Schneider, Alexander. (1908–1993) & Horszowski, Mieczyslaw. (1892–1993) [Herz, Gerhard. (1911–2000)]
Collection of Letters to Gerhard Herz
An interesting collection of autograph and typed letters signed to Bach scholar Gerhard Herz from violinist Alexander Schneider ("Sascha"), pianist Mieczyslaw Horszowski ("Miecio"), and several other correspondents, as well as copies of outgoing correspondence. Most of the letters in the group relate to the planning of a March 1958 recital by Schneider and Horszowski at the University of Louisville, where Herz was a longtime professor and beloved figure; in the correspondence, his friendship with both artists comes through in their humorous tone as they negotiate the terms of the performance and the repertoire, with Herz attempting to convince Schneider to perform the notoriously difficult Schubert Fantasy (which Schneider eventually refuses.) Also included are a 1952 autograph letter signed from Horszowski, concerning the program of another concert; two much later autograph letters signed from Schneider and Horszowski (1979 and 1981), reconnecting the friends after many years; and several other pieces of correspondence related to Herz's work on Bach. Letters in fine condition overall.
Letters concerning Schneider and Horszowski's recital in Louisville on March 2, 1958:
ALS on a postcard (January 2, 1957) from Schneider: "...But I cannot play the Phantasie! NO. Ich bin ein Feigling. Voila."
3 TLS (February–June, 1957) from Lillian Knapp of Friedberg Management, settling on the date of March 2, 1958 for the recital.
ALS (1 p., April 2, 1957) from Horszowski, suggesting two possible programs for the recital depending on whether Schneider plays the Fantasy.
TLS (1 p., April 4, 1957) from Schneider, agreeing to "take a chance and work on" the Fantasy, but not promising as "I still don't think I am ripe enough to play it!" and declaring: "The fee for the two greatest living artists is $1,000."
Copy of a typed letter from Herz to Schneider (1 p., May 24, 1957), hoping that he will be able to play the Fantasy: "we shall reserve a suite in the best hospital and shall have the ingredients for a Bourbon treatment right afterwards on hand."
TLS (1 p., June 6, 1957) from Schneider on letterhead of the Casals Festival, agreeing to a fee of $750 and continuing: "We'll see if I can stand up the bourbon rubdown after the Schubert Fantasy. I warn you, if that should come out successfully, you will have to supply all the bourbon for all the future baths of the Schubert Fantasy!"
Copy of a typed letter from Herz to Schneider (1 p., June 15, 1957), continuing the teasing about the Fantasy: "think of this: Szigeti will play it if you won't", together with a copy of a typed letter to Friedberg Management confirming the concert.
ALS (2 pp., n.d.) from Schneider, finally declining to play the Fantasy: "Ein Feigling bin ich, jawohl mein Herr! but I am not yet ready for the Phantasie. Maybe someday, with the spootnik help I might do it!"
Copy of a typed letter from Herz to Schneider, regretfully accepting his decision: "This is a free country and the choice of Schubert or no-Schubert is yours [...] BUT WHAT will you tell [Schubert] when you will meet him in the other world??", and mentioning other concerts in Louisville as they make their repertoire choices.
ALS (1 p., January 13, 1958) from Horszowski, proposing two further possible programs of Bach, Schubert, Mozart, Debussy and Beethoven sonatas.
ALS ( 1 p., n.d.) from Schneider, with a separate sheet attached with a proposed program of Schumann, Debussy, Schubert and Mozart sonatas.
Copies of 3 TLS from Herz to management personnel (February–March, 1958) concerning publicity and reviews for the concert.
Other letters from Schneider and Horszowski:
ALS (1 p., March 1, 1952) from Horszowski: "As you give me the choice my preference goes to the program with the F major and D minor sonatas, ending with the Diabelli Variations."
ALS (2 pp., February 3, 1979) from Schneider, reporting on his recent activities: "Well, dear me we really are getting older [...] I am mostly conducting orchestras, like here doing very well, but I really think that I am still fiddling quite good..."
ALS (1 p., December 24, 1981) from Horszowski: "Your letter is a marvellous lesson of energy and courage! I read it with emotion!" and mentioning the Italian organist Lodvico Giustini. NB: This letter in the hand of his wife, signed by him.
ALS (2 pp., December 22, 1954) from an "Ed" (possibly musicologist Edward T. Cone?), on letterhead of the Institute for Advanced Study, mentioning a Bach autograph.
TLS (1 p., June 26, 1985) from musicologist Ludwig Finscher, thanking Herz for his published work on Bach sources.
Copies of an autograph letter from "Karl" and a typed letter from harpsichordist Igor Kipnis in 1985, both thanking Herz for his book.
From the collection of Gerhard Herz (1911–2000), a renowned musicologist and Bach expert who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930's with the help of Albert Schweitzer, and became chair of the music department of the University of Louisville. A much-loved professor, he was also a founder of the American chapter of the New Bach Society (now the American Bach Society) and the author of the reference work Bach Sources in America (1984). He played a crucial role in the musical life of Louisville, bringing many European musicians on tour to the city, including Dimitri Shostakovich (in 1959, at the height of the Cold War) and the Budapest Quartet.