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The Letters, Vol 2

1. To Dr. Franz Brendel

[Rome,] December 20th, 1861

Dear Friend,

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, Draseke, 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 Draseke'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 Draseke 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,

F. Liszt

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.

2. To A.W. Gottschalg, Cantor and Organist in Tieffurt

["Der legendarische Cantor" [the legendary Cantor] the Master
jokingly named this faithful friend of his. "I value him as a
thoroughly honest, able, earnestly striving and meritorious
comrade in Art, and interest myself in the further progress--
which is his due," wrote Liszt to the late Schuberth. Meanwhile
Gottschalg was long ago advanced to the post of Court organist in
Weimar. He is widely known as the editor of the "Chorgesang"
[chorus singing] and of the "Urania."]

Dear Friend,

Although I cannot think otherwise than that you remain ever
equally true to me, yet the living expression of your kindly
feelings towards me is always a pleasure and a comfort. First of
all then accept my warmest thanks for your two letters, which
bring back to me the best impressions of your morning and evening
visits to me in my blue room on the Altenburg.

It goes without saying that I have no objection to make to the
publication of the Andante from the Berg Symphony in the Jubilee
Album in honor of Johann Schneider. I only beg, dear friend, that
you will look the proof over accurately, and carefully correct
any omissions or mistakes in the manuscript.

I should be very glad if I could send you a new Organ work, but
unfortunately all incentive to that sort of work is wanting to me
here; and until the Tieffurt Cantor makes a pilgrimage to Rome
all my organ wares will certainly remain on the shelf.

Ad vocem of the Tieffurt Cantor, I will tell you that I have been
thinking of him very particularly these last few days, whilst I
was composing St. Francis's Hymn of Praise ("Cantico di San
Francesco"). The song is a development, an offspring as it were,
a blossom of the Chorale "in dulci jubilo," for which of course I
had to employ Organ. But how could I be writing an Organ work
without immediately flying to Tieffurt in imagination?--And lo,
at the entrance to the church our excellent Grosse [The
trombonist of the Weimar orchestra (died 1874), who was so
faithfully devoted to Liszt, and whom the latter remembered in
his will] met me with his trombone, and I recollected an old
promise--namely, to compose a "piece" for his use on Sundays. I
immediately set to work at it, and out of my "Cantico" has now
arisen a Concertante piece for Trombone and Organ. I will send
you the piece as an Easter egg by the middle of April. [Published
by Kahnt in Leipzig] Meanwhile here are the opening chords:--

[Here, Liszt illustrates with a musical score excerpt of the
opening chords of the Concertante, in F major]

and on a lovely evening in May will you play the whole with
Grosse in your church at Tieffurt, and perpetuate me with Organ
and Trombone!--

It has struck me that your name is not mentioned among the
fellow-workers in the Johann Schneider Jubilee Album. If there is
still time and space you might perhaps contribute your
arrangement of the Fugue from the "Dante Symphony" (with the
ending which I composed to it for you). This proposal is open to
amendment, on the supposition that Hartels are willing to agree
to it--and, above all, that it suits you.

.--. N.B.--I beg you most particularly to make no further use of
the two Psalms "By the waters of Babylon," of which you have a
copy, because I have undertaken to make two or three essential
alterations in them, and I wish them only to be made known and
published in their present form. I send the new manuscript at the
same time as the Cantico di San Francesco.

My best greetings to your wife, and rest assured always of my
sincere thanks, and of the complete harmony of my ideas with your

F. Liszt

Rome, March 11th, 1862

When I am sending several manuscripts at Easter, I will write a
couple of letters to Weimar and thank Jungmann [A pupil of
Liszt's in Weimar; died there in September 1892] for his letter.
I feel the want of time almost as much in Rome as in Weimar, and
I have observed a strict Fast in correspondence as a rule, so
that for three months past I have hardly sent as many as three to
four letters to Germany.

Remember me most particularly to Herr Regierungsrath Miller! [A
friend of Liszt's, a multifarious writer on music; died 1876]

3. To Dr. Franz Brendel.

[Autograph in the possession of Herr Alexander Meyer Cohn in

Dear Friend,

Your friendly letter has again brought me a whiff of German air,
which is all the more welcome to me here as I have not too much
of it. One sees extremely few German papers in Rome--also I read
them very irregularly--and my correspondents from Germany are
limited to two, of whom friend Gottschalg, my legendary Tieffurt
Cantor, is the most zealous. His letters flow from his heart--and
are therefore always welcome to me.

For all of good news that you tell me I give you twofold thanks.
Firstly, because you have for the most part brought it about,
prefaced it, and seen it through. And then, because you tell it
me in so friendly a fashion. Although I have long been prepared
to bear the fiasco of my works quietly and unmoved, yet still it
is pleasant to me to learn that the "Faust" Symphony in Leipzig
did not have such a very bad fate. [In one of the "Euterpe"
concerts, under Bronsart's conducting, at which Schnorr of
Carolsfeld sang the tenor solo.] Do not fail, dear friend, to
give Herr Schnorr my best thanks--and if perchance my songs would
be a little pleasure to him will Kahnt be so good as to send
Schnorr a copy (bound) at my order?

With regard to the Bronsart affair, I sincerely regret that I had
not the opportunity of smoothing matters down sooner. Between
people of one mind dissension and variance should never appear--
much less lead to an outbreak. As you ask me for my opinion, I
openly confess that in the main Bronsart appears to me perfectly
justified in vindicating his choice of new compositions for the
musical directors, in spite of the fact that the two or three
experiments he has made do not show in favor of the principle (as
seen by the consequences). But between ourselves we must not
conceal the fact that a great part of the laxity and corruption
of our musical condition in Germany (as also elsewhere) is to be
attributed to the too great--or too petty--yielding and pliancy
of conductors and music-directors. I well know that the Euterpe
Committee nourishes and cherishes quite another idea than that of
the company X. Y. Z., or of the Court Theater directors A. B. C.
D. Yet the question constantly arises--Shall the cook cook? Shall
the coachman drive?--Ergo let the musician also have his own way.
The harm that may spring from that is not so very terrible.

On the other side, I consider a change of persons in the
management of a new institution is not desirable. In intellectual
movements in particular the leaders of them are especially
recommended to keep themselves conservative as regards their
people. The public requires definiteness before all else--and
just this is endangered by a change of persons. The substitute
for B., whom you mention to me (his name also begins with B.), is
certainly highly to be recommended in all that concerns talent,
position, and I think also worthy character; none the less do I
vote very decidedly that Bronsart be retained--if possible.

I do not need to add, dear friend, that this opinion of mine is a
purely objective one. I have not heard a word from Bronsart since
last September, and, as I said to you before, my musical news
from Germany is limited to two, or at most three letters which
Gottschalg wrote me.

With the wish that all difficulties may be smoothed in the best
way by your intelligent gentleness and forbearance, I remain your
warmly devoted

F. Liszt

[Rome] April 12th, 1862

P.S.--More next time (though little of interest to you, as
absolutely nothing occurs here that could touch you closely).--I
am preparing to stay here for the summer, and somewhat longer.--
In order not to lose the post I only send you today these few

4. To Madame Jessie Laussot in Florence

[Madame Laussot, an English lady, became later the wife of Dr.
Carl Hillebrand, the celebrated writer. She was the intimate
friend of Liszt, Von Bulow, etc., and is herself a musician of
great repute, to whom many artists of note, Sgambati, Bache,
Buonamici, etc., owe much of the success of their career. She
started a musical society in Florence, the "Societa Cherubini;"
which she conducted for many years, and introduced there much of
the best music of Germany (Liszt's included).]

Your charming lines, Madame, reached me at the beginning of Holy
Week. At that moment one no longer belongs to oneself in Rome;
and I have felt this more than others, for the services and
ceremonies of the Sistine Chapel and of St. Peter's, to which I
attached a special musical interest, have absorbed all my time
during the last fortnight. Pray excuse me therefore for not
having thanked you sooner for your kind remembrance, which
touches me much.

Some one has made a mistake in telling you that I am coming to
Florence. I have no longer any taste for moving about from one
place to another, and, unless something very unforeseen happens,
I shall not stir from here so soon. Rome is a more convenient
place than others for those who ask nothing better than to work
in their own fashion. Now, although I have become very
indifferent as to the fate of what I write, work none the less
continues to be the first need of my nature. I write therefore
simply to write--without any other pretensions or care--and for
this it suits me best to remain in one place.

Will you be so kind, Madame, as to give my very affectionate
respects to Madame Ritter [Mother of Carl Ritter--Wagner's
friend--and of Alexander Ritter, the composer of "Der faule
Hans."], to which please add my best remembrances to her family,
and pray accept also the expression of my very sincere and
affectionate regards.

F. Liszt

May 3rd, 1862 (Via Felice, 113--Rome.)

5. To Dr. Franz Brendel

Rome, June 12th, 1862

Grand, sublime, immeasurably great things have come to pass here
lately. The Episcopate of the whole world assembled here round
the Holy Father, who performed the ceremony of the canonisation
of the Japanese martyrs at Whitsuntide in the presence of more
than 300 bishops, archbishops, patriarchs, and cardinals. I must
abstain, dear friend, from giving you any picture of the
overpowering moment in which the Pope intoned the "Te Deum;" for
in Protestant lands that which I might call the spiritual
illumination is wanting. Let us therefore, without any other
transition, return to our everyday musical matters!

I am convinced that your determination to make a change in the
choice of conductors of the Euterpe has been made only after
mature consideration. .--. In my last letter I pointed out, as
the chief thing, that in concert societies the principle of
stability in the matter of the Musical Direction is the most
important thing, whereby I did not in the least mean to say that
one must on that account agree to extreme consequences--or rather
inconsequences. Well, as your decision is made, any further
discussion is useless. Blassmann [He moved to Dresden some years
later, and there he died.] has now to approve himself, and
actively to fulfil the favorable expectations which his talent
and good name justify. So be it, and as Schuberth says, Punktum
[a full stop.]

As regards the place of meeting for the next Tonkunstler-
Versammlung I am quite of your opinion. First of all I advise you
to consult Bulow. Owing to his long connection with the Court at
Carlsruhe he is best qualified to take the preliminary measures
("to pave the way"!). If the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess take up
the matter favorably, then without doubt all that is requisite
and necessary will be done in the most desirable manner. The most
essential things are

(a) Letting us have the theater free of charge for two to three
evenings--(as at Weimar--would not it perhaps be best to mention
this in the 1st letter?).

(b) Official preparatory measures by the Intendant to ensure the
co-operation of the Carlsruhe orchestra and chorus, also free of

You will have to consult more fully with Dr. Devrient and
Kalliwoda as to the best time for it. But the thing to be done
before all else is to gain the Grand Duke's interest--and if you
think it would be practicable for me to write a few lines to
H.R.H. later on I will do so with pleasure. I only beg that you
will give me exact particulars of the steps already made and
their results.

For my part I think that to Bulow, a priori, ought to be
entrusted the conducting of the Musical Festival, and this point
should be at once mentioned as settled in the introductory letter
to the Grand Duke. Otherwise Bedow's position in the affair would
not be sufficiently supported.

To sum up briefly: Request Bulow to undertake the conductorship
of the Musical Festival; and address the Grand Duke of Baden,
either by letter or by word of mouth (as opportunity may
warrant), with the request that H.R.H. would graciously support
the proposed Musical Festival of the third Tonkunstler-
Versammlung, by giving it his patronage, as the Grand Duke of
Weimar did last year, etc., etc.

.--. That excellent Pohl has quite forgotten me. I asked him,
through Gottschalg, to send me my Gesam- melte Lieder [complete
songs], the "Dante Symphony" (in score and arrangement for 2
Pianos), the 4-hand Symphonic Poems, and a couple of copies of my
Catalogue (published by Hartel).

I have been waiting in vain for these for two months. A few days
ago I wrote to Frau von Bulow to send Pohl an execution; perhaps
this may help matters at length!

The Berlioz parts have remained at Weimar. Grosse knows about
them--and possibly they have also gone to Pohl with the rest of
the scores. As soon as they are found I shall be happy to make a
present of them to the library of the Musikverein for their use,
as well as the scores, and I authorise you with pleasure, dear
friend, to do the same with the score and parts of the "Gran

The newspaper has not reached me from Pohl any more than the

Hearty greetings to your wife from yours in all friendship,

F. L.

6. To Dr. Franz Brendel

Dear Friend,

Well, as the parcel has come at last, Pohl shall not be scolded
any more, and his "innocence" shall shine out in full splendor!

I have just received a few lines from Berlioz; Schuberth, whom I
commissioned, before I left, to send the dedication-copy of the
"Faust" score to Berlioz, has again in his incompetent good
nature forgotten it, and perhaps even from motives of economy has
not had the dedication-plate engraved at all!!--Forgive me, dear
friend, if I trouble you once more with this affair, and beg you
to put an execution on Schuberth in order to force a copy with
the dedication-page from him. The dedication shall be just as
simple as that of the "Dante Symphony," containing only the name
of the dedicatee, as follows,

"To Hector Berlioz."

After this indispensable matter has been arranged I beg that you
will be so kind as to have a tasteful copy, bound in red or dark
green, sent, perhaps through Pohl (?), to Berlioz at Baden (where
he will be at the beginning of August. In case neither Pohl nor
his wife should go to Baden this summer (which however I scarcely
expect will be the case), send the copy to Fraulein Genast (who,
as I learn from the "Zeitschrift" [periodical], is at present in
Carlsruhe) with the request that she will give it to Berlioz.

Is there not any talk of bringing out an arrangement of the
"Faust Symphony" for 2 Pianofortes?--Schuberth is sure to have
far greater things in contemplation, and I almost regret having
incommoded him by giving up the manuscripts!--

Nonetheless, please take him to task about it, or, better, bully
him into action with "Faust-Recht" [Faust rights or Faust
justice.] In truth the final chorus of Part III. of the Faust
tragedy, "faithful to the spirit of Part II. as composed by

"Das Abgeschmackteste
Hier ward es geschmeckt,
Das Allvertrackteste
Hier war es bezweckt"

[A parody on the concluding lines of Goethe's Faust. The parody
may be freely translated as follows:--

The most insipid
Here was tasted;
In queerest nonsense
Here all was wasted."]

can often be applied to matters of publishing. And while I am
touching on this, to me, very disagreeable chapter, may I also
take the opportunity of inquiring how long our amiable friend and
patron Julius Schuberth is intending to ignore the 2 Episodes
from Lenau's "Faust" ("Nachtlicher Zug"--and "Mephisto Walzer"),
which I recommended to his good graces more than a year ago, and
gave him in manuscript?

Must the pages perchance become quite mouldy, or will he bring
them out as an oeuvre posthume [posthumous work]? I am tired of
doing silent homage to this noble mode of proceedings, and intend
next time to help the publisher out of all his perplexities
[Untranslatable pun on "Verleger" and "Verlegenheiten."] by
putting the manuscripts back in their place again.--


"O Freunde, nicht diese Tone, sondern lasst uns angenchmere
anstimmen!" [A quotation from Schiller's "Ode to joy" in
Beethoven's "Choral Symphony:" "O friends, not tones like these,
but brighter ones let us sing."] (I am perhaps not quoting
exactly, although the sense of the apostrophe remains clearly
present, especially in musical enjoyments and experiences!)
Amongst the "more pleasant" things I at once place much
information given in your letter and the newspaper (which reached
me at the same time in some 16 numbers with Pohl's parcel). My
most earnest wishes are, first and foremost, bound up in the
complete prospering, upspringing, and blossoming of the "grain of
mustard-seed" of our Allgemeine Deutsche Musik-Verein. With God's
help I will also support this in other fashion than mere
"wishes." According to my opinion the third Tonkunstler-
Versammlung will be the chief factor in strengthening and
extending the Allgemeine Deutsche Musik-Verein, which comprises
in itself the entire development and advancement of Art.

Various reasons led me to recommend Carlsruhe to you in my last
letter as the most suitable place for the third Tonkunstler-
Versammlung, that is, supposing that H.R.H. the Grand Duke gives
his countenance to the matter, and grants us favorable conditions
with regard to the disposal of the theater, orchestra, and
chorus. It behoves Bulow, as conductor of the musical
performances, to undertake to "pave the way" towards a favorable
promise on the Grand Duke's side. Within two to three months the
necessary preliminaries can be fixed, and I shall then expect
fuller tidings from you about the further plans and measures.

Without wishing to make any valid objection to Prague--rather
with all due acknowledgment of what Prague has already
accomplished and may still accomplish--yet it seems to me that
the present political relations of the Austrian monarchy would
make it inopportune to hold the Tonkunstler-Versammlung in Prague
just now. On the other hand I am of opinion that a more direct
influence than has yet been possible on South Germany, which is
for the most part in a stagnating condition, would be of service.
Stuttgart in particular, through Pruckner, Singer, Stark, etc.,
might behave at it differently from what it did at a previous
Musical Festival in Carlsruhe!

Dr. Gille's interest in the statutes and deliberations of the
M.V. [Musik-Verein] is very advantageous, as also Pohl's previous
removal to Leipzig. .--. The constant intercourse with you,
together with the Leipzig acids and gases, will be sure to suit
him well.

From Weimar I have received a good deal of news lately from Count
Beust, Dingelstedt, Gille, and Stor. To the latter my answer will
be little satisfactory; but I cannot continue with him on any
other road, and let the overpowering Dominant of his spasmodic
vanity serve as the Fundamental note of our relations.

I am writing to Gille by the next post, and also to Muller, who
rejoiced me lately by his Erinnerungs-Blatt [remembrance] from
Weimar, (in the 8th November issue of the "Zeitschrift," which I
have only now received). Will you, dear friend, when you have an
opportunity, give my best thanks to Kulke for his article upon
Symphony and Symphonic Poem--and also the enclosed lines to
Fraulein Nikolas, from whom I have received a charming little

Already more than 140 pages of the score of my "Elizabeth" are
written out complete (in my own little cramped scrawl). But the
final chorus--about 40 pages--and the piano-arrangement have
still to be done. By the middle of August I shall send the entire

to Carl Gotze at Weimar to copy, together with the "Canticus of
St. Francis," which I composed in the spring. ["Cantico del
Sole," for baritone solo, men's chorus, and organ. Kahnt.] It
would certainly be pleasanter for me if I could bring the things
with me--but, between ourselves, I cannot entertain the idea of a
speedy return to Germany. If later there seems a likelihood of a
termination to my stay in Rome, you, dear friend, shall be the
first to hear of it.

With hearty greetings to your wife, I remain

Yours in sincere and friendly attachment,

F. Liszt

Rome, July 12th, 1862

Your little commission about Lowenberg shall be attended to. Let
me soon have news of you and of my intimate friends again. There
is absolutely nothing to tell you from here that could interest
you. In spite of the heat I shall spend the summer months in

7. To Dr. Franz Brendel

[Letters 7, 8, 9, 18, and 24 to Brendel have been partially
published in La Mara's "Musikerbriefe" (Letters of Musicians),
Vol. II.]

What a delightful bunch of surprises your letter brings me, dear
friend! So Pohl has really set to work on the Faust brochure--and
Schuberth is actually not going to let the piano-arrangement of
the "Faust Symphony" lie in a box till it is out of date. How
curious it all sounds, just because it is so exactly the right
thing and what I desired!--If you are back in Leipzig please send
me soon a couple of copies of the Faust brochure (those numbers
of the journal containing Pohl's articles have not reached me),
and also send me the 2-pianoforte arrangement of the Faust
Symphony (a few copies when convenient). I have as yet received
nothing of the parcel which Kahnt announced as having sent me
with some of my 4-hand things; and as I have fished out here a
very talented young pianist, Sgambati [A pupil of Liszt's, and
now one of the first pianoforte players and composers of Italy;
has been, since 1871, Professor at the Academia Sta. Cecilia in
Rome] by name, who makes a first-rate partner in duets, and who,
for example, plays the Dante Symphony boldly and correctly, it
would be a pleasure to me to be able to go through the whole
cycle of the Symphonic Poems with him. Will you be so good
therefore, dear friend, as to ask Hartel for the whole lot in the
2-pianoforte arrangement (a double copy of each Symphonic Poem,
for with one copy alone I can do nothing, as I myself can only
play the thing from notes!), and also the 4-hand arrangement,
with the exception of the "Festklange," which Hartels have
already sent me?

Besides these, I expect in the same parcel the Marches which
Schuberth has published (the "Goethe Marsch" and the Duke of
Coburg) and the "Kunstler Festzug" [Artists' procession] (for 4
hands), which I ordered previously.--

The "Legend of St. Elizabeth" is written out to the very last
note of the score; I have now only to finish a part of the piano
arrangement, and the 4-hand arrangement of the Introduction, the
Crusaders' March, and the final procession--which shall be done
by the end of this month at latest. Then I send the whole to
Weimar to be copied, together with a couple of other smaller
manuscripts. What will be its ultimate fate will appear according
as...Meanwhile I will try one or two little excursions into the
country (to Albano, Frascati, Rocca di Papa--and a little farther
still, to the "Macchia serena" near Corneto, where in earlier
times much robbery and violence took place!), and before the end
of September I hope to be able to set steadily to work again, and
to continue my musical deeds of "robbery and murder"! Would that
I only could hear, like you, the Sondershausen orchestra, and
were able to conjure friend Stein and his brave phalanx into the
Colosseum! The locality would assuredly be no less attractive
than the "Loh," [The Sondershausen concerts are, as is well
known, given in the "Lohgarten."] and Berlioz's Harold Symphony,
or Ce que l'on entend sur la montagne [One of Liszt's Symphonic
Poems], would sound there quite "sonderschauslich" [curious]
[Play of words on Sondershausen and "sonderbar" or "sonderlich"].
I often imagine the orchestra set up there, with the execrated
instruments of percussion in an arcade--our well--wishers Rietz,
Taubert, and other
Jan 6, 2016
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