Text Box:  PIANist autographs


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Price: $100.00



One page autographed letter signed to pianist Abram Chasins, New York, November 15, 1927.


111 E. 81

Butterfield 0328

Nov. 15, 1927


Dear Abram Chasins,


“The Three Polonaises” is on its way to you with official dedication and all.  I hope you will still enjoy it in the cold light of day.


Call me up when you have some time.  I’m getting hungry for more preludes and we must organize that expedition “a quatre” to Manney’s.




Leopold D. Mannes


Leopold Damrosch Mannes (1899-1964) was the son of David Mannes and Walter Damrosch’s sister Clara.  He graduated from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree in music and a minor in physics.  He studied piano with Elizabeth Quaile, Guy Maier, Berthe Bert and Alfred Cortot.  Further studies in composition with Johannes Schreyer, Percy Goetschius and Rosario Scalero.  Following his education, Mannes taught composition at his parents conservatory, The Mannes School and theory at The Institute of Musical Arts (Julliard).  He made his professional debut in a New York recital in 1922.  In 1948 he would become Co-Director with his Father and in 1950, President of The Mannes School.  He changed the name of the School to The Mannes College of Music when the began to offer bachelors degrees.  He also added significant composers and musicians to the faculty during his time as the head.  Musically, Mannes remained a performer, but less on his own and instead the pianist of the Mannes Trio, which he founded in 1948 and was comprised of violinist Vittorio Brero, later Bronislaw Gimpel and cellist Luigi Silva.  They toured significantly throughout the United States and Europe.  Mannes also was a composer as evidenced by this letter, though his body of work was not a large one.


Mannes and his childhood friend Leopold Godowsky Jr. were classmates at the Riverdale School.  After seeing an early attempt at the use of color in the film “Our Navy” the two vowed to create a news process for color film which they began by designing a projector which took black and white images and mixed them with three colored lenses which had poor results.  In 1922 when Godowsky quit his position as a violinist with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra they began to work together in their spare time on color processes for film.  Mannes met one of the partners of Kuhn and Loeb and described their work on color film.  After a meeting with Mannes and Godowsky at the Mannes School, the company decided to invest in their work.  A lab was built in New York City and 1924, they began taking out patents on their discoveries and processes. In 1930 the lab was moved to the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester and in the Spring of 1936 the process they developed, Kodachrome was revealed to the World.  In 1941, Mannes would create another process which would improve the sound quality of color film.


Our letter written during this period of invention shows that Mannes, who allegedly gave up music for over a decade really had not.  He was still composing.  Interestingly, as they appear to have been friends from this letter, Mannes is only mentioned once in passing in Chasins well known book, Speaking of Pianists, as one he had heard frequently.


Abram Chasins, (1903-1987) was a well known concert pianist, composer and educator.  Trained by Josef Hofmann, he was a true bon vivant of the musical world and wrote significantly of his experiences.