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Weisse, Sophie (1851-1945) music teacher
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Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Northlands, Englefield Green, Surrey. - Though Donald [Tovey] is meant to be staying at Northlands all July, so far he has managed only about two nights a week; next week seems clearer; invites the Trevelyans to come and stay the night on July 27th, or another day next week. Donald hopes Bessie will play some sonatas with him. Percy Such and [Charles?] Jacoby [or Georg Jacobi?] are coming that night to play Donald's new arrangement of his Trio for Clarinet and Horn, for Violin and Cello.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

c/o the Lord Monteagle, Mount Trenchard, Foynes, Co. Limerick. - Hopes Donald [Tovey] will come to the Trevelyans on Saturday; asks Bessie to write to him suggesting a train c/o the Hon. Mrs Wilbraham Cooper, where he must call on his way to the Trevelyans. Her own plans are upset by the need to go to see her 'Geschwister' [siblings] in Scotland, but would like to come on either Wednesday or Thursday.

Letter from Marie Busch to R. C. Trevelyan

33 Ossington Street, Bayswater. - Sends the score and manuscript [her German translation of Trevelyan and Tovey's 'The Bride of Dionysus'] and asks Trevelyan to confirm receipt. Very good of Trevelyan to invite her to the Shiffolds again; would like to come, but finds it hard to make plans and fears she would not be able to help with recasting the poem. Would like to do some practical work, and has offered her help to one of the societies which tries to help 'foreign girls and women stranded here without friends owing to the war'; currently they have enough volunteers but may want more soon as 'the pressure of work is very heavy'. Would be a relief to do something. Feels that 'Germany has acted criminally and that she will have to suffer unspeakably for it'. Miss Weisse's conduct is 'extraordinary': for someone with heart disease to go into the 'middle of all the upset' sounds 'almost suicidal'. Asks to be remembered to Mr Tovey; is sorry that his plans for going abroad are now upset; he must be glad to have his Edinburgh work to look forward to. Sends love to Mrs Trevelyan and Julian.

Sheet of notes by Marie Busch on her translation of "The Bride of Dionysus".

Notebook with draft of "Sisyphus" by R. C. Trevelyan

Inside covers and part of first page used for notes of appointments, Latin quotes [Propertius 4.9.45-46 etc]. Recto of first page has triangle of cut paper [from envelope?] glued on, with embossed lettering, 'Northlands, Englefield Green, Surrey' [home of Sophie Weisse]; 'A Treatise on the origins of Christian Science by R. C. T.' is written below the lettering. Text of play on recto of folios, with additions and corrections on facing pages. Loose sheet of paper between folios 6 and 7 with further extract from "Sisyphus".

Card from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Northlands, Englefield Green, Surrey. - Asks if Bessie and Bobbie could not come for a night: has 'so much' to tell them and is 'aching to add even a feather's weight to the influences for peace'; she saw Bessie's sister [Abrahamina Röntgen] a few days ago; is also 'stricken with dismay to find Donald [Tovey]' so ill and to 'hear him raving all these utterances of the English press'.

Card from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Northlands, Englefield Green, Surrey. - Does not know where Mrs Fry can be. Donald [Tovey] has 'counted on her', taken on an small furnished flat in Edinburgh, and is here to fetch her; he now proposes to go back and make do with a charwoman. Would be very grateful if Bessie could 'catch her and send her here'. Donald's 'latest proposition' is to go without any lunch.

Card from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Northlands, Englefield Green, Surrey. - Thanks Bessie heartily; got Mrs Fry here yesterday [see 8/101], and feels she can like and trust her; sorted out plate and linen with her and she goes to 'take possession' [of Donald Tovey] on Thursday. Bessie is almost the only person she can 'bear to hear mention the war'; comments about the 'Slav war'.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Northlands, Englefield Green, Surrey. - Is still 'very vague and confused about Dutch money'; asks Bessie if she has calculated Augustin's bill correctly; it is 'a rather disappointingly large amount' but the success of the concerts 'helps to keep the artist in Donald [Tovey] alive. Wishes she could hear of Fritz Busch's safety: would be best if he could be '"safely wounded" as the mothers say'. Donald is at Dyffryn Rectory [to see his aunt, Anna Walter Thomas?] and returns to Edinburgh on Saturday. Asks Bessie to ask Donald to let her have any notices of his concerts which might have been contained in the letters she forwarded to him today; was very grateful for the one Bessie sent her which seems 'quite remarkably good and comprehending'. Donald is playing very well, but was 'extremely nervous' for the Chopin recital, partly as the piano was so bad. She was away for Christmas with her 'very depressed brother [Henry] and his wife' and is now trying to deal with work.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Northlands, Englefield Green, Surrey. - Asks Bessie if she can send back an enclosure; despairs as to how they can get D.F.T. [Donald Tovey] to get the symphony ready in time [for its British premiere]. Is now going to Edinburgh for a week, after an attack of influenza; Kate [Friskin] is playing the Schumann allegro and Beethoven G major concerto, with Donald conducting, on the 20th. The critic at the Hague is 'delightful'; is astonished any newspaperman could understand Donald so well; asks Bessie to translate it exactly for her. Her 'world is full of Belgians - two more, convalescent officers, arrived today'. Madame de Beughen will be in charge of them till she returns.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

c/o D.F. Tovey Esq, 28 Rutland St, Edinburgh. - If Bessie could put an enclosure into 'decent English' it would 'be doing Donald [Tovey] a kindness'; she herself and Madame de Beughem have tried, but she gave up at the 'charming description of the Azzopardi Studies'. Asks Bessie to publicise the Beethoven recitals. It is 'cold and wet and inexpressibly dirty' here but painfully familiar; she seems to see her 'parents and their children treading the well known streets again'. Very pleased with Donald's 'surroundings' and confident that Mrs Fry is looking after him; his music room, office and classrooms at the university are 'most dignified and beautiful'. Feels 'it is a Godsend' he came here 'just at this fearful time'; she constantly thinks about Fritz Busch and is sure Donald does even more so. Wishes Donald had showed her Grete [Busch]'s letter but 'nothing past can alter the present anxiety - and that must just be borne'.

Card from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Northlands, Englefield Green, Surrey. - Thanks Bessie for her note; is glad she feels [Donald Tovey's] symphony is 'a great work and solid as the classical works all are'; this is the only thing that matters, though Donald is 'more in a rage with the press than he need be'. Hopes he will now finish the opera ["The Bride of Dionysus"]. Remembers Fritz Busch saying there were four symphonies buried in Donald's piece (quotes the German). Was not the orchestra's fault last Monday: Donald was 'copying and patching parts' very late. Fears he is 'greatly exhausted'; he returned to Edinburgh on Thursday.

Postcard from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Northlands, Englefield Green, Surrey; sent to Bessie at 45 Egerton Crescent, London S.W. - Thanks Bessie for sending the 'nice cutting', which was very welcome since she has had nothing from D.F.T. [Donald Tovey] except for a postcard on his arrival [in the Netherlands for his concert tour] on the 9th. Asks if 45 Egerton Crescent has a telephone so Donald could communicate as he passes through London. A 'great blessing' that Julian has recovered well from his operation.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Northlands, Englefield Green, Surrey. - Glad of a communication from Bessie, as she has long been fond of her and her children; asks if she has been 'decently fair' towards her; Bessie has allowed Donald, whom no-one else apart from Miss Weisse's 'best friend... a dying man' knows as well and to whom she has been 'far more than a mother', to abuse her and has criticised her to him behind her back. Says it does not matter for her sake as her life is 'drawing to its close', but it does that her influence with Donald is therefore 'undermined'; Bessie has 'increased the danger in which he lives as no one else has'. Best to be frank: she is 'German all over in that'. Asks when Bessie expects Donald and his wife [Grettie] and for how long. Wishes them to go and stay with the Trevelyans very much; would be a 'service' to her to keep them as long as they can. Has only really seen Donald's wife once, and 'noticed her so little that [she] would not recognise her in the street'. Has not been in Edinburgh since Donald went to Holland [in January]. The engagement was very short.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Northlands, Englefield Green, Surrey. - Agrees that they will do their best together to help when they can; she is now 'less stunned' [by Donald Tovey's marriage] and knows Bessie loves Donald. They must talk sometime, but thinks this would be best after Bessie has got to know Donald's wife [Grettie] well; hopes they will go to stay with the Trevelyans; they return to Edinburgh for a short time this week. Encourages Bessie to write to Grettie and invite them again. Asks why she always sees dangers so far in advance ; is 'not noble like Cassandra [in Aeschylus' Agamemnon]' but thinks she has a 'bit of her spirit' in her; quotes in Greek from the play [lines 1302-1303]. Wishes she might be 'both patient and brave-spirited'. The wedding was 'very large with pictures in the Daily Mail', but the only invitation she received was the one two days before; Donald had 'really disinvited [her] on the plea that it was to be so very quiet'; she was 'absolutely powerless from the first'. Is most grieved that he has not done any good work for at least two and a half years; asks if Bessie knows whether he has written anything. Regrets the last eleven years, his talent and imagination 'all wasting away'; would not care 'if he had a dozen wives' as long as his work went well.

Letter from Marie Busch to R. C. Trevelyan

12 Pembroke Gardens, Kensington, W. - Asks Trevelyan to let her know what he and Tovey thought of Act III [her German translation of their "Bride of Dionysus"]; supposes Tovey will be soon starting his term at Edinburgh. Wonders what he was working at when staying with Trevelyan, and whether Miss Weisse has returned or if they have received news of her. Has received some news about her own mother and niece and so is less anxious about them for the present. Is staying with Mrs Sickert, who is not very well; it is a 'comfort' to be with friends whose hearts, like hers, 'are so much in both countries'. Robert is also ill; hopes they will both recover soon. Leonhard is a special constable and 'takes his truncheon for a walk' for four hours each morning.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Train near Carlisle. - Cost her 'a great deal to leave [Donald Tovey] in Ireland yesterday' and cannot rid herself of 'apprehension while he is in this discouraged and suffering condition'; he has been shocked to find that there is a 'dickeFreundshaft' [great friendship] between Mrs [Mary] Berenson and both Kellys; 'that woman' is a real fraud as 'Miss Kelly would hate anything not entirely clean and right when she saw it'. Nothing could be better for Donald than to spend time with Robert Trevelyan and make music with Bessie; unfortunately he is probably not well enough to finish off the Encyclopædia [Britannica], though perhaps he could get it done in the mornings then make music in the afternoons. Asks Bessie to send him on to Mrs Henry Joachim on Saturday the 22nd. Also asks if Bessie can send a telegraph when Donald reaches her. Still in a nervous state and should have stayed longer at Nauheim; had to go to Ireland this time but does not think she will be able to do so again.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

London S.W.1., No. 3 Hobart Place. - They have just returned from a gathering of influential people, including Madame [Nellie] Melba and Sir Thomas Beecham, to hear Donald [Tovey]'s opera ["The Bride of Dionysus"]. Does not know what the outcome will be, but 'there is no doubt about the immense impression it has made'. The 'drawback is, as it is always, the "book"'; hopes the music will cause 'the over-ornate far too lengthy frigid stuff' [the libretto by Robert Trevelyan] to be forgotten. There are things which have long required saying, which she hopes would be 'less harsh spoken by word of mouth' in her own house than written. Wishes for peace, is always ready to forgive, but the 'menace' the Trevelyans have always been 'to Donald's best interests' must be removed; hopes it can be by 'a clear understanding' between them and herself. Asks them to come and see her before Friday evening, when Donald returns from Scotland.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

3 Hobart Place, London S.W.1. - Is sorry to have to write instead of speaking; first of all says she was talking [in 8/110] of Robert Trevelyan's poem ["The Bride of Dionysus"] as a libretto: has often 'enjoyed many beautiful scenes and jewelled lines in it' as Bessie knows. Offers examples which she say prove the Trevelyans have been 'a menace and a danger' [to Donald Tovey], such as Robert Trevelyan's announcement, in a train carriage of guests returning from Ridgehurst, that Donald could not get on with his work as he had 'such a wretched home', which caused a fellow guest [Percy Such] to warn straight to Northlands and 'warn' Sophie Weisse; says she ignored the warning, saying 'they know nothing about the past, and they are stupid', and forgetting 'how dangerous stupidity is'. Trusted them to look after Donald while she 'toiled for him at home', but questions whether he was 'safe' with them: says that no one doubts it was their 'meddling and that of another so called friend [Hugh Godley]' which led to the quarrel with Casals; asks whether [Bessie's brother-in-law Jules Engelbert] Röntgen is really Donald's friend. Accuses them of 'constant undermining' of her relationship with Donald, and asks whether he has profited by treating her as he has; they should not have let him criticise her to them, nor 'dare' criticise her to him. As proof of this, claims that a friend of hers when putting Donald's library and papers in order for her last year, brought her 'two scraps of letters', she thinks unsigned but from Bessie, criticising Miss Weisse and expressing sympathy for Donald on his 'position at Northlands'; claims that even now Bessie knows nothing of Donald; says that Mrs [Blanche Warre] Cornish thought the letters were 'low'. The Trevelyans both 'stupid and selfish'; claims that a friend who lives nearby recently said 'they always sow disunion in families and between friends'. There is much more to said when they speak face to face, including some excuses for the Trevelyans 'though they do not understand them'. Expects and wishes the Trevelyans to show this letter to anyone they like, and has kept a copy; the sooner she sees them the better.

Has 'real hopes' for the production of Donald's opera; is lunching at Covent Garden on Thursday to discuss detains with [Sir Thomas] Beecham. Donald is in some ways much healthier; Bessie must feed him 'well and suitably' when he visits, as she expects he will soon.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

17 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh. - Has been expecting to hear from The Trevelyans that they are 'greatly ashamed and very sorry for the mischief' made and 'influence exerted' on a 'defenceless' man [Donald Tovey]; must 'express contrition' and 'promise amendment'. Will not 'let the matter rest as it is' though she is prepared to 'resume friendly relations' once they say this, even if she cannot trust them. The 'tragedy here deepens daily [the situation with Tovey's wife Grettie]' and she holds them 'largely responsible for it'; only 'by God's mercy that Donald is not utterly consumed'. Will come south with him when he plays at Northlands this week with Guilhermina Suggia.

Card from Sophie Weisse to R. C. Trevelyan

The Pantiles, Englefield Green, Surrey. - Asks Trevelyan if he could do Eugenie Schumann, and thereby her, a favour by letting her know quickly what he thinks of Marie Busch as a translator from German into English. She is telling Miss Schumann that from what little she herself saw of her, Miss Busch knew both German languages well, but would appreciate a few lines from Trevelyan. Hopes the Trevelyans, including Julian are very well. Asks in a postscript that her question be kept a secret, as Miss Schumann requested.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to R. C. Trevelyan

Headed notepaper for Mile End House, Englefield Green Surrey; address crossed out, with note that tomorrow Miss Weisse goes to 11 Greenhill Terrace, Edinburgh. - Makes a few suggestions about the production of the last Act [of Donald Tovey's opera "The Bride of Dionysus"]: Ariadne should look pale after Theseus's defection; the Satyrs' exposed skin should be darkened with 'gallons of greasepaint' as the 'sight of their flabby sickly white skin last night' gave a 'positively "indelicate" effect; Ariadne should change into a maenad behind the mist as 'her long trailing bluey green robe had a Madonna-like effect' which she is sure was not intended; the scene for the enthronement [of Ariadne and Dionysus] with the square steps are 'too French ecclesiastical'.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

11 Greenhill Terrace, Edinburgh. - She, Mollie Grierson, and Donald [Tovey]'s doctor are seeking help in getting Donald 'out of a very precarious situation which she cannot describe now; hopes that Bessie is at the Shiffolds and might be able to see her next week when she will be at Englefield Green again; asks her to telegraph. Donald 'practically well, and could have been convalescent and on his feet before June was out'; they are not anxious about his health.

Card from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

11 Greenhill Terrace, Edinburgh. - Explains that when she came to be with her sister for a few days she learned with dismay that Donald [Tovey] was still at Hedenham; hoped that she might be able to persuade her to fetch him to the Shiffolds. When she saw him on 21 September, he was 'very well and playing excellently' so she thought he had left. Returns to Englefield Green tomorrow.

Card from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Mile End House, Englefield Green, Surrey. - Very kind of Bessie to make 'all that careful provision for Donald [Tovey: for his stay at the Shiffolds]'. Hopes he may soon 'dispense with invalid ways' as he longs to; the major danger is from his 'unnecessarily great weight'; he should keep to a strict diet, rise from meals hungry, and walk as much as he can outdoors. The Trevelyans' 'beautiful high place' will do him good; hopes they have good weather.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Hotel Hirschen Gunten. Direkt am Thunersee, Berner Oberland. - Has enjoyed the unexpected pleasure of having Donald [Tovey] here with her; the weather has been beautiful and he has got on very well with his work, getting through 'a slow movement which had stuck for months'. He has brought over twice as many clothes as he needs; John [his adopted son?] has packed them all beautifully but she asks Bessie to have his soiled underwear taken away, and exchanged for the clean he has with him. Also asks if she could insist on his going to his tailor's in London to be refitted, as nothing he has fits and he 'looks as if he were trussed' which is also bad for him. He has his mother's figure and 'could look very fine and majestic' if his clothes only fit properly; is eating simply and drinking little. John [Wellcome Tovey] is going to Bern with him and Andrew Fell tomorrow to set them on their journey; Donald will stay the night at Karlsruhe, dining with Sophie Weisse's cousin, then depart for London. His skin is a 'nightmare' for her: its 'unsightliness... shocks many people', but she also fears erysipelas and resulting serious illness; a 'rheumatic climate like Hedenham is the worst possible for him', along with his lack of exercise.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

18 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh. - Describes how, after a disturbed night with her 'poor patient here', she was disturbed at breakfast by Donald [Tovey] charging 'up the stair like a majestic King Elephant' saying he and the [Reid] Orchestra were 'rushing down' to the BBC House to hear a London broadcast of Donald's symphony. Describes the occasion: the orchestra all with their instruments as they had just started rehearsing, and their pleasure at hearing themselves, Donald 'sitting wrapt with his head thrown back, and Molly Grierson with every note of the score in her head'. At the end Donald got up and made a speech, looking 'as affectionately as if they were, regardless of chronology, his own children'.

Letter from Marie Busch to R. C. Trevelyan

12 Pembroke Gardens, Kensington, W. - Trevelyan must not pay her the last 20 pounds until the work [her German translation of "The Bride of Dionysus"] is quite finished. Would be glad to work on it together again next year. Hopes Trevelyan found improvement at Northlands [Sophie Weisse's school]; in great troubles, people should 'sink all their little home-made ones'. Expects [Donald] Tovey will be glad to start at Edinburgh. Wonders whether the Northlands pupils will return: schools not seeing girls since people are poorer because of the war. Mrs Sickert and Robert still ill in bed; both 'very plucky and... dears to look after'. Wonders whether 'this fearful struggle of the Armies can last much longer'; the Germans in particular must be reaching the limits of endurance.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to R. C. Trevelyan

93, High Street, Knaphill, Woking. - Hears from John [Wellcome Tovey] that they are bringing an Austrian doctor [Karl Bluth, who was in fact German] to see Donald [Tovey] at Hedenham and therefore his own doctor 'an old and very distinguished man who loves him' has been sent back, having already started from Edinburgh . Will say nothing about that, nor will Dr [Robert?] Thin; 'daresay he knows Lady Tovey'. She herself has 'the most enormous respect for the Viennese medical school' and would welcome this doctor's examination of Donald as long as he 'knew all the circumstances': that until his second marriage he had never once failed to keep a musical engagement, but since then he has been 'constantly ill - chiefly in that damp hole Hedenham'. He has now lost the use of his hands [through arthritis]; she heard nothing of this until she came to Edinburgh in December and 'was stricken to the heart when he showed them' to her; always used to say that 'if Donald's hands were injured his brain would be affected', and now, 'among the meagre news of him doled out' to her she hears his brain is 'failing'. As recently as 'this last January' Lady Tovey and Miss Morah were saying 'it was just laziness if he did not practice'. Would be very grateful if Trevelyan could bring the Austrian doctor to see her here: 'Jew or Gentile' she would be 'full of respect' if he is what she knows Viennese doctors to be. She is not far away; describes the location of her 'little house'.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to R. C. Trevelyan

93, High Street, Knaphill, Woking. - Is getting ever more anxious about Donald [Tovey]; claims the many illnesses he has had recently 'derive from Lady Tovey' and is sorry John [Wellcome Tovey] is there; Lady Tovey has also stopped Donald's Edinburgh doctor [Robert Thin?] from coming. Says the doctor knows, as she does that Lady Tovey 'does not speak the truth'; her 'jealousy amounts to insanity'; when she was young and was jealous of the other girls 'she hid under the table and bit their legs'. When Donald escorted Sophie Weisse to the door and gave her a kiss on her first visit to the Royal Terrace house, his wife 'howled like a wolf and slammed the doors until the house shook'. On Sunday, Donald's Norfolk doctor, Corbett, came to see Miss Weisse against her wishes; she 'went into peals of laughter' and repeatedly assured him she had 'not the slightest confidence in him'. John writes today that they are waiting for Trevelyan's 'Austrian doctor' [Karl Bluth, actually German?] to make plans for Donald. Thinks well of the Viennese medical school, but demands to know who the doctor is, and what his qualifications are. Remembers that a lady she met recently at a wedding told her what a reputation Donald had in Vienna as a player, alongside people such as Joachim and Mandyczewski, and 'that Brahms when he was dying hoped Donald would come so that he might hear him before he died'. Says she 'must' see the doctor first, and will be at Hedenham when he comes; 'unless he comes here and entirely satisfies [her] - which seems hardly probable' she will do all she can 'to put him out of court'. Is thinking of coming to see Trevelyan tomorrow if he does not bring the doctor to her.

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