"The next day he played to me the 1st book of Melodies from memory": Moscheles on Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

Moscheles, Ignaz, composer and conductor (1794-1870). Autograph letter signed ("I. Moscheles").

Leipzig, 19 Oct. 1854.

8vo. 3 pp. on bifolium. Includes autograph envelope with seal.


Important letter to the music publisher Alfred Novello in London, in answer to a question about the composition and publishing history of the first book of Mendelssohn's "Songs Without Words", op. 19: "I have made due researches in my journals and diaries with regard to the first publication of Mendelssohn's 1st book of Melodies op 19 (or Songs without words) in London, and as I suppose you kept a copy of your letter to me dated 10th Oct. 54, I answer your questions in numerical order: 1) Mendelssohn composed and wrote down his 1st book op 19 in Germany. 2) The 1st book op. 19 which was sent to me through Mr. Maurice Schlesinger of Paris, was in Mendelssohn's own writing with the following title: Melodies for the P. F. composed by Felix Mendels. Bartholdy. London published (for the author) by Novello by Frith Str. Soho, Bonn by N. Simrock, Paris by Maurice Schlesinger to be published 20th July 1832. (I am still in possession of the M.S.). I was requested by Mendelssohn to have this work printed in London as his property and on his own account, which was done accordingly. On the 21 July 1832 I paid the engraving (Mr. Sheen) and printing of 200 copies to Mr. V. Novello in commission for sale. [...] 4) Mendelssohn arrived in London on the 23 April 1832. The next day he played to me the 1st book [of] Melodies from memory. He left London on the 23rd of June 1832, consequently before the Melodies were published. 5) I do not know whether Mendelssohn could not agree with Cramer & Co. about the publication of the Melodies. [...] 7) Mr. Sheen engraved, and Mr. Hull printed the work. [...] 9) Mendelssohn quitted London before the work was published and altho' unable to recollect when and by whom I had the work entered at Stat[ioners']. Hall, yet I fancy it could not have been on the 27th August as mentioned by you, since that would have been posterior by nearly a month to the day of publication 20th July. 10) I am not aware that op 19 was printed in Germany before it was brought out in England. 11) I am not aware that any one is better initiated in the transaction than myself, except perhaps Mr. C. Klingemann of No 4 Hobart Place Eaton Squ. To this I can only add, that I am in possession of a note of Mendelssohn written in London to me on the 16th May 1833, wherin [!] he says, that he was to meet your father the next day, to settle accounts for the copies he had on sale for him, but on what terms he made over the copyright of the work to him or you, I am not aware [...]".

Somewhat browned and soiled (concerning the recto of the first leaf as well as the envelope). Minor edge tears.

Stock Code: BN#60781 Tag: