[Berlioz, Hector. (1803-1869)] Heller, Stephen. (1833-1888)

Autograph Letter Signed - "on request of my dear friend Berlioz, a letter about him and his Faust is following here"

ALS from the Hungarian-born pianist and composer, who lived in Paris from 1837. To unidentified male recipient. 2 pp. In German. Small bifolium. Paris, rue neuve des Mathurins, January 22, 1847. In full: "Dear Sir, on request of my dear friend Berlioz, a letter about him and his Faust is following here. I would like to have it rendered without the slightest change, and I give you free rein after your best judgement. I would also ask for a number of the publication (through book dealers) in which you intend to have the letter printed. You may be so kind to correct the proofs and thus connect us to our friend Berlioz in the most lively manner. Receive, dear Sir, the assurances of my outstanding esteem with which I have the honor of being Yours very truly Stephan [!] Heller." The recipient could be Johann Christian Lobe, editor of Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung, which published a Berlioz issue later that year. 5.25 x 4 inches (13.5 x 10.5 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) (21801)

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