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NEAR MINT CONDITION

ALEXANDER SILOTI - PIANIST

Three page autographed letter on Hotel Ansonia stationary to violinist Carl Flesch, New Yor, October 27, 1925.

27 October,’25

Dear esteemed Mr. Flesch,

Please do not forget that you promised a “meeting” with me toi listen to your critique of my edition of the Bach Concerto and for you to hear my response.  If you want to set a time, I would ask that you choose between 3 and 7 in the afternoon ; and for this meeting I’d also like you to bring your copy of the piano score because I recently discovered a great many printing errors which I am in the process of correcting in all the copies that Fischer has (a laborious and hardly pleasant job)

With the greatest oblige, I remain with a heart felt good bye,

A. Siloti

Alexander Siloti (1863-1945) studied piano with Nikolai Zverev, and Nikolai Rubinstein and theory with Piotr Tchaikovsky at the Moscow Conservatory from 1876-1881.  He was presented the Conservatories Gold Medal in 1881.  After making his professional debut in Moscow in 1880, he toured Germany after his graduation and earned a coveted place with Franz Liszt at Weimar in 1883.  He became Liszt’s favorite pupil at the end of his life, studying with Liszt until his death in 1886.  From 1888-1891 he was a Professor at the Moscow Conservatory, teaching among others his cousin Sergei Rachmaninov.  From 1891 to 1901, he lived in various European cities traveling as a concert pianist.  He came back to Russia in 1901 to lead the Moscow Philharmonic Society, forming his own orchestra in 1903.  It was with his own orchestra that he contracted with his old Weimar classmate Felix Weingartner and the Hungarian violinist, Carl Flesch to make their Russian debuts together in January, 1911.  Flesch (1873-1944) it turns out was a bit of a Judas Iscariot in his treatment of Siloti, to whom he owed a bit of a debt for arranging his Russian debut.  In Flesch’s autobiography, he wrote, The Liszt pupil Alexander Siloti was the conductor of the great Philharmonic Concerts in Petersburg.  Through his wife, he had excellent connections in society, but he was not taken quite seriously as a conductor. (Though very much so as a pianist and teacher) He has remained in my memory chiefly for using, like Reger and Muck, indecent expressions and playing the boor.  During the Revolution he fled abroad and eventually settled in New York as a piano teacher developing as a side-line an extensive practice as an arranger and ‘remodeler’ of classical works. (He had taken up this activity long before he went to  America.)

The work described in the letter is Siloti’s transcription of Bach’s Concerto #2, in E Major BVW 1042, which he reduced to solo violin and piano and published by Carl Fischer in 1924.  Fischer’s engravings at times were known to be sloppy in their rush to publication.

Mint save the file holes, but a sensational letter!