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Busch, Margarete (1886-1966) wife of Fritz Busch
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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'.

Letter from Donald Tovey to Elizabeth Trevelyan

University of Edinburgh. - Thanks Bessie, and asks her to thank [her sister] Mrs Röntgen for taking that trouble. Thinks everything is clear, except for 'two little places' which will wait until he gets back to Holland. The Röntgens seemed very well; Franz [Frants] was ill when he arrived, but was soon recovered. The Trio [Julius Sr, Julius Jn and Englebert Röntgen] has been having real success, received enthusiastically by 'audiences of 1500'. Englebert has developed 'most strikingly' in style and tone; Tovey felt 'as if something like the Joachim Quartet was still alive & young'. 'Der Papaselbst' [Julius Englebert Röntgen] is well, although sad about the state of the world, and has been writing some 'most beautiful unaccompanied choral music: Psalms against war'. He took Tovey to a beautiful neighbouring swimming bath and proved himself a good swimmer.

Will send Bessie a letter for G.B. [Grete Busch?] soon, though would be 'ashamed' to make much of his news since she 'so thoroughly sees how unenviable is the [position of a man who is out of it all'. Dreads Miss Weisse breaking bad news to him so is very glad he knows from Grete that she wants to get bad news before it reaches Tovey. Miss Weisse is in 'a very nasty state of mind... peculiarly inhuman pro-Germanism' which he would mind less if she were still in Germany or 'didn't do her duty to England with the savage energy of a District Visitor of the most ruthless kind'. He himself cannot hate anything as she does everything English. However, he is with his 'saintly & dear old aunt', who has much of his mother's wit, and returns to Edinburgh on the 2nd. Is concerned that Miss Weisse may accede to Lady Lewis [Elizabeth, Lady Lewis?]'s request to give Guil[hermina] Suggia an engagement at Northlands. Also, in a letter she sent enclosing Bessie's 'which she thinks contains Dutch criticisms', Miss Weisse urges Tovey 'to join some military organisation' which will benefit him 'both morally & physically'. Will not do so until he has finished his work in Edinburgh, in March, when he will probably join something in Surrey or Berkshire. Thinks Miss Weisse wishes to make his position in Edinburgh 'untenable', as she wants him to do more concerts in Holland as soon as Augustin offers, and knows he could not manage all three. Says in a postscript that he saw the Hubrechts at Utrecht: Mrs Hubrecht [Maria? or Johanna Maria?] took him to tea and he met Paul, and saw photographs of Jan dressed as a yound lady 'so exquisite' that he had to 'strike a Tamino attitude'. Professor [Ambrosius] Hubrecht was better than he expected, and joined fully in the conversation.

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 Elizabeth Trevelyan

28 Rutland Street, Edinburgh. - Apologises for the delay: has a Bach cantata on. Somehow thought that 'Holland and the Dutch were all interned in Germany', hence his confusion about writing to Miss van Rennes [see 7/166]. 'Mengeringhausen, Waldeck' is enough of an address [for Grete Busch] as the town 'consists of seventeen picturesque gables and eighteen pigstyes'; happy to 'fall back on the Y.M.C.A'.