Este, June 21st, 1874]
Your friendly communication rests upon a harmless mistake. You do
not seem to know that for 26 years past I have altogether ceased
to be regarded as a pianist; hence I have for a long time not
given any concerts, and only very occasionally played the piano
in public, for some very special reason, to aid some charity or
to further some artistic object, and then only in Rome, Hungary
(my native country), and in Vienna--nowhere else. And on these
rare and very exceptional occasions no one has ever thought of
offering me any remuneration in money. Excuse me therefore, dear
Sir, that I cannot accept your invitation to the Liverpool
Musical Festival, inasmuch as I cannot in any way think of
wearying the public with my "whilom" piano-playing.
150. To Walter Bache
Dear and Honored Friend,
I am often with you in kindest remembrance and cordial sympathy
with your admirable efforts, but unfortunately I rarely get any
letters written to the friends I value most, for my time is
wasted with a number of wearisome and useless notes. I have just
despatched one of this sort to a Mr. E. in L. The good man
invites me to the Festival to be held there, asks me to consider
the matter, and even offers me a remuneration in money for
playing--without imagining that I have anything else or better to
do than to accept such invitations. To me concert tours would be
absolutely senseless; to fulfil my duties in Pest and Weimar
gives me trouble and interruptions enough. All the other things
need not be enumerated.
The summer and autumn (till my return to Pest in January '75) I
mean to spend here quietly and at work. Last Monday and Tuesday I
had the special pleasure of a visit from Bulow. And we thought of
you in all friendship.--Bulow is now going to Salzungen (near
Meiningen) for a couple of months, to recover from the terrible
fatigues of his concert tour, and next October goes again to
Remember me most kindly to Mr. Dannreuther with assurances of
faithful attachment, and do me the favor to give the enclosed
notes of thanks to Messrs. Hueffer and Gounod.
Our very able and dear patroness, Madame Laussot, told me that
you, dear Bache, will probably soon be wandering towards Italy.
A hearty welcome, therefore, to the old place where again is
resting your old and sincere friend,
June 2lst, 1874
(Villa d'Este,--Tivoli, per Roma--Italia.)
151. To Dr. Franz Witt
[Villa d'Este, Early Summer, 1874.]
Much-esteemed Sir and Friend,
The lively recollection I entertain of the truly edifying Church-
music performances in Eichstatt under your direction [On the
occasion of the 3rd General Assembly of the Cacilien-Verein in
Eichstatt, August 1871] increases my regret that I am unable to
accept your friendly invitation to the 5th General Assembly of
the Cacilien-Verein in Ratisbon (between the 1st and 7th August)
[The Assembly was held on the above-mentioned days.]. A wearisome
piece of work will keep me here till my return to Pest in January
'75. Next summer, however, I hope again to pay you a visit, and
to gather excellent precepts and examples from you. Meanwhile I
am reading your Essays with peculiar satisfaction, and more
especially your com-positions in the "Musica sacra" and the
"Fliegende Blatter." "Fliegend" [flying] must here be taken in
the higher, angelic sense; in the latter sense O salutaris hostia
sounds altogether comforting Musica angelorum, such as pleasantly
animates all your Church tone-works.
152. To Dr. Franz Haberl
[A portion of this letter is printed in Dr. Mirus' brochure, "Das
Liszt-Museum in Weimar" (1892), which contains many interesting
relics of Liszt.]
[Villa d'Este, Early Summer, 1874.]
Much-esteemed Sir and Friend
To my sincere regret I find myself prevented from attending the
Cacilien-Verein in Ratisbon.
The efforts and performances of the Verein I follow with the
deepest interest, and anticipate that its promoters--who are so
capable, careful and learned--will accomplish all that is truly
of advantage in Church music. And in this Ratisbon has for many
years past deserved to rank first, and you, my much-esteemed
friend, deserve the fullest recognition that can be offered for
the abundant services you have rendered in the cause. Accept my
grateful thanks for kindly sending Vittoria's Missa pro
defunctis, [A six-voiced Requiem given by Dr. Haberl at the 5th
General Assembly of the Cacilien-Verein in Ratisbon in 1874, and
published in the "Musica divina," Annus II., Tom. I, by Pustet]
which was brought to me by the Chaplain of the Anima Church. Will
you be so kind as to get Herr Pustet to send me also, through
Leukoch, [Perhaps ought to read Leuckart?] "Mannuale breve
canticum," etc.? [A little book of Chorales by Joh. Georg
In spite of the grievous news of your continued sufferings I do
not give up the hope of seeing you here again soon, and of taking
all friendly care of you; and you shall not in the least degree
be troubled or wearied; merely recruit from your over-exertions
by living simply and comfortably amid quiet and congenial
Hence I take the liberty again of inviting your Reverence to
spend the next months with me here in the Villa d'Este, where you
will find rest, quiet and cosiness, mild air, glorious scenery,
pleasant walks, good eating, good wine, books, music, pianos to
make use of ad libitum, and a temperature mentally agreeable.
Cardinal Hohenlohe requests me to say that you will be heartily
welcome, and this message is communicated with unmixed pleasure
by your very respectful and sincerely grateful
153. To Edmund von Mihalovich
Very Dear Friend,
Your Prologue to the Nibelungen in course of performance at the
Walhalla-Roszavolgyi has royally amused me. [A joke of
Mihalovich, who had nicknamed several mutually known people with
the names and characters out of the Nibelungen] I wish that
Wagner may find in Messrs. Betz, Scaria, Niemann, etc.,
interpreters as well suited to their roles as Richter-Wotan,
Dunkl-Loge, Abranyi-Thor and Gobbi-Mime.
At Bayreuth "fervet opus" The preparatory piano rehearsals are
going on; celebrated artists are growing thick on the ground,
like the suitors at Penelope's court. Joseph Rubinstein suspends
his commercial occupations, and returns from Cracow to drive the
four-in-hand accompaniment of Rheingold. The architects,
painters, decorators, machinists, costumiers and their people are
continuing their work; therefore, in spite of difficulties and
obstacles, the great work of Art of this century--Wagner's
Tetralogy of the Nabelungen--will come to pass, and I hope to be
present at the first performance with my very dear friends Mi and
Do. [Mihalovich was called Mi by Liszt, and Count Apponyi Do.]--
Meanwhile let us go on patiently at our own modest work, and
endeavor to make it as suitable as possible. Next winter we will
make an exchange of our latest sheets of music. I will bring a
pretty thick packet to Sir Hagbar. [An Opera by Mihalovich
(Hagbar and Sigurd)]
Schuberth promises me the "Geisterschiff" in the autumn; we will
then launch it at once with Sgambati, who has just composed
several Lieder, exquisite in sentiment. I have recently written,
as an Impromptu, without any forethought, an Elegie in memory of
Mme. de Moukhanoff, entitled "Schlummerlied im Grabe" [Slumber
Song in the Grave.]
Your kind wishes for my repose are being realised here. I pass my
days very peaceably, and my evenings alone, in reading, writing
or playing. Since the departure of Bulow, who gave me his most
eminent company for two days (in the middle of June), I have, so
to say, seen nobody. He is now making his villeggiatura at
Salzungen near Meiningen, returns to England in the month of
November, and will not go to America till the autumn of '75.
Pay me a visit sometimes in thought, dear Mi, and believe me ever
your very cordially devoted friend,
Villa d'Este (Tivoli), July 30th, 1874.
Let me hear something about Do and Horpacs. [An estate of Count
Emmerich Szechenyi, the former Austro-Hungarian ambassador in
Berlin, whom Liszt frequently visited.] I will write to them
154. To Peter Cornelius
[The letter is addressed to Neuenahr, where Cornelius had gone
for a water-cure, shortly before his death. The translation of
the Cacilia-legend he did not accomplish.]
Dear and valued Friend,
You have again presented me with a marvellous gift. Your German
translation of Lamartine's "Hymne de l'enfant a son reveil" is
exquisitely successful, and retains all the fragrance and aroma
of the original poem.
"Kein Wurmlein vergissest Du...Das Zicklein an Staude und
Beere...Am Milchkrug Mucklein saugt den Saft...Und die Lerche das
["No worm dost Thou e'er forget...The kid amid the shrubs and
berries...The fly that sips the sweetest juice...And the lark
that pecks the blade of corn."...]
All and everything fits in so exactly with the music, syllable by
syllable, that it seems as if the poem and music had sprung up
together. Verily, dear friend, you are an extremely kind and most
perfect magician. Now do not be vexed with me if my grateful
appreciation of your skill should prove somewhat covetous, and I
again ask you to do me a favor. A little French poem of 48 short
lines, "Sainte Cecile, Legende," by Madame Emile Girardin
(Delphine Gay) is awaiting your poetic courtesy. Allow me to send
you my finished composition of this Cacilia, the musical
foundation of which is furnished by the Gregorian antiphone:
"Cantantibus organis, Caecilia Domino decantabat." It is to be
hoped that I have not spoilt it, and I trust to your friendly
kindliness to send me a German translation of it before the next
Cacilia Festival (22nd November), soon after which it shall be
printed, and a performance of it given in Pest.
The delay with the edition of your two Operas I sincerely regret.
They deserve much greater appreciation and a much wider
circulation than hundreds of others that are printed, and the
publication of the pianoforte scores is sure to effect this for
them. Meanwhile I am glad that you have made use of my suggestion
to base the Overture of the "Barber" on the pleasantly
[Here, Liszt illustrates with a 4-bar musical score excerpt.]
Next summer we shall meet in Munich.--With hearty thanks, your
Villa d'Este (Tivoli), August 23rd, 1874
If you should see Frau Schott in Mainz, give her my kindest
remembrances. For some time past various manuscripts have been
lying ready which I should have liked to hand over to Schott's
house of business; but fear that they might arrive at an
inopportune moment. The very title, "Drei symphonische Trauer-
Oden" ["Three Symphonic Funeral Odes"] might prove alarming; and
besides, the scores--all about 20 pages in length--would have to
be published simultaneously with the pianoforte transcriptions
(for one or two performers). Well, "we can wait."...
I am working pretty industriously at the "Sanct Stanislaus." Of
this you will tomorrow receive a full report--and an urgent
request for speedy, energetaeally accentuated pains over the
essential but not lengthy alterations of the text.
155. To Ludwig Bosendorfer in Vienna
[Head of the celebrated pianoforte manufactory, now
Commerzienrath (Councillor of Commerce)]
With my sincere thanks for your interesting reports of the Vienna
musical world I would gladly have given you something of the same
kind in return. But there is here nothing whatever in the way of
novelties or specialities in the way of concerts; be content,
therefore, if my letter today mentions only one, but to me a very
important artistic item--namely, the frequent use of your piano,
which, among other virtues, possesses a wondrous power of not
getting out of tune [Unverstimmtheit]. Since its despatch from
Vienna not a tuner has touched it, and yet it keeps in beautiful
tune, and steadily resists all variations and effects of
Till the end of January I shall remain quietly at work here; then
go direct to Pest--and by the middle of April on to Weimar. My
thoughts and efforts require now only peace and seclusion. These
are things that suit me best in my old age, and uphold me in
spiritual intercourse with my dear and true friends. As such I
greet you and your wife heartily and sincerely.
Villa d'Este, August 28th, 1874
156. To Adelheid von Schorn in Weimar
Dear and Most excellent One,
For our grand coup you come in completely in your role of
providence, which you fill with such complete good grace, and
with an admirable mastery! I cannot tell you what immense comfort
your letter brings me, with its assurance of your speedy arrival
in Rome. Try not to delay it beyond the 25th-30th November, and
if possible come sooner. Princess Wittgenstein is still very
suffering, and has kept her bed entirely for six weeks; your
company and the inspirations of your solicitude will do her more
good than all the Allo-and Homoeopaths put together.
I beg that you will write to her speedily to announce your
coming, for she is ignorant and must be kept in complete
ignorance of the plot we have hatched with Princess Marie [The
daughter of Princess Wittgenstein.], the happy success of which
you will crown. (questions of detail will be easily settled to
your satisfaction, in such a manner that the stay in Rome will be
thoroughly pleasant to you.
It is understood that you will not mention the question of where
you will live to Princess W., who has already only too much worry
about her own rooms. In my opinion it would be best for you to go
to the Hotel d'Amerique, Via Babuino (close by the house of the
Princess and of the one where I live), and to spend some days
there, until you see where you can settle yourself comfortably,
whether at the Pension (also very near the Babuino) where your
cousin Octavie stayed, or elsewhere.
When you reach Bologna, please let me know by telegram on what
day you will arrive; I will meet you at the station, and it will
be a real joy to me to escort you to your first abode in Rome.
Thank you with all my heart, and yours ever,
Rome October 12th, 1874 (Vicolo de Greci, 43.)
The Princess is living at Via Babuino 59.
Your letter was only returned to me from Tivoli yesterday
I shall remain here, or at the Villa d'Este, till the end of
157. To Breitkopf and Hartel
Very dear Sirs,
The kind reception you gave the last sending of my somewhat
cumbersome manuscripts and revisions pleased me greatly. I will
always gladly do what I can to not increase the publishers'
worries, and henceforth print only what has been carefully worked
out and will prove tolerably acceptable.
With regard to the form in which the Songs and Wagner-
transcriptions are to be published, you may act altogether as you
think best. I did certainly think that the convenient and neat
edition in small octavo would be preferable (like the last
edition of Chopin and my "Etudes transcendantes"): hence in from
5 to 6 little volumes:--
1. Beethoven (The "Adelaide" and other Songs);
2. Mendelssohn (6 Songs);
3. Robert and Clara Schumann;
4. Robert Franz;
5 to 6 (?). Wagner-transcriptions.
This would in no way prevent the songs and pieces of several
pages (such as the "Adelaide," Mendelssohn's Songs, the
"Tannhauser-March," the "Rienzi-Fantasia," etc.' being sold
singly--in the same small 8vo form which, candidly speaking, I
always like best. As long ago as the year '39 I induced Haslinger
to publish Schubert's songs in an edition of this kind--and at
that time it seemed rather a doubtful innovation. Also about
placing the words below the music. I wish this, for the sake of
the poetical delivery in all of the songs, except the "Adelaide,"
because the poem roams about rather too freely in rococo style.
Let us leave "the flow'ret at the grave" to bloom on quietly
without retouching it again.
I must unfortunately again trouble you to send me all the proofs.
It is a matter of great moment to me to have the things arranged
as accurately and as appropriately for the piano as possible. And
for this I require the last proofs, in order finally to revise
them in reading and playing them over. (For the printer's
consolation be it remarked that no new alterations shall now crop
up again; my zeal in correcting shall be confined to making some
pedal marks and fingerings.) First of all I should like to try
over Sgambati's duet arrangement of the "Ideale" with him; and
you will doubtless do me the favor of sending me the proof sheets
stitched together before I leave here (at the end of January).--
I leave the matter concerning the small honorarium confidently to
your well-known kindly disposition, and remain, very dear Sirs,
Yours respectfully and most obediently,
Villa d'Este, November 24th, 1874
158. To Count Albert Apponyi in Budapest
[From an undated rough draft of a letter in the possession of
Herr O. A. Schulz, bookseller in Leipzig. (The date has been
ascertained from a letter to Mihalovich.)--The addressee was the
well-known Hungarian statesman.]
[Villa d'Este, December 6th, 1874]
Dear and Very Honored Friend,
Your excellent letter of the 27th November reached me here
yesterday evening. I hasten to give you my very sincere thanks,
and to add a frank reply on the question of the Academy of Music.
First of all I think the "moyen violent" [violent means] of
Huszar, which will deliver us from barren tittle-tattle, is
right; let us throw the Seeschlange [sea serpent] into the
Danube, and if he wants an epitaph here is one: "It is better to
do nothing than to do stupidities."
Now, are we the stupid ones?--The Government is much interested
in this affair; the Sovereign's decision has been obtained; I
know not what official publication has followed. You yourself,
dear Count, have brilliantly persuaded the Chamber of Deputies
that the said Academy would be of use in raising Art in Hungary;
my necessary humble reserve has been taken by the public as
consent.--Is it possible now to take no account of such
precedents, and to draw back when it is a question of advancing?
I do not think so, and I am quite of your opinion, as wise as it
In spite of the difficulties of a position embroiled with divers
worries, and in spite of the scantiness of the financial means,
we ought to stick to our affirmative position and not in the
least to give way.
As to my "personal convenience," which you are good enough to
take into such kind consideration, permit me to assure you anew
that I aspire to one only blessing--quiet time for work in my own
room. Orare et laborare. The point of honor, which no one
understands better than yourself, attaches me to Hungary, our
country. May I fulfil there all my duty of gratitude!--
I shall be back at Pest (Fischplatz) on the 10th February, and
shall rejoice to hear the Ballade of our valiant friend
Mihalovich, to whom I shall write tomorrow.
Yours from my heart,
159. To Edmund von Mihalovich
Dear Excellent Friend,
I wrote the day before yesterday to Do, and was about to continue
with a letter to you when a telegram called me subitissimo back
to Rome. The thread of my ideas has not been broken on the
journey, and I resume our conversation, a trois, on the long
gestation--omen of abortion--of the Hungarian Academy of Music.
I trust that my very dear and honored friends will be convinced
of my perfect disinterestedness in the question; the idea of an
Academy is in no way mine if I become sponsor to it, it will be
in self-defence and without any connivance at paternity whatever;
I even refuse to help in the procreation of the marmot [brat];
and, far from making myself, before my time, in any way its
champion or propagandist, I hesitate over the difficulties which
are opposed to its birth. I have explained these many a time to
my Budapest friends, and the difficulties have increased rather
than diminished during these last three years...
1stly. The financial situation of the country appears to be such
that one must scruple to burden the budget with an expenditure
beyond urgent needs. My patriotism is sufficiently sincere and
lively to counsel me to abstention, including every renunciation
that is compatible with my strict duty.
2ndly. It would be a poor luxury to add a third music school to
the two schools already existing (meagrely) at Pest. If one
cannot emulate with honor the similar establishments of Vienna,
Leipzig, etc.--what is the good of troubling any further about
it? Now, to give a vigorous impulse to Art among us, we must
first unite and fuse into one spirit a set of professors of well-
known capability,--a very arduous and ungrateful task, the
accomplishment of which demands much intelligence, and a
sufficient amount of cleverness and of money.
Other minor, local considerations complicate the matter stilt
further; I pass them over in silence today, and will not repeat
myself any more except on one point,--my religious devotion to
our country and our art. To serve them somewhat, according to the
moderate degree of my talent, whether it be in working by myself
at my manuscripts (which is what I much prefer), or in
cooperating with my friends in public things, this is my simple
and exclusive desire, totally removed from the personal
pretensions or anxieties of vanity which are wrongly imputed to
"Tiszta lelek, tiszta szandek, akar siker, akar nem." ["Pure
soul, pure intention, whether the results be favorable or not."--
Maxim of Stephan Szechenyi.]
My friends are those who haunt the Ideal; there, dear friend, we
"recognise" each other, and shall always do so,--but not "in the
mud," illustrated by a fascinating poet, too much celebrated and
tainted by the triviality of vulgar applause--Heine. Amongst
other things he had predicted that the Cathedral of Cologne would
never be finished. "In vain will Franz Liszt give his concerts,"
You know that Wagner is coming to Pest in Lent. It is only right
that several of your compositions--especially the last, "Sello"--
should be performed in public at that time. Talk the matter over
with Richter. I on my side will ring the "Bells." Please beg
Abranyi to hurry with the Hungarian translation of Longfellow's
poem (the Prologue to the "Golden Legend"), and to follow, not
the German translation of the "Pianoforte score," which I have
sent to Engesser, but the original English text. [Liszt had set
to music the Prologue to the "Golden Legend," under the title
"Die Glocken des Strassburger Munsters"--"The Bells of Strassburg
Yours in cordial friendship,
Villa d'Este, December 8th, 1874
I will write tomorrow to the very gracious chatelaine of Horpacs.
160. To Carl Hoffbauer in Munich
[From a copy belonging to Dir. Aug. Gollerich.--Hoffbauer, born
in 1850, became in 1872 Director of the Gesang-Verein in Munich,
went to Frankfort in 1880, and put an end to his own life. He
composed, among other things, the Operas "Cotzzata" and
[End of 1874.]
My hearty thanks for the kindly zeal with which you have taken up
the "Christus Oratorio." But a performance of it in Munich
appears to me so doubtful, and connected with so much trouble,
expense, and difficulty, that I must for the present dissuade you
from the undertaking. Besides, it would not be possible for me to
accept your invitation for the end of February, as several
engagements will keep me in Pest till Easter. And, if ever you
give a performance of the Christus in Munich, I should much like
to be present. As yet the whole work has been only twice heard,
in Weimar and Pest (in May and last November, '73).
In reply to your inquiry, I must mention Herr and Frau von Milde
and Frau Dr. Merian as specially well acquainted with and capable
of taking the solo parts.
Accept the assurance of my utmost gratitude for your eagerness to
give a performance of the Christus in Munich.
Most respectfully and sincerely yours,
101. To Edmund Von Mihalovich
Very Dear Friend,
In spite of the legion of Dessoff, calm plains or storms, go on
roaring bravely in the waters of the "Phantom Ship." Even should
we not succeed in arriving safely in port, and should we meet no
other Senta than Her Highness Madam Criticism, it matters not;
those who follow us in the same waters of the Ideal will be more
"Et quasi cursores vitai lampada tradunt!"--
We will talk about all this fully in February, in the Fischplatz.
Will you be so kind as to send the enclosed letter to my gracious
and admired translator of the "Chopin"--Mme. la Comtesse Ottilia
Wast? [A translation into Hungarian from the old edition of the
Further, I beg that you will recommend Taborszky to publish
before Easter my St. Francois de Paule, which our very dear
friend Albert Apponyi has been good enough to adorn with his
poetry,--and also "L'hymne de l'enfant a son reveil," which
Taborszky must have received in November (with the German words
by Cornelius and the addition of a harp part).
Schuberth has been seriously ill. I shall be after him to bring
out your Geisterschiff [Phantom Ship] without any more delay.
A revoir in six weeks, and always
Very cordially yours,
Villa d'Este, December 29th, 1874
On the occasion of the Wagner concert in Pest I should like my
"Bells" to ring, and beg Abranyi to attune the Hungarian
Klingklang [ding-dong] of them speedily and beautifully.
[Liszt's "Glockengelaute" (Bell-ringing) consisted in this--that
he played the Beethoven E Concerto at the Wagner concert in Pest.
He allowed himself to be persuaded to do this, as people were
afraid that, on account of the high prices, the concert would not
be full.--The "Bells of Strassburg Cathedral" were not
162. To Carl Hoffbauer in Munich.
[From the copy of a draft of a letter by Dr. Minis.]
[Probably Pest, at the beginning of 1875.]
Very Dear Sir,
Your last letter exhibits so convincing a character of truth and
noble-mindedness that I sincerely rejoice at the prospect of
becoming personally and in spirit better acquainted with you. And
first of all be assured of my special interest in your Opera
"Comata." Whatever I may be able to do as regards a
representation of it in a theater I shall not fail to do. In
Munich we will read the score over together, and discuss further
Of your persistence in wishing to have the "Christus" performed I
wrote to Schuberth yesterday, and shall in full confidence leave
the whole matter to your considerate zeal. You will best know
whether and how a successful performance can be made possible,
and please therefore arrange matters altogether according as you
think fit. I beg you merely to let me know the day you fix upon
some 10 or 12 days previously, and address me to Pest (at
Easter), if earlier to Weimar, and I will then come for the full
[The performance took place on the 12th April, 1875. As a result
of this King Ludwig II ordered a separate performance in the
Court theater, and this again was followed by a public one.]
Respectful greetings to the poetess of the "Comata," and believe
me, with marked esteem, yours gratefully and sincerely,
163. To Professor Julius Stern in Berlin
For years past and again lately I have been very much indebted to
you. Our eminently learned and dear friend Weitzmann [Theorist
and contrapuntist in Berlin (1808-1880)] told me of the careful
rehearsals, and of the admirable manner in which you conducted
the Faust Symphony. Owing to critical circumstances and
negativings I have, as a rule, to dissuade people everywhere from
giving performances of my scores. All the more pleasantly am I
affected by the goodwill of the few friends who carefully and
courageously march on in front.
Therefore, while offering you my sincerest thanks, I beg you to
excuse my not being just now able to accept the tempting
invitation to Berlin.
Yours most respectfully and sincerely,
Rome, February 4th, 1875
(Next week I return to Pest, and at the beginning of April go to
Weimar, where I should be delighted to welcome you again.)
164. To Count Albert Apponyi
[From a rough copy of a letter in the possession of Herr O. A.
Schulz, bookseller in Leipzig.]
February 18th, [1875?]
This morning the Politische Volksblatt [The Political People's-
Paper] brings me your portrait, my honored and dear friend. The
notice accompanying it pleases me only in so far as it predicts a
great future for you, based on your very evident merits and great
talents. People are agreed upon your great height
("Haupteslange")--all the better, for it corresponds to the
height of your character, and I bet a hundred to one that you
will never combat "the spirit of the times" ("Herr von Zeitgeist
und Frau von offentliche Meinung," [Mr. Spirit of the Times and
Mrs. Public Opinion.] as the honorable Count Gozzi ceremoniously
said), except when you meet with stupidities and adventures on
which this spirit of the times is astride.
A friendly invitation for tomorrow evening at the house of
Your very devoted and grateful
165. To Johann Von Herbeck
Very Dear Friend,
My sincere thanks for your letter; gladly would I follow your
very kind and "unselfish" request. To say "nay" to my friends
always comes hard to me. But how can I act otherwise in face of
the negativings of critics? And why should I not prefer abiding
my time in peace alone?
Now-a-days an artist is reckoning without his host if he places
honest faith in the public. For people now-a-days hear and judge
only by reading the newspapers.
I mean to take advantage of this in so far that the leading and
favorite papers of Vienna, Pest, Leipzig, Berlin, Paris, London,
etc.--which abhor my humble compositions and have declared them
worthless and objectionable--shall be relieved of all further
outward trouble concerning them. What is the good of performances
to people who only care to read newspapers?
Hence, dear good friend, let the "Gran Mass" [Herbeck, however,
did have them performed.] and the "Glocken" ["Die Glocken des
Strassburger Munsters"--"The Bells of Strassburg Cathedral"]
remain unperformed in Vienna, where (in Easter week) you shall
receive a visit from yours most warmly and gratefully,
Budapest, March 3rd, 1875
166. To Eduard Von Liszt
Give Lenbach my kindest thanks, and at the same time ask him to
send his extremely poetical portrait of Frau von Moukhanoff here
soon in honor of the noble lady and of the musical Commemoration
Festival which we have announced for the middle of May. [Liszt
dedicated an Elegie to the memory of this gifted lady.]
Tomorrow morning early I go to Hanover; my address there till May
29th [This must mean the 29th April.] will be: "at Freiherr von
Bronsart's, Intendant of the Hoftheater." On Saturday is the
performance of the "Elizabeth," and on the 29th the concert for
the benefit of the Bach monument.
My gracious Grand Duke is very urgent about my speedy return; I
shall, therefore, probably spend only 8 or 10 days at Schloss Loo
(from the 2nd to the 12th May), and then return here forthwith.
The Tonkunstler-Versammlung is to be held in Dresden at the end
of June. I long for some rest and quiet work.
Thine with all my heart,
Weimar, April 22nd, 1875
167. To Adelheid Von Schorn in Rome
Dear Excellent One,
I come to keep you company a little in your convalescence,--far
advanced, I hope, so as to be something like a complete cure. For
a tisane [A soothing drink] I offer you some news of your cara
patria. There are few variations at Weimar: the Grand Duke and
Grand Duchess remain there till the end of June; the Emperor of
Russia is announced for the 25th June; the Hereditary Highnesses
are going to the waters (Marienbad and Pyrmont) in a few days,
and will return before the Grand Duke's fete (24th June);
Gutschen Watzdorf is going on his own account independently to
Carlsbad, Mme. de Loen to Reme (in Westphalia).
At the theater a tempered, but lively activity; during these
latter weeks a new Drama by Otto Roquette has been given--Der
Feind im Hause. [The enemy in the house.] The subject is taken
from the quarrel of the Colonna in Rome; the success of the piece
will not occasion any fresh quarrels; nor will that of two new
Operas that I have seen--Der Widerspanstigen Bezahmung [The
subduing of the refractory ones.] by Gotz and Golo of Scholz,
which have come inopportunely into competition with Schumann's
Genoveva--a work which has been taken up again with marked
success this year (after it had been prudently ignored for twenty
years--except at Leipzig and Weimar) at Leipzig and Wiesbaden.
Other theaters will mix themselves up with it, in spite of the
non-success of Genoveva at Vienna, where it was put on the stage
in the winter of '74 with a most praiseworthy luxury of
decoration and costumes.
At the time of the performance which I conducted, and that is
some twenty years ago, I said: Genoveva is musically the sister
of Fidelio; only Leonora's pistol is wanting.
Tristan and Isolde, announced here for the 15th and 19th
May,...have remained at Munich with M. and Mme. Vogel, who have
lost a child. Loen [The Weimar Intendant] and all the public are
very much put out at this untimely mourning; possibly the Vogels
will be able to come towards the end of June; I don't reckon on
it much, but have written to them on the subject at Loen's
request. If they accept, the Commemoration Matinee of Mme.
Moukhanoff will take place between the two performances of
Tristan, and the "Tempelherrenhaus" in our park has been chosen
by us as the spot for this musical commemoration. I will send you
Meanwhile here is that of Saturday last at the "Orchestral
School"--a very useful establishment, well adapted to our
modestly proud situation of Weimar, and which Muller-Hartung
conducts according to my wishes. [The concert "in honor of
Liszt's first visit to the School" consisted entirely of works by
him.] Bruch's Odysseus--a musical illustration of Preller's
admirable pictures in the Weimar museum--was performed last
Thursday, conducted also by Muller-Hartung.
Lassen is in the middle of composing some fine choruses for the
two "Fausts," which Devrient is intending to get up here in two
evenings, in conformity with his new scenic arrangement.
Very cordially yours,
Weimar, May 17th, 1875
168. To Eduard von Liszt
.--. The day after tomorrow I join the Duke of Weimar's party at
Schloss Wilhelmsthal, and shall remain there several days. After
that I should have liked to wait upon Cardinal Hohenlohe in
Schillingsfurst; but His Eminence is at present at Bad Ragaz
(Switzerland) undergoing some after-cure for a foot-trouble, the
result of some accident he met with last winter. When I receive
his answer I shall so arrange things that my visit to
Schillingsfurst is paid as is agreeable in tempore opportuno.
From the 3rd to the 15th August I shall be in Bayreuth; after
that I shall this year end with Weimar (without playing
"Tannhauser" there, as a guest!) at the Carl-August Festival on
September 3rd, for which I have written a short and simple chorus
in popular style, the text of which is furnished by King David:
"The Lord preserveth the souls of His saints, and light is sown
for the righteous."
In contemplating this light in all humility,
I am, in true affection,
Weimar, July 17th, 1875
Enclosed are a few words for our Marie. If I had to choose a
cousin I should choose her. Hence I confess my innermost
elective-affinity with papa and daughter.
Lenbach's wondrously inspired portrait of Madame Moukhanoff will
tomorrow be sent back to Vienna to the Countess Coudenhoven.
169. To Louis Kohler
Very Dear Friend,
Merit and success, in your case, would seem always to stand in
perfectly delightful harmony. Best thanks for your kindly letter
and for sending your Opus 147: "Technische Kunstler-Studien"
["Technical Artist-Studies"]. And although I am more disposed to
turn away from than towards Methods and Pedagogics, still I have
read this work of yours with interest. The entrance of the pedal
after the striking of the chords as indicated by you at the
beginning of page 3, and as consistently carried through by you
almost to the utmost extreme, seems to me an ingenious idea, the
application of which is greatly to be recommended to pianoforte
players, teachers and composers--especially in slow tempi.
I regret that we are geographically so far apart; but
sympathetically I remain in sincere esteem and in all
Schloss Wilhelmsthal, July 27th, 1875
My friendly greetings to your very talented pupil Alfred
Reisenauer. Perhaps you may be coming to Weimar again shortly; I
should be pleased to hear this.
One line in your friendly letter I answer herewith: proud of my
Konigsberg title of doctor, and anxious to do it credit, I
willingly refrain from giving performances of my humble
170. To Carl Hillebrand in Florence
[The celebrated author of "Zeiten, Volker und Menschen" ["Times,
People and Mankind"] and other works; born 1820; lived, from 1870
until his death, in Florence, where a memorial tablet, in
gratitude to his memory, was erected over his house in the Lung'
Dear and Very Honored Friend,
Your friendly letter leaves me a good hope...for next year. I
have just transmitted your thanks and the data relative to our
concerted idea to the Grand Duke, who arrived at Ostend on
Thursday last, with his daughters, his son and his daughter-in-
law. Their Royal Highnesses return to Weimar the 1st September
for the fete of Carl August, which the Emperor and Empress of
Germany will solemnise with their presence. Monseigneur tells me
to invite you to it. I observe to him that you will probably be
detained elsewhere; nevertheless, if you should come to Germany
at that moment, be assured that you will be warmly welcomed and
received at the Court of Weimar.
The monument of Carl August will be inaugurated on the 3rd
September. The ceremony of the "Toison d'Or" ["Golden Fleece"],
at which the Emperor will be the sponsor of his brother-in-law,
our Grand Duke, will take place on the 4th. Then T.R.H. will
leave Weimar, and my poor self return to the Villa d'Este
(towards the middle of September) for as long a time as my very
dear compatriots will allow of it. They press me strongly to
return to Pest on the 1st November; before obeying them I shall
come and see you at Florence.
Please count always on the feelings of sincere and high esteem of
your very cordially devoted
Bayreuth, August 2nd, 1875
The papers keep you au courant of the marvels of Wagner's theater
here. The performances (announced for the month of August '76) of
the Tetralogy, "Der Ring des Nabelungen," will be the chief event
of dramatic Art, thus royally made manifest for the first time in
this century in its ensemble and unification of Poetry, Music,
Acting, and their decorations of Painting and mise-en-scene.
There is not merely the chance, but the guarantee of a grand and
striking success, in view of the sublimity of the work itself,
and also of the enthusiasm which it already excites amongst the
numerous staff of artists chosen to interpret it. In spite of the
difficulties of this new transcendental style of Wagner, the
preparatory study and rehearsals are an enchantment for the
singers and the musicians of the orchestra.
By the 18th August I shall be back at Weimar, and shall stay
there till the 6th September.
To Madame Laussot my tender and grateful regards.
171. To Adelheid von Schorn
Dear Excellent One,
It is not without regret that I have given up the very sincere
pleasure of meeting you now at Nuremberg. If you remained there
till towards the middle of September I should come and ask you
what commissions you have for Rome, where I expect to arrive
before the 20th September.
Here we are sailing in the full tide of the marvels of art. Every
day, morning and evening, one act of the "Ring des Nibelungen" is
rehearsed in Wagner's new theater. The enthusiasm of the whole
staff of singers and orchestral players, to the number of about
150, is as sincere as it is abundant, and everything augurs for
next year some prodigious performances of the immense and sublime
work which royally dominates all contemporary Art, including the
former works of Wagner.
Cosima sends you a thousand affectionate messages, and is
expecting to see you at the time of the definite succession of
the Nibelung-Ring in the month of August 1876. You were present
at the laying of the first stone of the monument, and must not be
absent at the crowning moment. .--.
Mme. de Schleinitz is staying here a fortnight longer, and is
living at the castle. She keeps herself continually at the
highest diapason of grace and charm, without ever missing the
opportunity of effectually obliging her friends.
A revoir soon, dear and very excellent one; and ever from my
heart your devoted
Bayreuth, August 7th, 1875
I shall be back at Weimar by the 18th August.
172. To Dr. Franz Witt
[Probably August or September, 1875]
While greatly regretting to hear of your indisposition and
thanking you sincerely for your last letter, I now ask you: How
are you going to answer the ministerial communication of
Trefort?--Are you willing to render important help as regards
Church music in Hungary? Superfluous words are unbecoming to me;
let us onward and act; and may your noble and stimulating
influence be granted to Hungary. Assuredly you will find there
admiration, affection, and the necessary assistance in the great
services you will render.
In a word: Come to us, and let us work together in Budapest!
173. To Lina Ramann
[Authoress of "F. Liszt als Kunstler und Mensch" ("F. Liszt as
Artist and Man"), 2 vols. (Leipzig, Breitkopf and Hartel, 1880
Thanks to your care I had excellent and very inspired company
during my two days' journey from Nuremberg to Rome. Your parallel
"Bach and Handel" delighted me more than the famous landscapes of
the Brenner. Allow me specially to praise your fine insight into
and correct interpretation of the various musical forms of
culture from the Motet to the Mass and the Oratorio.
Some portions also of the "Allgemeine musikalische Erzieh-und
Unterrichtslehre" [Universal Musical Instruction] pleased me--(in
spite of my inaptitude in things pedagogical), especially the
main idea of the work:--that musical instruction should not be
separated from, but form a part in, the course of education; a
relevant thought, the practical application of which will
essentially benefit, and prove useful to, art as well as
Again my cordial thanks for the hours at Nuremberg, and best
greetings to the amiable comrades in art Fraulein Ida and
Yours respectfully and sincerely,
Rome, September 28th, 1875
174. To Eduard von Liszt
Rome, September 29th, 1875
Wherever we may be we ever remain one in heart. Probably I shall
be in Budapest as early as the middle of November, on account of
the Musik-Akademie, which it is my duty to shape in accordance
with the standard of somewhat difficult local circumstances.
Appointments have already been made by the Minister Trefort:
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