When you were so kind, two years ago, as to write me in regard to the performance of my F minor symphony, you were good enough to hold out to me the promise that you would bring out in the Western world another orchestral work of mine. A second composition of this kind is to be published in October, score and parts; it is a symphonic Fantasie in four movements:
|I.||The Campagna (Lento).|
|II.||The Ruins of Rome (Allegro con brio).|
|III.||On the Strand of Sorrento (Andante).|
|IV.||Neapolitan Folk Life (Allegro vivace).|
Would you permit me to ask, encouraged by your friendly offer, whether I might venture to hope that the work might be given under your direction in New York?
I myself conducted the first performance of it here in Munich, March 1, and achieved a fine success, although a not altogether uncontested one. The Fantasie offers an especial freedom of form, entirely new and unusual, and it would naturally be viewed with hostility by the old musicians who were brought here to fill positions as functionaries. As to the technical part of the work, it belongs to the most difficult which the modern school of music has produced, and we have very few orchestras here which could cope with it, especially, the last movement. Few concert organizations have great orchestras and conductors of genius who can grasp the intellectual contents of a work, such as the New York Philharmonic Society, which, under your leadership, stands in the first rank. It is therefore all the more important for me that the Philharmonic Society should not refuse my Italian Fantasie.
Under these circumstances, honored sir, you will readily understand how cheerfully I recalled your very kind promise of two years ago. Bülow has accepted it for his concerts in Berlin and Hamburg next season, and has expressed himself most strongly in its favor. It is not quite so long as the F minor symphony. With the latter I have had prodigious luck, and it has now been played eleven times …. You are already aware that I have been for the last two years conductor at the Hof Theatre here. I like the position very much, as it allows me time for my composition.