Item 164 - Letter from Donald Tovey to Elizabeth Trevelyan

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Letter from Donald Tovey to Elizabeth Trevelyan


  • [30 Dec 1914?] (Creation)

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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.

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