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Busch, Fritz (1890-1951) conductor
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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.

Letter from Margaret Parratt to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Danestream House, Milford-on-Sea, Hants. - Has written to Herbert [the pharmacist?] to send another full set of medicines [for Donald Tovey] from the most recent prescriptions. A postcard from Bessie to the Noordewiers 'would be a great comfort to Miss Weisse'. Fears the news that Mr [Fritz] Busch is to go to the front will be a great shock to Tovey; feels very sorry about it. Mr [Willi] Strecker 'seems quite safe with his entire family in England', having not gone to Germany after all. Gives the Noordewiers' address.

Letter from Donald Tovey to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Miss Weisse is in good spirits and health, and 'jingo German in cork-shooting effervescence', shedding some important, if partisan, light. Was under military as well as diplomatic protection during her travels, since the 'little governess' whom she was escorting to Berlin is a general's daughter. She will probably ask Bessie to come and see her; even if not, Tovey encourages her to do so and take Bob. Not necessary to believe that 'all that is in English newspapers is false & all that is in German true', but it is interesting that there are '7 million German soldiers who have not yet begun to move', and that the [Dowager] Duchess of Sutherland, whom Tovey saw return yesterday on the same boat as Miss Weisse, 'indignantly denies the "German atrocities" stories'. Fritz Busch conducted a 'patriotic concert' on the 12th, and the Burgomaster of Aachen may 'much against Fritz's will' insist on him being employed thus 'instead of as Kanonenfutter'. De Wed-Tjeenk turns out to have been 'the Rontgens' housekeeper'. A postscript on the back of the envelope notes that Tovey's brother [Duncan] is going to the front.

Letter from Donald Tovey to Elizabeth Trevelyan

University of Edinburgh. - Thanks Bessie for the Buchholz. The notes are Tovey's father's. Fritz Busch has two other volumes, and the rest are Miss Weisse's, at Northlands. Received a postcard from the Noordewiers yesterday saying Fritz was well on the 11th, and that he had not been wounded as reported. Knows that his brother [Duncan] has been wounded, but not seriously. Things quiet and well, and the work fun, Is reading [Jan Pieterszoon] Sweelinck, 'a very great man indeed'. Sends, as an 'Awful Example of the sacrifice of poetry to rhyme', six lines of Psalm 137 translated into French [by Clément Marot].

Letter from Donald Tovey to Elizabeth Trevelyan

28 Rutland Street, Edinburgh. - Is sorry for 'unloading' things on Bessie and the R's [Röntgens], but G.B [Grete Busch]'s letter needs answering. Bessie's last letter was a 'great relief': makes 'all the difference in the situation' that Miss Weisse wrote to her about it at all; Miss Weisse showing 'the dangerous side of her mind' mainly to Tovey. Discusses his reluctance to sign up for military drilling, and the possible effect on his composition to be 'hanging about Northlands'. His work in Edinburgh may not be the height of his ambitions, but it has done much to dissuade him from maintaining the 'fiction' that what he is 'allowed to do at Northlands is useful to anyone concerned'. Assures Bessie that he sees the 'pathos' of Miss Weisse's situation, and realises that it is as much his fault as hers, and he ought to have 'cut [himself] adrift' on leaving Oxford - but everything then would have been so different that he might as well speculate on what 'Fritz Busch, General Joffre or the Alake of Abeokuta' would have done in his place.

Describes one of the 'jolliest incidents at Amsterdam', Johannes Rontgen's first public appearance - also Edward [sic: Edvard]'s, but Johannes was the 'clou' or showpiece. Encloses the programme (which bears joking annotations in Tovey's hand), praising Johannes's song. Madame Bakels is 'a voluminous veteran artist of excellent musicianship and powerful lungs', and Johannes's 'evident adoration of her' was 'delightful'. When he first arrived, a rehearsal of [Beethoven's?] "Ah perfido" was in progress, at full volume. Asks Bessie to tell Röntgen that [Catharina?] van Rennes meant two volumes in the parcel she sent Tovey for him. Quotes the inscriptions. Will take them when he goes to Holland again; asks Röntgen to thank Mrs van Rennes for the 'delicious songs'.

Letter from Donald Tovey to R. C. Trevelyan

Is hoping to come in September and finish the score of Ariadne ["The Bride of Dionysus"] now it is 'perfectly safe'. Fears it will have disappointed Trevelyan that he did not get the opera finished 'straight off', but he had to take advantage of the support given to his music by 'those angelic creatures Adolf & Fritz Busch' to get his 'smaller and more portable works launched'. Fritz Busch, after commissioning Tovey's symphony, offered him a choice between it and the opera for the winter; Tovey thought that the symphony would get a 'first-rate performance' but the Aachen opera singers he had heard would not do the same for the opera, so it would be best to take that to Vienna in January to see what [Franz] Schalk can do with it, until the British public can 'follow a sustained musical idea again'. Hopes to finish the score in Trevelyan's presence, instead of when he was 'at the other end of nowhere'. Will call at the Shiffolds on Monday the 8th and hopes to hear some new poetry.

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

Elton Hall, Peterborough. - Asks Trevelyan to help him make up his mind: the three postcards [originally] enclosed will explain themselves. Miss Weisse's friend Elisabeth Besser, who lives at the address given by the Noordewiers [Aaltje and Michiel?], has obviously recommended she use de Wed, Tjeenk & Co. [?] as a 'neutral channel'. The Noordwiers have obviously got 'far more explicit information', but Miss Weisse dares not risk anything but postcards [from Germany]: seems it is necessary to write from here to Holland in English and from Holland to Germany in German. Asks if it would be 'fair and right' to send the enclosed to the Röntgens: is 'tormented with the most childish hopes of seeing Fritz [Busch] again' and 'can neither sleep nor work'. If the Trevelyans think it is possible to send the postcard, asks them to do so, as he trusts their judgment and cannot cope with the decision himself. His brother [Duncan] will not be going abroad for a month or two, if at all, since his regiment will probably be defending the East Coast.

Letter from Donald Tovey to R. C. Trevelyan

Elton Hall, Peterborough. - Is attracted by Trevelyan's Rothbury plan and will join in if he can, but there are factors which may prevent him. Miss Weisse went to Germany the Sunday before the British declaration of war; the Noordewiers [Aaltje and Michiel], who have just returned to Holland, heard from her a week ago and she is safe in Hanover. She can get money from the Streckers at Mainz there, and he has 'no special cause for anxiety' at the moment. His brother [Duncan] is in the London Scottish Regiment and has just left on active service, so his family at Worplesdon may want help. He also left all his opera score at the Shiffolds. Whatever his own prospects, and whatever becomes of Fritz Busch, he has to try to work as if nothing has changed. It is 'awful' working on his symphony, 'every note of which is Fritz's private property' but if Fritz comes through the war he could not face him unless the work were perfect. He and Trevelyan must also carry on with the opera: 'German translation & all'. Must not let himself merely subside into his Edinburgh professorship, but must also make 'a striking and solid success' of his first term's work there. Will have a few 'rather vulgar sham-organization-&-efficiency bullies' to cope with, and needs to win the support of people of 'real culture' through efficiency. His timetable is in print in the University calendar; has decided to get a secretary for office-work, and asks if Trevelyan knows of a candidate, though he must be 'an Edinburgh sort of librarian's bottle-washer' and it wouldn't be a good move for Rupert Leigh [Rupert Lee?].

Thinks it best to complete his time at Elton Hall: 'Victor [Hely-Hutchinson]'s talent is a thing of immense importance' and he must be saved 'from the appalling bad musical taste of his people'; they are not 'bad and vulgar' but 'good and kind, in spite of many British limitations that are beyond caricature' and their 'impenetrable satisfaction with the precise stage of culture they happen to have drifted into', which makes things difficult, but he thinks he will succeed. Hal Goodhart-Rendel is an example of 'what bad feeding can do for the finest material in the world': both he and Victor had 'more talent, better health & stronger brains' than Tovey had. His sister [Natalie] must had had a quite useful talent and her violin-playing could have been useful to Victor, but 'it is now so unspeakably bad' and she plays 'such vile stuff' to the delight of her relations that it is bad for Victor to play with her. So Tovey feels he should stay until the other tutor comes on the 20th.

Would be an 'honour & delight' to meet Trevelyan's parents again, and sees it would be good for Trevelyan to be north; however, it may be better for Tovey to be near Northlands, Worplesdon and the Shiffolds. Leaves the decision to Trevelyan.

Letter from Donald Tovey to R. C. Trevelyan

39, Royal Terrace, Edinburgh, 7. - Is glad that Trevelyan has seen someone at the B.B.C. about 'this disgraceful jiggery-pokery as to [Tovey's] concerts'. Wrote to [Adrian] Boult at once, assuming that he was not to blame; Trevelyan's letter enabled him to write again 'in still friendlier terms', saying that his concerto would be much easier than anything else Boult could do with [Pablo] Casals. The 'pretext of difficulty in rehearsing is only a damned lie' as any musician who knows Casals and Tovey's scoring would see, but 'illness covers all' and Tovey cannot suppose he would do any better in Boult's circumstances. Trevelyan will have heard from Edward Renton, whom Tovey is paying a hundred pounds towards 'his prospective adventures in Russia' for producing a copy of the full score of "The Bride of Dionysus", with both German and English text. Renton has been useful to Fritz Busch, and his Edinburgh University scholarships have now run out; Tovey will be grateful for any kindness Trevelyan can show him.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Northlands, Englefield Green, Surrey. - Is writing in case Donald [Tovey] has not done so to say that he cannot now come to the Trevelyans; he is going to Wales today to see his 'delightful Aunt [Anna Walter Thomas], then will travel with Sophie Weisse to Germany where he will see [Fritz] Steinbach at Cologne and the Buschs [Adolf and Fritz] at Mainz before playing in Vienna on 8 Jan. Hopes to see him for Christmas at Marburg, where she will be with Henry (her brother) and his family for 'their sad holiday [after the death earlier in the year of Henry's daughter Peggie?]'. Thinks the travelling is good for Donald; he is 'already better', working on a concerto grosso for string orchestra with 'the opera ["The Bride of Dionysus"] in the background, and his playing is 'in perfect order; he played the [Beethoven] Waldstein Sonata 'superbly' last night. Hopes they will both return by 15 Jan; hopes the Trevelyans will then come and spend a night or two with them, when Lady Hely Hutchinson and her children Natalie and Victor will be staying. They have just had Molly and Desmond MacCarthy there, whom she 'love[s] very much'. Will send 'another music picture book' for Julian.

Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Northlands, Englefield Green, Surrey. - Writes with the news that 'the Edinburgh people have elected Donald [Tovey: to the Chair of Music at Edinburgh University]. He says he is 'going North at once', but is keeping an engagement with Tom Spring Rice on Friday and going to the Plymouths on Saturday; there are then just a few days for her to 'talk things over with him, settle up our money affairs etc' and for him to see his doctor; she is sure though that he will want to go to the Trevelyans on Monday and Tuesday. Hopes the Doctor will tell him 'it is dangerous to undertake too much'; begs Bessie to 'head him off the Opera ["The Bride of Dionysus] this year and get him to practise. He acknowledged to her and Fritz Busch yesterday that the German concert are the most important things for him since his career began, and that he 'urgently needs' to practise, yet he insists on teaching in Edinburgh this autumn, 'almost entirely for the benefit of the daughters of the bourgeoisie', rather than working on his opera ["The Bride of Dionysus"] and has not practised or rewritten his symphony while Methuen clamour for his Beethoven book. Will 'leave no stone unturned' next year, if Donald is not too much under pressure, to get him to finish the opera and have it produced. Will cancel the concerts in Holland if he does not practise and send Kate [Friskin?] there, but it is the German concerts which matter and both she and Fritz Busch think Donald's 'tone has grown hard and thin from want of intensive practice'; asks for Bessie's help. They were very glad to see her on Friday. A separate sheet, which seems to be a postscript, notes that Dr Cottle was 'not at all satisfied with Donald', who must diet and has a 'rotten pulse'; hopes that Donald will be more careful; if she cannot cope with the anxiety she will sell up 'and take a place in Edinburgh' though she 'thoroughly hate[s] it'.

Incomplete letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Julian Trevelyan

Hopes Julian 'escaped flooding by the high tide today'; is writing to ask if Julian and Ursula would like any tickets for the Glyndebourne operas next year as they are selling quickly. Thinks they do [Mozart's] "Entführung" and "Cosi Fan Tutte" very well, but the "Magic Flute" less well, since [Fritz] Busch leaves it to others to 'conduct and even rehearse'. Lists possible dates. A 'terrible thing' has happened: Constance Vaughan Williams has been run over by a motorist.