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Auction archive: Lot number 182

J. BRAHMS, AUTOGRAPH LETTER TO HIS PUBLISHER FRITZ SIMROCK, 4 SEPTEMBER 1880

Estimate
£4,000 - £6,000
ca. US$6,736 - US$10,105
Price realised:
£9,375
ca. US$15,789
Auction archive: Lot number 182

J. BRAHMS, AUTOGRAPH LETTER TO HIS PUBLISHER FRITZ SIMROCK, 4 SEPTEMBER 1880

Estimate
£4,000 - £6,000
ca. US$6,736 - US$10,105
Price realised:
£9,375
ca. US$15,789
Beschreibung:

Brahms, Johannes AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED ("J.BR."), TO HIS PUBLISHER FRITZ SIMROCK, ABOUT THE ACADEMIC FESTIVAL OVERTURE, OP.80, THE TRAGIC OVERTURE, OP.81,AND OTHER WORKS explaining that he has had to accept the invitation to Breslau for next January [to receive an honorary doctorate], describing the first overture as 'very humorous' and mentioning one of the student songs, 'Gaudeamus [igitur]', contained in it, noting that he could not deprive his melancholy nature of the satisfaction of also composing a 'tragic overture [Trauerspiel=Ouverture]'; Brahms also refers to two other compositions, the Hungarian Dances, WoO 1, and the 51 Exercises for piano, WoO 6, apologises for taking so long, explains that, although they are very well conceived for four hands, they are very ill-suited to two, noting, however, that Joachim is ready with his arrangement [for violin and piano] and that he will be playing it with him in the next few days, informing him that he is just setting out to see Clara Schumann at Aussee, and is also going to Salzburg and Berchtesgarden ...Dagegen mußte ich für den 6. Januar in Breslau zusagen, und habe bei der Gelegenheit nicht umhin können, eine sehr lustige Akademische Fest-Ouvertüre zu schreiben, mit Gaudeamus und allem Möglichen. Bei der Gelegenheit konnte ich meinem melancholischen Gemüt die Genugtuung nicht versagen - auch eine Trauerspiel-Ouvertüre zu schreiben!... 4 pages, 8vo (20 x 12.4cm), annotated by the recipient, with an old typed description, [Ischl, 4 September 1880], some light creasing, one vertical and two horizontal folds, light browning A good, humorous letter, discussing four of Brahms's compositions, and also mentioning Clara Schumann and Joachim. In this characteristically joshing letter to his editor Fritz Simrock, Brahms provides some revealing information concerning his attitude to several works, particularly the Hungarian Dances, WoO 1, which Brahms modestly declined to provide with an opus number. Although the composer had in fact supplied Simrock with a two-hand version of Books I and II (originally published for four hands in the autumn of 1868), a similar version of Books III and IV (which had been published for four hands in March 1880) was not provided by the composer, but by Theodor Kirchner (and published in 1881). The 51 Exercises for piano, WoO 6, the composition of some of which dated back to the 1850s, were in the event not published by Simrock until 1893. The Academic Festival Overture, Op.80, which Brahms was obliged to compose for the occasion of the conferral of a doctorate upon him by Breslau University, and which he premiered there on 4 January 1881, is one of Brahms's most mischievously uproarious works, scored for the largest orchestra the composer ever employed, and making ingenious and comic use of four student songs. Also completed at Ischl in the summer of 1880 was the Tragic Overture, Op.81, which received its first performance in Vienna at the Musikvereinssaal later that year on 26 December. Reference: Kalbeck, Max (ed.), Johannes Brahms. Briefe an P.J. Simrock und Fritz Simrock, ii 347 (Berlin, 1917), pp. 154-155 (the letter erroneously dated here 6 September 1880)

Auction archive: Lot number 182
Auction:
Datum:
20 May 2014
Auction house:
Sotheby's
London
Beschreibung:

Brahms, Johannes AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED ("J.BR."), TO HIS PUBLISHER FRITZ SIMROCK, ABOUT THE ACADEMIC FESTIVAL OVERTURE, OP.80, THE TRAGIC OVERTURE, OP.81,AND OTHER WORKS explaining that he has had to accept the invitation to Breslau for next January [to receive an honorary doctorate], describing the first overture as 'very humorous' and mentioning one of the student songs, 'Gaudeamus [igitur]', contained in it, noting that he could not deprive his melancholy nature of the satisfaction of also composing a 'tragic overture [Trauerspiel=Ouverture]'; Brahms also refers to two other compositions, the Hungarian Dances, WoO 1, and the 51 Exercises for piano, WoO 6, apologises for taking so long, explains that, although they are very well conceived for four hands, they are very ill-suited to two, noting, however, that Joachim is ready with his arrangement [for violin and piano] and that he will be playing it with him in the next few days, informing him that he is just setting out to see Clara Schumann at Aussee, and is also going to Salzburg and Berchtesgarden ...Dagegen mußte ich für den 6. Januar in Breslau zusagen, und habe bei der Gelegenheit nicht umhin können, eine sehr lustige Akademische Fest-Ouvertüre zu schreiben, mit Gaudeamus und allem Möglichen. Bei der Gelegenheit konnte ich meinem melancholischen Gemüt die Genugtuung nicht versagen - auch eine Trauerspiel-Ouvertüre zu schreiben!... 4 pages, 8vo (20 x 12.4cm), annotated by the recipient, with an old typed description, [Ischl, 4 September 1880], some light creasing, one vertical and two horizontal folds, light browning A good, humorous letter, discussing four of Brahms's compositions, and also mentioning Clara Schumann and Joachim. In this characteristically joshing letter to his editor Fritz Simrock, Brahms provides some revealing information concerning his attitude to several works, particularly the Hungarian Dances, WoO 1, which Brahms modestly declined to provide with an opus number. Although the composer had in fact supplied Simrock with a two-hand version of Books I and II (originally published for four hands in the autumn of 1868), a similar version of Books III and IV (which had been published for four hands in March 1880) was not provided by the composer, but by Theodor Kirchner (and published in 1881). The 51 Exercises for piano, WoO 6, the composition of some of which dated back to the 1850s, were in the event not published by Simrock until 1893. The Academic Festival Overture, Op.80, which Brahms was obliged to compose for the occasion of the conferral of a doctorate upon him by Breslau University, and which he premiered there on 4 January 1881, is one of Brahms's most mischievously uproarious works, scored for the largest orchestra the composer ever employed, and making ingenious and comic use of four student songs. Also completed at Ischl in the summer of 1880 was the Tragic Overture, Op.81, which received its first performance in Vienna at the Musikvereinssaal later that year on 26 December. Reference: Kalbeck, Max (ed.), Johannes Brahms. Briefe an P.J. Simrock und Fritz Simrock, ii 347 (Berlin, 1917), pp. 154-155 (the letter erroneously dated here 6 September 1880)

Auction archive: Lot number 182
Auction:
Datum:
20 May 2014
Auction house:
Sotheby's
London
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