Brahms, Johannes. (1833-1897)
Autograph letter, signed “JB,” three pages on two adjoining sheets, to his publisher Fritz Simrock, in Berlin. 4.25 x 5.5, January 4, 1896. In part (translated from German): “Let’s leave it as it is: me in the hotel, the pretty ladies ("hübschen Weibchen") at your place. I will also profit by it: when they are comfortably settled, they will receive me that much more kindly; but can they do that from an uncomfortable hotel, what good will eel, snails and the good Mosel [wine] be to me!? On Tuesday I am not coming, by the way, and our hotel is not the Ascanisher Hof. So don’t go to needless trouble. In any case, looking forward, if not to the most enjoyable days this time, then to cozy and hopefully merry hours at Zeich’s.” Double-matted and framed with a portrait of the composer to an overall size of 20.5 x 12.5, with a window on the reverse for viewing of the first page. In fine condition. Published in 1919 in the Brahms Briefwechsel, vol. 12, p. 188, no. 903
Although Brahms had ostensibly decided to retire from composing in 1890, he could not withstand the creative urge and continued to compose, including Op. 121 and the Eleven Chorale Preludes during 1896, the year of the present letter.