Pièce 96 - Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

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Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan


  • 21 July 1914 (Production)

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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'.

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