Lot 777: Partial handwritten letter in French, lacking the final leaf with the signature, one page, 5.25 x 7.5, no date [but circa 1858]. Letter to "Mr. Mory," in part (translated): "I send herewith a copy of the journal 'The Artist' which contains a serious biography of me, quite well done. This was published two or three months ago and is the least faulty of all those I know. The text of Fetis, as you may imagine, has no value whatsoever as it was published when I had done almost nothing but deeply wounded the great critic. Today we are reconciled and have a good relationship and I believe he would much rather never had written his article. I will now answer Mr. Mac Farren's questions: the titles of all my works are listed in the article of 'The Artist.' All my works are published today in Paris either by Brandon or by Richault. I have just recently completed a grand opera in five acts of which I have written both the libretto and the music and it is called 'Les Troyens.' I have joined the staff of the 'Journal des Debauts' in 1835. I have married Miss Smithson in 1834. She died as a result of an apoplexy attack, which at first spared her movements and speech but after eight months led to my cruel loss. I have written my treaty on instrumentation..." Repaired separations to central vertical and horizontal folds, several repaired tears, areas of restored paper loss to edges, and scattered creases and soiling, otherwise very good condition.
Berlioz's relationship with critic and musicologist Francois-Joseph Fetis was one of the most publicly tumultuous in the music scene of their day. Initially supportive of Berlioz's potential—beginning with an encouraging review of his first concert in 1828—Fetis's elevated criticism soon became a representation of all that was wrong with the musical establishment according to Berlioz; his resentment towards the critic reached its climax with a public attack on Fetis in the Melologue in the 1930s, sparking commentary from many other notable musicians of the day. In this letter penned nearly three decades later, Berlioz shrugs off the drama of the past, confirming that the two had "reconciled and have a good relationship." Also mentioning the completion of his masterpiece Les Troyens, the most ambitious and involved project of his career, this is a wonderful letter from the influential composer.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 458
Wednesday, 12th August 2015
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