Goslar a/Harz, Clubgartenstr. 2.
12 March, 1908.
Do you remember me? I last wrote to you in Berlin from Wiesbaden, on the occasion of
the première of "A Village Romeo and Juliet", your kind wife wrote me
a charming reply inviting me to Berlin - - unfortunately I was unable to accept,
wrote to you shortly after the performance, but my letter was returned:
you had already left for Paris. -
Fate has been busy chasing me around since then: If one has little or nothing to put down, it is hard to get a job as a conductor. Now for my wanderings - I am sure it will amuse you to know that in the meantime I have been conductor of a "Spa" orchestra, and then - conducted operettas into the bargain. You can imagine how this harmonized with my artistic beliefs. - Then last autumn chance smiled on me; the post here became vacant; Max Reger and Henri Marteau recommended me with the utmost vigour, I bade farewell to the theater & moved here.
Goslar (only 18000 inhabitants, but residence of many cultured people, as town and its surroundings enchanting; grammar school, boarding schools etc.) gives 10 important concerts each winter, to which only top-ranking artists come; included in these are 2-3 concerts given by the mixed chorus. This mixed chorus is what I conduct; I have at the same time a male chorus, which assists the "mixed". (Five Symphony Concerts are conducted by the Military Band-master here, who formerly organized these concerts off his own bat; one can't take it off him, anyway he's a capable musician; however, he is going in a year's time, and I shall then have everything in my own hands.)
Since a lot of time has been lost this year through the change in conductors, I was unable to take on anything big (occupying a whole evening) for the Choral Concerts - our first concert consisted of: 3 Bach Cantatas , a Brahms Symphony (which I conducted of course); for the 2nd which is to take place in May, we are having Frithjof, Walpurgisnacht, Gesang der Geister über den Wassern (Schubert).
Now all this time I could not forget "Sea-drift" - whenever I thought of that work my heart beat faster and I often felt like writing to you about it; - but as long as I had no chorus I was ashamed to keep coming to you with words alone - and not action.
Now I have my chorus; and so far chorus and orchestra have got down to their task for me with such enthusiasm, that neither is recognisable any more to the audiences; that pleases me; for the sake of the masters whose loyal servant I intend to be. - So, when I took up the position my first thought was; "Bach, then Delius!" - However, 4-fifths of the choir are untrained singers, which is why I had to arrange my program thus (as above). But as the works accepted for the performance in May are almost ready, I wrote to Chop (who was here and like me was mad about "Sea-drift"; he then sent me "Appalachia", Piano Concerto, songs and monograph) for the score or piano reduction of"Sea-drift": I received the latter yesterday by return of post, and I plunged into it with the appetite of a person whose hunger is years old -- "yes yes - , that's how it was!" Every note came back to me and, in full draughts, I drank in the tale that I remembered so well from the Essen performance; - I wander around as if intoxicated, what a wonderful gift the piece was and is to me.
- You promised me the material for "Sea-drift", if ever I performed the work; - but I suppose that will hardly be possible, - the publishers won't allow it. But perhaps through your intercession we might get the music on loan, or for a considerably lower price?
And so I ask you urgently and sincerely: write by return of post to "Harmonie" asking them to send me immediately (no matter on what conditions) 40 soprano parts, 40 altos, 30 tenors and 35 basses (in other words only the choral parts to be sent):
What I have in mind is to take the Choir by surprise, to finish off the Walpurgisnacht quickly and to spend the time until May rehearsing the choral passages of Sea-drift. - If the Choir gets hold of it quickly, then I can probably perform "Sea-drift" any time after May. If it only progresses slowly (one can never say in advance, only after a few rehearsals), then I shall spend the whole summer & autumn on it and perform the work at the first concert next winter; For the rendering must be wonderful and I shall give my life's blood to achieve it!
Am I presumptuous? I have so set my heart on performing the work - will you give me a little help with the material?
Forgive such a long letter with so little in it! But I am so happy to be getting so close to "Sea-drift".
With a thousand respectful greetings to you and your kind wife -
Your loyally sincere,
Please, please let me know soon!
The original (written in German) is in the Delius Trust Archive.
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