BRAHMS Johannes (1833-1897)

Lot 1269
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BRAHMS Johannes (1833-1897)
L.A.S. "J. Br.", [Wien 1 January 1896, to his publisher Fritz SIMROCK]; 3 pages in-12; in German.

About Smetana.

[Simrock had asked Brahms to make an arrangement of a String Quartet by the Czech composer Bedrich SMETANA, who died in 1884. As Brahms had refused, Simrock did not understand his decision, and Brahms was forced to explain again to the publisher the reasons for his refusal].

He has no ulterior motive when he writes to Simrock, so there is no need to add any more, otherwise they will not be able to agree. He makes it clear: what Smetana writes always has his feet and hands - even if it is not always happily formulated. Brahms could not perform surgery there, as he did on some works. For the quartet, he advises to call on Anton DVOŘÁK, who works quickly and would be able to intervene more boldly. He forgot Eugen d'ALBERT's address in Berlin, and would like to ask him to book a room for him there. Again, Simrock makes him say something different from what he said and meant! He sincerely hopes that everything will go well there, and sends his best wishes for the New Year.


"Ich habe keine Hintergedanken, wenn ich Dir schreibe. Schiebe mir also keine unter, sonst kann man - überhaupt nicht reden.

Ich sage wohl deutlich: was Smetana schreibt, hat immer Hand und Fuß - wenn auch nicht immer wohlgebildete. Aber ich weiß nicht chirurgisch einzugreisen, wie bei - manchem andern möglich wär.

Des 4tetts [Quartetts] wegen scheint mir, Du solltest Dvorak deshalb angehen. And I don't think we can fix it, because this is a man who is a member of the group, and who has been in office for a long time.

I've seen it happen, Albert's life in Berlin was a good one, and I'm still asleep in the best of times. Aber auch in dieser Sache läßt Du mich anderes sagen, als ich gesagt - also auch gemeint habe!

Herzlich hoff e ich, es gehe dort alles so glimpfl ich weiter, und sage alle
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