1 November 1983 (Schwarzkopf, Wolf memorabilia, Vier letzte Lieder, 3rd May)


Dear Erik,

thanks for your lively letter. Your English is really very good; full of Sprachgefühl!

    I see what you mean about Mme Schwarzkopf, and in part share your opinion. But it makes perhaps something of a difference to know her personally, or to see her in concert. You then get a clearer impression of a very dedicated and talented artist. I'm not perhaps wholly objective in that matter, though; I was on very friendly terms with her late husband, Walter Legge, who very kindly left me some of his Wolf memorabilia, notably the master's own Handexemplare of the two volumes of verse, the Spanisches and the Italienisches Liederbuch, with I believe Wolf’s own marginal annotations. I say 'I believe' because I haven't inherited those volumes yet, and won't do until the death of Mme Schwarzkopf, by which time, even if she should predecease me, I shall be probably too old to see them, let alone study them. Anyhow, in a world no longer inhabited by dear Elisabeth, who would wish to give-on living? Well, I dare say you would for one, and I think that would be a good idea too; and in due course the Wolf volumes will be left (via whatever route) to the Schwarkopf‑Legge collection in the Salzburg Mozarteum.

      As to the Vier letzte Lieder, which I love very dearly, my own very favorite recording is that by Lisa della Casa, which I venture to recommend in case you haven't heard it.

      How nice that you and I should share a birthday together, not forgetting our good friend Agnes. On whatever day you were born though (in what year?) you were clearly a born musicologist; much more so than I. I had no such clear notice what I wanted to do or be or study. But I did make a start as a composer, though, and wrote a lot of songs in my younger time. All, I now realize, just very slightly post‑Wolfian in style; and so already anything but avant‑garde.

      I can do better, finally, than just telling you which songs Stravinsky orchestrated; photocopies are enclosed. You'll be interested, as an (ex?) clarinettist, to see the scoring.

      Best regards, as ever, yours