Text Box: PIANist AUTOGRAPHS
Text Box: HARMONIE AUTOGRAPHS AND MUSIC INC.

MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS & ANTIQUARIAN
Text Box: MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS AND EPHEMERA BOUGHT AND SOLD

Price: $450.00

FINE CONDITION

LEOPOLD DE MEYER - PIANIST & COMPOSER

Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247

 

One page autographed letter signed to Franz Schott with integral address panel attached with wax seal still affixed, Vienna, November 12, 1853.

 

Meyer writes:

 

Vienna 12 November [1853]

 

Dear Mr. Schott!

 

I have received your valuable letter correctly - and I submit to your promise for better times - and I am satisfied with 500 florins C.M. I confess to you that I would have put it better here if I had then sold it again for London - but I would rather remain loyal to the valuable Schott house - the Styrian songs were opened here by a certain Stangieri he played it - and [they] liked it so much that he had to repeat it - I'll send you the program - it was the last piece - and the most applauded - the 2 pieces Andante and Nocturne have to be through the mail and you should have received them - you will get the 2 Polka's next week - Now I ask you to have these works engraved as soon as possible and rather right away, so that you can kindly send the sample print to Paris.

 

For the time being with respect,

 

your devoted friend,

 

 Leopold von Meyer

 

Unter den Tuchlauben No 553. Vienna

 

Meyer (1816 - 1883) was perhaps the most colorful of all 19th Century piano virtuosos with a style his own, akin to P.Y. Barnum. Here he writes to Franz Schott, the grandson of Bernhard Schott who founded the venerable music publishing house and also the man who brought Wagner to their stable of composers.  Meyer studied with Carl Czerny, Liszt’s teacher in Vienna and earlier with Joseph Fischhoff as the Vienna Conservatory.  He wrote hundreds of bravura salon showpieces which he would play extravagantly in crowded public halls and was known as “The Lion Pianist” due to his giant main of curly hair and also “The Paganini of the Piano”!

Meyer was a child prodigy and like many who came before him was paraded around to the salons in Vienna.  To please his father a counselor to the Hapsburgs he enrolled at the University of Vienna at an earlier than usual age to earn a law degree.  When his father passed away when he was midway through his degree, he decided to pursue a career as a pianist, so at seventeen went to study with Carl Czerny.  In 1835, at nineteen he decided he was ready for the career of a touring virtuoso and headed to Russia and Eastern Europe.  He made it as far East as Constantinople before triumphantly returning to Vienna 1843.  In London in 1844 he concertized with important company including, Benedict, Beriot, Moscheles, Sivori and Vieuxtemps, receiving rave reviews for his originality at the time.  In Paris in 1845 he was all the rage playing concerts in halls and in private salons.  Back to London the same year he performed and learned his reputation had spread and he was wanted in America.  No piano virtuoso of his stature had ever toured there.  So he left aboard the ship Great Britain on September 27, 1845 with a contract for 6 performances at the Park Theatre in New York City which had been the location of the first performances of Italian opera in America with the Garcia family twenty years prior.  His American debut on October 20th, 1845 was scheduled to be in the middle of a vaudeville type of variety show where was to play one piece during the intermission.  He wound up performing 2 of his works and an encore the first night to three curtain calls and raves from the press. “The Sun” wrote, “The most triumphant debut we ever entertained”.  Interestingly his opera paraphrases which were all the rage in Europe were not as successful as the more ethnic pieces he wrote from music he had heard while touring.  His “Marche Marrocaine” and his “Aires Russe” were particularly popular with the American public.  The six contracted nights led to solo concerts in the New York Tabernacle which held 3,000 people.  They were highly successful and new to America and he next appeared in the Ureli Corelli Hill Festival in November as a guest artist.  Hill was the first conductor of the New York Philharmonic Society which had only been founded three years prior to Meyer’s arrival.  De Meyer travelled and concertized through New York and New England going even to Montreal , the South as far as New Orleans and Mid-West as far as St. Louis and Memphis.  He spent two years in the United States and for his first year his concerts were generally sold out.  It seems he overstayed his welcome as during the second year of tours, his star began to fade.  He largely ran his own publicity and would even boast about playing the piano with blocks of wood.  He added orchestras for intervals between his slots and even singers.  Piano manufacturers even courted him.  He left in June, 1847 with fellow Czerny pupil Henri Herz who had arrived in the middle of 1846 eclipsing his star with a more refined form of bravura.  He promised to return in 1868 and did so in 1867, twenty years later, though his tour was not as successful as his first round.

Meyer wrote an endless number of salon pieces.  His Marche d’Isly and Marche Maroccaine were both orchestrated for large orchestra by Hector Berlioz and the Marche d’Isly was Berlioz’s only American World Premiere as it were.  There would have been a second World Premiere by Meyer forgot to bring the Maroccaine score to America.

We found references to a pianist named J. Stangieri performing in London in “The London Illustrated News” in 1853.  There are also references to the same in Germany at the same point in time.

Unusual, great content and quite rare.  The letter in person does not have the orange-red hue seen in the scan.