Stockhausen, Julius. (1826–1906)

"I received the great bass aria from Graun's Der Tod Jesu." - Autograph letter to Eduard Hanslick[?]

Autograph letter from the great German baritone to an unidentified correspondent ("Highly esteemed Sir"), responding to the latter's suggestion to settle in Vienna. In German. Dated Carlsruhe [now Karlsruhe], Germany, 22 October [?] 1853. Large 8vo, 3pp. Stockhausen thanks his correspondent for his advice on settling in Vienna, mentioning that the correspondent had already promised him "in London" to help him with finding an apartment. He then reports a musical discovery he has recently made: "Eight days ago I sang in Basel, and through Reiter (whom you know, too) I received the great bass aria from Graun's Der Tod Jesu [The death of Jesus] for closer study; I had the parts copied immediately and will sing the aria in the next academy in Mannheim on the 25th. Lachner is ... a classic Kapellmeister, trying to refine the taste of the the audience; he has been very pleased with the find. If Basel does not send the parts, I will sing 'The people that walked in darkness', a very fitting text for Christmas. ... In two days I will travel to Mannheim for Christmas Day and hope to find your answer there; I confess I am very curious." Signed "J. Stockhausen." Some creases and minimal tears. In very good condition overall.

The content suggests that the month (given as "X") is wrong and "December" ("XII") would be correct. An annotation in an unknown hand at the head of the first page reads "To Hanslick, Vienna". While there can be little doubt that the correspondent lived in Vienna, Eduard Hanslick (1825–1904) seems a rather unlikely candidate. Above all, Hanslick never visited London; also, the overall tone of the letter suggests a correspondent significantly older and more experienced. As to Stockhausen, he never settled in Vienna.

The cantata (or oratorio) The Death of Jesus by Carl Heinrich Graun (1704–1759) was highly popular in its day but eclipsed by J.S. Bach's revived Passions after 1830 and, as this letter shows, no longer commonly known by the 1850s.

Ernst Reiter (1814–1875) was a German violinist, conductor and composer who worked in Basel since 1839. "Lachner" refers to Vinzenz Lachner (1811–1893), Kapellmeister in Mannheim since 1836.