i want to hold your hand
My Beloved Robert,
You asked me if I was composing anything.
I wrote a very short piece, but I don’t know what
to call it; I had so many feelings while I was com-
posing it, and such deep ones—don’t you want
to help me find a name for it, one the French can
understand? Schlesinger wants me to give it to
him for his journal, but I don’t want to do that
because I promised to dedicate it to Countess
Apponyi; well, let him print it separately; by the
way, I’ll await your judgment; I’ll send it to you,
and you can tell me what to change. You can use
it for the journal if you are pleased with it. I have
a strange fear of showing you a composition of
mine; I am always ashamed. The scherzo that
everyone likes is the one in the commemorative
book by Härtel that you didn’t like.
Onslow visited me the other day; he is the
most interesting artist I have met here; he is
a man who is all music, and he becomes very
enthusiastic when anyone mentions the word;
he is leaving again, unfortunately. Mangold
probably sent you his essay, didn’t he? I read
it—there are some things in it that I don’t like;
he isn’t always polite. Berlioz really is as I had
thought; his essay about me was malicious.
He wrote that Ms. Belleville is respectable,
and that I am worldly, etc. I was told that if
you offer him money, he writes whatever you
want. Döhler always asks him to dine with him
and serves him fine wines which he loves very
much; recently he even went so far as to write
that Döhler’s compositions were beautiful and
well constructed—what do you think of that?
Döhler recently completed a supplement for
Schlesinger’s journal. It was worse than any-
thing I had ever seen. You shouldn’t write to
Berlioz; he doesn’t deserve your friendship—I
despise him. His opera was a complete failure.
I saw Robert le Diable recently; Meyerbeer
had given me tickets; he is always very polite to
me. The opera is quite different from The Huguenots; there are wonderful passages in it, and
it was a real pleasure for me; but imagine, they
perform the entire opera here, with all the ballets. They don’t omit anything, so it takes six
hours—isn’t that awful?
Ms. Belleville recently gave a concert that
was far from brilliant; she played the Concerto
in B Minor by Mendelssohn, but what a performance! It was so bad I could hardly bear it;
I felt like running to the piano. Erard is very
friendly to me and behaved like a gentleman.
My expenses were approximately 580 francs.
To avoid embarrassing me for not charging
me for lighting, setting up, cashiers, etc., he
charged me for everything at first. But then
he deducted 200 francs for his tickets, and my
total expenses were only 400 francs; for Paris,
that’s not very much. My profits were approximately 1,000 francs. That’s not very much of
course, but is more than anyone would have
expected for a first concert so late in the season. When I have more acquaintances, I’ll give
another concert that may easily earn me 4,000
to 5,000 francs.
Now I have to visit some people again; I
like that least about my tour. I am returning
some letters that you asked for. The one by
Liszt is so kind, and as good-natured as he is.
Write me a lot, a kind of journal. I am very
satisfied with you; you are so very dear and
sweet—I love you so very much! Adieu, my beloved Robert!
Clara Schumann, a letter to her husband. Clara
Wieck was an eleven-year-old piano prodigy when
Robert, nine years older, moved into her family’s
home to study with her father. The two composers
fell in love, keeping a joint diary when together and
continually sending letters when apart. In 1880,
twenty-four years after Robert’s death, a lavish
monument was erected over the couple’s cemetery
plot. It depicts a seated Clara gazing admiringly at
an idealized portrait of her husband.
My message to the world is “Let’s swing, sing,
shout, make noise! Let’s not mimic death before
our time comes!”
—Mel Brooks, 1975