9. 22 July 1970 (Elgar; Coleridge; Deutsch)
My dear Maurice,
nice, as ever, to hear from you; and good to know that you are now fully restored (dear me; that sounds like what happens to Ancient Monuments! not at all the sense I had intended).
And yes, thank you, my wife has for a time at least shaken free of hospital visits and the like - indeed, shaken free of gravity itself, or so it seemed when I watched her progress airborne towards the North Pole, with the help, I should explain, of a jet aeroplane; - though it had seemed, such was her excitement, that that adventitious aid would be largely unnecessary - to visit her sister in Canada. So now I'm on holiday for some weeks, and hope to catch up with a number of commitments. It's rather disturbing that I seem to be a great deal more pressed for time at home than in the office; at this rate, I shall be at my most active in retirement, like a mouse in a revolving cage.
Elgar - much obliged for your kind comments. I might try to include those pieces in a book on Schumann, on the rather specious ground that they have some general relevance. "Lawks" would have been a distinct possibility (alternatives as in a News of the World type crossword) except that the vocable AR was a datum. And "larks" had the imprimatur of Michael Kennedy, who said that it was exactly the way he would expect Elgar to have begun a carefree note to "one of his girl-friends" (Kennedy's phrase, not mine!). I was sad, incidentally, to see that Elgar's daughter died the other day; I can only hope it wasn't anything to do with the July article! But she had written to me quite kindly and helpfully earlier, with some interesting data abut her father's interest in cipher, and how solving them always seemed in the household a greater triumph than the completion of one of his vast score. What a strange mind it must have been: in its wav, how like Coleridge’s. There’s an affinity with both in Schumann, too. I’m out in mind of associative processes in art by a current re-reading of The Road to Xanadu, a work for which I'm sure you share my admiration. I read it, (or you for example) whenever I feel the need for humility, which is reasonably often. The rather unhumble reason in the same, I think, in each instance, namely that someone who so indisputably knows more than I do about things about which I reckon to know quite a lot must obviously have a prodigious, indeed superhuman, grasp of the subject! Another oven more chastening reason is the reflection that (still on the Coleridgean tack) he knoweth much who loveth much; so I am also by the same token shown to have been deficient in charity.
"Oh well, nobody's perfect" as Joe. E. Brown observed in the pay–off line of "Some Like It Hot" (did you se that film?). Not even Deutsch (or perhaps least of all Deutsch) he might have added; I'm suddenly reminded of the proximate cause of this letter. I heard from Hermann Baron recently of a pirated edition of Deutsch now being brought out by Kalmus in the States. There’s also bee talk for some time of a new edition from (?) Bärenreiter. Now, I bet that neither of these has been properly revised. So would it not be a nice notion to interest a publisher here in bringing out a properly–accredited version of the Thematic Catalogue, incorporating all necessary corrections and additions (including the very interesting inferences which can be drawn from Christa Landon's discoveries – isn't it about time they were reported in the MT or somewhere, by the way? I haven't seen any reference in print yet). I should have thought that the potential sales nowadays would justify such a venture commercially; further, the information would come in very a propos for a new Grove; and finally all that work of ours (quite a lot that I know of, plus, I'm sure, a lot that I don't) would all be duly recorded in one appropriate volume – and one moreover which because of its specialist nature shouldn't really affect the sales or saleability of your present and future publications from other sources. I’m eagerly looking forward to the Symphonies.