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Music, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Continental Books

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Rilke, Rainer Maria
AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED ("RMRILKE"), TO THE SINGER ALBERTINA CASSANI
apologizing for not having sent her in the intervening week since their meeting anything other than a matter-of-fact telegram, citing physical and mental depression as an excuse, also blaming his silence on the fact that Zürich is not Bern, and that the former confuses and makes him gloomy, explaining that he desired to leave the place, although he wanted to spend a few days near his doctor so that he could speak with him before travelling, referring to news he has just received concerning a female friend of his in Paris, commenting at length on breakfast with Busoni, noting how he loves the atmosphere surrounding the 'Master'; in the closing passages of the letter Rilke recounts his sadness at retracing a walk they had shared together and muses on the notion which had occurred to him that he should do without her

...Körperliche und seelische Depressionen, vielleicht nicht unabhängig von denen des Wetters haben mich in Bann und Unlust gehalten, so schwieg ich, - auch ist Zürich nicht Bern, es giebt mir wenig zu lernen, faßt mich nie recht eigentlich zusammen, verwirrt, vertrübt, verfasert mich leicht, bringt mir zu viel Menschen -, und obgleich die einzelnen Begegnungen schön und reizvoll sind zum großen Theil, so geben sie mir doch nicht das, was ich jetzt nöthig hätte. Ich müßte fort...

4 pages, 200 x 150mm., autograph envelope annotated by the recipient ("Herrn Direktor Rudolf Steinböck von der Empfängerin dieses Briefes freundlichst zugeeignet"), black seal, Baur au Lac, 17 July 1919


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Literature

Ulrich Keyn, ed. Briefe an eine Reisegefährtin, Eine Begegnung mit Rainer Maria Rilke (Vienna, 1947), pp.61-65

Catalogue Note

In May 1919 Rilke had received an invitation from a reader's circle in Hottingen, Switzerland, to read his poems. It was while on the train to Zürich on 11 June that he made the acquaintance of his correspondent, the singer Albertina Cassani, known as 'Putzi'. This letter is one of a touching series written to the singer between June and November 1919.

Music, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Continental Books

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London