Mitropoulos, Dimitri. (1896–1960)
Group of Typed Letters Signed to Raymond Lewenthal
Group of five typed letters signed from the important Greek conductor to pianist Raymond Lewenthal, dated from 1948 to 1954 and concerning Lewenthal's performances, Mitropoulos' musical advice to the young pianist, and the aftermath of the vicious assault on Lewenthal in 1953. Complete contents listed below. Some light toning and folding creases; overall fine.
1. TLS (June 4, 1948; 1 p.): "Dear Mr. Lewenthal: I have not yet been in touch with the manager of the Dell, but as soon as I have talked with him I will let you know his decisions. Very sincerely yours, D. Mitropoulos." 5.5 x 8.5 inches (14 x 21.5 cm).
2. TLS (July 12, 1948; 1 p.) to Lewenthal's mother: "Dear Mrs. Lewenthal: Thank you for your kind letter. It was nice of you to thank me for my interest in your son. I want to tell you that my best reward was that he didn't disappoint me. His success was so brilliant that I wish to hope that his wonderful reviews will help the progress of his career. You can be proud of your son. He is not only an excellent pianist but an excellent boy—clean, honest, and charming in character. I am glad I met him. Very sincerely yours, D. Mitropoulos." 7.25 x 10.5 inches (18.4 x 26.7 cm).
3. TLS (October 4, 1948, 1 p.): "My dear Colleague: I hope you were told that I was at your concert. I avoided coming backstage [...] Anyhow I want to tell you once more how much I enjoyed your artistry. Everything was perfect: flexible, musical, and highly conscientious. I understand perfectly well that some fast tempi you take, especially in the Scarlatti Sonata, were justified because you really didn't lose the clarity. One heard every note, and it was perfectly played. Just the same, I will advise you in the future not to take such obviously fast tempi because that will urge the people one hundred percent to think that you want to show off. [...] I, being myself of the pianistic family, understand that urge, but artistically speaking, it should not go to the extent of giving a dazzling whirlwind impression, no matter how much one realizes a clarity at such a speed. I hope you will understand my humble advices [...] D. Mitropolous. [P.S.] Don't hesitate to use this letter if you need. DM." 7.25 x 10.5 inches (18.3 x 26.7 cm).
4. TLS (September 29, 1951, 1 p.): "Dear Mr. Lewenthal: I am glad to hear that you give again a recital and this time at Carnegie Hall. According to my schedule as I see it for the month of October, I really and honestly will not have the tme either to hear your program or come to your recital. [...] Nevertheless, I wish you all the success that you deserve, and I am sure that if you insist to study and struggle, with the talent you possess, you will succeed at the end. With many good wishes, D. Mitropoulos." 5.5 x 8.5 inches (14 x 21.5 cm).
5. Copy of a typed letter, unsigned, from Lewenthal to Mitropoulos (February 15, 1954, 2 pp.), explaining that he has left the management company NCCAC and is recovering after a violent assault left him with broken arms and hands. Lewenthal asks Mitropoulos "if there is any possibility of an engagement with you next season? It would be such a tremendous boost to my morale and to my chances for resuming my career here." 8.5 x 11 inches (21.5 x 27.7 cm).
6. TLS (February 18, 1954, 1 p.): "Dear Colleague, I was terribly distressed to reaad your letter and know all the misfortune you have suffered, particularly because I have no possibility of helping you right now. In other words, my season next year is completely booked with artists, and it is too late even to attempt to have you engaged. I am terribly sorry that all I can offer you now is my sympathy and my admiration of your courage. Very sincerely yours, D. Mitropoulos." 7.25 x 10.75 inches (18.3 x 26.7 cm).
Raymond Lewenthal (1923–1988) was an American pianist. Lewenthal made his debut in 1948 with Dimitri Mitropoulos and the Philadelphia Orchestra. The occasion marked the first time a soloist had been invited to play Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 under Mitropoulos's direction—that being a work which the conductor was famous for playing himself. The success of this performance was followed a few weeks later by Lewenthal's New York recital debut. These events launched his North American career, which flourished until it came to a sudden halt in 1953; while walking through New York's Central Park, Lewenthal was attacked by a gang of hoodlums and suffered broken bones in his hands and arms. Although he did recover and return to performing, with a particular focus on the works of lesser-known Romantic composers, his career never quite lived up to the promise of his debut.