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Clara Schumann
Letter to Doppler

July 14, 1838


Clara Schumann. Letter to Doppler. July 14, 1838
Clara Schumann. Letter to Doppler. July 14, 1838

When Clara Wieck wrote this letter in 1838, she was still in her teens, but already a renowned piano virtuoso. It is addressed to Herr von Doppler, care of Anton Diabelli, the famous Viennese music publisher. (Diabelli is best remembered today for having supplied the impetus—and the theme—for Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations.) Clara reports that her hostess in Dresden, Friederike Serre, has an album containing the hand­writing of great musicians. Frau Serre has asked if Clara could supply her with handwriting samples of both Diabelli and Schubert. (Diabelli had published many of Schubert’s works, so he undoubtedly would have been equipped to do this.) Clara, in turn, asks Doppler to approach Diabelli with her request. We do not have Doppler’s reply, and thus do not know what came of Clara’s request.


Honored Sir,

Permit me a request: I'm here in the country, at an estate that is one of the most devoted to the arts. The lady of the house has an extraordinary appreciation for all of the arts, and she finds great happiness in an album of hers containing the handwriting of the great masters. Apropos of this, she asked me recently if I might be able to supply her with the handwriting of Mr. von Diabelli, as well as of Franz Schubert. This is the request that I make of you, dear Mr. Doppler. Ask Mr. von Diabelli about this in my name. I am of course not entirely without self-interest in this, and he certainly cannot refuse me a sample of his handwriting. "Isn't it so, dear Mr. von Diabelli, that you'll grant my request?" I would be glad to have it as soon as possible, because I won't be staying here for much longer. If you would be so good, please send it to me at the following address: "Clara Wieck, in Dresden, deliverable to the tapestry building [Tapetenfabrick?] on the Johannisgasse, courtesy of Major von Serre, currently in Maxen." I eagerly hope that you will grant this request.

Yesterday my father sent me the souvenir, and I'd like to thank you for it. It is beautifully engraved, and so far I've found no errors in it. I'm glad to have a memento from beloved Vienna and was excited to see the Stephansturm in it.

I've been playing the songs by Liszt, with which you so surprised me, with great enthusiasm, especially "Gretchen," "Erlkönig," and "Sei mir gegrüßt". Is Liszt coming to Vienna in the summer? Thalberg as well? Is he still coming to Leipzig as promised? Liszt as well? - What is Mrs. von Cibbini doing? Lickl, Vesque von Püttlingen, Fischhof? These are too many questions for you to answer, but all the same I hope for an answer soon. Give all of these dear friends my thousand greetings, as well as Mr. von Diabelli, whom I thank sincerely in advance.

If Vienna too is suffering under all this heat, at least you do so under Italianate skies! Please excuse this hurried writing, and send an answer soon.

Your devoted,
Clara Wieck

Please give my best to Graff [i.e., Conrad Graf?], and [ask] whether his heart has righted itself."

I'm costing you so much postage. Send me a bill next time! Or should I do otherwise? Letters travel too slowly for me.