Letters of Franz Liszt, Volume 2: "From Rome to the End"
Franz Liszt; letters collected by La Mara and translated
Part 7 out of 10
The original works of Adolf Henselt's are the noblest jewels of
Art. One longs for more of them...
By-the-by, when Henselt gives a hope of arranging,
"interpreting," "making an effect with" other compositions, he
succeeds so admirably that the public,
the pianists, and the compositions in question are thereby
enriched and favored. Even my little "Lucia"-transcription has
gained much by throe "interpretation," dear friend. Hearty thanks
for this reminiscence of our Petersburg intimacy.
The proof-copy I simply sent back to you, unaltered and nothing
crossed out, as all the various readings are admirably suitable,
and henceforth I leave it to your good pleasure to decide about
the publishing. (In Russia Hofmeister's German copyright holds
good, does it not? . . .)
Tomorrow I go to Paris, and will observe there your
recommendation of the Russian instrument.
Many of your admirers frequently tell me about you; above all
Zschocher and Topfer. You come backwards and forwards to Dresden
and Leipzig; why not also to Weimar?...Answer this modest
question in person here to throe old and most faithful
Weimar, June 5th, 1878
231. To Eduard von Liszt
[Weimar, June 6th, 1878]
Adalbert Goldschmidt has brought you Weimar news. I consider his
"Todsunden" a remarkable Art-work. If the composer maintains
himself on these heights in his next Opera his name will become
famous in spite of all the critics...
Nowadays, more than ever, the public thirst for Opera alone.
Everything else in music is nonsense to them. There is a French
saying--"There is some one who is wittier than Mr. de Voltaire;
that is everybody"--and when all the world gets a fancy into its
head one must certainly consider it either reasonable, or
With With regard to the delay of the Jury (Class 13, "Instruments
de Musique") I go to Paris next Sunday, 8th June, remain there
till the 19th, and return here on the 20th June on account of the
Erfurt Musical Festival...
Thy faithful, loving
To simplify our correspondence call me also "Dearest Franz."
My Grand Duke much wishes to have the photograph of your son-in-
law's cousin, the poet Saar. Send me this speedily.
232. To Professor Carl Riedel
The further carrying out and arranging of the Erfurt programme I
lease to your long-tried and complete mastery.
I once more recommend Borodin's Symphony; the quartet parts that
are wanting can certainly be speedily written out next week (at
The study of the numerous works will offer no difficulties in
Sondershausen; there they are accustomed to step boldly forward.
Friend Riedel conducts my 13th Psalm; Bulow undertakes the two
Faust-episodes (in case these are not struck out, as I did advise
you to do); and I retain the "Hungaria" and Bronsart's Concerto;
but for several reasons I beg that my name may not be put on the
programme as conductor.
I told Concertmeister Kompel [A pupil of Spohr's; died not long
ago at Weimar] and L. Grutzmacher [Solo violoncellist] (the
Weimarer) yesterday that Bulow wishes to play the Bronsart Trio
with them. Both gentlemen are quite agreed about this.
If Frau Erdmannsdorfer would play some other brilliant piano
piece (not of my composition), rather than the often-heard
Hungarian Fantasie, I should prefer it, just because the
programme already contains too many Liszt things, and I could not
myself bear the false appearance of making use of the
Tonkunstler-Versammlungen for bringing forward my compositions...
My real feeling on this matter has been known to you for years
Early on Saturday, at half-past nine, I go direct from here to
Paris--and on the 2lst June arrives in Erfurt
Yours ever with sincere esteem,
Weimar, Thursday, June 7th, 1878
My Paris address (from the 10th to the 18th June) will be: Maison
Erard, Rue du Mail, 13.
Do publish the programme in the next number of the Zeitschrift;
two or three slight alterations will not matter in the least.
233. To Vera Timanoff
Dear illustrious One,
I don't know how you will manage to adapt the "Sonnambula" to
your little hands; they will have to trot about on the roofs in
the style of somnambulists.
A revoir, wide awake, the day after tomorrow,--and a thousand
affectionate and devoted regards.
Thursday [Summer, 1878]
234. To Eduard von Liszt
I have very little in the way of musical matter to tell you about
my stay in Paris from the 9th to the 18th June. I scarcely found
time to hear the two last acts of Gounod's "Faust" at the Grand
Opera. I was prevented from attending concerts by invitations and
visits elsewhere. But I was able to follow attentively the plain-
song during High Mass at Notre Dame on Trinity Sunday, together
with a very intelligent friend, R. P. Joseph Mohr (Societate
Jesu), a competent judge and promoter of Church music.
Hanslick--who showed himself friendly to me in Paris--will report
in the Neue Freie Presse concerning the 13th class (musical
instruments, etc.), of which he is vice-president.
Madame Erard placed at my disposal a princely suite in her house,
Rue du Mail, 13 (with which Spiridion [Liszt's valet] I was quite
satisfied); a carriage also in addition. Thanks to this
hospitality my expenses were very much diminished, and I only
required 1500 francs..--.
My old friend Belloni has also proved himself most faithful this
time in Paris, and saved me many expenses. It is wonderful how
honest and disinterested he remains, with all his constant
contact with the artist-world!--
Immediately on my return I went to Erfurt for the Tonkunstlcr-
Versammlung (from the 22nd to the 25th July). The whole affair
went off well. I send you in addition the whole programme. Bulow
played in a marvellous and masterly manner.
Everything in Weimar is now in a state of commotion over the
Ducal-Jubilee-Festivities, which begin the day after tomorrow.
The King of the Netherlands, the King of Saxony, Prince Friedrich
Carl of Prussia, several reigning German Dukes and foreign
Princes are expected. Our Emperor and King is sending Prince
Windischgratz with congratulations to the Grand Duke. Victor
Scheffel (the author of "Ekkehard," the "Trompeter von
Sackingen," the "Bergpsalmen," etc.) has written the Festival
Play, which is to be performed in the theater here on the 9th
July. My "Carl-Alexander" March, which was published 20 years ago
(by Bote and Bock) in Berlin, is to serve as Prelude.
For 30 years past I have been incrustated into the Royal house of
Weimar, and shall remain faithful to it.--
My dearest cousin Marie wrote me a loving, witty note with
respect to the photograph of her cousin, Ferd. von Saar, which I
wanted for my Grand Duke. I will write my thanks to Marie
shortly. Send the accompanying lines to Franz in Gratz; I am
congratulating him, in them, that you are now grandpapa.
Heartfelt greetings to the Generalissima.
Weimar, July 6th, 1878
235. To Robert Franz
[A facsimile appeared in the "Musikalisches Wochenblatt." Liszt
worked untiringly, like no other of his contemporaries in art, to
make the great German Master of Song, Robert Franz (1815-1892),
understood and appreciated (See "Robert Franz." Gesammelle
Schriften, IV.); and, when increasing deafness prevented this
artist from practical musical work, Liszt founded the fund in his
My Much-Honored Friend,
How beautiful, how deep, how fervently and truly finished are,
once more, your "Six Songs" (Opus 48)!
Heartfelt thanks far so kindly sending them. You well know that
for thirty years past your genius--a fixed star in German lyrics-
-has been sincerely admired by your ever most faithful
Weimar, July 12th, 1878
236. To Kornel von Abranyi
Dear and Honored Friend,
On arriving here yesterday evening I found your letter, together
with the enclosure to Minister Trefort, which I return
immediately to you, signed. Agghazy deserves to be helped,
because his hands and his head are very musically endowed.
[Agghazy (now teacher of pianoforte playing at Stern's
Conservatorium in Berlin) received a stipendium from the
Hungarian Government, through Liszt's intercession, in order to
make a livelihood in Paris.] Juhasz and he will certainly do
honor everywhere to the Budapest Academy of Music. Agghazy must
have some letters of introduction for Paris. Advise him to ask
for there from Minister Trefort, Ministerial-Counsel Hegedus
Friedrich Harkany and Count Geza Zichy. Before his departure I
will send him a few lines to Madame Erard, and to my loyal old
friend Belloni, who is ever ready to do me a service.
I need scarcely ask, dear Abranyi, how you have passed your
summer. The chief thing is to hold out steadfastly, and you show
this in the noblest manner by your unwearied, meritorious
endeavors after the high goal of Art. "Perseverons!"
I think of staying here till the beginning of January, and of
returning then direct to Budapest. First of all I must finish a
little extra work: as soon as the new setting of the text for the
dramatic Oratorio "Der heilige Stanislaus," which Baron
Dingelstedt has kindly promised me, comes to hand the composition
shall proceed. I am often quite anxious about further writing of
music, but I do not give it up, although I do not imagine at all
that I can express that which floats before my mind. But my self-
dissatisfaction finds ample consolation in the ever-fresh joy at
the master-works of the Past and Present:--most of all in
Wagner's majestic word-tone-creations. King Ludwig II. of Bavaria
rightly addressed "to the Tone-poet Master Richard Wagner."--
Hearty greetings to your family, and ever yours
Sincerely and gratefully,
September 13th, 1878 (Villa d'Este, Tivoli)
The loss of Augusz touches me most painfully. Since the first
performance of the Gran Mass, more than twenty years ago, we have
been one in heart. He it was also who especially decided me to
carry out my wish to settle myself in Budapest.
After the opening of the new Academical Course write to me about
237. To Eduard von Liszt
I give my heartiest thanks to the highly-honored friendly Frau
General for writing at your dictation.
We take the heartiest interest here in your recovery. It is to be
hoped you are already on the best road to vigor.
My dearest cousin Marie has now happily made me a great-uncle.
Enclosed are two words of thanks to Marie.
I am now waiting for the new setting of the poem of "Stanislaus"
from Dingelstedt in order to take up my interrupted composition
again--I want at least a year and something over to finish it.
Meanwhile I have not quite lost my time. In the last two months I
have completed a "Via crucis" (the 14 Stations) and pretty full
responses to the 7 Sacraments (for Chorus and Organ). I rejoice
[to think] that I shall play them to you on the 2nd April, '79,
at the Schottenhof.
Rome, November 4th, 1878
238. To Freiherr Hans von Wolzogen in Bayreuth
[The well-known writer on Wagner and publisher of the Bayreuther
The October number of your Bayreuther Blatter brought me the
highest intellectual gift. [Wagner's Essay "The Public in Time
and Space"] No temporal ruler can bestow one like it. The
estimation of it lays me all the more under an obligation to that
true humility with which I have long and most devoutly paid
homage to our incomparable master, Richard Wagner.
Accept my sincere thanks for the friendly words in remembrance of
the performance of the Dante Symphony in your house, and kindly
recall to the good graces of the Frau Baronin von Wolzogen.
Yours most respectfully and devotedly,
November 15th, 1878 (Villa d'Este, Tivoli)
239. To Eduard von Liszt
.--. I take a hearty interest in the improvement of your health.
You are the younger, the more sensible and useful of us two;
therefore you should outlive me many years in good health.
I have been dreadfully industrious with my music-writing since
the middle of September. I sit and walk in it like one possessed!
The "Via crucis" (now finished) has brought me back to a long-
cherished idea--namely, the composition of choruses to be made
use of at Church festivals during the giving of the 7 holy
sacraments; thus 7 pieces of music of about a hundred bars each.
These have now been 8 days at the copyist's, and, according to my
thinking, are not quite a failure. If you also think this it will
Your most faithfully devoted
November 2lst, 1878
This evening I shall be in Rome, and will have this letter and
the signed enclosure attended to at the post.
Hearty greetings and thanks to the dear Frau Generalissima.
240. To Eduard von Liszt
Budapest, January 22nd, 1879
.--. On Sunday, the 12th January, His Holiness was so gracious as
to give me, for the second time, a private audience. I will tell
you shortly, by word of mouth, the friendly sentiments of the
Pope towards me.
I spent last Wednesday evening in Gorz with Frau Baronin Augusz,
and arrived again at Fischplatz, No. 4., early on Friday. The
roof is already on the new Music Academy building, Radialstrasse,
and is said to look very well. In November of this year I shall
My friends in Budapest, Abranyi, Mihalovich, Count Albert
Apponyi, Count Geza Zichy and several others, are strongly and
heartily attached to me. Archbishop Haynald only comes to Pest in
the beginning of January. I was not caught in the other base
spider's web. "Honesty is the best policy!"
Bosendorfer called on me yesterday and told me of the intention
of the Vienna Friends of Music to perform the "Gran Mass" at the
end of March. If Bosendorfer's intimations are correct I am not
disinclined to conduct this performance, although for many years
I have refused all such invitations--and only a little while ago
to London, Aix-la-Chapelle, Berlin, etc. I should be rejoiced if
at last the "Gran Mass" had a fair hearing in Vienna.
A hearty greeting to Frau Generalissima from thy faithfully
Looking forward to our speedy meeting at the end of March.
[It did not come to pass. Councillor E. von Liszt died on the 8th
February, 1879. "It is for me a constant sorrow at the heart that
Eduard is no longer with us," wrote Liszt to the widow a year
after Eduard's death.]
241. To Ludwig Bosendorfer
Dear and honored Friend,
I take your friendly hint by enclosing these lines to
Hellmesberger; please to give them to him. During many years, in
Vienna, Weimar and Budapest, Hellmesberger has always shown
himself kindly disposed towards me. In ingratitude there is,
alas, only too much rivalry; the matter grows contemptible, and
contemptible people like to find amusement in it. My nature
absolutely forbids me such despicable behavior. Count Geza Zichy
tells me, dear friend, that he expects you shortly. Perhaps you
will come with Hellmesberger to our Kunstlerabend [Artists'
Evening] here on the 7th March, when we shall be honored by the
fine composer and splendid virtuoso, my excellent friend, Saint-
Count Zichy writes you the rest about the Klausenburg journey.
A hearty greeting to your wife.
Budapest, February 19th, 1879
I have just received Zellner's letter. Give him my hearty thanks
Sophie Menter went to Warsaw the day before yesterday, and gives
a concert there tomorrow with her husband Popper,--and afterwards
in St. Petersburg,
242. To Adolf von Henselt
Very dear Friend,
Hast thou still pleasure in beautiful, distinguished virtuoso
piano-playing? If so then go and hear the eminent pianiste Frau
Menter. She brings thee the hearty greeting of thy old friend
Budapest, February, 1879
243. To Marie Lipsius
My dear Friend,
Hearty thanks for your dear lines of sympathy. The loss of my
cousin and most intimate friend Eduard von Liszt is a deep grief
to me. You wish for the dates of the Budapest and Vienna
concerts; for this I was obliged to ask the help of my excellent
friend Kornel Abranyi. He knows these and other things far better
than I. For ten years he edited the Hungarian musical paper, and
now officiates as General Secretary and Professor at the Royal
Academy of Music in Budapest, the Director being Franz Erkel, and
my humble self the President.
Here is the result of Abranyi's researches, by which it is
evident that I have neither been idle nor used anything for my
At the same time let it be mentioned to the praiseworthy and
amiable authoress of "Musikalische Studienkopfe," La Mara, that
since the end of '47 I have not earned a farthing by pianoforte
playing, teaching or conducting. All this rather cost me time and
Since the year '47 I only played in public twice in Rome--'63 and
'64--at the gracious command of Pope Pius IX.; often in Budapest
later on, twice in Vienna, once in Pressburg and Oedenburg (my
native town) as a child of the country. Nowhere else. May my poor
pianoforte performing at last come to an end! It has long been a
torment to me. Therefore--Amen!--
On the occasion of the celebration of their Majesties' silver
wedding I shall have the honor, in accordance with the invitation
of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde [Society of friends of
music,] of conducting the "Gran Mass" in Vienna on the 8th April
(the Tuesday before Good Friday). Performances of this Mass
(after the first at Gran in '56) took place in Pest, Prague,
Vienna, later in Leipzig and Amsterdam, in '66 in Paris, and
again in Amsterdam, as also in '77 in Weimar and Dusseldorf, the
latter under the conductorship of Ratzenberger. This Mass has
also been heard in America.
In conclusion also the following memoranda for La Mara: Without a
written engagement, yet indeed morally bound, since '71 I spend
several months of every winter in Budapest, from April to July in
Weimar, then the autumn months, and more, chiefly in the Villa
d'Este near Rome, where His Eminence Cardinal Hohenlohe affords
me the kindest reception. There I wrote the "Christmas-tree," the
"Via Crucis," the "Responses to the Seven Sacraments," etc. These
three works are quite ready, and indeed beautifully copied, as
well as the "Cantico del Sole" of the marvellous St. Francis of
Assisi. Their publication troubles me little, for they are not
suitable to the usual musical customs and trade...
So why bargain with them?
I have only fragmentarily sketched the Oratorio "Stanislaus," but
wish to finish it, which will take at least a year.
My "Technical Piano-Exercises"--improperly advertised in the
papers as "Pianoforte-School"--still require a few months for
revision and arrangement with fingering, etc., but could come out
next year if I have no hindrances.
Accept, my dear friend, my sincere and grateful attachment.
Budapest, March 2nd, 1879
The middle of April I shall be in Weimar again
244. To Otto Lessmann
My dear Friend,
The enclosed programme proves to you that in spite of all fatigue
my invalided piano-playing still contributes in a small degree to
the relief of the sufferers of Szegedin.
[According to the programme, Liszt played Schubert's "Funeral
March"; "To the memory of Petofi," and "Cantique d'Amour" of his
own composition, as well as, with Mihalovich, Schubert's
Fantaisie (C major) for two pianofortes.]
To assist in other concerts than in this country would not become
me, and I have already declined many invitations of that sort
with excuses and thanks.
For the celebrations preceding the silver wedding of their
Majesties I shall have the honor of conducting the "Gran Mass" in
Vienna on the 8th April ("Society of the friends of music").
To our speedy meeting in Weimar, and ever yours in all
Budapest, March 23rd, 1879
245. To Von Trefort, the Hungarian Minister of Instruction
[From a copy in the possession of K. v. Abranyi.]
Monsieur le Ministre,
I learn through M. Abranyi that Your Excellency continues to show
your solicitude for the Royal Academy of Music at Budapest. The
work of this institution is to serve Art in Hungary, and thus to
help, in this connection, in making your patriotic, grand
intentions fruitful. My colleagues at the Academy of Music are of
one mind and devoted in their activity.
I permit myself to recommend once more particularly to your
kindness M. Abranyi. He perseveres in his meritorious career as
writer, theorist, composer, translator, professor, and Magyar
character of the noblest stamp. The evidence of his merits will
assuredly be recognised in many languages by a heap of laudatory
phrases...after his death. A brilliant obituary is assured to
Abranyi, but I hope that Your Excellency will accord him the
modest satisfaction that he claims while he is alive.
I have the honor to be, Monsieur le Ministre, your very humble
and very devoted servant,
Weimar, May 12, 1879
246. To Walter Bache
Very honored, dear Friend,
Hearty thanks for your letter and for letting me see Manns's
Commentary on the "Hunnenschlacht." Please give to Manns the
accompanying short explanation of the idea of my "Symphonic
Poem." In spite of my spending several hours in letter-writing
almost every day, it is impossible for me to be regarded as a
punctual correspondent. Intelligent and kindly-disposed persons
will excuse me, and the many others I can scarcely entertain any
longer, because I don't require any such entertainment! [Play
upon the words "wirthschaften" (to manage) and "Wirthschaft"
(housekeeping, or a public house]
Next Whit-week "Tonkunstler-Versammlung" in Wiesbaden. On the 5th
June Bulow conducts the first concert there, at which Bronsart's
beautiful and valuable "Fruhlings-Fantasie," Billow's music to
Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," and my "Faust Symphony" will be
performed. Bulow kindly plays the piano the same evening, and has
chosen Tschaikowsky's Concerto. Besides this his favorite pupil
Schwarz produces several "Etudes transcendantes." [By Liszt] Till
the middle of July I stay here. Then Bayreuth, and at the end of
August Villa d'Este. To Frau Jessie Hillebrand and her husband
[who were just then in London] give heartfelt and faithful
devotion, with respectful thanks, from
Theirs in old friendship,
Weimar, May 25th, 1879
[The explanation, accompanying this letter, of the idea of the
"Hunnenschlacht" is as follows:]
Kaulbach's world-renowned picture presents two battles--the one
on earth, the other in the air, according to the legend that
warriors, after their death, continue fighting incessantly as
spirits. In the middle of the picture appears the Cross and its
mystic light; on this my "Symphonic Poem" is founded. The chorale
"Crux fidelis," which is gradually developed, illustrates the
idea of the final victory of Christianity in its effectual love
to God and man.
247. To Ludmilla Schestakoff
Your illustrious brother Glinka is one of the well-chosen
admirations of my youth. His genius has been known to me ever
since the year 1842; and at my last concert in St. Petersburg (in
'43) I played the "Marche tscherkesse" from "Russlan and
Ludmilla," and a brilliant transcription by Vollweiler of several
themes from the same Opera.
Glinka remains the Patriarch-prophet of music in Russia.
With my sincere thanks to you for sending me the beautiful score
of "Russlan," carefully edited and well arranged by Messrs.
Rimsky-Korsakoff, Balakireff and Liadoff [The score was published
in 1879.], I beg you to accept, Madame, the expression of very
respectful homage of your very humble servant,
Weimar, June 14th, 1879
248. To Alexander Borodin, Caesar Cui, Anatolie Liadoff and
Nicolas Rimsky-Korsakoff in St. Petersburg
Very Honored Gentlemen,
You have done a work of serious value under the form of a jest.
Your "Paraphrases" charm me: nothing can be more ingenious than
these 24 Variations and the 16 little pieces upon the favorite
and obligato subject
[Here, Liszt writes a 4-bar musical score excerpt of the main
theme of the 24 Variations]
In short, here we have an admirable compendium of the science of
harmony, of counterpoint, of rhythms, of figuration, and of what
in German is called "The Theory of Form" (Formenlehre)! I shall
gladly suggest to the teachers of composition at all the
Conservatoires in Europe and America to adopt your "Paraphrases"
as a practical guide in their teaching. From the very first page,
the Variations II. and III. are true gems; and not less the other
numbers continuously, up to the grotesque Fugue and the "Cortege"
which crown the whole work gloriously. Thanks for this dainty
feast, gentlemen, and I beg that when any one of you brings out a
new composition he will let me know it. My most lively, my
highest and most sympathising esteem has for many years been
assured to you; pray accept also the expression of my sincere
Weimar, June 15th, 1879
249. To Capellmeister Professor Jos. Bohm in Vienna
Honored Herr Vereinsleiter [Conductor of a Verein (Society)], I
follow your edifying endeavors in the Cacilien-Verein with
sincere interest. It seems singular that they should stumble on
obstacles. What is in question? Innovations?...By no means. The
noblest Conservatism remains the essence and aim of the Cacilien-
Verein; it merely demands a serious study and proper performances
of the most dignified classical authors in Church music,
Palestrina and Lassus at the head. Nothing can reasonably be
objected to this, and you may confidently maintain, dear sir,
that "recognition must take place and the good cause prove
I beg you will put down my name as a subscriber to your "Vienna
journal for Catholic Church music," [Professor Bohm was at that
time the editor of it, and had invited subscriptions for a
monument to the musical historian Ambros.] and have the numbers
which have already appeared addressed to me in Weimar.
Be so good as to employ the enclosed hundred florins for the
gravestone of my highly esteemed friend the late A. W. Ambros.
Yours with all esteem,
Weimar, June 22nd, 1879
250. To Vera Timanoff
A hearty welcome to you, Illustrissima, and pray tell M. Sauret
that I shall be delighted to make closer acquaintance with him. I
greatly admired his superb talent in Vienna.--You know my rule
never to bother anyone, and least of all artistes; but if M.
Sauret should feel inclined to play something at the Hofgartnerei
this morning, it would give me great pleasure.
In any case I invite him to come (at eleven) with you, and I
shall request you to fulfil your promise of captivating us by
your performance (not by dancing, but by your superior fingering)
of Rubinstein's Ballet, "Feramors."
Sunday Morning [Summer, 1879]
251. To Adolf von Henselt
Very dear friend,
Our meeting once more is a cordial pleasure to me. According to
your last letter, you purposed arriving on the 19th inst. Why
delay? Still, arrange it entirely according to your own
convenience. Only allow me to make one observation: on Wednesday
evening, 23rd July, I am invited by somebody where a refusal
would be wrong and stupid. But if you were favorably inclined,
our extra three-handed whist might be quite well arranged at the
house of this somebody.
[Henselt was in Weimar the 19th and 20th July. "We played
together, not on the piano, but certainly half a dozen games of
whist, of which I fortunately lost five at least," wrote Liszt to
Fraulein von Schorn.]
Your version with the grace note [passing note?] B flat pleases
[Figure: musical example, two bars]
[The two bars of music refer to C. M, v. Weber's "Episodic
Thought," which Henselt had transcribed for piano and amplified;
he published it in March, 1879, dedicating it to "his friend
Franz Liszt." Henselt at first meditated calling it "Hymn of
Love." But Liszt found the term rather too highflown for this
favorite melody. "Episodic thought is more suitable," he wrote,
and so that title remained.]
In expectation of seeing you, and in faithful and admiring
Weimar, July 12th, 1879
252. To Dr. Siegmund Lebert
I keep a long-standing promise today, by sending you the 3 last
Concerti by Beethoven arranged for 2 pianos. This arrangement is
distinctly different from all other existing arrangements of the
same Concerti for 2 pianos. Till now it has been the habit of
arrangers to content themselves with setting the Tutti (or
better, the orchestral parts) for the 2nd piano only, leaving the
1st to rest entirely or to support the 2nd according to
inclination. By this a grievous disproportion in the effect of
the orchestra parts is induced, let alone the fact that some of
the arrangements are exceedingly scanty.
In my opinion this sort of proceeding belongs to the past and is
hackneyed. What good is there it the first player sitting there
at all, if he does not know how to take part in the whole? Ergo,
I had to occupy him almost constantly.
As a matter of course I have not altered a single note of
Beethoven's original version (of the so-called Soli parts), and
have only added a tolerable amount of indications for pedal and
fingering, for the convenience of pupils and teachers.
2 identical copies (printed on 4 lines--excepting the Cadenzas)
are necessary for the performance of this arrangement.
It may prove useful and effective, as well in studing at the
"homely fireside" and in musical schools, as also in performances
in small concerts (where there is no orchestra), in
Conservatoires, at examination: and drawing-room performances.
The chief title stands on the first page; on the 2 following ones
are remarks for the printer, which I leave to your masterly hand
as a pedagogue, dear friend, to render more distinct and to
complete. With special regard I remain always yours sincerely,
Rome, September 25th, 1879
I have great pleasure in the perusal of the 2nd edition of
Weitzmann's "History of Pianoforte Playing."
253. To Professor Bassani in Venice
[A well-known teacher of the pianoforte in Venice, and friend of
You are so forcibly exceptional a person, and prove this by truly
uncommon musical and poetical works.
Mademoiselle Giuli has already written to tell you the lively
pleasure I have had in hearing her play one of your compositions
remarkably well; several others, for piano or for the voice,
deserve a similar success, and will obtain it as soon as they are
Pray accept, dear Monsieur Bassani, the very sincere esteem and
sympathy which is offered to you, together with best wishes for
the extension and widespread fame of your "Armonie dell' Anima,"
(Villa d'Este) October 28th, 1879
254. To the Composer Anatolie Liadoff in St. Petersburg
All your compositions bear the stamp of distinction and of good
taste. This one is charmed to find again in the "Arabesques" you
are kind enough to send me. Pray accept my thanks and the
expression of my very sincere and devoted esteem.
(Villa d'Este,) December 25th, 1879.
255. To Frau Reisenauer-Pauly in Rome
[The mother of Liszt's pupil, Alfred Reisenauer]
My best thanks for your kind notice of the Roman concert of
January 23rd. It seems to me that "populations necessiteuses"
[distressed population] would have been better on the programme
than "populations affamees" [starving population] of Silesia.
Mendelssohn's excellent Concerti always hold their ground without
risk, especially since Berlioz's witty article (published nearly
30 years ago), according to which they are occasionally performed
by the pianos alone, without further trouble on the part of the
While taking affectionate part in the success achieved by your
son Alfred, whose talents are duly valued by me, I remain, dear
Budapest, January 30th, 1880.
My cordial greetings to Madame Helbig.
256. To Professor Klindworth in Moscow
Much-esteemed dear Friend,
My sincere thanks for your masterly arrangement of Chopin's
Concerto. [The Concerto in F minor; score, orchestral parts and
arrangement for 2 pianos published by Jurgenson (Moscow) and Bock
(Berlin).] You showed me the first movement of it some years ago
in Munich. I consider the modifications in the instrumentation
and in the piano part successful. As much transparency as
possible should be preserved in the melodious parts.
I conclude that you will impress on M. Jurgenson the necessity of
not giving way to the ancient careless abuses of publishers in
the 2-piano edition. Thus four lines and two identical copses are
requisite for performance.
As leader and head of the now numerous Chopin-Editors, your
excellent Jurgenson-Edition authorises you to advance a proudly
modest "Sic vos non vobis."
Au revoir this summer in Hall, dear Klindworth. Give my kind
regards to your wife.
Budapest, February 16th, 1880
The last corrected proofsheets of Tschaikowsky's Polonaise
dedicated to you leave by today's post addressed to Jurgenson.
257. To the Kammervirtuoso Professor Hermann Scholtz in Dresden
[Pianist and composer (born 1845, pupil of Bulow and
Rheinberger), is especially famous as an admirable player of
Much-esteemed Sir and Friend,
I have sincere pleasure in praising and recommending your Chopin-
Edition. To Klindworth belongs the merit of having preceded you
by his intelligent and practical work. Your publisher, Peters,
might be advised in the next thousand copies he issues of the
Chopin-Edition signed Hermann Scholtz:--
A. Not to fill up the first volume with Waltzes. Why make this
paltry concession to the trifling requirements of the drawing-
room? Chopin's Waltzes are certainly charming, elegant and full
of invention...still his Polonaises and Mazurkas have a far
Chopin is the bewitching musical genius in which the heroically
chivalrous Polish nationality finds expression. This chief
characteristic ought to be distinctly emphasised in classifying
his works. So, first volume: Polonaises, Mazurkas and the
Fantasia upon Polish motives.
B. The clear notation of the melodies (indicated by tails turned
upwards!), as in the Klindworth-Edition, should be maintained.
C. In works having an orchestral accompaniment an arrangement of
that accompaniment for a second piano ought to be printed under
the Solo part of the first piano.
(The brains of most pianists become addled by the usual editions,
where the essentially melodious and rhythmical character, nay
often even the correct bass, is wanting.)
D. This is again addressed to Mr. Peters. He ought not to
withhold from the audience your admirable version of the
Recitative in the Adagio of the F minor Concerto for Piano Solo,
and should add these few pages to your Chopin-Edition.
Weimar, April 29th, 1880
255. To Sophie Menter
The signature of the telegram front Rome announced to me your
return to "Hungaria." I met friend Bosendorfer the day before
yesterday in Frankfort: we began at once of course to talk about
Sophie Menter and her new thickly-leaved Petersburg laurels.
Similar plants will bloom for you everywhere according to the
capacity of the soil, and will always shade your artistic
peregrinations through Europe and America.
Give my kindest regards to Neuschul, from yours cordially,
Weimar, May 26th, 1880
259. To Jules de Zarembski
You have made an excellent choice; and M. Gevaert also. The
Brussels Conservatoire keeps in the first ranks: its very active
and intelligent Director will take good care not to allow it to
degenerate or to sink into idleness; on the contrary, he gives
and will give it an entirely progressive impulse. You will have
to see that your piano class does honor to the Conservatoire, to
its head and to your own name. This will take some years to do;
Your three studies are most uncommon, remarkable and successful.
The second, in F minor, might be signed Chopin. This exceedingly
high praise does not imply that you have in any way been guilty
of plagiarism, for in your works original power is manifest.
Perhaps there may be a slight falling-off towards the middle of
the third Study; still this does not disturb the total good
When we are chatting together again about music I will explain to
you viva voce my antiquated ideas concerning the whys and
wherefores of matters belonging to our profession.
I am sending Simon at Berlin at once the good copy of your three
Studies. He has sent me the rather bad one of your Mazurkas for
two performers. These I played over with the Baroness von
Meyendorff yesterday evening. She begs me to tell you our very
favorable opinion of these charming productions of your Polish
I am telling Simon that publishers cannot do better than bring
out works of value such as Zarembski writes.
Pray, dear friend, present the sincere regards to Mme. Zarembska
of your cordially attached
Weimar, June 1st, 1880
I am just sending off the copies of the Studies and Mazurkas to
260. To Professor Bassani
Your "Studio sinfonico" is fine poetry in music. It reminds me of
Venice when I was twenty. The solemn, sad motive (5/4)
corresponds to the lagoons and to the gloomy stroke of their
waves round the Bridge of Sighs: the other subject soars on high
accompanied by the gentle sound of the belfries, announcing, as
it were, from a distance the joyfulness of divine hopes.
My cordial sympathy and friendship.
Weimar, June 4th, 1880
261. To Marie Lipsius
Hearty thanks for your persistent kindness; "Carmen" has just
arrived, and I now beg you to find out for and send to me another
tale of Merimee's, called "Les ames du Purgatoire" [Souls in
Purgatory]. It narrates the adventures of Don Juan de Marana,
immortalised by Mozart and Lord Byron. Grabbe has also turned his
poetical attention towards this mauvais sujet, and gives him as a
companion to Faust, which might perplex His Excellency von
I hope soon to see you either in Leipzig or Weimar.
Ever yours gratefully,
Weimar, June 10th, 1880
Tomorrow I shall write to Hartel's that the edition of my
"Gesammelte Schriften" could not do better than begin with your
excellent version of the "Chopin."
262. To Kornel von Abranyi
Highly Esteemed Dear Friend,
My hearty thanks for the dedication copy of your charming
"Nocturnes." "Near the chapel" and "Starry night" belong to my
most select intimate Programme.
Aladar Juhasz needs but health to stand forth and hold his own as
an excellent artist, virtuoso and composer. The matter of his
stipend is now arranged--as we wished it. Juhasz will certainly
also greatly distinguish himself at the Klausenburg Musical
Festival. My lines of introduction to Trefort, the Minister, must
no longer be presented to His Excellency as mustard after dinner.
The less scribbling and gossiping the better. "Vitam impendere
I request that the two accompanying letters in Hungarian may be
answered by the General Secretary of the Royal Hungarian National
Academy of Music, Abranyi Kornel, in my name. Before I left
Budapest we read together the polyphone tattoo by J. K., and I
then requested you to make the composer understand that
Meyerbeer's far-famed "Rataplan, Rataplan, plan, plan" (in the
"Huguenots") is quite enough henceforth for the audience.
Do not delay any longer returning his score to J. Beg Herr P. A.
to excuse me for not being a millionaire.
Till the end of July remains in Weimar Yours most faithfully and
Weimar, June 20th, 1880
263. To Freiherr Hans von Wolzogen
Highly esteemed Freiherr and Friend,
.--. Wagner has shown and taught us triumphantly "what style is."
You explain the mighty matter admirably in your last writing,
dear Sir. That a "School for the culture of style in Bayreuth"
should be established, is wished by no one more seriously than by
Yours most sincerely,
Weimar, July 28th 1880
149. To Friedrich Hofmeister, Music Publisher in Leipzig
Weimar, August 17th, 1880
For the last twenty years or more Kirchner has known how
sincerely I esteem his compositions. I rejoice to see that he
continues adding to their number with freshness and vigor, and am
much obliged to you for sending me his "Toys," "Caprices,"
"Leaves," etc., which you have brought out.
265. To Baroness Helen Augusz, Sister of Mercy in Graz
[Daughter of Liszt's late friend, Baron Anton Augusz, of Szegzard
Most revered Sister of St. Vincent de Paule,
Pray always dispose of my feeble services. I am writing to the
Baroness de Roner according to your instructions, and request
that you will send her the enclosed lines.
M. Tirindelli's [Professor at the "Liceo Marcello" in Venice;
violinist and composer.] abilities deserve attention,
consideration and encouragement. This you have well understood,
and it will be a pleasure to me to second you.
How can I be of use to him?
By recommending him to some publisher in Germany?
Does he intend to travel and give concerts? Your protege, M.
Tirindelli, may count upon my sincere readiness to oblige him:
the only thing I ask is, that he should write me distinctly in
what way I can be of service to him. Yesterday I took the liberty
of noting several alterations in his melody "All' Ideale," his
Mazurka, and in the Adagio of the Trio which pleases you by its
By the way, this Adagio has been so badly copied that another
less faulty one will have to be made before sending it to print.
By this same post you will receive the three works with my
Having arrived here last Saturday, I shall remain at the Villa
d'Este till New Year. In the middle of January will return to
Your very respectful and devoted servant,
Rome, September 1st, 1880
The most convenient address for me during the next months is:
Albergo a Via Alibert, Roma.
266. To Madame A. Rubinstein
Allow me, dear Madame Rubinstein, to dedicate to you my
transcription of your husband's charming and very famous Lied. To
the very conservative burden "Ach! wenn es doch immer so bliebe"
[Ah! could it remain so for ever!] I add that what will certainly
always remain as now is, your most respectfully and
affectionately obedient servant,
(Villa d'Este,) October 24th, 1880
267. To Frau Amalie von Fabry in Budapest
I do not know whether I talk too much; but I certainly write too
little to those who remain constantly in possession of my sincere
gratitude. I crave your kindly indulgence therefore for my
Through your nephew Imre [Baron Augusz, son of Anton Augusz. He
died at an early age.] I hear that his mother, Baroness von
Augusz, has been so good as to look at my new dwelling in the
Academy of Music, and that the arrangement of it, as yet unknown
to me, meets her approval. The solicitude you have shown, Madame,
in this matter--as well as in other similar ones in the
Palatingasse and Fischmarkt during the last 8 years--I beg to
acknowledge with warmest thanks. It never enters my head to make
exaggerated pretensions with regard to my residential
requirements. Decency without display continues to be the right
thing for me. I only have one wish at all times: never to be a
trouble to my friends anywhere.
It will be agreeable to me if Fanny feels disposed to undertake
my modest household service again this winter. She adapts herself
well to it with her pretty smiling face.
Pray accept, dear Frau von Fabry, the renewed expression of my
old devoted affection.
Villa d'Este, Tivoli, November 1st, 1880
On the 15th January I shall again arrive at Budapest.
268. To Frau Anna Benfey-Schuppe
[Autograph belonging to Herr Fritz Donebauer at Prague.--The
addressee is an authoress residing at Weimar.]
A thousand apologies. I ought long ere this to have written you
and my esteemed friend, Dr. Benfey, a letter of thanks, and to
have sent your sheetful of questions back answered. [The answers
follow in the letter.] Pray excuse this delay.--
I frankly confess that the title of the pamphlet, "Beethoven and
Liszt," [Alludes to a pamphlet contemplated by the late husband
of the lady addressed.] at first frightened me. It called to my
mind a reminiscence of my childhood. Nearly fifty years ago, at
the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, I used often to notice a
harmless poodle keeping company in the same cage with a majestic
lion, who seemed to be kindly disposed towards the little
chamberlain. I have exactly the same feeling towards Beethoven as
the poodle towards that forest-king.
With sincere thanks and regards,
Yours, F. Liszt
November 11th, 1880 (Villa d'Este, Tivoli)
At the end of September, Breitkopf and Hartel sent my own duet
arrangements of my twelve "Poemes Symphoniques" at my request to
Gottschalg (Weimar). This copy is intended for Dr. Benfey.
Gottschalg will likewise willingly place the scores of the
"Dante" and "Faust" Symphonies, as well as the arrangement for
two pianos of both these works, at your disposal.
The names of the greatest performers figure in the Court
concerts, such as, Joachim, Ernst, Vieuxtemps, Bulow, Rubinstein,
Bronsart, Tausig, Madame Viardot-Garcia, etc., etc. A few of
these concerts were conducted by Berlioz, and their programmes in
every case contained nova et vetera (as prescribed in the
During my direction of the Opera at Weimar, from '49 to '58, the
following works were performed there, together with the standing
repertoire of Mozart's, Weber's, Rossini's, Meyerbeer's Operas,
February '49 "Tannhauser;" August 28th, '50, "Lohengrin" (first
performance); later on "The Flying Dulchman," and Wagner's
splendid edition of Gluck's "Iphigenia in Aulis."--Berlioz's
"Benvenuto Cellini;" Schumann's "Manfred" (first performance),
Raff's "King Alfred," two of Lassen's Operas, Spohr's "Faust"
(with the recitatives), Sobolewski's "Comala," Dorn's
"Nibelungen" (first performance), etc., etc.--Finally, Peter
Cornelius' "Barber of Bagdad"--the last operatic performance
which I directed there.
This short list will suffice for your purpose of the pamphlet; to
it we may add that several Oratorios and Symphonic works were
performed under my direction, such as Marx' "Moses," Rubinstein's
"Paradise Lost," Schumann's "Paradise and the Peri" and his
concluding scenes in "Faust," etc.; as for Symphonies, the Great
Pyramid--Beethoven's "Ninth" (for Goethe's Jubilee in '49),
nearly all Berlioz's Symphonies and Overtures, besides other
Symphonies and Overtures by Schumann, Raff, Hiller, Bronsart,
Joachim, Bulow, etc., most of which were at that time scarcely
known or entirely new.
You might obtain better and more detailed information concerning
musical life at Weimar (from '49 to '58) from some who took part
in it either as performers or friends, especially Gille, Lassen,
Gottschalg, Grosse (trombone-player and contrapuntist),
Wahlbrull, Milde and his wife, and Fran Dr. Emilie Merian, than
from the theater archives.
I have no doubt, moreover, that the present Intendant, Baron
von Loen, will readily permit you to inspect the archives of the
theater and see any programmes of the Court concerts of that time
which may still be forthcoming. You may likewise count upon the
obliging readiness of Lassen and Muller-Hartung in making your
During my summer stay in Weimar in latter years, some pianists
have taken to coming there regularly who play my Symphonic Poems
well and willingly. I am not able to name any of those who come
during the winter. Ask Lassen and Muller-Hartung about this.
Enclosed you will find an introduction from me to Madame Merian.
She sings my songs with fervent intelligence, from heart to
November 11th, 1880 (Villa d'Este)
269. To the Committee of the Antwerp Musical Society
Very Honored Gentlemen,
The expression of my sincere gratitude for your very kind letter
has been delayed owing to a circumstance which was independent of
I am acquainted with the high character which the Antwerp Musical
Society bears; many of those who were present at your Festivals
in 1876, '77, and have spoken to me in the liveliest terms of
praise of those great musical performances, of the far-famed
merits of your director, Peter Benoit, of his Rubens Cantata and
of his Oratorio [La Guerre, De Oorlog.] recently sung at Brussels
on the occasion of the national commemoration by 900 members of
your Society. Greatly flattered by your invitation, I hope,
Gentlemen, that my answer to it may not appear discourteous to
you. Allow me to decline the honor of directing the Festival you
have in view for 1881 and to be present at it as a simple
listener. Should any work of mine have been admitted to your
programme, I would fain request M. Peter Benoit [One of the chief
representatives of Belgian national music (born 1884), Director
of the Antwerp Conservatoire] to conduct it, since for the last
fifteen years I have declared myself unfit for this work in all
My engagements keep me at Budapest till Easter. After that time I
shall be charmed to have the opportunity of assuring you again
personally at Antwerp of the sentiments of high consideration and
distinguished esteem with which I remain,
November 16th, 1880 (Villa d'Este,) Tivoli
[The Lisztt-Festival given by the Societe de Musique d'Anvers
took place on the 26th May, 1881, under Benoit's direction, in
Antwerp. The programme comprised the Gran Mass; the E flat
Concerto, played by Fran Falk-Mehlig; the Dance of Death, played
by Zarembski; Mignon and other songs, sung by the ladies
Kufferath and Schauenburg; and the Preludes.
In a second Festival-Concert on 29th May, arranged by Liszt's
former pupil F. von Servais and Jules de Zarembski, Tasso and the
Faust Symphony, the Concerto Pathetique (played by M. and Mme.
Zarembski), and "Loreley" with orchestra (Mdlle. Kufferath) were
performed. Gevaert, the celebrated musical savant, apostrophised
Liszt in the opening speech as "the incomparable Virtuoso whose
prestige has never been surpassed, nor even equalled; the
prolific and inspired composer, who in the numerous domains of
Art which he has touched has opened new roads, explored new
shores, and left everywhere the luminous imprint of his bold and
innovating genius; the eminent head of a School, who may without
exaggeration be described as the initiator, par excellence, of
the musical movement of our epoch; one of those rare favorites of
the gods for whom posterity begins even during their life-time,"
270. To Sophie Menter
Dear, Highly Valued Friend,
If I rightly understand your letter and telegram you are soon
going to Paris and London, and also soon coming to Rome. When?--
tell me this clearly. A Roman Sophie Menter Concert is easily
arranged and will be a great pleasure for me.
Although introductions from me are quite superfluous for you, I
beg you to consider them always at your disposal. The best person
to safeguard your interests with the German Ambassadors in France
and England will be Frau Grafin Schleinitz. Alter, shorten and
improve anything you like in the Fantaisie on the Huguenots.
Pieces of this sort ought only to be brought forward by super-
eminent virtuosi--Sophie Menter, for instance. The transcriber
then hardly serves as "Klecks." [Klecks is the name of Mme.
Menter's favorite cat.]
December 2nd, 1880 (Villa D'este, Rome)
Maybe you will tell me yourself soon in Rome where I am to send
the letters; if not, send me your address. I shall remain here
till January 5th and be at Budapest on the 15th.
271. To Dr. Friedrich Stade in Leipzig
[Musical writer (born 1844) in Leipzig]
Very Dear Sir and Friend,
Your transcription of "Gretchen" [Out of Liszt's Faust Symphony.]
for pianoforte and harmonium is capital, just as I wished. I only
take the liberty of very slightly altering it, and have added ten
bars at the end, which are to be henceforth inserted in the score
and in my own arrangements of the Faust Symphony. [They follow
herewith in the orchestral movement, according to Dr. Stade's
If you will kindly take the trouble to arrange the entire Faust
Symphony for two performers on one piano, I shall be greatly
indebted to you. [This was done.] Deal as freely as possible with
the figurations and also with the distribution among the seven
octaves of the odious keyboard. It seems to me that what may be
more laterally accurate ought often to give way to what sounds
better and even to what is more convenient for the players at the
Thanking you once more, I remain,
Yours most cordially,
Rome, December 11th, 1880.
We will play your duet arrangement together before it is
published, in Weimar--next spring.
[Here, Liszt illustrates with Musical score excerpts]
272. To Professor S. Jadassoiin in Leipzig
[Composer (born in 1831), teacher at the Leipzig Conservatoire
Your setting of the 100th Psalm is nobly religious in feeling and
excellent in style. The working out of the choruses is masterly
throughout, from beginning to end; a passage which comes out with
especial brilliancy is that on pages 14, 15-19, 20, "with
rejoicing," where the trombones, and then the trumpets and
trombones, joyously repeat the subject of the fugue in
The Arioso too which follows, "He made us," is most fervent in
expression. There is a fine field here for beautiful contralto
voices to rejoice in.
My sincere thanks, dear sir, for the dedication of this excellent
work. I shall recommend it for performance to such of my friends
as are conductors; above all, to Hofcapellmeister Muller-Hartung,
whom I shall request to bring out your Psalm at Weimar.
Villa d'Este, January 10th, 1881
273. To Frau Reisenauer-Pauly in Konigsberg
It is one of my duties to deal sparingly in letters of
introduction. Still I am quite willing to repeat my opinion that
your son Alfred is a highly gifted and brilliantly aspiring
Should this conscientious opinion enable him to obtain further
recommendations, he is free to make use of it.
Budapest, January 29th, 1881
274. To Dionys von Pazmandy, Editor of the Gasette de Hongrie
[This letter is printed in French in the Gazette de Hongrie, but
is only known to the Editor in the German translation (Neue
Zeitschrift fur Musik?).]
Dear Sir and Friend,
You want to know my impression of yesterday's Bulow Concert? Yet
it must have been yours, that of all of us, that of the whole of
the intelligent audiences of Europe. To define it in two words:
admiration, enthusiasm. Bulow was my pupil in music five-and-
twenty years ago, as I myself, five-and-twenty years before, had
been the pupil of my much respected and beloved master, Czerny.
But to Bulow it was given to do battle better and with greater
perseverance than I did. His admirable Beethoven-Edition is
dedicated to me as the "fruit of my tuition." Here however it was
for the master to learn from the pupil, and Bulow continues to
teach by his astonishing performances as virtuoso, as well as by
his extraordinary learning as a musician, and now too by his
matchless direction of the Meiningen Orchestra.--Here you have
the musical progress of our time!
Budapest, February 15th, 1881
275. To Frau Colestine Bosendorfer in Vienna
[The wife of the celebrated pianoforte-maker, who died young]
Not to see you in Vienna this time, Madame, was a grief to me. It
cast, as it were, a melancholy shadow over my stay there, which
otherwise was brightened by so cordial a reception.--
I am accompanied by the roses without thorns of my pleasant
recollections of you, and my hearty and respectful devotion
Weimar, Easter Sunday, April 17th, 1881
Have the kindness to repeat to Bosendorfer the assurance of my
very cordial friendship.
276. To the Most Honorable Committee of the Wagner-Verein, Berlin
Addressed to Professor Otto Lessmann.
A distinction such as that which was conferred upon me yesterday
by the Berlin "Wagner-Verein" and by the audience has seldom been
received by the highest masters in the musical art, among whom I
can only count as an apprentice.
["Les Preludes" and "Festklange," the former under Lessmann's,
the latter under Mannstadt's direction, had been performed in the
winter garden of the Central Hotel before a numerous audience
assembled by invitation. Between the two symphonies, Marianne
Brandt sang "Jeanne d'Arc au bucher," and Heinrich Ernst some of
Liszt's songs. A banquet concluded the festival.]
Accept my warmest thanks for the "Liszt Festival Concert" of
Sunday, 24th April; it remains as a joyous incentive to lifelong
continuous work with
Berlin, Monday, April 25th, 188l
277. To Kornel von Abranyi
Weimar, May 13th, 1881
My Dear Friend,
Rather more than half of my concert-engagements for this year
have now been fulfilled. The two performances of "Christus" in
Berlin and Freiburg were admirable; the Liszt-Concerts in
Freiburg and Baden-Baden likewise; in the first of these the
three-part hymn "L'enfant au reveil" was also given, charmingly
sung by deliciously clear voices. By way of a rehearsal of this
piece the ladies gave a morning serenade in honor of me at the
house of my friendly hosts the Rieslers, whose villa will remain
most pleasantly in my remembrance. Felix Mottl conducted the
Liszt concert in Baden-Baden with "Mazeppa," the "Mephisto-
Waltz," the "Hunnenschlacht," and three pieces from the Oratorio
"Christus" in a most praiseworthy manner. Bulow's Liszt-evening
in Berlin glorious as at Pest and Vienna..--.
I shall stay here till Sunday, 22nd May. On the 24th I shall be
at Antwerp. On the 26th is the performance of the "Gran Mass"
I am very glad that the Committee of the Musical Festival has
chosen just this particular work, which has hitherto been more
talked about and abused by the critics than heard. Of course I
had left the programme entirely to the discretion of the
Committee, for I really have no wish to recommend any work of my
own for performance anywhere. My mission is to work on
unpretendingly and without troubling myself about advancement.
My best regards to your wife and sons. I will send you programmes
from Antwerp and Brussels. I shall be back here again on the 4th
June. From the 9th to the 12th June Tonkunstler-Versammlung in
278. To Kornel von Abranyi,
Much Esteemed, Dear Friend,
The second copy (with the additional few hundred bars) of the
score of my second Mephisto-Waltz is admirably done. Thank Gyula
Erkel very particularly in my name for it. I request his
acceptance of the enclosed forty florins, as a slight
remuneration for the time he has spent on it. I depend upon your
firm friendship, which has stood the test of so many years, to
find a delicate mode of presenting them to him. The score of the
second Mephisto-Waltz will be published next autumn by Furstner
(Berlin), and then performances can take place at Budapest and
I am writing to our esteemed Director of the Royal Hungarian
Academy of National Music, Franz Erkel, to have Chickering's
grand pianoforte, as an excellent and kind gift from America,
placed in the music-hall in the Radial-Strasse. This piano, as
well as the whole of my possessions in Budapest, will belong to
the Royal Hungarian Academy of Music at my death, which is not
far off. Correctness remains the motto of
Yours most faithfully,
Weimar, May 22nd, 1881.
Tomorrow evening I shall be at Antwerp. The Committee there have
decided for the Gran Mass to be performed on the 26th May without
any pressure on my part. Therefore Eljen Hungaria--in all
countries. You may address to Weimar in the beginning of June.
279. To Frau Charlotte Blume-Arends
[A pupil of Liszt's now in Berlin.]
Weimar, August 29th, 1881
A good deal of irregularity has crept into my housekeeping during
my long indisposition. Your kind letter only reached me
yesterday. Thank you heartily for it; I accept the office of
godfather. So your son is to be named Franz, and to walk the
waters of life firmly and serenely, trusting securely in God,
like my patron Saint Francois de Paule, whose motto is:
"Caritas." I have long been wishing to thank you by letter for
the charming present which decorates my study in the new wing of
the Musical Academy at Pest. That elegant work of art is greatly
admired by my numerous visitors. It would be charming, were the
amiable donor to return and inspect it. The remembrance of you is
still vivid in Pest.
Best compliments to your husband from
Yours gratefully and truly,
I hope to be quite recovered in ten days, and shall then go to
280. To Otto Lessmann
Weimar, September 8th, 1881
I have still to undergo a supplementary treatment of baths and
sweatings. [In consequence of a fall, Liszt had been seriously
ill all summer.] This I shall do at Weimar. From the 21st to the
30th September I shall be at Bayreuth, and from October till New
Year in Rome.
I am sending off the duet version of my Symphonic Poem "From
cradle to grave" to Bock to day. .--. I shall send him the score
from Bayreuth, because just now I am not able to work more than a
few hours a day continuously.
There is so much admirable music written that one is ashamed to
write any more. With me it only happens in cases of urgency and
from inner necessity.
Thanking you heartily,
281. To Francois Auguste Gevaert, Director of the Brussels
[Celebrated Belgian music teacher and composer, born 1828]
Very Honored, Dear Friend,
Among the recollections of my long artistic life one of the
dearest to me is that of your kind sympathy. I cherish sincere
gratitude for it, of which I should be glad to give you a proof.
Allow me, to begin with, to dedicate to you the Symphonic Poem I
have just written, which was suggested by a drawing by Michel
Zichy entitled "From the cradle to the grave."--The score is
short enough, and, it seems to me, free from superfluous
Lassen has spoken to you about the performance of your Quentin
Durward at Weimar. The Grand Duke desires it to take place; his
Theater-Intendant, Baron von Loen, was preparing for it, and the
singers are certain to take great pains and show all alacrity in
performing their several parts well.
To my own regret, in which his Royal Highness shares, as well as
his theater company and the audience, the performance has to be
adjourned; for the German translation is not forthcoming, and
some dawdling on the part of your publisher throws obstacles in
the way. Let him soon turn over a new leaf. As for the German
translation, I particularly recommend to you my friend Richard
Pohl (who is living at Baden-Baden, where he is editor-in-chief
of the local newspaper of that charming place). Pohl is
distinguished by great musical intelligence and cleverness in
translating, of both of which he has given proof in Berlioz's
Beatrice and Bennedict and Saint-Saens' Samson.
Lassen and Baron Loen will continue to correspond with you
concerning the mise-en-scene of Quentin Durward at Weimar. Small
towns have but small successes to offer. You are entitled by
right to both large and small ones. Accept them.--
I do not scruple to ask a favor of you, my dear friend. The
decoration of the Order of Leopold arrived at a time when I was
ill in bed. It was accompanied by a few complimentary lines from
the Secretary of the Foreign Office, Baron de Lambermont, as well
as by the official document which was to be signed by me. It
would have been my most agreeably imperative duty to have thanked
Baron de L., and to have expressed my lively feelings of
gratitude for this royal favor. This I could not immediately do,
owing to the state of my health, which did not allow of my
writing, and still renders that occupation very difficult. Add to
this that a good deal of disorder had got into my household;
several letters and manuscripts have been mislaid, and,
notwithstanding all my endeavors, I have not been able to find
Baron de L.'s lines again or the document they enclosed. I
therefore beg you, dear and highly esteemed friend, to present my
apologies to the Baron, and to ask him to send me a duplicate of
the document I have to sign. My address from 22nd September to
2nd October will be: Bayreuth (Bavaria); after that, Via and
Hotel Alibert, Rome.
Yours, in high esteem and cordial friendship,
Weimar, September 19th, 188l
282. To Francois Auguste Gevaert
Highly Honored Master and Dear Friend,
Thanks to your kind help I have at last put my business with
Baron Lambermont in order and have just written him a letter of
very grateful acknowledgment.
Permit me to revenir a nos moutons. Panurge has nothing to do
with them, nor has the honorable biscuit-seller of the Gymnase,
still less his peaceable neighbor, your publisher Mr. Grus. What
we want is the score of your "Quentin Durward" and composer's
consent to the performance of it at Weimar. The Grand Duke's
Theater-Intendant undertakes the payment of the German
translator, my old friend, Richard Pohl, who will certainly take
great pleasure in performing his task in the most satisfactory
way possible. Baron Loen and Lassen will correspond with you
concerning the performance, which is intended to take place in
My cordial thanks for your favorable acceptance of my dedication.
Some months are still necessary for the copying and publishing of
the score together with the orchestral parts. Before this is
finished 1 will send you the printed pianoforte arrangement for
one and for two performers.
Be good enough, dear friend, to give my affectionate regards to
Madame Gevaert and to your sons, and ever count upon my very
Bayreuth, October 8th, 1881
I shall be in Rome in eight days.
283. To Eduard von Mihalovich
I must be found guilty [of negligence?]. I do not apologise. My
aversion to letter-writing has grown excessive. But who could
answer more than two thousand letters a year without becoming an
I have been ailing a good deal for the last three months. As soon
as there was an improvement, something else appeared. Do not let
us mention this any more, for you know how little my health
occupies my thoughts, and how disagreeable it is to me to hear it
talked of. In short, I feel sufficiently recovered to set out for
Rome the day after tomorrow. My very dear granddaughter Daniela
goes with me, and will remain till the beginning of January. This
is a providential pleasure on which I did not count at all, but
for which I thank the good angels.
I will tell you by word of mouth the minor reasons which
prevented me from sooner communicating your two splendid scores
and the pianoforte duet arrangements of them to the publishers,
Breitkopf and Hartel. Your fine manuscripts have at last reached
Leipzig, and you will soon have a letter from the present
proprietors of the ancient and illustrious house Breitkopf and
Hartel, with their conditions for publication, which will be
their ultaiytalunz. They are aware of the sincere interest I take
in your works, and will, I trust, share it, without leading you
into any expense.
Stern [Adolph Stern in Dresden, author of the libretto.] has
given me fairly good news as to the preparations for the
performance of your Haubar at Dresden. Young composers are always
Pray remember me cordially to our excellent friends the Veghs,
Albert Apponyi, Madame d'Eotvos and her daughter, Mademoiselle
Polyxena, and...I was just going to add the name of a charming
woman with whom I am out of favor.
Bayreuth, October 8th, 1881
My address from the middle of October to the lst of January: Via
and Hotel Alibert, Rome.
You are held in affectionate remembrance at Wahnfried. Wagner is
finishing the instrumentation of the 2nd act of Parsifal, and
gives it his most passionate attention. We shall have something
new, marvellous, unheard of, to hear.
M. Humperdink, the lucky triple laureate of the three
scholarships, "Mozart," "Meyerbeer," "Mendelssohn," is at work
here copying the score of Parstfal; [E. Humperdink, born in 1854,
made Wagner's acquaintance in 1880 at Naples, and at the first
performance of Parsifal conducted the choruses from on high and
the music on the stage. He has been teacher at the Barcelona
Conservatoire since 1885.] Joseph Rubinstein [Born 1847 in
Russia, he lived a great deal in Wagner's society after 1872, and
took an active part in the rehearsals for the Bayreuth Festival
Performances in 1875 and 1876, He died by his own hand the 15th
of September, 1884, at Lucerne.] is continuing his arrangement of
it for piano at Palermo just now, and will complete it later on
at Bayreuth. Other artists on the high road to celebrity are also
employed in copying this same Opus magnum, the performance of
which we shall applaud in July 1882. It will be a next to
miraculous and highly fashionable pilgrimage.
P.S.--The busybody Spiridion has been so careless as to carry off
a little gold watch of mine that I had merely given him leave to
wear while he was in my service. Please ask Spiridion to give you
this watch on New Year's Day. You will return it to me about the
middle of January 1882, when I go back to Budapest.
284. To Jules de Zarembski
I have rarely done a minor work--big ones bother me--with as much
pleasure as that of setting your two Galician Dances for
Orchestra. It is quite finished, with a few additions of which I
hope you will not disapprove; but my scrawl of a manuscript
cannot possibly be sent you: therefore I have asked Friedheim
[One of the most pre-eminent among the younger pupils of the
Master.] to undertake to copy it, and I will send you this copy
before the New Year. If the publisher Simon is inclined to
publish this orchestration I will let him have it for a thousand
marks; if not, keep it yourself; and make any use you like of it;
first of all at the concert in which you are going to bring
forward your own compositions exclusively. I wish I could be
present at it, and on this occasion I renew to you the sincere
and sympathetic esteem in which I hold your noble and rare
talents. They will fructify by means of perseverance.
Friedheim's copy will reach you in time to have the parts copied
and to add the necessary nuances. Please send me a programme of
the concert of which Zarembski as composer is to fill the list.
The other programme you are meditating, to be devoted to my works
for the pianoforte, seems to me to be too long; this is a defect
for which I can only be very thankful to you, and yet I am going
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