Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was renowned both as a composer and pianist. As a performing artist, he was noted particularly for his showmanship and great skill. As a composer, Liszt was one of the most prominent representatives of the "Neudeutsche Schule" ("New German School") and, while predominantly known for his piano oeuvre, he composed works in nearly all musical genres.
Liszt's charisma, charm, worldliness, and gregarious manner are legendary. His
life centered around people; he knew them, worked with them,
remembered them, thought about them, and wrote about them using
an almost poetic language, while pushing them to reflect the high
ideals he believed in.
He also did as much as he could to promote and compliment those
whose music he believed in. Liszt was among the most prolific letter-writers of the 19th century and this page collects those where he writes to, or about, Felix Draeseke.
Portions from: Letters of Franz Liszt, Volumes 1 & 2, collected
by La Mara (pseud. Maria Lipsius) and translated by Constance Bache, 1893
||To Felix Dräseke
Your articles [Published in the paper started by Brendel, "Hints"
(or "Suggestions")], which were so universally suggestive, my
dear and valiant friend, have given great pleasure to us on the
Altenburg. I hope to have an opportunity of showing you my
gratitude in a lasting and abiding fashion. Meanwhile be
satisfied with a good conscience in having strengthened and
sustained an honest man in his better purpose.
I have received through Brendel an invitation to Prague, which I
shall probably accept for the beginning of March. I am delighted
to think of seeing you again, dear friend, in passing through
Dresden, and perhaps you might make it possible to accompany me
to Prague. The "Dante Symphony" and the "Ideale" are again to be
given there, and, if I am not mistaken, you will rather like the
former work in its present shape. The Dresden performance was a
necessity to me, in order to realize its effect. As long as one
has only to do with lifeless paper one can easily make a slip of
the pen. Music requires tone and resonance!--I cannot at first
lay claim to effectual results, because I have to meet too much
opposition. The chief thing is that my present works should prove
themselves to be taking a firm footing in musical matters, and
should contribute something towards doing away with what is
What is Reubke [A pupil of Liszt's.] doing, and how does he like
Dresden?--Take him most friendly greetings from me. By-the-by ask
him also to give me tidings as soon as possible (through Herr
Menert) about the copying of the orchestral parts of the
Rubinstein Oratorio "Paradise Lost," and to get Herr Menert to
send me these parts to Weymar by the end of this month at latest.
It is to be hoped that Reubke won't have left the score in his
box like Pohl! But if by chance he has committed such a
transgression I beg that he will make amends as speedily as
Fischer (the organist) wrote to me lately, to ask me for a
testimonial to his musical ability, as he wants to have one to
show in Chemnitz. Please to make my friendly excuses to him for
not fulfilling his wish--possibly, in view of the enmity which I
have to bear on all sides, such a document would do him more harm
than good; apart from the fact that I very unwillingly set about
drawing up such testimonials. He must not, however, misconstrue
this disinclination on my part, and may rest assured of my
readiness to be of use to him.--
I would still draw your attention to Bronsart's concert in
Leipzig. It will take place in a few days, and if you can get
free I invite you to it. Bronsart is a very dear friend of mine;
I value him as a character and as a musician. If you go to
Leipzig go and see him; he will please you, and will receive you
in the most friendly manner. He is a friend of Bulow's. Both
names have the same initials, and for a long time Bronsart signed
himself "Hans II." in his letters to me.--
In the virtuoso line we have lately been hearing Sivori and
Bazzini here several times. The latter is now in Dresden; I told
him that Reubke would perhaps call on him. Get Reubke to do so,
and assure him that he will be most friendlily received. A well-
known piece of Bazzini's, "La Ronde des Lutins," was, by a
printer's error, called "Ronde des Cretins!" ["Rondo of Idiots."]
What an immeasurably large public for such a "Rondo"! If only
half of them would become subscribers to the Anregungen (Hints)!
Once more a thousand thanks, dear friend, for your courageous
battling; I on my side will endeavour not to let us have to
acquiesce with too overpowering a modesty! [An untranslatable pun
on the words "beseheiden" and "Bescheidenheit."
[Weimar,] Sunday, January 10th, 1858
||To Felix Dräseke
My very dear Friend,
Herewith the piano edition of the two first acts of "Sigurd."
[Opera by Dräseke.]--Imagining that you may also want the score
of the first act, which had remained here, I send it also, sorry
as I am to part from this monumental work. Under present existing
circumstances, which on my side are passive and negative, as I
intimated to you after the performance of Cornelius's Opera,
there is no prospect of putting Sigurd on the boards at present.
But I promise myself the pleasure and satisfaction of letting all
your "Tamtis" and "Beckis" be heard, when I have again resumed my
active work at the Weymar theater, for which there may probably
be an opportunity next season.
After you left Weymar we had to swallow a kind of second piece or
supplement to the performance of the "Barber of Baghdad," on
occasion of Madame Viardot's performance as "guest" here. But I
will not weary you with tales of our local miseries and crass
improprieties. I will only intimate thus much--that, under the
present Intendant régime, to my sorrow, the inviting of Frau
Schroder-Devrient to play here as guest is met by almost
unconquerable difficulties from within. Tell our excellent friend
Bronsart this, and tell him into the bargain that a concert (in
the room in the Town Hall), at which he and Frau Schroder-
Devrient should appear without any other assistance, would
certainly be very welcome to the public, and I should look upon
this as in any case a practical introduction to the performance
as guest. This matter lies outside my present sway, but it goes
without saying that I will not fail to let my slight influence
towards a favorable solution of the matter be felt.--
The day before yesterday I heard at Gotha your countryman's new
opera (Diana von Solange) for the second time. The work was
received with great approval, and is shortly to be given in
Dresden, where you will be best able to judge of it. Mitterwurzer
and Frau Ney have some very effective moments in it.
The concerts of the joint Weymar and Gotha orchestras (a matter
which I broached long ago) again came under discussion, and
possibly this March an attempt will be made to set them going.
Meanwhile let us look after our cordial [Magen-Starkung] "mentre
che il danno e la vergogna dura," ["Whilst prejudice and shame
last."] as Michael Angelo says.--
Friendly greetings from your faithful and devoted
January 12th, 1859
Will you give the enclosed letter to Bronsart?
||To Peter Cornelius In Vienna Weymar
May 23rd, 1859
I learn with joy from your letter (which has just crossed mine
from Lowenberg), that things are going well and comfortably with
you in Vienna. It is easy to see that your stay there, when once
you have made a firm footing, will become very advantageous--and
whatever I can do towards helping this you may be sure I shall
do. Herewith a few lines for Herr von Villers, Secretary of the
Saxon Embassy (where you will learn his address). He is one of my
older friends who has remained very dear to me. In his refined
poetic and musical feeling many kindred tones will sound for you.
Tell him all about Weymar and play him something from the
"Barbier". [Cornelius' Opera] Although he lives somewhat a part,
he can prove himself agreeable to you in many things,--firstly,
by his own personal intercourse--and then also by his relations
with Baron Stockhausen (the Hanoverian Ambassador), at whose
house there is frequently really good music, etc.--Don't delay,
therefore, looking up Villers.
For today I must beg you also to get the Prologue for the Leipzig
days [The Leipzig Tonkunstler-Versammlung (Meeting of Musicians),
from which the Allgemeine Deutsche Musikverein (Universal German
Musical Society) sprang] ready as quickly as possible. I shall
settle down at the end of this week (Saturday) in Leipzig--Hotel
de Pologne. It would be very good of you if you could send me the
Prologue to Leipzig within eight days. Address to Brendel,
Mittelstrasse, 24. I still do not possess a single copy of my
Mass, because I sent on the two or three that had been previously
sent to me at once to M[usic]-D[irector] Riedel for studying the
work. But my cousin, Dr. Eduard Liszt, will certainly be
delighted to give you your copy at once. You have only to tell
Daniel to bring it to you, if you have not time to call on
Frau von Milde, Bulow, Bronsart, Dräseke, Lassen, etc., etc.,
etc., are coming to Leipzig from Monday, 30th May, until Sunday,
4th June. You must not fail us, dearest friend, and we await you
with open arms and loving hearts. Your
The Princess stays a little longer in Munich, and will not get to
Leipzig till towards the end of this month. Remember me most
respectfully and warmly to Hebbel.
Best greetings to Catinelli.
Once more, please send the "Prologue".
||To Felix Dräseke
Where, my dear, excellent friend, have you got hold of the
extraordinary idea that I could be angry with you? How to begin
such a thing I really should not know. You are far too good and
dear to me for me not to remain good to you also in all things!--
Herewith are a few lines for Wagner, which however you don't in
the least need. I am glad that you are not putting off this
journey any longer. But before you set out WRITE to Wagner (you
can add my lines to your letter extra), and inquire whether he
will be staying at Lucerne still, so that your Swiss pilgrimage
may not be in vain.--You will be certain to get an answer from
Wagner by return of post, and will thus be sure of your object.
Schuberth tells me that "King Helge" will ride into his shop
almost immediately...to Sigrun, the ever blooming delicious
sorrow!--How scornfully, "without greeting or thanks," will "King
Helge" look down upon all the other wares in Schuberth's shop.
Somewhat as the hippopotamus looks on toads and frogs.--But it is
quite right to let the Ballade come out, and I am impatiently
awaiting my copy.--[Liszt subsequently formed out of Dräseke's
song the melodrama of the same name.]
I hope it may be possible for me to come to Lucerne at the end of
August. But send some tidings of yourself before then to
Your sincere and faithful
[Weimar,] July 19th, 1859
||To Peter Cornelius in Vienna
You are quite right in setting store upon the choice and putting
together of the three Sonatas. The idea is an excellent one, and
you may rest assured of my readiness to help in the realization
of your intention as well as of my silence until it is quite a
settled thing. If Bronsart could decide on going to Vienna, his
cooperation in that matter would certainly be very desirable.
Write about it to him at Dantzig, where he is now staying with
his father (Commandant-General of Dantzig). Tausig, who is
spending some weeks at Bad Grafenberg (with Her Highness the
Princess von Hatzfeld), would also adapt the thing well, and
would probably be able to meet your views better than you seem to
imagine. As regards Dietrich, I almost fear that he does not
possess sufficient brilliancy for Vienna--but this might, under
certain circumstances, be an advantage. He plays Op. 106 and the
Schumann Sonata capitally--as also the "Invitation to hissing and
stamping," as Gumprecht designates that work of ill odor--my
Sonata. Dietrich is always to be found in the house of Prince
Thurn and Taxis at Ratisbon. He will assuredly enter into your
project with pleasure and enthusiasm, and the small distance from
Ratisbon makes it not too difficult for him. You would only have
to arrange it so that the lectures come quickly one after the
Where Sasch Winterberger is hiding I have not heard. Presupposing
many things, he might equally serve your purpose.
In order to save you time and trouble, I will send you by the
next opportunity your analysis of my Sonata, which you left
behind you at the Altenburg.
Dräseke is coming very shortly through Weymar from Lucerne. I
will tell him your wish in confidence. It is very possible that
he would like to go to Vienna for a time. I have not the
slightest doubt as to the success of your lectures, in
conjunction with the musical performance of the works.--I would
merely advise you to put into your programme works which are
universally known--as, for instance, several Bach Fugues (from
"Das wohltemperierte Clavier"), the Ninth Symphony, the grand
Masses of Beethoven and Bach, which you have so closely studied,
etc. [The proposed lectures did not come off.]
Well, all this will come about by degrees. First of all a
beginning must be made, and this will be quite a brilliant one
with the three Sonatas. Later on we will muster Quartets,
Symphonies, Masses, and Operas all in due course!
A propos of operas, how are you getting on with the "Barbier" and
the publication of the pianoforte edition? Schuberth told me for
certain that printing would begin directly they had received the
manuscripts. Don't delay too long, dearest friend--and believe me
when I once more assure you that the work is as eminent as the
intrigue, to which it momentarily succumbed, was mean-spirited.
Schuberth has no doubt told you that I want to make a
transcription of the Salamaleikum. But don't forget that another
Overture is inevitably NECESSARY, in spite of the refined,
masterly counterpoint and ornamentation of the first. The
[Figure: Musical example of the principal subject.]
must begin, and the "Salamaleikum" end it. If possible, bring in
the two motives together a little (at the end). In case you
should not be disposed to write the thing I will do it for you
with pleasure--but first send me the complete piano edition for
Schuberth. The new Opera can then afford to wait a while, like a
"good thing"--only may weariness at it remain long absent
[Untranslatable play on the words Weile and Langeweile]!--In
order that you may not have a fit of it in reading this letter, I
will at once name to you the magic name of Rosa [Rosa von Milde,
the artist and friend of Cornelius, who wrote poetry upon her]...
In consequence of an insinuating intimation of our mutual
patroness, I have still to add the excuses of our good friend
Brendel to you. When I have an opportunity I will tell you in
person about the Prologue disturbances at the Leipzig Tonkunstler
Versammlung. Pohl had also supplied one--but the choice was given
over to Frau Ritter, and she chose her good "Stern," whose
prologue was indeed quite successful and made a good effect. But
oblige me by not bearing any grudge against Brendel, and let us
always highly respect the author of "Liszt as a Symphonic
A thousand heartfelt greetings from your faithful
Weymar, August 23rd, 1859
Princess Marie will thank you herself for the Sonnet, and at the
same time tell you about the musical performances of the 15th
August. Lassen's song, "Ave Maria," of which you gave him the
poem long ago, was especially successful. The Quartet:
"Elfen, die kleinen,
Wollen dich grussen,
Zu deinen Fussen"
["Elfin world greeting
To thee is sending,
Fairy forms lowly
At thy feet bending."]
composed by Lassen), and
"Wandelnde Blume, athmender Stern,
Duftende Bluthe am Baum des Lebens"
["Swift-changing flowers, pulsating star,
Sweet-scented blossoms on life's living tree."]
(composed by Damrosch), which we had sung together two years ago,
rejoiced us anew and most truly this time.
||To Dr Franz Brendel
[In this letter, the programme refers to some theater concerts,
which were to be arranged according to Brendel's design. The
sketch was as follows:--
"1st Concert: Paradise and the Peri.
2nd Concert: Eroica, Prometheus.
3rd Concert: Overture of Wagner. Solo (Bronsart). Overture of
2nd part: L'enfance du Christ of Berlioz.
4th Concert: Festival Song of Liszt. Solo. Dräseke. Chorus for
men's voices from his Opera.
2nd part: Walpurgisnacht of Mendelssohn.
5th Concert: Overture of Berlioz, Wagner, or Beethoven.
2nd part: Manfred.
6th Concert: Overture. Solo. Tasso.
2nd part: B-flat major Symphony."
To this Liszt adds, besides some remarks about getting the parts for
"An orchestral work of Hans von Bulow (possibly the Caesar Overture)
would be suitable for this concert. I would also recommend that
Bronsart's "Fruhlings-Phantasie" ["Spring Fancy"] should be included in
one of the programmes.
"Of Berlioz' works I should recommend the following as the most
acceptable for performance:--
"The festival at Capulet's house (Romeo),
The Pilgrims' March (from Harold),
Chorus and Dance of Sylphs (Faust),
Terzet and Chorus (from Cellini), with the artists' oath,
Overture to Lear.
"N.B.--We can bring out the Terzet from Cellini at the next
Tonkunstler-Versammlung. It is a very important and effective piece."]
The sketch for your programme is excellent, and if I have some
doubts as to the entire project, yet your proposed programme
seems to me in any case the most suitable, both as regards choice
of works and their order and grouping. With regard to the doubts
which I have so often mentioned I will only make the general
remark that a competition with the Gewandhaus in Leipzig brings a
good deal of risk with it, and for this winter a passive attitude
on our side would not specially injure our cause (at least not
according to my opinion). Whether Wirsing and Riccius will be
able to give the requisite support to the theater concerts, or
are willing to do so, I cannot undertake to say, as the ground of
Leipzig lies in many ways too far removed from me. In this I rely
entirely on your insight and circumspection, dear friend. In case
you end by deciding in the affirmative I will willingly do
something to help--as, for instance, to undertake the conducting
of the "Prometheus." I would rather not let myself in for much
more than that, because conductings in general become more
burdensome to me every year, and I don't in the least desire to
offer further active resistance to the ill-repute with which I am
credited as a conductor. Indeed I owe my friend Dingelstedt many
thanks for having (without perhaps exactly desiring to do so)
given me the chance of freeing myself from the operatic time-
beating here, and I am firmly resolved not to wield the baton
elsewhere except in the most unavoidable cases! Bülow must now
often mount the conductor's desk. He has the mind, liking,
talent, and vocation for this. If the theater concerts should be
arranged, be sure to secure his frequent co-operation. He will
certainly bring new life into the whole affair, and possesses the
necessary amount of experience and aplomb, [Employed in French by
Liszt] to be their solid representative.
I have just written to Klitzsch [Music-conductor at Zwickau] and
promised him to conduct the "Prometheus" in Zwickau. The concert
will take place at the end of October (perhaps on my birthday,
the 22nd). Although you have heard the Prometheus choruses in
Dresden, I wish very much that you could come to Zwickau this
time. I have again worked most carefully at it, have amplified
some things, and have arranged others in a simple and more
singable manner, etc. Now I hope that it will thoroughly hold its
ground and stand the test of proof. So do come to Zwickau.
I have still one more request to make to you today, dear friend.
P. Lohmann [A music colleague of the Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik,
living in Leipzig] was so kind as to send me his drama some weeks
ago. I have read The Victory of Love with much interest, but I
have not yet been able to get so far as the other, and as little
have I been able to express my thanks to him in writing. Kindly
undertake my excuses to him, and tell him that I am exceedingly
obliged by his letter and what he sent me. On the occasion of my
journey to Zwickau I will call on Lohmann in Leipzig, and tell
him personally what an impression his dramas make on me. I
specially take notice of his article in the paper.
I thank you most truly for the kindness which you have shown to
B. He is in many things somewhat awkward, impractical--and almost
looks as though he could not devote himself to any productive and
consistently carried-out form of activity. None the less is there
in him a certain capacity and worth which, in a somewhat more
regular position than he has yet been able to attain, would make
him appear worth more. A more frequent application of a few
utensils such as soak tooth-brush, and nail brush might also be
recommended to him!--I expect much good to result from your
influence on B.'s further work and fortunes, and hope that your
store of patience will not be too sorely tried by him.
With heartfelt greetings, your
Weymar, September 2nd, 1859
Herewith the programme scheme with two or three little remarks
appended. Weigh again the pros and cons of the matter, and keep
the right balance between the risk and the possible gain. Motto:
"First weigh, then risk it!"--[The nearest English equivalent
seems to be "Look before you leap."
.--. I have had so much of notes [musical] to write lately that
my writing of letters [of the alphabet] has got still worse. But
where you can't read what I have written, you can guess it all
| September 3rd, 1859
||218. To Louis Koehler
Your letter was a real joy to me, for which I thank you heartily.
You are far too honorable, brave, and admirable a musician for
our paths to remain long sundered. For the very reason that
people cannot (as you so wittily remark) immediately "label and
catalogue me correctly and place me in an already existing
drawer," I am in hopes that my efforts and working will
eventually prove in accordance with the spirit of the time, and
will fructify. I promise you also that I am not wanting in pains
and labour in honor of my friends. But I certainly cannot
recognize weaklings and cowards as such. It is only with high-
minded, brave, and trusty comrades that we move forwards, no
matter though the number remain small. In matters of intelligence
the majority always follows the minority, when the latter is
sufficiently strong to hold its own.--Welcome, therefore, dear
friend, welcome most truly. If there is still a lot of scandal
which we have to bear quietly and without mortification, we will
by no means let ourselves be confounded by it!
I have written at once to Hartel to send you the arrangements for
two pianofortes of the Symphonic Poems that you wished for. But
there is a better way for the scores than that of a bookseller.
Fraulein Ingeborg Stark is going to St. Petersburg on the 20th of
this month, and will stay a day in Konigsberg. She will bring you
the Dante Symphony, etc., and if there should be an opportunity
she will play the things through with Bronsart (who is also going
to Konigsberg at the same time). I have grown very much attached
to Fraulein Stark, as hers is a very particularly gifted artistic
nature. The same will happen to you if you hear her striking
Sonata. Ingeborg composes all sorts of Fugues, Toccatas, etc.,
into the bargain. I remarked to her lately that she did not look
a bit like that. "Well, I am quite satisfied not to have a fugue
countenance," was her striking answer.
The Pohls are both still in Baden-Baden (whence I hear the
excerpts from Berlioz' manuscript opera Les Troyens [The Trojans]
spoken of with enthusiasm). Madame Viardot sang a grand scena and
a duet from it in the concert conducted by Berlioz--and Fraulein
Emilie Genast is staying a couple of weeks longer with her sister
Frau Raff in Wiesbaden. On her return I will give her your
greetings, and Emilie will certainly be glad to make known the
concert song which you mention to her. In her performance a
beautiful and sympathetic "melody of speech" is reflected. As I
write this word I can't help at the same time wishing that you
may find in my "Gesammelte Lieder" something that appeals to your
feelings, which you have so cleverly represented in the "melody
of speech." You will receive a proof-copy of the six numbers at
the same time as the Dante Symphony. I wanted to dedicate the
last number, "Ich mochte hingehn" (poem by Herwegh), specially to
you, and when next you have occasion to come to Weymar, I will
look for the manuscript for you on which your name is put. But as
I have left out all other dedications in this complete edition, I
propose to dedicate something else to you later--probably some
bigger and longer work.
A Ballade of Draeseke's--"Koenig Helge"--has just appeared, which
pleases me extremely. You must look closely into this wonderful
In conclusion one more request, dear friend. Do me the kindness
to be perfectly free and open and regardless of consequences in
the discussion of my works. Do not imagine that the slightest
vanity comes over me or impels me. I have long ago done with all
that sort of thing. So long as you allow that I possess the
necessary musical equipments to create freely in Art, as I gather
from your letter that you do, I can but be grateful to you for
all else, even were it severe blame. I have often expressed my
opinion to my friends that, even if all my compositions failed to
succeed (which I neither affirm nor deny), they would not on that
account be quite without their use, owing to the stir and impetus
which they would give to the further development of Art. This
consciousness so completely satisfies me that I can consistently
persevere and go on composing.
With all respect and attachment I remain,
Yours most sincerely,
Weymar, September 3rd, 1859
If the Koenigsberg Academy does not take alarm at my name (as has
indeed been the case in other places, owing to the foolish
prattle of the critics), they might try the "Prometheus" choruses
there by-and-by. They are to be given almost directly (at the end
of October) at Zwickau, and probably later on in Leipzig, where I
shall then also have them published.
In the matters of the prize-subject we will wait and see what
comes. You very justly remark that it hinges now upon enharmony.
It is a pity that you do not bring something. Perhaps you will
still find time to do so.
|September 8th, 1859
||To Dr. Franz Brendel
I beg you to send me by return of post a copy of the intricate
biography ("Liszt's Life and Work"--if I am not mistaken) by
Gustav Schilling. Siegel and Stoll in Leipzig have taken the work
from the Stuttgart publisher, and there will surely be some way
of getting a copy in Leipzig. Ask Kahnt to be so good as to see
after one and to send it me immediately by post, for I require
the work in connection with a special and pressing question which
I can best answer by a quotation from Schilling's book.
With friendliest greetings, your
Weymar, September 8th, 1859
Why does not Schuberth send me my dedicatory copy of Draeseke's
Ballade "Koenig Helge"?
|October 20th, 1859
||221. To Felix Dräseke
Dear excellent friend,
Your surmise that I could not go away from Weymar at present was
quite correct. The Altenburg is indeed very deserted, as Princess
Marie went away directly after her marriage on the 15th October,
and the Princess went to Paris yesterday for several days--yet I
will not leave my own hearth so soon, even if my outward activity
be much limited henceforth (as I have already intimated to you)
both here and elsewhere.--I require my whole time for my further
works, which must go on incessantly--consequently I have resolved
to keep at a distance all the delights of conductorship, and to
give the baton a rest equally with the piano.--
On the 9th November the festival play by Halm, "A Hundred Years
Ago," will be given here with the music I have composed to it--
and on the 11th the "Kuenstler-Chor" is to introduce the
Festival-oration by Kuno Fischer at Jena. Damrosch writes to me
also from Berlin that he intends to include the "Kuenstler-Chor"
in the programme of the Schiller Festival there. The Zwickau
Concert is fixed for the 15th November--and I am delighted to
think of meeting the Ritters there. By the way, I am of opinion
that Sasch [Sasch, i.e., Alexander, Ritter's Christian name] will
undertake two numbers of the programme, and will fulfill
Klitzsch's wish with the "Chaconne" as well as mine with the
original Concerto, on the same evening. Zwickau chances to belong
to the few towns where the "Chaconne" (so Klitzsch writes me
word) has never been heard in public. Sasch can take this fact
into consideration, and without doing anything derogatory can
grant the public the enjoyment of the "Chaconne." The assured
success which he will have with it may also act beneficially on
the receptiveness of the audience in connection with his
Concerto. Tell our dear friend this, with the proviso that, if he
only undertakes one number on the programme, I advise him in any
case to choose his Concerto. The piece has much that is
interesting and effective in itself, and it will be useful to
Sasch to test the relation of the orchestra to the solo part by a
public production. If necessary, therefore, force him to do it,
by my order.
With regard to the causes and excuses for your pretended
"obstinacy, dogmatism," and imaginary "arrogance," I beg you,
dearest friend, to rest assured that you will never find any such
suspicion in me. What you think, feel, compose, is noble and
great--therefore I take a sympathetic interest in it.--The next
time we are together I will merely endeavour to make "amputation"
more bearable to you by chloroform!--
With highest esteem I remain,
Yours in all friendship,
[Weimar,] October 20th, 1859
|[March or April 1860]
||235. To Dr. Franz Brendel
[March or April 1860]
Do not blame me if this time I follow Pohl's example and keep you
waiting for the promised article. I have been working at it
pretty continuously during the past week, and the sketch of it is
quite ready; but I am not quite satisfied with it, and about
Berlioz and Wagner I must say the right thing in the right
manner. [No article of the kind by Liszt is contained in the Neue
Zeitschrift for the year in question; probably it was
unfinished.] This duty requires me to spend more time on it, and
unfortunately I have so much on hand this week that it is hardly
possible for me to busy myself with polemics. Tomorrow is again a
grand Court concert; Bronsart and Fraulein Stark arrived
yesterday; Frau von Bulow comes today, and I expect Hans on
Saturday. Besides this, there is still more important work for
me, which will take up my time entirely till the end of this
Well, I will see to it that, if possible, Berlioz and Wagner do
not remain forgotten!--
Let me first of all answer your questions.
Whether it would be desirable to hold the second Tonkunstler-
Versammlung this year, I already left it to you, at our last
meeting, to decide. In my opinion we might wait till next year
without injury to the affair. [This was done.] As long as I
myself have not made a secure and firm footing in Weymar, I
cannot invite you to convene the meeting here. If you hold to the
dates of the 17th, 18th, and 19th June, we are bound to Leipzig,
where I can then tell you with certainty whether Weymar will suit
for the next meeting.
It goes without saying that you, dear friend, must arrange about
everything that I can undertake and do for the Tonkunstler-
Versammlung. Only my personal help as conductor must be excepted.
At our next consultation we shall easily come to an understanding
as to the desirability of one conductor or several.
I would indicate and emphasize, as absolutely necessary, the
performance of new works by Bulow, Dräseke, Bronsart, Singer,
Seifriz, etc. I think I understand and can manage the art of
programme-making in a masterly manner. When once matters have got
so far, I will fix with you the programme of the three
I agree with the choice of the "Prometheus," and at the religious
performance, if the latter is not filled up with one single great
work, I would suggest perhaps the "Beatitudes," or the 13th Psalm
(the former last about ten minutes, the latter twenty-five).
Will you therefore decide definitely where the Tonkunstler-
Versammlung shall be held this year and the date of it, about
which I have nothing further to say? We will then discuss and
settle the rest together.
You will find my remarks as to the statute scheme on the last
page of it.
With hearty greetings, your
A. The revising of the "Leonore" shall be attended to
B. I shall welcome Fraulein Brauer most cordially.
C. I recommend to you again the manuscripts of Pasque and
Councillor Muller. Have you replied to Muller?
Herewith is a letter from Weitzmann (14th June, 1859), in which
you will find much worthy of consideration and use.
Important! N.B.--When you convene the Tonkunstler-Versammlung,
add to it at once the following: "For the foundation of the
German Universal Musical Society." This is the principal aim,
toward the accomplishment of which we have to work.
[Liszt was, as Princess Wittgenstein distinctly told the editor,
the actual founder of the "German Universal Musical Society." He
conceived the idea and plan of it, and it was only at his wish
that Brendel gave his name to it, and undertook to be president,
|September 14th, 1860
||To Princess Caroline Sayn-Wittgenstein.
[Portions of the above were published in the Neue Zeitschrift fur
Musik of 4th May, 1887.]
Weymar, September 14th, 1860
I am writing this down on the 14th September, the day on which
the Church celebrates the Festival of the Holy Cross. The
denomination of this festival is also that of the glowing and
mysterious feeling which has pierced my entire life as with a
Yes, "Jesus Christ on the Cross," a yearning longing after the
Cross and the raising of the Cross,--this was ever my true inner
calling; I have felt it in my innermost heart ever since my
seventeenth year, in which I implored with humility and tears
that I might be permitted to enter the Paris Seminary; at that
time I hoped it would be granted to me to live the life of the
saints and perhaps even to die a martyr's death. This, alas! has
not happened--yet, in spite of the transgressions and errors
which I have committed, and for which I feel sincere repentance
and contrition, the holy light of the Cross has never been
entirely withdrawn from me. At times, indeed, the refulgence of
this Divine light has overflowed my entire soul.--I thank God for
this, and shall die with my soul fixed upon the Cross, our
redemption, our highest bliss; and, in acknowledgment of my
belief, I wish before my death to receive the holy sacraments of
the Catholic, Apostolic, and Romish Church, and thereby to attain
the forgiveness and remission of all my sins. Amen.
I thank my mother with reverence and tender love for her
continual proofs of goodness and love. In my youth people called
me a good son; it was certainly no special merit on my part, for
how would it have been possible not to be a good son with so
faithfully self-sacrificing a mother?--Should I die before her,
her blessing will follow me into the grave.
I owe it to my cousin Eduard Liszt (Dr. and Royal County
Councillor of Justice in Vienna) to repeat here my warm and
grateful affection for him, and to thank him for his faithfulness
and staunch friendship. By his worth, his talents, and his
character he does honor to the name I bear, and I pray God for
His blessings on him, his wife, and his children.
Among our Art-comrades of the day there is one name which has
already become glorious, and which will become so ever more and
more--Richard Wagner. His genius has been to me a light which I
have followed--and my friendship for Wagner has always been of
the character of a noble passion. At a certain period (about ten
years ago) I had visions of a new Art-period for Weymar, similar
to that of Carl August, in which Wagner and I should have been
the leading spirits, as Goethe and Schiller were formerly,--but
unfavorable circumstances have brought this dream to nothing.
To my daughter Cosima I bequeath the sketch of Steinle
representing St. Francois de Paul, my patron saint; he is walking
on the waves, his mantle spread beneath his feet, holding in one
hand a red-hot coal, the other raised, either to allay the
tempest or to bless the menaced boatmen, his look turned to
heaven, where, in a glory, shines the redeeming word "Caritas."--
This sketch has always stood on my writing-table. Near it there
is an ancient hour-glass in carved wood with four glasses, which
is also for my daughter Cosima. Two other things which have
belonged to me are to be given as a remembrance to my cousin
Eduard Liszt and to my much-loved and brave son-in-law Hans von
Some of the members of our Union of the "New German School"--to
whom I remain deeply attached--must also receive some remembrance
of me; Hans von Bronsart, Peter Cornelius (in Vienna), E. Lassen
(in Weymar), Dr. Franz Brendel (in Leipzig), Richard Pohl (in
Weymar), Alex. Ritter (in Dresden), Felix Dräseke (in Dresden),
Professor Weitzmann (in Berlin), Carl Tausig (from Warsaw)--
either a ring with my sign-manual, a portrait, or coat-of-arms.--
May they continue the work that we have begun--the honor of Art
and the inner worth of the artist constrains them to do so. Our
cause cannot fail, though it have for the present but few
One of my jewels set as a ring is to be sent to Madame Caroline
d'Artigaux, nee Countess de St. Cricq (at Pau, France). To the
Princess Constantin Hohenlohe (nee Princess Marie Wittgenstein) I
bequeath the ivory crucifix (cinque-cento) which was given to me
by my kind patron the Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen--also a
pair of studs with five different stones, which form the five
initials of my name.
And now I kneel down once more to pray "Thy kingdom come; Thy
will be done on earth as it is in heaven; forgive us our
trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us; and
deliver us from evil. Amen."
Written the 14th September, 1860, on the Festival of the raising
of the Holy Cross.
To Herr Gross, a member of the Weymar Grand Ducal Royal Orchestra
(trombone and double-bass player), who has for a number of years
looked after the copying of my works and the arranging of the
orchestral and voice parts of them in the library of the
Altenburg, I bequeath a present of one hundred thalers for the
faithful, devoted service he has rendered me.
To the names of my friends of the New German School is to be
added one more, or rather I ought to have mentioned it first; it
is that of Mr. Gaetano Belloni (in Paris).--He was my Secretary
during the period of my concert tours in Europe, from 1841 to
1847, and was always my faithful and devoted servant and friend.
He must not be forgotten. Moreover, whether he will or no, he
belongs to the New German School, by his attachment to me, and
also by the part he took later on in the Berlioz and Wagner
concerts. I wish to be buried simply, without pomp, and if
possible at night.--May light everlasting illumine my soul!
|September 20th, 1860
||To Dr. Franz Brendel
September 20th, 1860
I send you by my friend Lassen [Born 1830, became Court music-
director 1858, and Court conductor in Weimar after Liszt's
withdrawal (1861); celebrated as a composer of songs] a little
parcel of songs (eight numbers), which I beg you to give to
Kahnt. Of several of them I have kept no copy--and I therefore
beg Kahnt not to lose them. As regards the numbering of them (the
order of succession), they are to be kept as I noted down some
time ago (on a bit of paper which I gave Kahnt when he was here).
I also add a Quartet for men's voices. It is the Verein song
"Frisch auf zu neuem Leben," ["Uprouse to newer life."] written
for the New Weymar Verein by Hoffmann von Fallersleben. The
passage "von Philister Geschrei;" ["Of Philistine cry."] will
probably amuse you, and the whole thing is kept rather popular
and easy to be performed. If it does not make a bother let it be
tried in Leipzig when you have an opportunity.
N.B.--If you think the designation on the title-page "Written and
composed for the New Weymar Verein" will give offence, it can be
left out, and the title can run simply, "Vereins Lied," by
Hoffmann von Fallersleben, composed for male chorus by F. L. In
any case I shall be glad if Kahnt can bring the little thing out
soon, and will give some sort of illustrated title-page,
expressive of the sense of the poem.
The remarks which I have added in pencil are to be engraved with
it. I hope the printer will be able to read my bad writing--if
not will you be so kind as to make it clear to him?
I am writing to Vienna today. The "Prometheus" parts and score
will be sent to you immediately.
I expect Bronsart here at the end of this month..--.
Your statute-sketch is in all essential points as judicious as it
is practical. It offers a sure basis of operations for the next
Tonkunstler-Versammlung, where assuredly the great majority of
the members will agree with your proposals. Then the point will
be to work on vigorously towards the accomplishment, and to put
aside the much that is "rotten in the State of Denmark."
Before the Euterpe concerts begin I shall in any case see you.
Next Sunday I go to Sondershausen, where Berlioz' "Harold," a new
Oboe Concerto by Stein, Schumann's "Genoveva" Overture, the
Introduction to "Tristan and Isolde," and my "Mazeppa" will be
given. The latter piece is popular to wit...in Sondershausen!--
Very sonderhauslich, [A play on the words Sondershausen and
sonderbar = strange] isn't it?
Hearty greetings to your wife from your
P.S.--The ninth song by Cornelius is still wanting. [The song
"Wieder mocht' ich Dir begegnen" ("Once again I fain would meet
thee")] But in the meantime the printing can be going on. The
nine numbers form the seventh part of the "Gesammelte Lieder." If
Kahnt wishes, each song can be published separately, especially
the Zigeuner; Nonnenwerth, etc.
Dräseke has been with me a couple of days, and is coming shortly
to you. His works captivate me in a special degree, and
personally I am very fond of him, which indeed I also was
formerly, but this time still more. Capacity and character are
there in abundance.
||To Felix Dräseke
You have again encouraged and rejoiced me, my excellent friend,
by your affectionate comprehension of my meaning and endeavors in
the "Dante" Symphony.
Once more my heartfelt thanks for it. Later on, when "Hamlet" and
the "Hunnenschlacht" are published, please do not refuse me the
special satisfaction of publishing the whole of your articles on
the Symphonic Poems in the form of a pamphlet. We will speak
further of this by word of mouth, and possibly a few musical
examples could be added to the earlier ones.
How far have you got with the "Loreley"?--Only take hold of the
witch with tender force.--Geibel has lately brought out his
opera-text to the "Loreley," and several composers are already
setting to work on it (or under it). In the present state of
things there is not much to be expected from effusions and feeble
attempts of that kind. On the other hand I am expecting something
great, beautiful, and magical from the Symphonic form into which
you will shape this story--a story which just as easily becomes
dry and tedious as, on the other hand, it can be melting. Take
care that we bring your work to a hearing at the next
Tonkunstler-Versammlung (in July-August) here.
O. Singer's "Entschwandenes Ideal" ["Vanished Ideal"] is full of
music; noble in conception and powerfully worked out. I shall
write to him shortly about it, and send him my seventh book of
songs, as you told me that he rather liked the earlier ones.--
An excellent little work by our friend Weitzmann lies before us
again: "The New Science of Harmony at Variance with the Old." The
"Album Leaves for the Emancipation of Fifths" as a supplement are
stirring; and the "Anthology of Classical Following Fifths," with
quotations from Hiller and Hauptmann,. is especially instructive.
In Harmony, as in other things, it is no longer a question of
reforming what has been laid aside, but rather of the fulfilling
of the law.------
On any day, my dear friend, you will be heartily welcome to
Yours very gratefully,
December 30th, 1860
Towards the middle of January I am going to Paris or a couple of
weeks to see my mother (who is still constantly ill).
||To Peter Cornelius
[Autograph in the possession of Constance Bache.]
Will you quickly sign the accompanying announcement to the
Tonkunstler-Versammlung with your good, beautiful name? You must
not fail me on this occasion in Weymar!
And yet another request, dearest friend. Will you go and see F.
Doppler and tell him that I very much wish he could arrive with
you on the 4th August at latest? I hope he will not refuse me
this pleasure--and if it is not inconvenient to him will he also
bring his flute and undertake the part in Faust?
With regard to the travelling expenses I have already written to
my cousin Eduard; he is to put a couple of hundred florins at
your disposal; for it goes without saying that neither you nor
Doppler will be allowed to spend a groschen out of your own purse
for the journey.
You will meet Eduard here--and also Wagner, Hans, Dräseke,
Damrosch, Tausig, Lassen, and my daughter (Madame Ollivier).
To our speedy meeting then, my best Cornelius!
Bring your "Cid" with you as far as it is done, and kindly
dedicate some days to your heartily devoted
Weymar, July 12th, 1861
P.S.--Shortly after the Tonkunstler-Versammlung I shall be
leaving Weymar for a long time.—-
||To Dr. Franz Brendel
A musical scribble that I had promised, and which I wished to
finish here, and various little excursions in the neighborhood,
have prevented me from answering your letter sooner.
The Prince [Of Hohenzollern-Hechingen] continues to show me the
same amiable friendship as ever, so that it is hard to me to
leave Lowenberg. Seifriz will write you word a couple of weeks
beforehand to which concert your coming here would be most
advantageous. The concert season does not begin till November,
and, with the exception of the winter months, when the musical
performances take place, a great proportion of the members of the
orchestra is absent. His Highness adheres always firmly and
faithfully to the endeavors of the "New German School," and is
desirous of supporting it still further. On this account I think
it would be desirable to elect Seifriz as a member of the
Committee of the Allgemeane Deutsche Musikverein. I also vote
especially for Stein (of Sondershausen), Eduard Liszt, Herbeck,
Ambros, David--without a word against the rest of the names which
you have proposed.
As regards the other points of your letter I write as follows:--
1. I believe that N.'s reliability and extensive influence in the
affairs of the Mozart Society are a bit hypothetical. You find
out more exactly what he is likely to accomplish.
2. I will undertake with pleasure the examination of the
manuscripts and the decision as to what works shall be performed
at the general assembly--but please do not give me the title of
President, but simply the name of Reporter or Head of the musical
3. I entirely agree with the intention of distributing Pohl's
["On the Tonkunstler-Versammlung in Leipzig in 1859."] pamphlet
gratis to the members of the Society.
Of course the two speeches by yourself and Dräseke must be
included in it. Should it be necessary, I will gladly contribute
a few thalers towards the publication.
4. According to my opinion the Society should not be placed under
the protection of the Grand Duke "until everything is ready."
According to what he has said to me there is no doubt about his
acceptance of it, but still it is indispensable that you should
write to H.R.H. about it. Pohl and Gille will be the best to help
you in composing the letter to the Grand Duke, and perhaps they
will sign their names to it also. Later on we shall have to
discuss in what form and fashion other German Princes are to be
invited to give their countenance to the Society-or not.
5. Wagner's photograph has unfortunately been locked up in the
Altenburg against my wish. I cannot therefore be of any help with
it--and can only advise you to write to Wagner himself, in order
to learn which of his likenesses would be the most suitable for
publication in the Modenzeitung.
.-.I shall be in Berlin by the evening of the day after tomorrow,
and shall probably stay there till the 24th-26th of this month.
May I also beg you to remind Pohl of his promise to send me my
arrangement of the Dance of Sylphs (from Berlioz' "Faust")? I am
now wanting this little piece, of which I did not keep any copy.
It is the same with my arrangement of the "Tannhauser" Overture,
which I left behind with Pflughaupt. Get Pohl to send me the
Dance of Sylphs and the "Tannhauser" Overture as soon as possible
to Bulow's address in Berlin. I will then send him my thanks in
writing, and will quietly wait for the catalogue of music in his
possession out of my library (which he wanted to send me some
days after my departure!).
How is it with regard to Damrosch's leadership of the orchestra
at Weymar? Pohl must tell me all about it.
Has Bronsart's marriage taken place yet?
If it is not giving you too much trouble, I should be glad to
receive the pamphlets, marked with red pencil, by Bronsart,
Laurencin, Wagner, and Ambros, while I am in Berlin. The
publication of Zellner's brochure on "Faust" shall meanwhile be
left to the geniality and munificence of Schuberth. A propos of
Lassen's songs (which Schuberth boasted that he should bring out
so quickly that last evening he was with you!), the first book
only--say three songs!--and not the second, has come out,
although Schuberth presented me with two books, relying on my
being absent-minded and preoccupied! But he has such an
extraordinary talent for tricks of that kind that it would be
almost a pity if he did not exercise it here and there!.-.
With friendliest greetings to your wife,
Lowenberg, September 16th, 1861
[Shortly after this Liszt departed from Lowenberg. He took the
road which the Princess Wittgenstein had gone before him, and
went, by way of Paris, to Rome.]
||To Dr. Franz Brendel
[Rome,] December 20th, 1861
For the New Year I bring you nothing new; my soon ageing
attachment and friendship remain unalterably yours. Let me hope
that it will be granted to me to give you more proof of it from
year to year.
Since the beginning of October I have remained without news from
Germany. How are my friends Bronsart, Dräseke, Damrosch,
Weissheimer? Give them my heartiest greetings, and let me see
some notices of the onward endeavors and experiences of these my
young friends, as also of the doings of the Redactions-Hohle
[Editorial den] and the details of the Euterpe concerts.
Please send the numbers of the paper, from October onwards, to me
at the address of the library Spithover-Monaldini, Piazza di
Spagna, Rome. Address your letter "Herrn Commandeur Liszt," Via
Felice 113. "Signor Commendatore" is my title here; but don't be
afraid that any Don Juan will stab me--still less that on my
return to Germany I shall appear in your Redactions-Hohle as a
guest turned to stone!--
Of myself I have really little to tell you. Although my
acquaintance here is tolerably extensive and of an attractive
kind (if not exactly musical!), I live on the whole more retired
than was possible to me in Germany. The morning hours are devoted
to my work, and often a couple of hours in the evening also. I
hope to have entirely finished the Elizabeth in three months.
Until then I can undertake nothing else, as this work completely
absorbs me. Very soon I will decide whether I come to Germany
next summer or not. Possibly I shall go to Athens in April--
without thereby forgetting the Athens of the elms! .--.
First send me the paper, that I may not run quite wild in musical
matters. At Spithover's, where I regularly read the papers, there
are only the Augsburger Allgemeine, the Berlin Stern-Zeitung
[Doubtless the Kreusseitung], and several French and English
papers, which contain as good as nothing of what I care about in
the domain of music.
Julius Schuberth wrote a most friendly letter to me lately, and
asks me which of Dräseke's works I could recommend to him next
for publication. To tell the truth it is very difficult for me in
Rome to put myself in any publisher's shoes, even in so genial a
man's as Julius Schuberth. In spite of this I shall gladly take
an opportunity of answering him, and shall advise him to consult
with Dräseke himself as to the most advisable opportunity of
publishing this or that Opus of his, if a doubt should actually
come over our Julius as to whether his publisher's omniscience
were sufficiently enlightened on the matter!--
Remember me most kindly to your wife.
Yours most sincerely,
Please give my best greetings to Kahnt. Later on I shall beg him
for a copy of my songs for a very charming Roman lady.
||To Dr. Franz Brendel
Your last letter but one, the registered one, has reached me
safely. As it contained more in the way of answers than was
wanted I hesitated to write to you. As already said, I have made
up my mind to wait another year before publishing the
"Elizabeth." In the first place it is necessary that I should
correct the frequent errors in the copy of the score--a piece of
work that will take a couple of weeks.--Then, before its
appearance, I should like an opportunity of quietly hearing the
work once in Germany, and this perhaps might occur next year.
Meanwhile give Kahnt my best thanks for his ready consent, of
which, however, I cannot make use till later, provided that an
honorarium of a couple of thousand francs (which has been offered
me elsewhere) does not frighten him. .--. So far as one can plan
a journey nowadays, I intend to be in Germany again for a few
weeks during the summer of 1867.--Tomorrow I shall write to Dr.
Hartel and tell him that you have kindly expressed yourself ready
to discuss with him the small matter about the Dräseke brochure.
It would please me greatly to hear that some amicable arrangement
had been made.
With regard to the publications of the Allgemeine Deutsche
Musikverein, I would vote for the Overture by Seifriz. Likewise
for the continuation of the Chamber music performances in
Leipzig--and, of course, for the compensation from the Society's
purse due to you.
Stade's article on the "Faust Symphony" I have not yet received.
My last number of the Zeitschrift is that of July 6th. I am glad
that Stade does not disapprove of these Faust-things.--
Schondorf's Polonaise, Impromptu, etc., which Kahnt has sent me,
I have read through with pleasure and interest. With the next
sending to Rome please enclose the "Petrus" Oratorio by Meinardus
(the pianoforte score). In case the pianoforte score has not
appeared, then let me have the full score. And together with the
"Petrus" Oratorio please also send me the fragment of the
"Christus" Oratorio by Mendelssohn (published by Hartel).
My "Christus" Oratorio has, at last, since yesterday got so far
finished that I have now only got the revising, the copying and
the pianoforte score to do. Altogether it contains 12 musical
numbers (of which the "Seligkeiten" and the "Pater Noster" have
been published by Kahnt), and takes about three hours to perform.
I have composed the work throughout to the Latin text from the
Scriptures and the Liturgy. After a time I shall ask Riedel for
his assistance and advice with regard to the German wording.
Please give Alex Ritter my cordial thanks for his Amsterdam
I cannot, at present, promise you any literary contributions for
the proposed Annual of the D. M. If the instrumental Introduction
to the "Elizabeth" (for piano-forte) would suit you I would
gladly place it at your disposal, reserving the copyright for the
subsequent publisher of the score, that is, his right to publish
the same Introduction again.
As far as I can foresee I shall remain here the whole winter. My
address is simply: To Commandeur Abbe Liszt--Rome.
Fuller performances of the Beethoven Symphonies and of the Dante
Symphony are to be given next Advent in the Dante Gallery.
Sgambati is to conduct them, and I have promised to attend the
Heugel of Paris (Director of the Menestrel) is shortly to publish
a new edition of my Franciscus-legends.
With friendliest greetings, your attached
October 2nd, 1866
||To Breitkopf and Hartel
Much Esteemed Herr Doctor,
It is very mortifying to me to have to confess that I have most
awkwardly come to a standstill with the transcription of the
Beethoven Quartets. After several attempts the result was either
absolutely unplayable--or insipid stuff. Nevertheless I shall not
give up my project, and shall make another trial to solve this
problem of pianoforte arrangement. If I succeed I will at once
inform you of my "Heureka." [Discovery (from a Greek word).-
TRANS.] Meanwhile I am occupied exclusively with the "Christus
Oratorio," which has, at last, advanced so far that all I have
now to do is to put the marks of expression in the score and the
Pray kindly excuse me if a small piece of vanity leads me to
address you with a wish. My "Symphonic Poems" have, as you know,
had a regular deluge of halberds hurled at them by the critics.
After all these murderous and deadly blows that have been aimed
at them, it would be very gratifying to me if the analyses of
these "Symphonic Poems" in which, a few years ago, Felix Dräseke
discussed them severally in the Anregungen [Notices] could now be
published by you all together in the form of a brochure, for they
are written with a thorough knowledge of the subject, yet in a
On this account I begged Dr. Brendel to discuss the matter with
you, and now take the liberty of addressing you personally on the
subject of my wish.
With much esteem, yours sincerely,
Rome, October 4th, 1866
Will you kindly send Cantor Gottschalg in Tieffurt a good copy of
my pianoforte scores of the nine Beethoven Symphonies?
||To Dr. Franz Brendel
My hearty congratulations upon our Falcon-colleagueship [Brendel
had received the Weimar Order of the Falcon of Watchfulness
(Falkenorden der Wachsamkeit)] and henceforth always, "Vigilando
As I was expecting parcels and news from Leipzig I delayed
answering your friendly letter. I have not yet received either
the Almanack, or the corrected proofs of the "Elizabeth". How did
the performance in the Pauliner Church [Riedel had arranged a
performance of the "Elizabeth" in Leipzig.] go off? Ask Kahnt to
let me have one or two of the notices of it--especially the
unfavorable ones. Remind him also to write to Otto Roquette about
the translation of the Latin chorus at the end, to which I
referred in my last letter to him.
Berlioz's "Requiem" is the corner-stone of the programme for the
Altenburg Tonkunstler-Versammlung. I have often speculated about
the possibility of having this colossal work produced.
Unfortunately the Weimar churches were not sufficiently spacious,
and in Brunswick, where the Egidien church would be a magnificent
place for musical festivals of any kind, other difficulties stood
in the way. Probably Altenburg also does not possess any building
sufficiently large to hold an orchestra for the "Dies Irae", and
Riedel will have to reduce the 16 drums, 12 horns, 8 trumpets and
8 trombones to a minimum. But, even though it should not be
possible to give a performance of the whole work, still there are
portions of it--such as the "Requiem Aeternam," the "Lacrymosa
and Sanctus"--that are extremely well worth hearing and
The sketch of the programme furnishes an excellent antidote to
Berlioz's Requiem, in Handel's "Acis and Galatea"; and some
smaller things of Dräseke, Lassen and my humble self might be
introduced in between.
Sgambati's co-operation will depend upon my journey. I am unable
as yet to say anything definite about it. Not till June can I
decide whether I can come or not. To speak frankly it will be
difficult for me to leave Rome at all this year.
With regard to your personal affairs I can but again assure you
that I take the liveliest interest in them. The modesty of your
claims, dear friend, is very much out of proportion with the
importance of the services you have rendered. One rarely meets
with demands that are as just and as unpretending as yours. Be
assured of my sincere readiness to promote your interest in
higher quarters, and to do what I can to satisfy you.
With warmest thanks and kindest greetings yours,
Rome, January 26th, 1868
Sgambati's matinees for Chamber-music are better attended than
ever this winter. They include all that is musically interesting
as regards Rome.
||To Professor Carl Riedel
Dräseke's "Requiem" is such a first-rate work, and is so likely
to obtain a good reception from the public, that I again
recommend the performance of it at the next Tonkunstler-
Versammlung. Dräseke will presumably also agree to it in the end.
Gustav Weber's Trio, Op. 5, published by Siegel, and dedicated to
me, I consider an eminent work, worthy of recommendation and
performance. I am sure you think the same.
I should like to add to the vocal programme of the Tonkunstler-
Versammlung two songs by your name-sake Riedel, now
Hofkapellmeister in Brunswick. [Hermann Riedel, born 1847, made a
special success with songs from Scheffel's "Trompeter von
Sakkingen."] If they should be ascribed to you they will please
you all the better for that. And a propos, why do you let your
valuable, excellent works be so seldom heard in public? I shall
reproach you further with this injustice to yourself when we come
to talk over the programme, and I hope that you won't continue to
overdo your reserve as a composer. Without pushing one's-self
forward one must still maintain one's position, to which you,
dear friend, are fully entitled. Will you be so kind as to tell
Hartel to send me here quickly 25 sheets of to line, and 25
sheets of 12 line music paper (oblong shape, not square) for
cash, together with a few of the small books of samples,
containing all kinds of music paper, which I have recommended
several musical friends of mine here and elsewhere to buy. One
can rub out easily on this paper, which is one of the most
important things--that is to say, unless one tears up the whole
manuscript, which would often be advisable.
A happy Christmas, and a brave New Year '83.
Ever your faithfully attached
Venezia, Palazzo Vendramin, December 9th, 1882
To Richard Wagner
My excellent friend, Felix Dräseke, is on his way to you. Receive
him kindly as one of "ours," and reveal to him your "Nibelungen"
treasure, on which he is worthy of gazing with heart and soul.
I hope to be with you at the end of August; let me know where I
shall find you then.
WEYMAR, July 19th, 1859.
||Reply from Richard Wagner to Liszt
LUCERNE, August 19th, 1859.
I should like to thank Princess M. for the news contained in her
last letter, and to congratulate her cordially on her impending
marriage, but I am ill, and a feverish cold has suppressed all
rational thoughts in me. But as I wanted to give you some news of
me without delay, I ask you, for the present, to be the very
eloquent interpreter of my sincere feelings to our amiable Child.
The effort thus made, in spite of my indisposition, enables me to
add that, although the disappointed hope of your visit, which
would have been most welcome just now, fills me with grief, I
fully understand that the sacrifice in my favour would have been
too great. On the other hand, I lay the sacrifice made by me at
the feet of the happy Child with joyful pride.
As to my fate I can tell you nothing, not knowing myself whither
I shall direct my steps. I should like to live in Paris in
absolute retirement, but the French Minister refuses to give me
his vise for my passport. In answer to my remonstrances, he wrote
to Paris a fortnight ago, but has had no answer. I am probably
taken for an obstinate conspirator, an opinion which the
treatment I receive at the hands of Germany seems to countenance.
I wait for my fate in my little room here, neither longing for
Paris nor attracted by any other place that is open to me.
Dräseke is still with me, and I enjoy his visit. Soon he will go
Excuse me from writing any more. Even the effort of these few
lines has put me in a perspiration.
Continue to love me, and greet Altenburg a thousand times from
"Tristan" has received your welcome with pride and joy.
To Richard Wagner
Your letter, received today, has increased my grief at not being
able to be with you. Although I am not much worth as a sick
nurse, I should nurse you well, and assist you in passing the
time with more ease. Alas! we are miserable creatures, and the
few who have penetrated the deepest secrets of life are the most
miserable of all. That snarling old cur, Schopenhauer, is quite
right in saying that we are ridiculous in addressing each other
as MONSIEUR or citizen. Compagnon de misere et de souffrance, or
fellow-sufferers, and worse we are, TUTTI QUANTI, and nothing we
can do can make any essential change in this. The worst is that
we know it quite well, and yet never like to believe it.
What is this about the vise of your passport? Probably the
impediment has been removed by this time; otherwise make
inquiries as to the quarter from which it arises, whether from
the Saxon embassy in Paris, or from the French police. Steps must
be taken accordingly. It is understood that I am quite at your
service in this matter, but I should not like to make a faux pas,
and it is necessary, therefore, that I should be more accurately
informed by you, in order to apply at once to the right people.
In my opinion Paris is the most comfortable, most appropriate and
cheapest place for you while things in Germany remain in their
wretched state. Although you may not agree with the artistic
doings there, you will find many diverting and stimulating
things, which will do you more good than your walks in
Switzerland, beautiful though the Alpine landscape may be. I am
surprised, it is true, at your speaking of a permanent settlement
in Paris at this moment. I thought that your relations to
Carlsruhe had reached such a point as to secure to you an asylum
in the Grand Duchy of Baden (perhaps at Heidelberg, unless the
PROFESSORS should frighten you there). How about the first
performance of "Tristan" at Carlsruhe? Devrient informed me, with
tolerable certainty, that the intention was to give the work on
the birthday of the Grand Duchess in December, and that you would
be invited to conduct it. I hope no change has taken place in
this. Let me have particulars. Perhaps I shall be able to assist
you in simplifying the matter.
Do you know what I did a few days ago? Looking at your portrait,
which you had signed "Santo Spirito Cavaliere", it occurred to me
to write a "Rienzi fantasia" for pianoforte. If it should amuse
you for a moment my time will have been well employed. I should
tell you that your little bust adorns my writing desk. You are of
course without the company of any other celebrities--no Mozart,
no Beethoven, no Goethe, or whatever their names may be. To this
room, which is the heart of the house, none of them is admitted.
What a beautiful day it will be when I see you here.
M. will leave us soon, probably in October; until then I cannot
get away from here. If you should happen to remain in Switzerland
till after that, I shall visit you in the late autumn. Otherwise
I shall see you at Carlsruhe or Paris.
Remember me cordially to Dräseke. I am very glad you have taken a
liking to him. He is a splendid fellow. In our small circle of
most intimate friends he is called the "hero." Has he shown you
his ballad, "Konig Helge?" It is a glorious thing.
Be good enough to tell him that _I_ INVITE HIM SPECIALLY to stay
with me on his return journey, and that I should think it very
shabby of him if he played me the trick of flying past me under
my very nose.
Try to get well again as soon as possible, dearest friend, and
continue to love
WEYMAR, August 22nd, 1859.