Item 165 - Letter from Donald Tovey to Elizabeth Trevelyan

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Letter from Donald Tovey to Elizabeth Trevelyan


  • [Jan 1915?] (Creation)

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2 items: manuscript letter; printed concert programme with manuscript comments

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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'.

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Pencil annotation suggesting date

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