Letters of Franz Liszt, Volume 2: "From Rome to the End"
Franz Liszt; letters collected by La Mara and translated
Part 9 out of 10
vitality and superior characteristics in the interpretation.
An extraordinary thing! the most difficult Quartet of Beethoven,
one which on account of its complications never figures on any
programme, the grand fugue, Op. 133, is played by the Meiningen
orchestra with a perfect ensemble. On a previous occasion I also
heard at Meiningen Bach's celebrated Chaconne played in unison
with a real virtuosity by some ten violins.
335. To Felix Mottl, Hofcapellmeister at Carlsruhe
[The addressee, born in 1856, has been since 1880 at Carlsruhe,
where he was recently appointed to the post of Court opera
conductor, and since 1886 one of the conductors of the Bayreuth
Festivals. He is one of the most important conductors of the
present day, and has also come forward as a composer.]
My Very Dear Friend,
You have done a noble artistic deed in reinstating Cornelius's
charming Opera "The Barber of Bagdad." I hardly know of any other
comic opera of so much refined humor and spirit. This champagne
has the real sparkle and great worth.
The one-act arrangement seems to me the most propitious. As in
Carlsruhe so elsewhere it will make its way. Write about this to
Hans Richter. "The Barber of Bagdad" might perhaps, in one act,
become a stock-opera in Vienna, and then return once more to
Weimar, where, at the first performance long ago, they behaved so
ill about it.
Friendly thanks, and yours ever,
Budapest, February 8th, 1884
336. To Frau Hofrathin Henriette von Liszt
My Very Dear Cousin,
This time I was not able to have a thorough rest in Vienna. Such
an extra [luxury] is hardly my lot anywhere. My life is one
continued fatigue. Some one once asked the celebrated Catholic
champion Arnauld (the Jansenist) why he did not allow himself
some rest. "We have eternity for that," answered he.
I hear for the first time through you of a cousin or niece, Mary
Liszt, a concert giver. Concert givers have frequently misused
our name by playing under it in provincial towns. A pianist in
Constantinople, Herr Listmann, apologised to me for having
knocked off the second syllable of his name. On this account he
received a valuable present from the then Sultan Abdul Medgid. .-
Farewell till our next meeting in Easter week, dear cousin, from
yours ever affectionately,
Budapest, February 8th, 1884
One, and even two, letters from the Princess in the month of
January have been lost.
337. To Camille Saint-Saens.
Very Dear and Most Excellent Friend,
Before I received your kind letter I had intimated to Baron
Podmaniczki, the Intendant of the theater of Budapest, that he
ought to esteem it an honor to give your Henry VIII.--a frightful
personage in history, but brilliantly illustrated by your
beautiful music [an Opera by Saint-Satins]. The inauguration of
the new theater will take place at the end of September with the
St. Etienne, a new Opera by Erkel, the popular dramatic composer
par excellence in Hungary. His Huvtyadi Laszlo was performed 250
times, and his "Bankban" more than 100, without ever over-
reaching the mark. Two other works are promised after the St.
Etienne, so that your Henry VIII. cannot appear till '85, for it
still has to be translated into Hungarian.
I spoke about it in Vienna to his Excellency Baron Hoffmann, the
Intendant of the Imperial Theaters. He told me that your work is
going to be given shortly at Prague, and that he will send his
own conductor, M. Jahn, there, in order that it may be better
looked after. I beg that you will send the piano score of Henry
VIII. at once to M. le directeur Jahn (very influential), with a
few polite lines; also to do the same to M. Erkel Sandor (son of
the composer), conductor of the National Opera of Budapest.
Address to him "Theater National," Budapest.
Very much vexed to be unable to make a place for one of your
grand works--such as your superb Mass or some Poeme symphonique--
in the programme of our next Tonkunstler-Versammlung at Weimar
from the 23rd to the 28th May. Sauret is going to play your third
Concerto, and I will send you this overloaded programme. If you
came to hear it, it would be a very great pleasure to
Your admiringly and cordially attached
Weimar, April 29th, 1884
338. To Otto Lessmann
[Weimar,] May 7th, 1884
The motto of my Oratorio "Stanislaus" is "Religion and
Fatherland." In the fragment (Orchestral Interlude) which will be
given here at the next Tonkunstler-Versammlung the whole meaning
of the work is made plain. [This remained unfinished, as is well
Farewell till our speedy meeting.
Ever faithfully yours,
339. To Camille Saint-Saens
Very dear Friend and Confrere,
I refused to suspect that there could be any ill-will against you
at Budapest. Nevertheless I think it is strange and most unjust
that your dramatic and symphonic works have not yet taken the
place which is due to them in Hungary. I have explained myself
clearly about them several times, but the theater menage, and
even that of the Philharmonic Concerts, is formed outside of my
influence. They are quite ready to accord me a general
consideration, with the exception of arranging particular cases
otherwise than I wished. For many people doubtful profits and
manoeuvres contrary to their dignity exercise an irresistible
attraction. The idea of honor seems to them too troublesome.
I shall not desist in the least from my conscientious propaganda
of your 'Henry VIII' and other of your works. The new theater at
Budapest will open (at the end of September) with the 'Roi St.
Etienne', [King Stephen] a grand Hungarian Opera by Erkel
(senior). After that Baron Podmaniczky, the Intendant, has
promised to give a new Opera by Goldmark, also Hungarian in
subject, and another by Delibes. The "Henry VIII." should appear
somewhere between these three. Its performance at Prague will
determine that at Vienna, which will be soon, I hope. His
Excellency Baron Hoffmann, the Intendant of the Imperial Theaters
in Vienna, told me that he would send his artistic and musical
conductor (at the Opera), M. Jahn, to Prague. It depends on the
opinion of this person whether "Henry VIII." is given at Vienna.
When you come again to Weimar you are sure to be received there
with sympathy, gratitude and sincere admiration by your old
Weimar, May 18th, 1884
Thanks for the photograph. You will find it well placed here near
a charming bust. The Court and town of Weimar keep their
affectionate and kind sentiments towards you.
340. To Walter Bache
Dear honored Friend,
I am very gladly in accord with all your doings, and only protest
against the sacrifice you have in the noblest manner made for my
severely criticised works.
The English edition of the "Elizabeth Legend" with your sister's
translation delights me.
Tell Mr. Alfred Littleton he can send me the proof-sheets (bound)
of the piano edition, and the score, to Weimar. Along with this
the 4 four-hand pieces (published by Kahnt) might also be
published. Would it be well perhaps to begin with these? Arrange
about this as you like with Mr. Littleton. I have only to correct
the proofs, which will quickly follow.
If you think it would do, I shall also add to the English edition
a little Preface, in the form of a letter--addressed to Walter
By the same post today I send you the complete enormous programme
of the Tonkunstler-Versammlung (going through 25 years). This
evening they begin with the acting performance of the "Elizabeth
Auf Wiedersehen! [To our next meeting!]
I shall stay at Bayreuth from July 5th till the middle of August,
and then come back to Weimar.
Faithfully and gratefully,
Weimar, May 23rd, 1884
I have told Kahnt all that concerns himself in your letter.
341. To the Composer Carl Navratil in Prague
Dear Herr Navtatil,
I write in haste to tell you that Smetana's [Bohemian composer
and pianist (1824-84).] death has moved me deeply. He was a
genius. More in my next. In haste.
Weimar, May 30th, 1884
342. To Baron Friedrich Podmaniczky, Intendant of the Hungarian
Opera in Budapest
[From a rough copy in Liszt's own handwriting in the possession
Monsieur le Baron,
I have begged my friend M. de Mihalovich to lay before you a
proposition, the fate of which depends on the committee that
directs the orders for the sculptures of the new National
In my humble opinion it would be unjust, and even ungrateful, to
exclude from them the likenesses of two composers of high
distinction, the late Mosonyi and Franz Doppler.
A charming Opera of Mosonyi's of elevated taste, "Szep Ilonka"
["The fair Helen": its subject, like that of his other Opera
"Almos," was taken from Hungarian history], has been performed
here some dozen times with success, and was then consigned to
oblivion in the oubliettes of the administration. Another greater
dramatic work by Mosonyi, "Almos," has remained in manuscript,
although Baron Orczy, your predecessor as Intendant, had some
idea of producing it.
The whole of the brave musical activity of Mosonyi at Budapest is
most honorable and meritorious, as much by his teaching as by his
numerous compositions of Church music, orchestral music, and
piano music. Many of his Hungarian pieces remain classical, as
opposed to the current wares, supposed to be of this same kind,
more frequently heard (at the present time in Vienna).
Franz Doppler has left the best possible remembrance of his rare
talents and qualities at Budapest, where during many years he
fulfilled the duties of conductor to the theater, and shone by
his virtuosity (very celebrated in Europe) as a flute player--an
instrument which Frederick the Great condescended to use.
Doppler's Operas "Beniowszky" and "Ilka" were favorably received;
and up to the present time "Ilka" is the only Hungarian opera
admitted to the repertoire of several theaters in Germany.
Besides this Doppler has also written two acts of the "Elizabeth"
[The opera "Elizabeth," composed by Franz Erkel and Doppler, was
performed at the National Theater in 1857], by which Her Majesty
the Queen of Hungary was entertained at the theater of Budapest.
I venture then, Monsieur le Baron, to recommend you to see about
the desirability of placing two fine reliefs of Mosonyi and
Doppler [The reliefs adorn the vestibule of the opera house.] in
a suitable position in the new theater in the Radialstrasse, and
beg you to accept the expression of my high esteem and sincere
343. To Freiherr Hans von Wolzogen
My admiration remains unlimited for the sublime genius of Wagner.
What blissful creative power and influence has he not, ever
active from "Tannhauser" to the "Ring des Nibelungen" and the
The Art of our century finds its foundation and glory therein.
The little that I have written in letters about Wagner is at the
service of the public.
With highest esteem yours most truly,
Weimar, June 18th, 1884
To our friendly meeting in Bayreuth in the middle of July.
344. To the Concert-Singer Auguste Gotze
[Daughter of Professor Franz Gotze, and--as one of the first
singing mistresses of the present day--the inheritor of his
school; she is also a talented singer, reciter, and dramatic
poetess. She lives at Leipzig.]
In honor of you I will willingly endeavor to add the melodramatic
accompaniment to Felix Dahn's poem. ["Die Mette von Marienburg"
[The Matins of Marienburg] Liszt's intention remained, alas,
unfulfilled.] This short work will only require a few hours but I
can seldom get any free hours for working...All sorts of
interruptions keep me from writing.
Hearty greetings to your charming colleague, Fraulein von
High esteem from your friendly
Weimar, June 22nd, 1884.
345 To Kornel von Abranyi
Dear, excellent Friend,
The best person to make a suitable instrumentation of the
"Rheinweinliedes" [Rhine-wine-song] for the Miskolcz Musical
Festival will be our friend C. Huber. [Carl Huber, conductor of
the Hungarian Provincial Singers' Union, died 1885.] This chorus
for men's voices was written in Berlin in the year '42, and
performed there several times, and afterwards in Leipzig also,
about which a "querelle d'Allermand" [groundless quarrel] soon
reached me in Paris.--
To bear and forbear is ever our life's task.
As I have marked on the accompanying copy, on pages 3, 5, 7,
instead of D-flat, G-flat in the 2nd tenor, the C, F
[Here, Liszt illustrates with a musical score excerpt showing a
cadence in B-flat]
is to remain.
The Gazette de Hongrie [Gazette of Hungary], and still more the
Budapester Tageblatt [Budapest daily paper], in which your son
Kornel is a collaborator, gave me the tidings of the election
doings in the cara patria.
Without in the least taking part in politics, yet I take that
interest in them which it behoves every not uneducated man to do;
and I rejoice that Kornel Abranyi, junior, is taking his seat in
Heartily, faithfully yours,
Weimar, July 1st, 1884
From the 12th July till the middle of August I shall be at
Tell Huber to do the instrumentation of the "Rheinweinlied" quite
freely, according to his own will and what he thinks best,
without a too careful attention to the printed piano
345A. To Madame Malwine Tardieu
[Autograph in possession of Constance Bache]
Dear kind Friend,
I have spoken to you several times of my excellent friend--of
more than 20 years--Walter Bache. He maintains himself worthily
in London as an artist of worth, intelligence, and noble
character. His sister has made a remarkable translation of the
"Elizabeth" into English.
Receive the Baches (who pass a day in Brussels) in a friendly
Bayreuth, August 9th, 1884
Tomorrow evening I shall be back at Weimar, and shall probably go
to Munich for the second series of the "Nibelungen" performances
Please give my cordial regards to Tardieu.
346. To the Music Publisher Rahter in Hamburg
Dear Herr Rahter,
Best thanks for kindly sending me the Russian "Fantasie" by
Naprawnik--a brilliantly successful concert-piece--and the
Slumber Songs by Rimsky-Korsakoff, which I prize extremely; his
works are among the rare, the uncommon, the exquisite.--The piano
edition of his Opera "Die Mainacht" [The May Night] has either
not reached me or else has got lost.--Send it me to Weimar
together with a second copy of Naprawnik's Russian "Fantasie,"
which is necessary for performance.
Many of my young pianists will be glad to make this "Fantasie"
known in drawing-rooms and concerts.--
With friendly thanks,
Munich, August 28th, 1884
347. To Richard Pohl
[Printed in the Allgemeine Deutsche Musikzeitung of 24th
My very dear Friend,
I have long wanted to repeat my hearty thanks to you for the
faithful, noble devotion which you have always bravely and
decidedly shown to the Weimar Period of Progression in the years
1849-58. The third volume of your collected writings "Hector
Berlioz" affords another proof of this devotion, which is highly
to be valued in contrast with the far too general wishy-washy
absence of opinion.
After the unheard-of success of more than 20 performances of "The
Damnation of Faust" by the concert societies of Lamoureux,
Pasdeloup, Colonne, in the same season in Paris--not counting the
theater, for which this work is not suitable, the French Berlioz
literature is increasing. You know Hippeau's octavo book "Berlioz
Intime," which is shortly to be followed by a second, "Berlioz
Artiste." I wish this to profit by your work.
In reading the first volume I was painfully affected by several
passages out of Berlioz's letters, in which the discord and
broken-heartedness of his early years are only too apparent. He
could not grasp the just idea that a genius cannot hope to exist
with impunity, and that a new thing cannot at once expect to
please the ancient order of things.
For the rest, there lies in his complaints against the Parisian
"gredins et cretins" [fools and scoundrels], whom he might also
find in other places, a large share of injustice. In spite of his
exaggerated leniency in favor of a foreign country, the fact
remains that up to the present time no European composer has
received such distinctions from his own country as Berlioz did
from France. Compare the position of Beethoven, Weber, Schubert,
Schumann, with that of Berlioz. In the case of Beethoven the
Archduke Rudolf alone bespoke the "Missa solemnis." The profit
from his rarely given concerts was small, and at the last he
turned to the London Philharmonic Society for support.
Weber acted as Court conductor in Dresden, and wrote his Oberon
at the invitation of London.
Schubert's marvellous productiveness was badly paid by the
publishers; other favorable conditions had he none.
Schumann's biography testifies no patriotic enthusiasm for his
works during his lifetime. His position as musical conductor at
Dusseldorf was by no means a brilliant one...
It was otherwise with Mendelssohn, who had private means, and
who, by his delicate and just eclecticism, clinging to Bach,
Handel, and even Beethoven, obtained continual success in England
and Germany. King William IV. called him to Berlin at the same
time with Cornelius, [This means the painter Cornelius.--Trans.]
Kaulbach, Schelling, and Meyerbeer, which he did not enjoy any
better than Leipzig.
I make no further mention of Meyerbeer here, because he owes his
universal success chiefly to Paris. It was there that all his
Operas, from "Robert" and "The Huguenots" to his posthumous
"L'Africaine," were first performed--with the exception of "Das
Feldlager in Schlesien" [The Camp in Silesia], which also
sparkled later in Paris as "L'etoile du Nord."
Now let us see how things went with Berlioz in his native land.
Like Victor Hugo, he was, after three times becoming a candidate,
elected a member of the "Institute of France,"--similarly
(without any candidature) to be librarian of the Conservatoire;
he was also a collaborator of the highly esteemed "Journal des
Debats" and officer of the Legion of Honor.
Where do we find in Germany similar proofs of distinction? Why,
therefore, the bitter insults of Berlioz against the Paris
"gredins" and "cretins"? Unfortunately it certainly never brought
Berlioz an out-and-out theatrical success, although his nature
leaned that way.
I send you herewith Reyer's feuilleton (Journal des Debats, 14th
September) regarding the latest brochure by Ernst "upon Berlioz."
With hearty thanks, yours most truly,
Weimar, September 12th, 1884
348. To Sophie Menter
My dear Friend,
My few days' stay at your fairy-like castle Itter [In Tyrol.]
will remain a magic memory.
When you have signed the Petersburg Conservatorium contract let
me know. You know, indeed, that I very much approve of this turn
and fixing of your brilliant artistic career. It requires no
excessive obligations, and will be an advantage to you.
Friendly greetings to the New School from your faithful admirer
Weimar, September 13th, 1884
I am here till the end of October. Later on I shall visit my
friends Geza Zichy and Sandor Teleky in Hungary.
349. To Baron Friedrich Podmaniczky, Intendant of the Royal
Hungarian Opera in Budapest
[Printed in the Pester Lloyd (evening paper of 27th September,
1884).--Liszt having sent Podmaniczky a Royal Hymn for the
opening of the New Hungarian Opera House instead of a Festal
Prelude, which the latter had requested, Podmaniczky wrote to the
Master on the 17th September, 1884, that the motive of the hymn
having been borrowed from a revolutionary song would prove an
"unsurmountable obstacle" to its performance. The letter was also
signed by Alexander Erkel as conductor. Whereupon Liszt wrote the
Dear, Hochgeborener [Many of these titles have been left in their
original language, being unused in England, and having no
equivalent with us.--Trans.] Herr Baron,
To your letter dated the 17th of this month I have the honor of
replying as follows: that the song "Hahj, Rakoczy, Bercsenyi" was
not unknown to me is shown by the piano edition of my "Hungarian
royal hymn" published by Taborsky and Parsch, on the title-page
of which stand the words "After an old Hungarian air." I learned
to know this song from Stefan Bartolus's Anthology, and it took
hold of me with its decided, and expressive and artless
character; I at once provided it with a finale of victory, and
without troubling my head further about its former revolutionary
words I begged Kornel Abranyi, jun., for a new, loyal text with
the refrain "Eljen a kiraly," so that my "Royal hymn" might
attain its due expression both in words and music.
Transformations are nothing rare in Art any more than in life.
From countless heathen temples Catholic churches were formed. In
the classic epoch of Church music--in the 16th century--many
secular melodies were accepted amongst devotional songs, and in
later times the Catholic antiphones were heard as Protestant
Chorales. And this went yet further, not excepting Opera, in
which Meyerbeer utilised the Chorale "Eine feste Burg" for a
stage effect, and in "L'Etoile du Nord" consecrated the "Dessauer
Marsch" into the Russian National hymn. A revolutionary tendency
is commonly ascribed to the universally known and favorite
"Rakoczy March," and its performance has been more than once
Music remains ever music, without superfluous and injurious
significations. For the rest, God forbid that I should anywhere
push forward either myself or my humble compositions. I leave it
entirely to your judgment, hochgeborener Herr Baron, to decide
whether my "Royal hymn" shall be performed in the new Hungarian
Opera House or not. The score, as also the many orchestral and
vocal parts, are to be had at the publishers, Taborsky and
I beg you, Sir, to accept the expression of my high esteem.
Weimar, September 21st, 1884
[To this Alex. Erkel made the proposal that Liszt's "Konigslied"
("Royal Song"), instead of being performed at the opening of the
new theater on the 27th September, should be given at an "Extra
Opera performance." The Master consented, but did not appear at
this first performance of his work, which took place on the 25th
March, 1885, and met with tremendous applause.]
350. To Walter Bache
[This letter is published, as a Preface, in the English edition
of Liszt's "St. Elizabeth."]
Very honored Friend,
For some twenty years past you have been employing your beautiful
talent as a pianist, your care as a professor and as a conductor
to make my works known and to spread them in England. The task
seemed an ungrateful one, and its want of success menacing, but
you are doing it nobly, with the most honorable and firm
conviction of an artist. I renew my grateful thanks to you on the
occasion of the present edition of the "Legend of St. Elizabeth,"
published by the well-accredited house of Novello. [The
translator of the English edition (Constance Bache) has also
translated many of Liszt's songs into English.]
This work, which was performed for the first time in 1865 at
Budapest, has been reproduced successively in several countries
and languages. Let us hope that it will also meet with some
sympathy in England.
Your much attached
Weimar, October 18th, 1884
351. To the Composer Mili Balakireff, Conductor of the Imperial
Court Choir in St. Petersburg
Very honored, dear Confrere,
My admiring sympathy for your works is well known. When my young
disciples want to please me they play me your compositions and
those of your valiant friends. In this intrepid Russian musical
phalanx I welcome from my heart masters endowed with a rare vital
energy; they suffer in no wise from poverty of ideas--a malady
which is widespread in many countries. More and more will their
merits be recognised, and their names renowned. I accept with
gratitude the honor of the dedication [to me] of your Symphonic
Poem "Thamar," which I hope to hear next summer with a large
orchestra. When the 4-hand edition comes out you will greatly
oblige me by sending me a copy. From the middle of January until
Easter I shall be at Budapest.
Please accept, dear confrere, the expression of my high esteem
and cordial attachment.
Weimar, October 2lst, 1884
352. To Countess Louise de Mercy-Argenteau
[Known through her zealous propaganda, in Belgium and France, of
the music of the New Russian School. After the death of her
husband (1888), Chamberlain of Napoleon III., she left her native
land of Belgium and removed to St. Petersburg, where she died in
October 24th, 1884
Certainly, my very dear and kind friend, you have a hundredfold
right to appreciate and to relish the present musical Russia.
Rimski-Korsakoff, Cui, Borodine, Balakireff, are masters of
striking originality and worth. Their works make up to me for the
ennui caused to me by other works more widely spread and more
talked about, works of which I should have some difficulty in
saying what Leonard once wrote to you from Amsterdam after a song
of Schumann's: "What soul, and also what success!" Rarely is
success in a hurry to accompany soul. In Russia the new
composers, in spite of their remarkable talent and knowledge,
have had as yet but a limited success.--The high people of the
Court wait for them to succeed elsewhere before they applaud them
at Petersburg. A propos of this, I recollect a striking remark
which the late Grand Duke Michael made to me in '43: "When I have
to put my officers under arrest, I send them to the performances
of Glinka's operas." Manners are softening, and Messrs. Rimski,
Cui, Borodine, have themselves attained to the grade of colonel.
At the annual concerts of the German and Universal Musical
Association (Allgemeiner Deutscher Musik-Verein) they have, for
many years past, always given some work of a Russian composer, at
my suggestion. Little by little a public will be formed. Next
year our Festival will take place in June at Carlsruhe. St. Saens
is coming; why not you, too, dear friend? You would also hear
something Russian there.
When you write to St. Saens, please tell him of my admiring and
very constant friendship. By the work of translation which you
have bravely undertaken, I think that you are doing wisely and
skilfully in freeing yourself from the bondage of rhyme, and in
keeping to rhythmic prose. The important point is to maintain the
lyric or dramatic accent, and to avoid the "desastreuses salades
de syllabes longues et breves, des temps forts et faibles"
[disastrous mess of long and short syllables, and of the strong
and weak time]. The point is to make good prose without any other
scruples whatever. It is said that M. Lamoureux is admitting the
"Steppes" by Borodine into one of his programmes. We shall see
what sort of a reception it will have. For the rest, I doubt
Lamoureux's venturing so soon on the Russian propaganda. He has
too much to do with Berlioz and Wagner.
Do not let yourself be disconcerted either by the "ineffable"
carelessness, or by the square battalions of objections such as
these: "It is confusion worse confounded; it is Abracadabra"
Without politeness or ceremony I tell you in perfect sincerity
that your instinct did not lead you astray the day when this
music so forcibly charmed you. Continue, then, your work with the
firm conviction of being in the right path.
Above all I beg that you will not falsely imagine that I am
taking hold of the thing wrong end foremost. When you knock I
shall not merely say, Enter, but I myself will go before you. To
return to Paris and show myself off there as a young composer or
to continue the business of an old pianist in the salons does not
attract me in the least. I have other things to do elsewhere.
P.S.--I do not know what date to put to these lines. I wrote the
first page on the receipt of your bewitching letter. I meant to
reply to it in full, but all sorts of pressing obligations and
botherations intervened...I have also been to the inauguration of
the statue of Bach at Eisenach, illustrated by three concerts,
composed exclusively of numerous works of Bach's (the Mass in B
minor first and foremost); then I was present at a more curious
concert at Leipzig: on my return I had a severe attack of
illness, which prevented me for several days from writing. In
short, this letter ought to have reached you three weeks ago.
Tomorrow, 25th October, I leave Weimar, and shall not return here
till after Easter. If you condescend to continue writing to me,
please address to Budapest (Hungary) till the end of November. A
prompt answer shall follow.
353. To Madame Malwine Tardieu
Budapest, December 7th, 1884
Dear Kind Friend,
Really and truly when it sometimes happens that I obtain success
I rejoice less over that than over the success of my friends.
Thank you for the pleasant tidings of the brilliant success of
Ossiana [Madame Marie Jaell, the well-known artiste, a friend of
Liszt's.] at Godard's concert. .--.
You do not tell me where the little notice appeared (with my name
at the heading) which you were so good as to send me. [In the
Gaulois, from the pen of Fourcaud, and, later, in the Album of
the Gaulois, to which the most celebrated tone-poets had
contributed a piece of music as yet unpublished.] One of my works
is mentioned in it with the greatest eulogy--the Gran Mass--which
was so unhappily performed at Paris in '66, and more unhappily
criticised then...The mistake I made was not to have forbidden a
performance given under such deplorable conditions. A
philanthropic reason, which is valueless in matters of Art, kept
me from doing so. I did not wish to deprive the fund for the poor
of the assured receipts of more than 40,000 francs. Pardon me for
recalling this vexatious affair, which makes me all the more
sensible of the flattering attention which the same work is
To my great regret the performances of Henry VIII. by our very
valiant friend St. Saens, which were to have taken place at
Weimar and Budapest, are put off. Mediocrity, as Balzac said,
governs even theaters. Anyhow its power must sometimes be
intermittent. Please say many cordial things to your husband from
your much attached
On Wednesday I shall be in Rome, and back here towards the middle
354. To Freiherr Hans Von Wolzogen
Hearty thanks for your kind letter. To include me in your noble,
zealous, high-minded efforts in matters for the glorification of
Wagner and according to the wishes of his widow, is to me ever a
duty and an honor.
Rome, December 18th, 1884
355. To Camille Saint-Saens
[End of 1884 or beginning of 1885.]
Very Dear Friend and Companion in Arms,
Your sympathy for the "Salve, Polonia" [Orchestral Interlude from
the unfinished Oratorio Stanislaus. It was given at the
Tonkunstler-Versammlung in Weimar in 1884, at which Saint-Saens
was present.] makes me quite happy. Still writing music, as I am,
I sometimes ask myself at such and such a passage, "Would that
please St. Saens?" The affirmative encourages me to go on, in
spite of the fatigue of age and other wearinesses.
If you do me the honor of playing one of my compositions at the
Carlsruhe Festival please choose which it shall be: perhaps the
Danse macabre [Dance of Death] with orchestra; or--which I think
would be better, for the public would rather hear you alone--the
Predication aux oiseaux [St. Francis preaching to the birds,
followed by Scherzo and March. [Saint-Saens did not go to
Cordial wishes for the year '85, and ever your admiringly
Give my best remembrances from Budapest to Delibes.
356. To Countess Mercy-Argenteau
What wonders you have just accomplished with your Russian concert
at Liege, dear admirable one! From the material point of view the
Deaf and Dumb and Blind Institutions have benefited by it;
artistically, other deaf and dumb have heard and spoken; the
blind have seen, and, on beholding you, were enraptured.
I shall assuredly not cease from my propaganda of the remarkable
compositions of the New Russian School, which I esteem and
appreciate with lively sympathy. For 6 or 7 years past, at the
Grand Annual Concerts of the Musical Association ("Allgemeiner
Deutscher Musik-Verein"), over which I have the honor of
presiding, the orchestral works of Rimsky-Korsakoff and Borodine
have figured on the programmes. Their success is making a
crescendo, in spite of the sort of contumacy that is established
against Russian music. It is not in the least any desire of being
peculiar that leads me to spread it, but a simple feeling of
justice, based on my conviction of the real worth of these works
of high lineage. I do not know which ones Hans von Bulow, the
Achilles of propagandists, chose for the Russian concert he gave
lately with the Meiningen orchestra, of an unheard-of discipline
I hope Bulow will continue concerts of the same quality in
various towns of Germany.
The best among my disciples, brilliant virtuosi, play the most
difficult piano compositions of Balakireff, etc., superbly. I
shall recommend to them Cui's Suite (piano and violoncello).
Considering the rarity of singers gifted at once with voice,
intelligence and good taste for things not hackneyed,--there is
some delay in regard to the vocal compositions of Cui, Borodine,
etc. Nevertheless the right time for their production will come,
and for making them succeed and be appreciated. In France your
translation of the words will be a great help, and in Germany we
must be provided with a suitable translation.
A portion of the articles which you kindly sent me upon your
concert at Liege shallbe inserted in the Neue Zeitschrift fur
Musik. I shall endeavor to find another paper also, although my
relations with the Press are by no means intimate.
Rahter, the musical editor at Hamburg, and representative of
Jurgenson in Moscow, will offer you in homage three of my Russian
transcriptions,--Tschaikowsky's "Polonaise"; Dargomijsky's
"Tarentelle" with the continuous pedal bass of A, A; and a
"Romance" of Count Michel Wielhorsky. Let us add to these the
"Marche tscherkesse" of Glinka, and, above all, the prodigious
kaleidoscope of variations and paraphrases on the fixed theme
[Here, Liszt illustrates with a musical score excerpt]
It is the most seriously entertaining thing I know; it gives us a
practical manual, par excellence, of all musical knowledge;
treatises on harmony and composition are summed up and blended in
it in some thirty pages, which teach the subject very fully--
above and beyond the usual instruction.
My very amiable hosts at Antwerp, the Lynens, have invited me to
return there this summer at the time of the Exhibition, of which
M. Lynen is the president. I am tempted to do so after the
Carlsruhe Festival, as I keep a charming remembrance of the
kindness that was shown to me in Brussels and Antwerp.
In about ten days I return to Budapest, whence you shall receive
a photograph of the old, sorry face of your constant admirer and
Rome, January 20th, 1885
A pertinacious editor keeps asking me for my transcription of
Gounod's "Ste. Cecile." If amongst your old papers you should
find the manuscript of it, will you lend it me for a fortnight,
so that it may be copied, printed, and then restored to its very
February and March my address--Budapest, Hungary.
357. To Camille Saint-Saens.
Very honored, dear Friend,
In order not to become too monotonous I won't thank you any more.
Nevertheless your transcription of my Orpheus for Piano, Violin
and Violoncello charms me, and I beg that you will send it either
to Hartel direct, so that he may publish it at once, or else to
yours very gratefully, so that I may remit it to him, after
having had the pleasure of reading and hearing it at Budapest,
whither, by next Thursday, will have returned
Your much-attached fellow-disciple,
Florence, Tuesday, January 27th, 1885.
Goodbye till we meet in May at Carlsruhe.
358. To Madame Malwine Tardieu.
I am writing to the director of our "Musik-Verein" to write to
you, dear friend. You will tell Mademoiselle Kufferath, better
than any one else can, how agreeable it will be to everybody, and
to myself in particular, if she takes part in the concerts at
Carlsruhe--in the last days of May. [This did not come to
anything. Saint-Saens' "Deluge," in which she was to have sung,
was not performed at Carlsruhe, and meanwhile Fraulein Kufferath
married and gave up her artistic career.]
Our "Musak-Verein" has not the advantage of material wealth;
nevertheless we have existed bravely for 25 years without getting
into debt, and faithfully put in practice our principal rule,
which is to perform every year in different towns the valid works
of contemporary composers of any country whatsoever (exclusive of
works for the theater, with the exception of occasional vocal
numbers). This rule, which is difficult to maintain, considering
the expenses and the difficult preparations, distinguishes us
from other musical societies and gives us the character of
pioneers of progress. We have not been behindhand with the group
of composers of young Musical Russia, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Borodine,
Cui, etc., for we have been giving their works for four years
The very gracious Countess of Mercy-Argenteau has been making
them known lately at Liege, with a brilliant success, quite
justified by the qualities of the works and the charm of the
Will you, dear friend, be so kind as to express my
acknowledgments to Mr. de Fourcaud, [Musical and Art
Correspondent of the Paris Gaulois, with outspoken Wagner
tendencies and opinions.] and accept the expression of my cordial
Budapest, April 6th, 1885.
In a few days I shall be back at Weimar.
359. To Lina Ramann.
[Weimar] April 27th, 1885.
I am sending you at once, my very dear friend, the volumes of
scores which I have by me in Weimar. [Works of Palestrina's.] The
celebrated Missa Papoe Marcelli is not amongst them, but can
easily be found; the last edition of it by Amelli, Milan, the
editor-in-chief of the Church-Music paper there. I got him to add
a few indications of expression because, according to my opinion,
without such indications any further editions of Palestrina and
Lassus--the two great Cardinals of old Catholic Church-music--
would serve only for reading, and not for actual performances. Of
course no one can fix with absolute certainty the figures to the
basses of Palestrina and Lassus; yet there are determining points
from which one can steer.
The best model of all is and will continue to be--Wagner's
arrangement of Palestrina's "Stabat Mater"--with marks of
expression and plan of the division of the voices into semi-
chorus, solos, and complete chorus.
Wagner made this model arrangement at the time when he was
conductor in Dresden. It appeared 15 years later, published by
Kahnt. It is to be hoped that people will gradually regulate
themselves by this with judgment--and time.
360. To Camille Saint-Saens
Thank you cordially, my very dear friend, for the concession you
are willing to make to me.
The Society of Musicians, in which I have taken part for 25
years, holds to the principle of producing the works of living
Symphonic composers of all countries. I claim then your superior
and continued share in it, and remain your admiring and attached
Weimar, May 8th, 1885
361. To Alexander Siloti
[Well known as one of the most gifted pupils of Liszt, and one of
the first pianists of the present day. Born 1863, and lives now
In Weimar it is wisest to keep oneself negative and passive.
Therefore, dear Siloti, attempt no "Liszt-Verein."
[In consequence of the above letter the Liszt-Verein (Liszt
Society) was not founded in Weimar, as Siloti intended, but in
Leipzig in 1885, where it has flourished brilliantly under the
direction of Professor Martin Krause.]
With thanks, yours truly,
362. To the Composer J.P. von Kiraly in Eisenstadt
[From a copy by Director Aug. Gollerich in Nuremberg.]
Ninety years ago my father was preparing for his duties as book-
keeper to Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy in Eisenstadt. At that time
he often took part, as an amateur, among the violoncellos in the
Prince's frequent Court concerts, under the conductorship of the
happy great master Josef Haydn. My father often told me about his
intercourse with Haydn, and the daily parties he made up with
him. In 1848 I visited the dear, affectionate Father Albach at
the Franciscan monastery of Eisenstadt, and dedicated to him my
Mass for men's voices, which will be brilliantly performed here
very shortly. May the simple, artless genius of Haydn ever rule
over the Eisenstadt Kindergarten conducted by your daughter.
"Joke and earnest!" Bravo, friend! The work honors the master who
knows so well the Muses. In Oedenburg and Eisenstadt surely every
one will subscribe. At the beginning of July I shall send you a
small contribution for the Kindergarten. Perhaps later on I shall
be able to do more; unfortunately I am anything but well off, and
must content myself with a small amount.
Antwerp, June 5th, 1885
363. To Ferdinand Taborszky, Music Publisher in Budapest
Antwerp, June 8th, 1885
Very dear Friend,
From Weimar, where I shall once more be in ten days' time, you
will receive at the beginning of July some short Hungarian
pianoforte pieces, which I shall orchestrate later on, entitled:
To the memory of
Stephan | Szechenyi
Franz | Deak
Josef | Eotvos
Ladislas | Telek
Michael | Vorosmarti
Alexander | Petofi
The last piece has already been published by Taborszky, but must
have a few more concluding bars in the new edition.
"Mosonyi's Trauerklange" (Mosonyi's funeral music), which you
have already had by you for fifteen years, shall make No. 7. Our
friend Mosonyi, so excellent and full of character, and so pre-
eminent a musician, must also not be forgotten.
The seven numbers make altogether sixty pages of print. All the
new pieces are perfectly ready, written out in manuscript, only
requiring a copyist, whom I cannot find while I am on my journey.
[Liszt's intention to orchestrate the pieces remained
When I send you the manuscripts I will write all further
particulars with regard to the publishing of them.
First of all, dear friend, will you be so kind as to go to my
house with Frau von Fabry? I stupidly forgot there--in the
bedroom, not in the salon--the beautiful and revised copy of a
composition for piano and violin or violoncello, together with
the transcription of the same for pianoforte alone. The title is
"La lugubre Gondola" (the funeral gondola). As though it were a
presentiment, I wrote this elegie in Venice six weeks before
Now I should like it to be brought out by Fritzsch (Leipzig),
Wagner's publisher, as soon as I receive it from you in Weimar.
[Published by Frizsch] Hearty greetings to your family.
Ever faithfully yours,
364. To Alfred Reisenauer
Dear Friend and Art-Comrade,
I beg you to send me here, in manuscript, your capital
orchestration of the 3rd Mephisto-waltz. Don't take the trouble
to alter anything in this manuscript or to write anything new;
send it me just as I have seen it. When it has been copied the
printed edition will follow, with the name of Reisenauer attached
In all friendship,
Weimar, September 1st, 1885
365. To the Editor of the "Allgemeine Musikzeitung," Otto
Lessmann, in Charlottenburg
[Was published in the Allgemeine Musikzeitung of September 1885]
Dear Mr. Editor,
With regret, and a firm conviction, I repeat to you in writing
that Theodor Kullak's forgetfulness ought to be made good by his
heirs. Otherwise it would be severely denounced as unfaithfulness
to his position as an artist. A fortune of several millions
gained by music-teaching ought not to remain buried without any
regard to music students. Unless the heirs prefer to found a
Kullak-Scholarship, I consider that they are in duty bound to
endow the four existing musical scholarships--those in the names
of Mozart, Mendelssohn, Meyerbeer, Beethoven--with 30,000 marks
each: total 120,000 marks.
With well-known opinions, mindful of the artist's standing, I am
Weimar, September 5th, 1885
366. To Casar Cui
Very honored Friend,
The very gracious propagandist, the Countess of Mercy-Argenteau,
has already received a transcription of your brilliant
"Tarentelle." I will send a second copy of it to Bessel
(Petersburg), and shall ask him to give it to you, trusting that
you will not disapprove of the few liberties and amplifications
that I have ventured to make in order to adapt this piece to the
programmes of virtuosi pianists.
Sincere feelings of esteem and attachment.
Munich, October 18th, 1885
367. To Countess Mercy-Argenteau
Dear admirable Propagandist,
It is your habit to write the most charming letters in the world.
Before receiving your last I had sent you from Weimar my
transcription of Cui's "Tarentelle." If you will condescend to
illustrate it with your fingers it will receive its full meed of
I am sure you will be so kind as to send my note to Cui, who, I
hope, will not be vexed with the varying readings and
amplifications I have ventured to make, with a view of bringing
the pianist still more forward. In this kind of transcription
some sort of distinction is wanted.
Tomorrow evening I shall be in Rome,--Hotel Alibert. Please send
me word there of your safe receipt of the manuscript.
Constant homage, admiring and sincere.
Innsbruck, October 24th, 1885
368. To Eduard Reuss in Carlsruhe [Pianist, pupil of Liszt's.]
My dear Friend,
Thanks and praise for your capital orchestral arrangement of the
"Concerto pathetique." It appears to me effective, well-
proportioned, and done with a refined and due understanding of
it. I had but little to alter in it; but some additions to the
original are desirable, in order to allow full scope to the piano
virtuoso. ["This 'Concerto Pathetique' seems to me a murderous
piece, with which first-rate virtuosi can make an effect," writes
Liszt, on the 10th November, to Reuss.] Hence, in different
places, there are altogether somewhere about fifty to sixty bars
which I add to your manuscript. The beginning is also to be ten
bars sooner, and the ending to conclude with twenty-two bars
I hear an orchestration of the same "Concerto pathetique" spoken
of, as having been produced in Moscow. I do not know it myself,
and after yours there is no use in it. I received in Weimar,
almost simultaneously with yours, a letter from Joseffy in New
York, begging me to instrumentate the piece. I shall answer him
very soon that your score is already completed, and that he is to
apply to my friend Eduard Reuss if he is disposed to perform the
"Concerto" with orchestra in America. [Joseffy played the
"Concerto Pathetique" in this form from a copy, in the spring of
1886, in New York.]
Enclosed is my recommendation to Hartel with regard to the
publishing. Send it together with your manuscript, of which it is
not necessary to make a copy--only my scribbling of the additions
must be copied out clean and clearly on an extra sheet.--
Probably Hartels will not show themselves disobliging. If they
undertake the publication I should still like to read through the
The most charming recollection remains to me of Carlsruhe.
[Namely, of the "Tonkunstler-Versammlung" of the "Allgemeine
Deutsche Musikverein," from the 27th May to the 1st June, 1885.]
The Grand Duke was so gracious and truly kind!--
Assure your wife of my sincere attachment.
Hotel Alibert, Rome, November 4th, 1885
369. To Breitkopf and Hartel
[This is Liszt's last autograph letter to the Firm; a later one
on the same subject (on the 16th June, 1886) is only signed by
My dear Sirs,
Although your shop is already saddled with two editions of my
"Concerto pathetique," I recommend you most particularly the
excellent orchestral arrangement of the same piece, [By Eduard
Reuss. It was published by Breitkopf and Hartel.] to which I have
added some bars for more completion, which should also be
included in the possible (?) later piano editions.
The poet and the writer often make alterations. With the
engraving of music this is more difficult, though not entirely to
be put aside.
Rome, November, 1885
370. To Walter Bache
My very dear Friend,
Certainly your invitation takes precedence of all others. So
choose the day that suits yourself and I will appear. Without
Walter Bache and his long years of self-sacrificing efforts in
the propaganda of my works my visit to London were indeed not to
be thought of.
Do you know your namesake (without the final E), Herr Emil Bach,
Prussian Court-pianist? I enclose herewith a second letter, which
I have answered, as I did the first, that I must not be the
occasion of expense and inconvenience to any one. Orchestral
concerts are expensive everywhere, especially in London.
Consequently I cannot encourage Emil Bach's project, and can only
dissuade him from putting it into execution. Send me word about
Gratefully and faithfully yours,
Rome, Hotel Alibert, November 17th, 1885
Mr. Stavenhagen, [Now one of the most celebrated pianists] a
pianist and musician of real talent, wants to come out in London,
and is writing to you on this subject.
370a. To Walter Bache
My very dear Friend,
It is fixed then: Thursday, 8th April, Ricevimento [Reception] at
Walter Bache's house. Enclosed is the letter of the Philharmonic
Society, together with the rough copy of my reply which I send
off today. Please observe the postscript:
"If, in the concert at which one of my Symphonic Poems will be
performed, Mr. Walter Bache would play some Pianoforte
composition of mine, that would give me great pleasure. I permit
myself to give this simple hint without the slightest desire of
influencing your programme, which it is for you to fix."--
I am quite of your opinion, dear friend. The accented poaht of my
coming to London is to be present at the "Elizabeth" performance.
It was this that decided my coming, and it is to be hoped it will
be a success. [It was given on the 6th April, 1886, under the
conductorship of Mackenzie. Bache had already given it in London
I have answered Emil Bach's first and second letters to the
effect that I should not wish to involve any one in expense, and
that consequently I must dissuade him from giving an orchestral
Liszt concert. Beg Littleton personally to make my wish quite
clear to Herr Emil Bach, that his proposed concert should not be
November 26th, 1885
I have just received a second letter from the "Philharmonic
Society."--To my answer to the first (sent yesterday) I have
nothing to add.
370b. To the Philharmonic Society
Very honored Directors,
Much flattered with your kind intention to admit one of my
"Poemes Symphoniques" on to the programme of the Philharmonic
Society, during my stay in London, I beg you to accept my sincere
Will you please choose, according to your own pleasure, the work
which suits you best, and also ask your "conductor," Sir Arthur
Sullivan, from me, to direct it?
For twenty years past I have been quite outside of any work as
orchestral conductor and pianist.
Distinguished consideration and loyal devotion.
Rome, November 26th, 1885
P.S.--If, in the concert at which one of my Symphonic Poems will
be performed, Mr. Walter Bache would [etc., see quotation in
371. To Countess Mercy-Argenteau
Dear admirable Propagandist,
Herewith is a different rendering of the shake, with an
indication to the left hand of the motive which is then taken up
again in full. This new shake is a little awkward to do, but not
too troublesome. Will you be so kind as to send it to Cui, and
beg him to be my emissary to the editor of the original of Cui's
brilliant "Tarantelle," for the publication of the transcription?
To my regret the smallness of my income obliges me to leave no
stone unturned to make money out of my transcriptions, [La
modicite de man revenu m'oblige a faire fleche, non pas de tout
bois, mais de fagots de mes transcriptions. The literal
translation is, "Obliges me to utilise, not the wood, but the
faggots of my transcriptions," the point of the sentence turning
upon the French idiom "faire fleche de tout bois," which in
English is rendered by a totally different idiom.--Trans.] for
which I am now paid in Germany, Russia, France, at the rate of
from twelve to 1500 marks apiece, for the copyright in all
Observe that I choose works to be transcribed, and refuse myself
to any other demands. This year, for instance, I have confined
myself to the volume that you condescend to accept--and that you
will, I hope, bring to the light by the diamonds and pearls of
Mr. Bessel therefore only has either to send me 1200 marks in
payment, or else to return me the manuscript without being
Most humble and constant homage.
Rome, November 21st, 1885
When you have sent me word of the result of the negotiation with
Bessel, I will write my thanks and acknowledgments to Cui.
N.B.--The new shape should be printed as an Ossia, above the old
372. To Camille Saint-Saens
Very honored Confrere and very dear Friend,
I shall certainly be in London the first week in April. With
regard to my visit to Paris I am still very undecided, as I do
not wish to expose myself to discomfiture like that which I had
to go through in '66. [Liszt's scruples were removed; as is well
known, he went to Paris, and found himself indescribably feted
there. The triumphs of his youth were repeated once more in the
evening of his life.]
Everywhere and always I shall be happy and proud of your
collaboration, and remain your sincere admirer and devoted
Rome (Hotel Alibert), November 28th, 1885
I shall remain here till the middle of January. This summer Mme.
Montigny [Mme. Montigny-Remaury, an excellent pianist; retired
into private life on her second marriage in Vienna] spoke to me
of her marriage, which has now taken place. M. de Serres gave me
the impression of an honest man who adores his wife. I have no
news of the newly married couple.
There is nothing more witty than your remark on the perpetual
youth of composers in Paris. In your company, dear friend, I
would gladly be of the party, in spite of my seventy-four years.
373. To Eugen d'Albert
[The most important and many-sided of the younger pupils of
Admired, Dear "Albertus Magnus,"
Thank you for the dedication of your worthy, noble, effective
Concerto, which I have again read through with special pleasure,
and heard played by Stavenhagen.
Is no edition of it for two pianofortes come out? I think such
editions are desirable--almost indispensable. They are also much
Congratulating you on your happiness in becoming a father, with
best regards to your wife,
Yours most truly,
Rome, December 26th, 1885
370. To Sophie Menter
Kind Diplomatist and Very Dear Friend,
I am writing my most humble thanks to the Grand Duke Constantine
for his gracious invitation, together with the very kindly
intentioned consideration of my age and failing eyesight--and
especially my unfitness for pianoforte playing and orchestral
conducting. This deters me from making any pretensions to a fee;
but you know, dear friend, that my small income would not be
sufficient to pay for lodging and a carriage in Petersburg. From
the 1st to the 12th April I am detained in London. If it is not
too late then, to Petersburg comes
Yours ever most faithfully,
Rome, December 30th, 1885
In the middle of January I return to Budapest. Friendly greetings
to the New School, whom I will beg to assist me as a veritable
privy council in Petersburg. From the next letter of the Grand
Duke Constantine I await the decision whether my journey to
Petersburg in the middle of April is accepted or not.
375. To Eduard Reuss
My Dear Friend,
Still some slight alterations and amplifications in the "Concerto
The drum rhythm
[Here, Liszt illustrates with a 2-bar musical score excerpt]
appears to me too risky; if the drummer comes down plump on it
he will spoil the whole piece. Let's therefore put
[Here, Liszt illustrates with 3-bar musical score excerpt]
This rhythm will serve us twice as a transition,--and at the end.
Before the end of this month I shall be in Budapest, and at the
beginning of April in London, for the "Elizabeth" performance
(St. James's Hall) under Mackenzie's conducting.
Rome, January 10th, 1886
376. To Walter Bache
My Very Dear Friend,
They seem determined in London to push me to the Piano.
I cannot consent to this in public, as my seventy-five-year-old
fingers are no longer suited to it, and Bulow, Saint-Satins,
Rubinstein, and you, dear Bache, play my compositions much better
than what is left of my humble self.
Perhaps it would be opportune if friend Hueffer would have the
kindness to let the public know, by a short announcement, that
Liszt only ventures to appear as a grateful visitor, and neither
in London nor anywhere else as a man with an interest in his
In all friendship yours,
Budapest, February 11th, 1886
77. To the Countess Mercy-Argeneau
Very Admirable and Admired One [Tres admirable et admiree],
Your most amiable letter did not reach me without some delay, for
I took about ten days to make the journey from Rome to Budapest.
Madame Falk writes to me also of the concert at Liege, but I fear
I shall only have excuses to offer. On the 20th March I shall be
in Paris, where the "Gran Mass," too much criticised, and even
hissed by some low fellows (at the Pasdeloup concert in '66), is
to make its reappearance at St. Eustache on the 25th March. This
time M. Colonne will conduct it, and I am assured that it will be
better understood now...
Budapest, February 17th, 1886
Very affectionate thanks for the invitation of Argenteau. Whether
I can avail myself of it must remain in abeyance for your very
humble servant, old and enfeebled.
378. To Sophie Menter
Dear and Respected Diplomatist,
Eight days before the 19th April (Russian style) I will be in
Petersburg. I entreat you to make as little ceremony as possible
for my humble self. The two programmes appear to me all right; I
will tell you when I get to Petersburg what my small part in them
will be. On the 19th April, then, "Elizabeth;" on the 23rd a
concert.--Tell the Committee to address their invitation to me,
for the two performances, to "Novello and Co., Music Publishers,
1, Berners Street, London." From the 1st to the 12th April I am
Novello's guest. How does it stand with regard to my lodging in
Petersburg, for which my inadequate means will not suffice?--From
you, dear friend, I shall expect to hear something definite in
London.--However honorable for me were the invitation to Warsaw I
could not comply with it now. My return to Weimar is requisite
before the end of May, on account of the Tonkunstler-Versammlung
Heartily and truly yours,
Argenteau [Liege], March 18th, 1886
Enclosed are some lines and the photographs that friend Zet
wished for.--To write anything further under the photographs for
the use of the newspaper I consider quite superfluous. Excess
does not suit me at all.--
379. To the Countess Mercy-Argenteau
Westwood House, Syndenham (Near London, Where Everything is
Wednesday, April 14th, 1886
Very Dear President and Brave Russophile Propagandist,
The second performance of the "Elizabeth," which is fixed for
next Saturday, at the Crystal Palace, detains me here some days
longer than I had anticipated.
From Tuesday next till Easter Tuesday I have asked for the kind
hospitality of the Lynens (at Antwerp).
There is still some talk of the "Elizabeth" at the Trocadero on
the 30th April. If you were not to be there it would be an
affront to your very humble and admiring old servant,
This time I shall stay at the Munkacsys' (Avenue Villiers, 53).
(In great haste.)
359. To Alexander Ritter in Meiningen
Antwerp, April 20th, 1886
My Very Dear Friend,
Heartfelt thanks for the dedication. Your "fauler Hans" [Ritter's
Opera, "Der faule Hans"--"Lazy Hans"] has nothing lazy in it.
With its graceful, refined wit it is excellent company for our
dear "Barber of Bagdad," which I shall shortly recommend Baron
Loen (Weimar) to take up again in conjunction with the "fauler
In the middle of May I shall be back in Weimar. Give my
respectful greetings to your wife.
381. To Frau Amalie von Fabry
My Dear Friend,
I wish my rooms in Budapest to remain closed during my absence.
[Many inquisitive people were fond of going and having a look
round, so that Liszt was obliged to prohibit it.] For the rest,
His Excellency Minister Trefort must give his own commands. There
is no risk of his meeting with any opposition from my humble
self. I shall not pass this summer much quieter than the winter
and the spring. Next week I shall be at the Musical Festival at
Sondershausen; then here again until the 30th June.
My granddaughter, Daniela von Bulow, is to be married on the 3rd
July, at Bayreuth, to the highly esteemed Art-historian Thode.
After that, I shall stay from the 5th to the 18th July with my
dear, excellent friends the Munkacsys, at their castle of Colpach
(Luxemburg). I shall be present at the entire cycle of the
Parsifal and Tristan performances at Bayreuth, from the 20th July
till the 23rd August.
I am already more than half blind; perhaps I shall not have to
wait long for the rest...
Ever faithfully yours,
Weimar, May 27th, 1886
382. To Madame Malwine Tardieu
Weimar, May 29th, 1886
My sight is going, dear friend, and I can no longer write without
Cordial thanks for your letter, and farewell till we meet at
Bayreuth, at the performances of Parsifal and Tristan.
Your very affectionate
I shall be at Bayreuth on the 3rd July--the wedding day of my
From the 4th to the 18th July my excellent friends the Munkacsys
will be my hosts at their castle of Colpach (Luxemburg), whence I
shall return to Bayreuth, to stay there till the last performance
on the 23rd August.
Would you send me Victor Hugo's "Le theater en liberte"? We will
settle our accounts at Bayreuth.
383. To Eduard Reuss
My Dear Friend,
The weakness in my eyes is increasing, and on that account I
cannot write to you "mano propria." I wish to bring good luck to
Wilhelm Franz. Meanwhile I thank you heartily for making me
In sincere friendship yours most truly,
Sondershausen, June 5th, 1886
384. To Frau Reuss-Belce, Opera-Singer to the Court of Baden
My Dear Lady,
The thanks which I have just expressed to your husband I double
to you, as you have played the principal part in the family-drama
of Wilhelm Franz.
With the most heartful wishes for the continued prosperity of
parents and child I remain
Yours most truly,
Sondershausen, June 5th, 1886
385. To Eduard Reuss
Very Dear Friend,
I have just received the enclosed reply from Hartel. Send him,
therefore, the score with the Piano part, and recommend him to
print this complete score--not the orchestral score alone--if
possible by next October, that is to say, end of September. Then,
for the present, two copies of the complete score will be wanted
for performance--one for the conductor and one for the soloist
who has so long had to play the Piano part out of the score,
until you, perhaps with little delay, arrange the orchestral part
for a second Piano, and the Concerto comes out in an edition like
the E-flat Concerto.
Yours in all friendship,
Weimar, June 22nd, 1886
N.B.--On the 1st July I am leaving here for a couple of months.
386. To Sophie Menter
Bayreuth, July 3rd, 1886
My very dear Friend,
Tomorrow, after the religious marriage of my granddaughter
Daniela von Bulow to Professor Henry Thode (Art-historian), I
betake myself to my excellent friends the Munkacsys, Chateau
Colpach, Grand Duchy of Luxemburg.
On the 20th July I shall be back here again for the first 7-8
performances of the Festspiel [Festival Play]: then, alas! I must
put myself under the, to me, very disagreeable cure at Kissingen,
and in September an operation to the eyes is impending for me
with Grafe at Halle.
For a month past I have been quite unable to read and almost
unable to write, with much labor, a couple of lines. Two
secretaries kindly help me by reading to me and writing letters
at my dictation.
How delightful it would be to me, dear friend, to visit you at
your fairy castle of Itter! But I do not see any opportunity of
doing so at present. Perhaps you will come to Bayreuth, where,
from the 20th July to the 7th August, will be staying
Your heartily sincere
[This was the very last letter written by the Master's hand. He
returned in bad health from Colpach to Bayreuth. Yet once again
he heard "Parsifal" and "Tristan" then he lay down upon his
death-bed, and at 11 o'clock on the night of the 31st July his
great soul had passed away into everlasting peace.]
Supplement of Some Letters Received During The Printing:
387 To Hofmarschall Freiherr Von Spiegel In Weimar
[Autograph in the Liszt-Museum at Weimar.]
Monsieur Le Grand Marechal,
I am very happy to learn through you that Her Imperial Highness
the Grand Duchess has deigned to accept with kindness my
translation of the beautiful work of Beethoven which I have
permitted myself humbly to offer to her. For musicians, the
original of this work marks the summit of perfection of the
classical style (an extremely arbitrary designation, in my
opinion) among non-symphonic instrumental compositions.
Beethoven--as well as many great geniuses in the history of Art--
is like the ancient Janus; one of his two faces is turned towards
the past, the other towards the future. The Septet to a certain
extent marks the point of intersection, and is thus unreservedly
admired both by the devotees of the past and the believers in the
On this account I thought there was a suitability in paying my
respectful homage to Her Imperial Highness by means of it, until
such time as I should be allowed to place a longer work at her
feet, and one which will more particularly express my personal
It is only yesterday that the very flattering lines of Your
Excellency have reached me. It is therefore not my fault that I
have not sooner replied to the gracious request which you are
pleased to make me with reference to my journey to Weimar.
Without any doubt I eagerly accept Your Excellency's invitation
for the month of October. Allow me only to beg you to be so good
as to let me know whether you consider it will be best for me to
arrive at the beginning or end of the month. Not being entirely
master of my time, I should be particularly glad to know from you
the most favorable week.
I have the honor, Monsieur le Grand Marechal, to be, with
respect, Your Excellency's very humble and obedient servant,
Paris, September 30th, 1841
19, Rue Pigalle (Permanent Address).
388. To Eugenio Gomez, Organist of the Cathedral at Seville
[Autograph, without address, in the Liszt-Museum in Weimar. The
addressee (born 1802) was both pianist and composer.]
You have been pleased, my dear Monsieur Gomez, to ask my
perfectly frank opinion of your "Melodies harmonisees," and-quite
frankly [Liszt uses the same expression--tout franc--in each
case.]--I am much embarrassed by it, for it is in vain I turn
them over and over again; on every side I find only compliments
to make you about them. It is true that you could not doubt their
sincerity any more than you could the real merit of your work. It
is needless to speak of the modesty of true talent; this modesty
cannot go to the extent of foolishness, and the Artist and
supreme Architect of the spheres gives us Himself the example of
this legitimate satisfaction which the consciousness of having
done well brings us, by rejoicing over His work each day of the
One defect, nevertheless, and a very grave defect, which I have
discovered in your "Harmonies" by dint of searching, is, that
there are only 12 instead of 24 or 48--as all true lovers will
wish. Make haste, my dear Monsieur Gomez, set yourself to work,
and repair as quickly as possible this unpardonable defect in
your labor; and, while extending it to the utmost, think
sometimes of your most affectionate and devoted servant,
389. To Madame(?).
[Autograph, without address, date, and conclusion, in the Liszt-
Museum at Weimar.]
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