[Beethoven, Ludwig van. (1770–1827)] Joachim, Joseph. (1831–1907)
Group of Signed Letters about the 1905 and 1907 Kammermusikfesten at the Beethovenhaus Bonn
Three letters from the great violinist, the texts in a secretarial hand, each hand-signed by Joachim himself, together with one incomplete letter in a secretarial hand. Dated from 1905 to 1906 and written to German conductor, violinist, and composer Hugo Grüters, the letters concern details of the organization of the 1905 and 1907 chamber music festivals held at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn. Some light toning and folding creases, but overall in fine condition. 4.5 x 7 to 5.5 x 8.5 inches, on Joachim's Berlin letterhead. Complete translations below.
The chamber music festivals at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn began in 1890 and took place thereafter in 1893, 1897, 1900, 1903, 1905 and 1907. Joseph Joachim served as the honorary patron of the Beethoven-Haus, which remains dedicated to preserving Beethoven's birth house, collecting manuscripts, and promoting performances of his music. The 1905 festival was particularly interesting for its impressive array of soloists, which included the Joachim Quartet, Ernst von Dohnanyi, Ferruccio Busoni, and two ensembles from Paris: the Societé des Instruments Anciens, which performed music for viol consort, and the Société des Instruments à Vent. The Neue Zeitschrift für Musik reviewed the festival in glowing terms: "Joachim and his quartet colleagues, who have a large number of loyal followers in Bonn, always play here as if among a small circle of friends, whose warm and happy participation they feel and to whom they love to give their best. That is true chamber music [...] which in the immediacy and depth of its effect has no equal." (June 28, 1905).
April 3, 1905. 4 pp., incomplete. Dear Herr Musikdirektor, I did not receive your letter until yesterday, and have looked at the program again. I had thought of the B major trio with clarinet as the fifth number, because I thought that the soloist from the Paris Winds would like to be featured in it. Since it is not considered significant enough in Bonn to conclude the first day, please replace it with the D major trio op. 70. The second day may stand as it is. The third day can begin with the sonata in G major op. 96, which is certainly welcome. Then as the third number of the same day, the Paris Winds, as desired. What a shame that the duet for viola d'amore and double bass has been taken out; I found the sound enchanting when I heard it. On the fourth day I suggest we rearrange the numbers: 1. Quintet with winds; 2. String quartet op. 18 G major; 3. Piano sonata F sharp major. For the fifth day, the matinee, the Schubert A minor quartet seems rather elegaic and very long. I would like to stay with Mozart. Perhaps instead of the C major quartet, the one in E flat major, which is shorter. As number 4 the great A flat major sonata by Beethoven would be good. I must admit that I am rather astonished that we should bring in a special pianist (Busoni) simply for this one day and this one number. I can't think that [...]
April 25, 1905. 4 pp. Dear Kappellmeister, In the program showed to me by Herr Hausmann, number 2 of the first day is printed as Quartet in F minor instead of E minor. On the third day, the opus number 96 is missing from the first number, Sonata in G major; otherwise one could easily confuse it with the shorter op. 30. I thought you would like to be aware of this. If a change is possible, I would like to suggest for the fourth number of the first day the E flat major trio op. 70, instead of the B flat major op. 11, for two reasons: first because it would be a better debut for the pianist, and because it represents Beethoven more importantly; it is a favorite piece of mine, and Hausmann would prefer to play it as well. It is longer than the op. 11, but ten minutes don't make all that much difference. Would you be so kind as to send me a few more programs? People keep asking me for them. Yesterday the question came from Wolf about whether d'Albert, who has unexpectedly returned, could still play. But I answered that the two other gentlemen had already been engaged. Yours truly, Joseph Joachim.
March 5, 1906. 4 pp. Dear Musikdirektor, Herr Paul Ludwig from London, a native of Bonn, has sent me the enclosed letter. I would like to fulfill his wish, because he is a very good player and a nice person, who would certainly be prepared to come to Bonn for the Schumann Piano Quartet, if his travel could be reimbursed. If the board is in agreement, please write to him; otherwise let me know. I will send you the list of orchestra members who want to play at the festival the day after tomorrow; I think you will not need to ask any others. Yours, Joseph Joachim.
June 18, 1906. 3 pp. Dear Herr Professor, You will have received my picture, which you were so kind as to ask for; I hope it is what you need. I must not neglect, however, to send you this apologetic letter about Saint-Saëns which I recently received, and which you will kindly share with the other gentlemen of the Board. He seems to be a very absent-minded man! I still think often and gratefully of the wonderful work of the choir and of the whole festival. Yours, Joseph Joachim.