Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Munich and Mannheim Memories

Munich and Mannheim Memories:

Munich, den 26. September

Gott zum Gruss, meine liebe Marianne und meine lieben Freunde!
Marianne, I hope that you had a beautiful, invigorating walk this day in the English Garden.
I love it there as well! When we did reside in Munich, I sought refuge there in nature as often as I could manage, as the soothing and plentiful green landscape does so refresh my soul.
And the gardens are so huge that there are always new vistas to gaze upon.
At times, when I walked there in the early morning with Constanze or Mama, we would come upon a shepherd with his flock of sheep.
How serenely the sheep blended into the rich, verdant grounds.
Marianne, I do hope that you perchance saw some sheep there!
If not, then perhaps the next time.
I have very warm feelings for the time my family and I lived in Munich.
It is a friendly place, a large, cosmopolitain village, is it not.
And this countryside--the English Garden--right in the middle of the town--is but one example of Munich's hospitality.
For you can seek and find the country in the inner city......
The rehearsal of "The Creation" this day went very well.
It is so good to be back again in the bosom of my family--this time, my musical family.
You see, Marianne, all the musicians from the Mannheim Court--all of Papa's friends and colleagues whom I knew growing up--they are all regrouped here at the Bavarian Court!
I feel so at home here, and so does Mama.
It feels so good to be among these colleagues and friends of Papa's once again!
It is as though we never left!
Only my poor, dear Papa is missing.
We had such a wonderful, warm reunion the other day--when I was able to embrace once more these friends I have known my whole life.
Maestro Haydn's kind eyes twinkled and he looked so pleased to look upon our reunion.
My mind flashed back to my early childhood.
I did not know a time when Papa would not take me and Constanze to rehearsals with him.
These times were very special.
We did not attend them every day, but perhaps one time in the week, and we were told to sit quietly and listen to the music, which I gladly obliged; I love listening to musicians play.
Of course, the music came repeatedly--often the same passages over and over, interspersed often with the sound of the Konzertmeister's voice.
It was not a straight linear performace, not the finished product of the Konzertsaal.
I did not care.
Sometimes, I sat in the far corner of the hall and exchanged whispered conversations with curly red-haired Phillip, my age--my first crush--haha--one of the two oboist's son.
Phillips's father, Herr Rasmussen, hailed from Copenhagen, Denmark, and several years later, the family all returned there.......
When Constanze and I were older, we used to bring our needlepoint and knitting along.
Mama frequently came as well, as did occasionally my elder sisters, Josefa and Aloysia.
The first flutist, Herr Stefan Fassbinder, was Papa's best friend.
Herr Fassbinder is a bit of a comedian and loves to tell jokes, like my dear Meinke-Haibl.
It seems he is always smiling and making funny faces--but not during performances.
It was so good to see him and his wife, Minna, again! Minna is an excellent pianoforteist and used sometimes to play at our house when some of Papa's friends came over for musical evenings.
Now their two grown sons are musicians employed at other German courts.
Herr Fassbinder has quite an unusual attribute--his huge fondness for small domestic animals and his skill in curing them of what ails them.
Indeed, he has two professions--flutist and unofficial animal doctor.
Even the Elector of Bavaria brings all his pets to him when they are ill!
Herr Fassbinder just has a way with animals.
He grows herbs in his gardens which he uses in his cures.
They are also good for people, he professes--and Papa did certainly agree.
If nothing else, they make a very flavorful tea.
Herr Fassbinder has no time to take on larger animals, such as horses.
We have got our three dogs from him--who are at present with my sister, Josefa, and her husband, Herr Hofer, in Vienna.
They are running our boarding house during our absence--Josefa and Herr Hofer--not the dogs!
Although I would wager that we are owned by our dogs!
Herr Fassbinder loves to procure animals for friends, and has himself quite a houseful of dogs and cats.
He just knows who has animals that need homes, and so he is in this respect rather a messenger.
And Herr Fassbinder was so delighted to meet little Loewchen and was charmed by him.
Well, that is all for now, my dears.
I am going downstairs to our tavern here in the Drei Kronen Inn, and supper awaits.
Sir Penguin--this night, trout is on the menu!
Marianne, I hope that you had a a lovely afternoon here in the Bavarian capital!
I am so much looking forward to seeing you, Josepha, and Herr Streitel on Saturday--and so is Maestro Haydn.
Bis dann, viele liebe Gruesse (Until then, lots of greetings),

An Upcoming Kaffee Klatsch (Get-Together):

Munich, den 28. September

My dear Marianne,
Gruess Gott! I hope that you, Josepha, and Herr Streitel spent a most pleasant day in this peaceful, provincial town.
I am this quiet afternoon basking in the muted sunlight on this warm Indian summer day.
I see the waning sun cast its yellow shadow on the light-colored buildings hereabouts.
Though Meinke-Haibl and I have not yet parted company, as I lie at night in my fresh, plump Eiderdown bed, I take nightly comfort in my future reunion with my dearest Meinke-Haibl.
There in my bed, secure and protected as an infant in the womb, I can think of nothing save my dearest darling.
His recollection, beloved countenance, and being so warms and lightens my heart.
I can smile contentedly and hopefully as I fall into blissful slumber.
Marianne, short of rain--Mama and I shall meet you and Josepha tomorrow at fourteen hours at the Chinese Pagoda in the English Garden.
Within is an establishment for supping and taking refreshments.
We can partake of our midday meal in that tavern and afterwards, take a constitutional in the verdant setting of the immense grounds, weather permitting, of course.
From here, if the rather long walk to the English Garden is not to your liking, we four can all rent a carriage here in the town center and proceed thus.
If this is your preference, Marianne, kindly send me word here at the inn.
Until tomorrow, I remain
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

To Josef Haydn:

Munich, den 28. September

My dear Maestro Haydn,
I bid you good day, my dear friend, and hope that your leg is healing well!
You are indeed so fortunate not to have sustained any broken limbs from that frightful fall two days hence.
My mother, Widow Weber, wishes for me to convey to you her pleasure in requesting our company at supper this evening.
She and I will be so happy to join you and Herr Meinke-Haibl downstairs in the tavern at nineteen hours.
Maestro, your suggestion that we retire to the music room after supper and sing some songs and ditties pleases me much!
What fun and delight to express ourselves in song and mirth and in such honored and esteemed company.
It is perfection and a great honor to have you sing as well, dear Herr Haydn, and to accompany us on the pianoforte.
What pleasure I take in hearing your beautiful, melodious voice in song.
One admires and recognizes the fact that you are a true and gifted Saenger and esteemed Wiener Saenger Knaben (Vienna Choir Boys) alumnus.
Your voice, my dear friend, has never lost that bell-like clarity, firmness, purity, and remarkable phrasing and rhythm.
How you honor me to request that I share with you in this most sublime of pleasures, my dear Maestro.
And what pleasure it will give me to hear the blending of your beautiful voice with Herr Meinke-Haibl's lovely tenor register.
Ah, in truth, dear Maestro, I am so glad to be asked to partake in the fun with the modest efforts of my soprano, and this shall be all surprise and spontaneity.
We know not yet what we shall sing!
Yes, dear Herr Haydn, the red wine at supper that you suggested with the venison, potato dumplings, and greens will be quite agreeable.
Dear Haydn, how relieved I am that your leg is on the mend, and that we shall have the great honor to sing under your leadership at the concert this Saturday next.
Bis heute abend dann (until this evening then), I kiss your hand a thousand times, dear Maestro, and am ever
Your devoted servant and friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

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