Heller, Stephen. (1833-1888)

Autograph Letter Signed - "I will dedicate my Two Etudes, op. 151 (still in manuscript) to you"

ALS from the Hungarian-born pianist and composer, who lived in Paris from 1837. To pianist Caroline Montigny-Rémaury (1843-1913). In French. 3 pp. Bifolium. Dated "May 7" (no year). "In the course of time you have given me the honor to request the dedication of a musical work. I will dedicate my Two Etudes, op. 151 (still in manuscript) to you, and I ask you whether I may put them under the spell of your name and talent. I hope for a Yes, and I ask you at the same time how your name should be engraved: Madame Caroline Montigny, Mme. Montigny-Remaury [! – no accent] – finally, would you please name the inscription." Montigny-Rémaury was a student of Franz Liszt. Heller's op. 151 was composed no earlier than 1875, which allows to date the letter approximately. 6 x 4 inches (15 x 10 cm).

"A good friend of Berlioz, Heller was described by him in his Mémoires as a delightful humourist and learned musican, praising his melancholy spirit and devotion to the true gods of art. He enjoyed considerable esteem as a composer in his own time, sometimes at the expense of composers like Chopin, and was praised above all as the poet of the piano, and in this respect represented a movement away from technical virtuosity towards a more intimate and sensitive treatment of the instrument, leading directly to the piano music of Debussy and of Fauré. To many, of course, he was and is known as the composer of studies, for which there was a considerable demand after the success of his first pedagogical work on phrasing in 1840. Schumann in particular perceptively praised Heller for his natural emotions and the clarity of their expression, comparing the feelings aroused by his music to the strange aspect of otherwise definite figures in the half-light of dawn. Heller, in fact, was deeply respected by more sensitive musicians in his own time. The temporary eclipse of his reputation is due in part to the association of his name with pedagogy and in part to the prevailing tendency to favour the ostentation of technical virtuosity over the less pretentious and more intimate." (Jean Martin, Naxos 8.223434 notes) (21667)

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