Beethoven's Letters 1790-1826, Volume 1

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LETTERS OF LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN.In accompanying the present edition of the Letters of Ludwig van Beethovenwith a few introductory remarks, I at once acknowledge that the compilationof these letters has cost me no slight sacrifices. I must also, however,mention that an unexpected Christmas donation, generously bestowed on mewith a view to further my efforts to promote the science of music, enabledme to undertake one of the journeys necessary for my purpose, and also tocomplete the revision of the Letters and of the press, in the milder airand repose of a country residence, long since recommended to me for therestoration of my health, undermined by overwork.That, in spite of every effort, I have not succeeded in seeing the originalof each letter, or even discovering the place where it exists, may well beexcused, taking into consideration the slender capabilities of anindividual, and the astonishing manner in which Beethoven's Letters aredispersed all over the world. At the same time, I must state that not onlyhave the hitherto inaccessible treasures of Anton Schindler's "Beethoven'sNachlass" been placed at my disposal, but also other letters from privatesources, owing to various happy chances, and the kindness and complaisanceof collectors of autographs. I know better, however, than mostpeople--being in a position to do so--that in the present work there can beno pretension to any thing approaching to a complete collection ofBeethoven's Letters. The master, so fond of writing, though he often ratheramusingly accuses himself of being a lazy correspondent, may very probablyhave sent forth at least double the amount of the letters here given, andthere is no doubt whatever that a much larger number are still extant inthe originals. The only thing that can be done at this moment, however, isto make the attempt to bring to light, at all events, the letters thatcould be discovered in Germany. The mass of those which I graduallyaccumulated, and now offer to the public (with the exception of someinsignificant notes), appeared to me sufficiently numerous and important tointerest the world, and also to form a substantial nucleus for any lettersthat may hereafter be discovered. On the other hand, as many of Beethoven'sLetters slumber in foreign lands, especially in the unapproachable cabinetsof curiosities belonging to various close-fisted English collectors, anentire edition of the correspondence could only be effected by a mostdisproportionate outlay of time and expense
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