27. 7 August 1971
Two thoughts for your consideration:
(a) Niecks knew C. E. Richter's biography of August Schumann. The whole of his second chapter (which deals with August's life) is based on it. Isn't it odd, then, that he preferred Jansen's account of Emilie's death to Richter's?
(b) Johanna's statement that she had just spent 'twelve sleepless nights...in the room where my dear Emilie passed away' doesn't help us date the girl's death. But is it incompatible with the wretched girl's having been fished out of the water, brought home, and pronounced dead on her own bed?
Far be it from me to defend the indefensible. There's enough doubt about the business to make me want to change the corresponding page in my essay, and I'll do it forthwith. Incidentally, there's no doubt about the date of August's death. Niecks quotes from the local Zwickau press: 'Died on 10 August Herr August Schumann, distinguished citizen, merchant and bookseller here. Fifty-three years and five months old. (My italics.)
I'm going back to my score of the 'F.A.E.' sonata. Among recent artists I've invited to record it, (including Sylvia Rosenberg, Maria Lidka and – I think – Erich Gruenberg) not one has been able to tell me where the F.A.E. motif occurs. (I believe that when we discussed this business in that marvellous restaurant in Conduit Street a few weeks back, you hadn't been able to spot it either. So it's pretty elusive. Wherever it is, I hope it's a bit more musical in its impact than Schumann's own contrived use of it in the finale. Please keep tapping away at my essay. I want to know if you hear any more hollow rings.
I'll ring you soon (although it won't be a hollow one) rather a 'Hullo' one) and arrange the last supper.
All good wishes, Sincerely,