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Brahms, Johannes (1833-1897) Autograph Letter Signed, [21 April 1877, Vienna].

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Books & Manuscripts - 2764B
Date / Time :
November 16, 2014 10:00AM


Brahms, Johannes (1833-1897) Autograph Letter Signed, [21 April 1877, Vienna].
Cream laid paper bifolium, inscribed on four pages. In German, to an unnamed correspondent. Old folds, slight mat burn and chipping to edges, minor short tear, corners slightly discolored from old mounts, 10 3/4 x 8 1/2 in. unfolded.
Estimate $800-1,000

English translation of the original German:
Vienna, April 21, '77
Dear S.
I feel sorry for my poor delicate songs! If only you would fast for one day, that is, keep away from bad jokes and expressions. Stillroth has several samples with him but the others are much nicer! Actually I have a [?] collection of girls' songs, where every possible condition is taken care of very nicely - except for that certain condition! There is even a girl's curse in it. I really would like you to announce them as "Girls' Songs," even if we don't put it in the title.
Now if I am to have the first word in money matters, I must ask you most earnestly to be nice enough to take my word as a preliminary suggestion and to answer frankly, I shall answer just as openly and frankly. You cannot possibly insult or hurt me by anything you say. I shall fit in with whatever is proposed to me. But I won't give them to anyone even if he offers more.
I would rather give the songs more cheaply to a lot of more virtuous publishers than you and the Herzogenberg press - if there were any - right?
Do you think we can price the songs at 150 Thaler apiece - I don't think so and I warn you. I also call your attention to the fact that there is a big pile of them here and that you can call a halt whenever you want.
For the symphony I have several times heard 5000 Thaler mentioned. Tell me how much less would still be too much! I count the score for four hands in. Probably I'll set it for two pianos, which would be the proper thing to do.
If we are ever to see it in print I mustn't forget that I am due to send the full parts and, as they wish, some violin parts to Karlsruhe.
The symphony is naturally not yet back from England. I may add incidentally that it hasn't brought me in anything - yet which is, however, my own fault, since I could have had it performed in several other places for good money. It is the same as with the publishers and I ask you to think it over. As I said: say what you think without any hesitation. This miserable business won't cause us to quarrel. But Virtue, Virtue… So I'll be sending you a mass of paper very soon. Is Frau Schumann there. If she is I'll ask her to try them out.
Best wishes
Your J. Br.
I detest so much the mass of English and German texts in songs. Isn't it possible to publish the translation separately? Or at least the German separately too?

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unnamed correspondent