Print preview Close

Showing 610 results

Archival description
Tovey, Sir Donald Francis (1875-1940) knight, music scholar and composer
Print preview View:

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Welcombe, Stratford on Avon. - Sorry that Elizabeth is having such a long wait (before giving birth); glad she likes the nurse. Has been busy talking things over with Booa [Mary Prestwich]; went for a long walk with Sir George yesterday afternoon. Brief discussion of blanket patterns and knitting stitches. Glad Alice went to the dance, 'as now both the girls have had an outing'. Thinking having a tea party for the 'gardiners [sic] & people close here about' but they have not yet settled this; the 'school tree [or treat?]' is on 4 January. Sir George began work today; he is well, but whenever she returns after being away she 'can't help seeing how old he looks!'; he keeps up too many fires for Caroline's comfort. Hope Robert could talk to Mr [Donald] Tovey; supposes he will take on the work [the libretto for Tovey's "The Bride of Dionysus"?]. Hearne [the butler] went to a concert in the village last night 'with the girls' and says it was 'very good'. Sir George very indignant with the Lords; she is sure it is 'the beginning of a long struggle'. Glad Robert is reading aloud to Elizabeth.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Wallington, Cambo, Morpeth. - Glad that Elizabeth has heard of some nurses who may suit her, but sorry that she has this trouble. Good that Julian is so well; she and Sir George hope to visit in October and see him. Thinks [E. M.] Forster must be interesting, since his novels are 'so clever & original', though she does not think he manages plot well. Has been reading [Myra Kelly's] "Little Aliens", about 'the little Jew children in America', which is 'pretty & funny; but quite slight'. Sorry Mr [Donald] Tovey is not progressing quickly, but it must require much work to write the music for an opera ["The Bride of Dionysus"]; probably best that it will not be put on next summer, as 'the world will be simply mad over the Coronation'. George's children are 'much improved': Mary has shown no signs of temper; Theo is 'passionate occasionally' but still young, and a 'very nice boy'; [Humphry] seems quite strong now.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Welcombe, Stratford on Avon. - Thanks Elizabeth for her 'affectionate letter'; they enjoyed her stay very much' and miss her and Julian. Kept careful watch the day Elizabeth was away, and does not think she needs worry about 'the management of the child'; he is happy with her [Miss Evans?] and 'not a bit frightened or suppressed'. True that her manners are 'bad, & very worrying', but she recommends putting up with them until 'a change of regime is desirable'. Julian is very well behaved, and only 'talks too continuously'; fears it runs in the family. Did not see anything in the papers about the concert, so was glad to hear the symphony was a success; things are difficult for composers at the moment, and she hopes Mr [Donald] Tovey will be recognised in the future. A postscript notes that they are looking out for Robert's book ["The Foolishness of Solomon"?].

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Welcombe, Stratford on Avon. - Is glad Elizabeth thinks Julian better for his visit; he and Miss B[arthorp] were very happy. Sure his stories are funny, as he '"recounts" very well indeed'. Hopes it will be cooler by Tuesday, when they go to The Park; will go to Wall[ington] on Friday. Annie [Philips] seems to be getting better. Thinks Elizabeth's illness may have been gastric influenza, which she hears is going around; hopes she has recovered now. Sir George is 'not very bright' and needs a change. They went to the village yesterday to pay some goodbye visits; people seemed 'genuinely sorry' they were leaving. Glad Mrs Tovey is better; asks if the Toveys will go north soon. Mary is in London; Booa [Mary Prestwich] is away, she hopes she is resting and enjoying herself. Sends a message to Julian that she will look at the linnets [?] this evening when it is cooler.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Palace Hotel, Rome. - Very glad Elizabeth has found a suitable nurse; was sorry to see Nurse Withers has not yet found 'an infant' to go to; it has all been very troublesome, and 'the little scamp' [Julian] will never know. Hopes the new nurse will be firm with him; does not think Nurse Withers had any 'personal influence'. Caroline is recovering quickly; she still coughs and cannot do much, but has 'insisted' on going out once a day since the weather is 'glorious'; they went to the Forum yesterday morning, and today plans to go out for a drive and walk after lunch. They have a 'nice "apartment"' on the fifth floor with a fine view. Mrs Severn writes to ask if Elizabeth 'would be interested in a young lady violinist'; Caroline is sure she will not, but encloses Mrs Severn's letter anyway [no longer present]. The concerts are over. Glad Mr [Donald] Tovey is well; hopes 'the great [Sophie] Weisse is behaving more easily'. Aunt Annie [Philips] enjoyed her visit to Elizabeth and thought Julian looked well. Robert will soon be back; hopes Mr and Mrs [Gordon] Bottomley are 'comfortably settled', and asks if Bottomley is better than last year. She and Sir George expect Charles and Mary, who are staying at a small hotel nearby, on Friday; is disappointed that she will not be able to 'scold' Mary for 'doing too much, and making herself ill' as she supposes she has done the same. Asks her to tell Robert they are glad he went to Casa Magni [the Shelleys home at San Terenzo, Lerici]; the three poets [Bob, Abercrombie and Gibson] 'should all have written a poem on it, that evening!'.

Letter from Marie Busch to R. C. Trevelyan

7 Longwall, Oxford. - Thanks the Trevelyans for their invitation: would very much like to stay the night. Asks if Trevelyan has a copy of the poem which he could spare for a few days, since she would like to show a friend who would be a good judge of her translation [of "The Bride of Dionysus"]; if so, asks him to send it c/o Dr Hoernlé, 8 Northmoor Road, Oxford. Agrees it is 'extraordinary' how differently the work goes from day to day. Will send Trevelyan the M.S.S. Lucky that Tovey is able to come at the beginning of August.

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 Eleanor Sickert to R. C. Trevelyan

12 Pembroke Gardens, Kensington, W. - Her friend in Berlin, Anna Henschke, does not feel she can 'undertake the musical part of the opera' [Trevelyan and Donald Tovey's "The Bride of Dionysus"] so she would like to suggest Marie Busch: Oswald agrees she is very promising. Will write to her if Trevelyan is happy with the idea. Agrees that the translator must be musical and able to follow the score; it would be good to be able to consult Tovey as well, and she believes that Marie Busch knows him. Hopes Anna will return the copy from Longmans which she sent to Berlin.

Letter from Hubert Warre Cornish to R. C. Trevelyan

Scotch Ed[ucatio]n Dept., Whitehall. - There has been a 'second change for the worst', and 'Mrs Donald' [Grettie Tovey] has been moved from the nursing home at Oxford to an asylum in the area; Donald is at Worplesdon. Cornish's mother has mentioned the manuscripts [of Tovey and Trevelyan's opera, "The Bride of Dionysus"] to Miss Weisse, and does not think there will be any difficulty; he is writing to Donald telling him to contact his mother at the Pantiles cottage about them.

Letter from Clara Tovey to Elizabeth Trevelyan

39, Royal Terrace, Edinburgh, 7. - Donald got home safely; he is tired, but Dr Thin saw him on Saturday and is satisfied that last week's activity has not done him any harm. He enjoyed himself very much and Clara wishes she had been there; they heard the Cello Concerto very well on the wireless but the applause was cut off; Donald says she should mention that Molly [Grierson?] played the Brahms Concerto 'absolutely magnificently'. Last night his usual Sunday concert was transferred to St Mary's Cathedral - programme [originally] enclosed with the letter - which was 'packed', with 'hundreds' standing, and many people turned away. Is afraid Bessie will miss Mrs [Margaret] Vaughan Williams, since she visited her so often.

Letter from Clara Tovey to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Hedenham Lodge, Bungay, Suffolk. - They must wait for better weather before starting for Edinburgh: she cannot face the long journey in this cold. Donald's condition has improved over the last few days and she hopes this will last. He is being treated by Sir John Weir and having 'remedial exercises' for his balance, so the time is not totally lost. She is glad this improvement has come before they get to Edinburgh: a week ago he was so bad she thought he would be 'fit for nothing' when they got there, so would make the journey only to have to leave again. The improvement, of course, may not last.

Letter from Clara Tovey to R. C. Trevelyan

39, Royal Terrace, Edinburgh. - Is glad Trevelyan had a good time in Vienna. Donald would like to see him as soon as is convenient: he hopes to go to Dresden for a few days around February 20; will be back on the 24th. Got Trevelyan's letter enclosing the one from the [Edinburgh Opera] Company, after it had gone to New York and back despite being clearly marked 'Inghilterra'. Is very glad Bessie is well again. [Guilhermina] Suggia 'has put herself off again'; they hope she will be here for the 24 March concert; the programme arranged for then will be given on 11 February .

Letter from Clara Tovey to R. C. Trevelyan

39, Royal Terrace, Edinburgh, 7. - Donald very glad to have news of Mr [Willi?] Strecker, though she fears they will not be able to meet. He had a card this morning from [Pablo] Casals which said he was going to play Donald's concerto in London on 14 November, with Boult conducting; supposes that it will be broadcast at least, if not recorded. Hopes Trevelyan will stay with them when he comes to Edinburgh in February, and if he comes north in November. Donald is keeping fairly well but doing 'a great deal' which always makes her 'rather anxious'.

Letter from Mona Benson to R. C. Trevelyan

39 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh. - Formal withdrawal, if she may, of her resignation from the production of [Tovey and Trevelyan's opera] "The Bride of Dionysus". Is sorry to have caused trouble, and since Trevelyan and Tovey feel it must be performed in April, she will do what she can to make the performance as good as possible, Thinks that having the principals alone in a smaller room will make things much easier.

Letter from Donald Tovey to R. C. Trevelyan

Northlands, Englefield Green, Surrey. - Has '[o]ne more carp' with Trevelyan's draft libretto [for "The Bride of Dionysus"]: is 'full of themes and possibilities' but has trouble with the very first line. If it could be altered, he could 'get an idea of the first notes (& hence of the overture...)'; has 'frivolous... fears' that at the moment it sounds 'partly like an address from the stage to the conductor & partly like a catch-word for critics'. The rest is 'perfectly setable [sic]' and he does not want to change a word. Wishes to begin with 'Dark ship' rather than 'slow', to 'hit the aural eye... with a colour at once'. Recognises that this complicates Trevelyan's rhythm, though with music that would not be noticeable. Reassures Trevelyan that he will not be 'like this about every line'. Trevelyan must not gather from what Tovey said to Mrs Trevelyan [see 7/153] that he objects to setting passages Trevelyan has adopted from earlier works.

Letter from Donald Tovey to R. C. Trevelyan

Englefield Green, Surrey. - Thanks Trevelyan for 'Henry Adney' [Ariadne: i.e. Trevelyan's first draft of the libretto for "The Bride of Dionysus" and apologises for not acknowledging receipt sooner. Will calculate the length of scenes and the whole, but does not think it will need much altering; suggests replacing the Satyr and his song [Act III, Scene II] with a second chorus of Maenads, and ending the work with a 'short Bacchic-philosophic chorus' modelled on an earlier 'captive-chorus'. Is already very excited about the work, and feels it has 'any amount of poetry & contrast & flow': sketches out the moods of the four acts. Miss Weisse also thinks it very beautiful. Is not sure when he will be able to begin, but will try some 'crude extempore experiments' very soon; doesn't expect major rhythmic difficulties, though he may have to sacrifice certain 'verbal rhythmical effects' which will not be noticeable when set to music. Trevelyan can publish his poem before the opera is ready, as long as they ensure the rights do not interfere with those of the poem: it would be awkward if the opera had to be published without words, or if Richard Strauss were to 'combine Ariadne with an operatic version of Bernard Shaw's Philanderer' before he was ready. Will 'agitate at Oxford' as soon as he starts composition, and ask for help 'in wire-pulling & preparing the ground'. It will be a 'large undertaking' and he fears his intention of doing it with 'a pre-Wagnerian orchestra' will not be feasible; will know more when he has sketched out the first act, and will do it for a small orchestra if he can.

Tovey returns to the letter 'three days later', with about twenty pages of detailed suggestions for the libretto: some of these are alterations of a word or two, others suggestions for additions or rearrangements, to best suit Tovey's conception of the characters and / or musical needs. Has other suggestions which he will make later. Emphasises that most of his alterations are very slight, a line or two only, except for the speeches of Minos and Dionysus in which he has suggested new arguments. Thinks Trevelyan has chosen a splendid story and succeeded despite Tovey's 'croaking'; he has written a play which 'cries out for music & is unlike any opera-book... that has ever been seen.' Will soon be 'boiling over with themes & contrasts'; finds it significant that all the musical ideas he has begun to have so far are connected with points which are 'most entirely [Trevelyan's]', who has taken up Tovey's past suggestions patiently but made them his own; he therefore has no hesitation in sending 'all this screed of details' as he knows Trevelyan will make of them something better than he could have imagined.

Gets through the first act in his head with extempore music, probably a little quick, in forty minutes; this is 'not very alarming' for four hundred lines out of fifteen hundred and fifty lines. Wishes Trevelyan would publish the text 'nicely got up' like his "Polyphemus", and omitting any alterations made by Tovey which are 'merely musical or practical'; it would 'aid its career as an opera if it is understood as literature' beforehand and even performed as such, maybe with choruses set to Tovey's music. Invites Trevelyan, his wife and son, to see 'the Miltonic Arcades' [at Northlands?] for which he has composed the songs.

Letter from Donald Tovey to R. C. Trevelyan

Ridgehurst, Shenley, Herts. - Discussion of Minos' speech at the end of Act I [of "The Bride of Dionysus"]. Trevelyan is quite right about "A[riadne]'s emotion & the lyric movement of her soliloquy in Act II'; this is very useful since he is saved 'pages of misdirected music'. Says that the love-duet between Theseus and Ariadne need not be very rich 'Th[eseus] is a very fine fellow but he needn't be much of a poet'. Suggestion of an additional line for Phaedra at the end of Act I. Has set Minos's speech provisionally. It is very good of Elizabeth Trevelyan to invite him.

Letter from Donald Tovey to R. C. Trevelyan

Northlands, Englefield Green, Surrey. - Is getting on well with Ariadne's love solo in act 5 [of "The Bride of Dionysus"]; discusses Ariadne's reaction to the sound of the Satyr's pan-pipes. Currently thinking about the scene where the doors of the labyrinth close: asks if both of Theseus' speeches, both mocking Minos and pitying him, could be included; suggests moving some lines of Ariadne's from the love-duet with Theseus.

Letter from Donald Tovey to R. C. Trevelyan

Hotel Bristol, Wien. Glad to hear better news from Trevelyan, and hopes progress will be more rapid now. Should be back by the 5th. The two concerts Casals organised on 17 February and 2 March has rescued him from 'the dumper into which the musical parochialism of that pokey little provincial town London was plunging [him]'. Has also been able to do much work on Ariadne ["The Bride of Dionysus"] during the train journey, and hopes to get to 'the threshold of the finale' on his return journey. Mentions a few small alterations to the text which he would like to make. Is surprised by how much change there has been to the music since his initial stages: even 'Ariadne's despair is very importantly different' and she is not 'perfectly furious'. Hopes Dionysus is good; it makes Tovey 'howl like anything to work at his discourses'.. Saw a goof version of "Meistersinger [von Nurnberg]" here: comments on its length out of 'professional interest' to himself and Trevelyan. Vienna would definitely be the place for Ariadne, and the chorus quite good enough. Also saw a performance of Goethe's Faust Part I yesterday: compares his effectiveness with Gounod and Berlioz, and discusses generally, the ways in which things on stage 'can be infinitely more moving without music'. Talks about Goethe's stagecraft, having just read 'a very jolly book about Shakespeare written with a strong American accent'. Discusses Mozart's "Idomeneo". His belief that 'perfection of form', though desirable and attainable (as by Bach, Palestrina, Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms) is 'never historically or aesthetically prior to rhetorical fitness'.

Letter from Donald Tovey to R. C. Trevelyan

Elton Hall, Peterborough. - Trevelyan could re-direct Tovey's postcard [to Julius Röntgen, see 7/36?] to Denmark, or it would be forwarded from Holland and 'all the less dangerous for the circumbendibus'; if Trevelyan thinks it better not to send it that is all right. The 20th suits him well. His position is 'entirely saved by the Edinburgh job': the postponement of his European concerts (though he still hopes the Dutch ones may take place) is a different matter when due to European war than as 'the result of any other fault or misfortune'; his income will now be 'indisputably the result of his own exertions' and his artistic career will gain through having to wait, as he will 'have hoarded up a stronger reserve of technique' than ever before by the time peace returns. Will not play in England except where invited 'with the most unmistakeable sincerity'. Will be 'implacable' towards those 'whose policy has been animated by jealousy of Miss Weisse'. His friends, including [F.S] Kelly and [Hugh] Godley have all known how much he longed for 'real independence'. 'Utopian' of him 'to leave the Classical Concert Society in the hands of a couple of Eton-boys who haven't outgrown the politics of prefects', but they must revive the Chelsea Concerts if they want to hear him play again.

Believes that the first thing to emerge from 'the shock to civilisation' will be 'a rather sentimental taste for humanity and sentimentality in art' - cites the success of [Beethoven's] "Fidelio" and [Cherubini's] "Les Deux Journées" after the French Revolution - and since he himself is 'built that way', he thinks that their "Bride of Dionysus" will do well. Can do without success, though, and will make it clear that 'irritation with Miss Weisse' was no excuse for 'wet-blanketing' Tovey', and that whatever his feelings at being dependent on her for so long, and whatever allowance he makes for some of the quarrels she got into, he will only have contempt for the way in which his 'concert-wire-pulling-friends' tried to get him out of his position without an idea of how he should earn a living instead. The economic problem of English music is 'grossly mis-handled by that class of art-patron'. Will be trouble in Edinburgh about the establishment of a conservatoire there; he will emphasise that the problem of British musical education is nothing compared with what to do with musicians once they are 'turned loose'.

Will only play where he has been hitherto paid properly: Edinburgh, Englefield Green, Liverpool and Oxford. After the war he will exert himself abroad and hopes the 'dear Busches' [Adolf and Fritz] will be there to help him; otherwise he 'must work for their memory'.

Letter from Donald Tovey to R. C. Trevelyan

14 Napier Road [on University of Edinburgh headed notepaper]. - [Trevelyan's] "The Pearl Tree" has arrived with its 'voluminous and varied accompaniments' ["An Annual of New Poetry, 1917"] and will give the Toveys great pleasure: Grettie says she likes no present better than a volume of poetry, and sends her thanks. Trevelyan has 'not planted [his] pearl tree before kine - whatever Krishna did'. Asks when Julian will contribute to the "Annual".

Results 1 to 30 of 610