3. 8 March 1966 (Fiske on Ballet Music; Frank Walker unpublished chapter on Wolf/Köchert affaire)
Tsk, tsk: I find this levity most unseemly for so grave a topic [see A.P.'s "Tale", ED] . But it's much too bonne a bouche to have mauvais gout; I liked perhaps best that rather fisky (or is it fisqué?) bit about how she could not sleep for thinking of her broken nutcracker. There's another connection too of course, with E.T.A. Hoffmann., who links with Clara via Kreisleriana also. The rowdy Frisk suddenly explained to me why I associate his name with that of Shakespeare. I thought at first this was because a certain Mrs Fiske, no doubt a kinswoman, was a disciple of Mrs. Gallup and her Baconian cipher. But it goes deeper than that; consider "ay, or any Fiske that you may fiske him" or "not to crack the wind o' the poor phrase, fisking it thus," – is the very language of Shakespeare's clowns especially apt for the high-tragic or Polonius level.
I went to see Dent yesterday to read through the unpublished chapter of the Frank Walker book; all about the affair with Melanie Köchert and the Frieda Zerny episode. This material is a bit scrappy but impressive enough; and it is of course unique, being (since Wolf's diaries and all the clandestine correspondence were destroyed, leaving only the innocuous letters recently published) not just the only evidence but the only reference of any kind any where to what was behind the most monumental devotion in history, not just music; three times a week, without fail, for years, she came to visit a poor little madman dying inchmeal of syphilis, with only Frank Walker's typescript (apart from the music, that is) to tell us why.
The position is that Dent are toying with the idea of republishing the Walker book with the additional material. However, I gather they are very unlikely to take any such step without a clear guarantee of support from the U.S.A. – and it's not clear teat this will be forthcoming, since the original printing went very poorly here and in the States, and has proved practically unsaleable (or so I am assured by German publishers!) in translation. If they do decide to republish with the additional chapter and a few other passages – assuming the consent of Frau Irmina Köchert who is still living at Traunkirchen – then I doubt if they'll consider separate publication in the MT or anywhere else. But if they cry off, then the way is open for publication in a journal; the permission of Frank Walker's brother certainly, I should have thought, be forthcoming , and I rather doubt whether the surviving Köchert – who appears to be making a bid for immortality in more ways than one – would object overmuch to a restricted publication of this kind. In my judgment the material is of front-rank musicological importance, and its acquisition for the MT would be another very considerable feather in your own cap, if it were at all possible to fit another in anywhere. A very agreeable chap at Dent has kindly undertaken to keep me (come to think of it, why me?) in touch ;with whatever they decide.
Finally, the positively last appearance of the question of code-letters. I have to go back to work on Thursday, so the leisure that has enabled me to play about with codes in hospital waiting rooms will come to an end. The investigations have now ended with the result that they can't discover what if anything is the matter, and have given me a certificate to that effect. At least, I think that's what it says, but I must examine it more closely; the terrible thought now occurs to me that it's probably a death certificate. That would certainly explain a lot. Anyhow, the last code-work is annexed. As with the Schumann letter, I don't propose to take it any further; partly because I don't think it's right to pry into a fourteen-years girls love affair, but mainly I dare say because this looks like transposition, which is beyond anyone but the professional.