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              The German conductor sends a typed letter signed to Teatro Colon General Director Cirilo Grassi-Diaz in Spanish, (Buenos Aires, 1936).  

Translated from the Spanish:

Don C. Grassi Diaz

 

presented

 

My dear friend;

 

I hereby allow you to forgive a special favor: The orchestral material of "The Passion of St. Matthew" by J.S. Bach is owned by the Teatro Colón. It contains two parts for "harpsichord" that were saved by myself at one time.

 

I am in need of this now, I would greatly appreciate your ordering and delivering these parts to me to be able to practice for a few weeks, I am making Master Engel responsible for their punctual return to the archive.

 

I do not doubt you will accede to my request and giving you the anticipated thanks and greet you very affectionately.

 

Your friend,

Busch (1890-1951) was a rebel against the Nazi’s when they came into power.  In 1922 he was appointed Generalmusikdirektor of Dresden, which included the Staatskapelle and the Staatsoper.  His early tenure was a musical revelation for the city and included many noteworthy performances at the Staatsoper including the World Premieres of Richard Strauss’s “Intermezzo” and “Die Aegyptische Helena”.  Busch was one of the first major German figures to speak out against “National Socialism” in 1930 after he came face to face with it in Coblenz.  He maintained his position rather loudly and in particular the rampant anti-Semitism. When Hitler was appointed Chancellor in January, 1933, it only took until March for the Nazi’s to force Busch out on trumped up charges. He made a decision shortly afterwards to leave Germany and initially moved to Denmark where he led the Danish Radio Symphony and the Stockholm Philharmonic.  In 1934 he was appointed Music Director of the new Glyndebourne Festival in England.  A position he held until 1939.  Starting in 1934, he spent the Winter in Argentina conducting at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.  By 1936 he received his citizenship papers and from 1940-1945 he remained their exclusively.

Busch led the very first complete St. Matthew Passion in the Americas in 1936 at the Teatro Colon.  It was one of Bach’s few works which had received little attention until Mendelssohn revived it in the mid 1850’s and then had little traction really until after World War II outside of Germany.

When given the history, it is quite an interesting letter, as Busch at one point had eliminated the harpsichords from a production of the work in Germany.

 

 

           FRITZ BUSCH - CONDUCTOR
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