Barham Livius an Carl August Böttiger in Dresden
Berlin, Sonntag, 28. Dezember 1823


Absolute Chronology



Dear Sir

The grateful recollection, of the many kind and polite attentions which I received from you during my late state at Dresden, encourage me, to address a few lines to you to request the favour of your assistance, in a matter on which I once had the honour of having some conversation with you. – […]

Every thing remains in doubt & uncertainty respecting the two operas of our honourd & highly gifted friend Weber. – it would seem that the London managers are sadly afraid that the music is too good for the depraved taste of the frequenters of their houses – & there is really some truth in their notion – for a theatrical audience of the present day in London is far from being composed of people of education & taste – However, as Mr. Kemble has written to me in the most kind & flattering way respecting the piece which I sent him, founded on the Freyshüts, and expressed an anxious wish „to venture it“ – I am very much inclind to think that he will prevail on his Colleagues in office to bring it out about Easter next* (the time when the best part of the society of London are more in the habit of going to the play.) – I understand however from my friend Irving that at Drury Lane a piece on the same subject is forthcoming in the shape of a Melodrama a la maniere Francaise*. –

Abu Hassan“ – not having been deemd „strong enough“ (to employ the technical term of the Theatre)*, for one of the great Houses and the smaller theatres in London being very ill mounted for operas – I have determined to lay it by till the new projected opera house is established (in which I have embarked myself a considerable property) & where it will be done that justice to which the works of this divine master of Harmony merit. – –

I pray you my dear & respected Sir, to take an opportunity (at your earliest convenience) to assure M. Weber, of my regrets at not being able yet to give him an account of the appearance of his charming operas – and at the same time to reimbourse him for the manuscripts he had the goodness to supply me with – with respect to the two operas – I shall consider myself in his debt still further – whenever they appear before the public. – – I had the honour of writing myself to him at Vienna – but, not having received any reply I fear my letter has miscarried – or perhaps his numerous avocations have prevented his attending to my request – namely to supply me with a memorandum of the time in which he wishes the movements in the Freyshuts to be executed, measured by Maelzels Metronome – – I would also fain know whether he has not written music for a piece on the subject of SchillersGang nach der Eisenhammer“ & in that case whether I can obtain the piece – which seems to me highly calculated for our Stage. – My stay here will hardly exceed a week – & from hence I go to M. de Malsburgs at Cassell where I shall stay a short time.

Receive, I entreat you, dear & respected Sir, the expression of the high esteem & consideration with which I have the honour to be – Your devoted & obliged ServantBarham Livius



Livius bedauert, dass noch immer nicht Webers Opern Freischütz und Abu Hassan in London aufgeführt worden sind, erläutert die Probleme dabei, er bemühe sich weiterhin, Theater dafür zu interessieren. Sein Brief an Weber in dieser Angelegenheit, den er nach Wien geschickt habe, scheint verloren gegangen zu sein


The grateful recollection, of the many kind and polite attentions


  • Text Source: Dresden (D), Sächsische Landesbibliothek - Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek (SLUB) (D-Dl), Böttiger-Nachlass

    Corresponding sources

    • Walter A. Reichart, Washington Irving’s friend and collaborator: Barham John Livius, Esq., in: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, vol. 56, Nr. 2 (Juni 1941), S. 522–524


    • “… it out about Easter next”Am Covent Garden Theatre kam der Freischütz am 14. Oktober 1824 in einer Einrichtung von Planché (Text) und Livius (Musik) heraus.
    • “… Melodrama a la maniere Francaise”Im Drury Lane Theatre kam erst am 10. November 1824 die Freischütz-Bearbeitung von Soane (Text) und Bishop (Musik) heraus.
    • “… technical term of the Theatre)”Abu Hassan erlebte seine Londoner Erstaufführung am 4. April 1825 im Drury Lane Theatre in einer zweiaktigen Bearbeitung von William Dimond (Text) und T. S. Cooke (Musik, mit zahlreichen musikalische Übernahmen aus Preciosa).
    • derrecte “dem”.


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