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Lot 123: Albert Schweitzer Autograph Letter Signed Mentioning Bach Concerts
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
26 October 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: Albert Schweitzer Autograph Letter Mentioning Bach Concerts********** SCHWEITZER, ALBERT. (1875-1965). French theologian, philosopher, physician, organist, and music scholar; winner of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize. ALS. (“Albert Schweitzer”). ¼p. 4to. Lambaréné, June 28, 1962. To Paul Fitzgerald. In German with translation. ********** “I was happy to see my name listed on the letter as Honorary Chairman of the Germani Bach concerts. I remember very well our correspondence on this issue. I do hope the concerts will continue with the success that they deserve…”********** Written at the bottom of a letter penned in English by Schweitzer’s Dutch nurse, Ali Silver, which reads: ********** “Dr. Schweitzer received your letter 2 months ago. It interested him so much, that the events in San Francisco were a great success. Dr. Schweitzer thanks you for sending him the program of the gala recital. Dr. Schweitzer intended to reply to your letter in May. Urgent construction work has to be done however in the coming weeks, and concrete walls have already been poured. The details are supervised by Dr. Schweitzer and only a very limited time is left for a worldwide correspondence. May this explain the delay in replying to your letter. Dr. Schweitzer will write to you in person… Ali. Silver. (dutch nurse).” ********** In addition to studying philosophy and theology, Schweitzer was a scholar of and performer on the organ. While training under French composer and organist Charles-Marie Widor, he astonished his teacher with his interpretation of Bach’s chorale preludes. In 1908, Schweitzer published his influential interpretation in a book simply entitled Johann Sebastian Bach. He collaborated with Widor on an edition of Bach’s organ pieces and was influential in starting a movement toward baroque sensibilities in both organ performance and construction. ********** Music, though one of his passions, was not the central focus of Schweitzer’s life. Instead, beginning in 1913, he devoted himself to building a mission hospital in Lambaréné, in the Gabon province of French Equatorial Africa. There he spent over a quarter-century ministering to the mission’s sick. Schweitzer continued to write, publish and speak on his philosophy of “Reverence for Life” and the money generated through his books and lectures funded the hospital’s expansion. ********** Composer and organist Fernando Germani (1906-1998) was a student of Respighi and held the posts of organist of the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome and organist of Rome’s Augusteo Symphony Orchestra. Our letter concerns a series of Bach concerts Germani conducted just after Easter 1961. ********** Written in brown ink on a thin sheet of paper. Folded and near fine.