Slonimsky, Nicolas. (1894–1995)
"[I] decided that it was no use trying to bring order out of the chaos reigning in the previous editions of 'Baker'" - Typed Letter Signed
Humorous TLS from the important conductor, author, pianist, and musicologist containing interesting insights into his editing the fifth edition of Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. June 20, 1959. 1 pp., on Slonimsky's stationary.
"Dear Mr. Derby
I still say I mever nake [sic.] mistakes, except the 57 gross errors that I have already found in Baker, and some cute neologisms such as the reference to the "eary works" [sic] of Gretchaninov, influenced by Rimsky-Korsakov. The logic of this particular word is unassailable. He heard Rimsky's music aurally, ergo the influence was eary.
As for McEwan succeeding Mackenzie in the wrong place, this is the result of my uncritical copying of the misinformation contained in the 1940 edition of Baker. Grove has it right, and I should have checked on that. But when I was working my way through the M's I was psychologically at my lowest ebb, and just decided that it was no use trying to bring order out of the chaos reigning in the previous editions... By the time I reached the second half of the dictionary, I finally understood that I could trust nothing in the old editions, and proceeded to write every single article anew.
Label and a small half-tone photograph affixed to front of letter, below the text, else fine. 8.5 x 11 inches (21.6 x 27.9 cm.).
Nicolas Slonimsky was born in Russia, and is best known for writing the Thesaurus of Melodic Scales and Patterns and The Lexicon of Musical Invective, as well as editing four editions of Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians.