"Claude Debussy As I Knew Him" and Other Writings of Arthur Hartmann

"Claude Debussy As I Knew Him" and Other Writings of Arthur Hartmann

Edited by Samuel Hsu, Sidney Grolnic, Mark Peters


Hardback out of stock

University of Rochester Press



A record of a ten-year personal friendship, with letters, and insights on other contemporaries.
Arthur Hartmann (1881-1956), a celebrated violinist who performed over a thousand recitals throughout Europe and the United States, met Claude Debussy in 1908, after he had transcribed "Il pleure dans mon coeur" for violin and piano. Their relationship developed into friendship, and in February 1914 Debussy accompanied Hartmann in a performance of three of Hartmann's transcriptions of Debussy's works. The two friends saw each other for the last time on the composer's birthday, 22 August 1914, shortly before Hartmann and his family fled Europe to escape the Great War.
With the publication of Hartmann's memoir "Claude Debussy as I Knew Him", along with the twenty-two known letters from Claude Debussy and the thirty-nine letters from Emma Debussy to Hartmann and his wife, the richness and importance of their relationship can be appreciated for the first time. The memoir covers the years 1908-1918. Debussy's letters to Hartmann span the years 1908-1916, and Emma [Mme] Debussy's letters span the years 1910-1932. Also included are the facsimile of Debussy's Minstrels manuscript transcription for violin and piano, three previously unpublished letters from Debussy to Pierre Louÿs, and correspondence between Hartmann and Béla Bartók, Nina Grieg, Alexandre Guilmant, Charles Martin Loeffler, Marian MacDowell, Hans Richter, and Anton Webern, along with Hartmann's memoirs on Loeffler, Ysaÿe, Joachim and Grieg.

Samuel Hsu is a pianist and Professor of Music at Philadelphia Biblical University. He completed his Ph.D. in Historical Musicology at the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1972 with a dissertation on Debussy.
Sidney Grolnic has been a librarian in the Music Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia for over twenty years and serves as curator of the library's Hartmann Collection.
Mark Peters has recently received his Ph.D. in Historical Musicology at the University of Pittsburgh; his dissertation was on J. S. Bach's sacred cantatas to texts by Mariana von Ziegler.

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30 black and white, 3 line illustrations
361 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
Paperback, 9781580463645, September 2010
Hardback, 9781580461047, January 2004
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC BIO004000, MUS050000, MUS006000
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Table of Contents

Part 1: Arthur Hartmann: A Biographical Sketch
Part 2: Claude Debussy
Letters from Claude and Emma Debussy to Arthur and Marie Hartmann
Letters from Claude Debussy to Arthur Hartmann
Letters from Emma Claude Debussy to Marie Hartmann and Arthur Hartmann
Part 3: Other Writings of Arthur Hartmann
Charles Martin Tornov Loeffler
Letter from Loeffler to Arthur Hartmann
Eugène Ysaÿe: Colossus of the Violin
Memories of Masters of the Bow: An Impression of Joachim's Last Years
Edvard Grieg
Appendix A: The Minstrels Manuscripts
Appendix B: Three Letters from Claude Debussy to Pierre Louÿs
Arthur Hartmann: Catalogue of Compositions and Transcriptions


The account rings true. Intriguing and meticulously produced. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

Knowing the composer can mean everything. Hartmann worked with Debussy on transcriptions of his work and smoked many cigarettes in his company. In the Hartmann book, you sift through sentimental language, and indeed, Debussy comes off like a character in Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher". . . This kind of music wasn't created for frivolous reasons. Composers write because they must. PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER [David Patrick Stearns]

[Hartmann] knew everyone who was anyone; he was also blessed with the ability to write beautifully about his acquaintances. A treasure of a book. Jessica Duchen, author of Gabriel Fauré [Phaidon]

This is a fine account of a remarkable life story, just as well paced as any of Hartmann's own literary endeavors. . . a delightful book: the sort that leads you captivated from page to page. THE MUSICAL TIMES

A precious testimony: the vivid nature of [Hartmann's] anecdotes encourages one to gain a striking sense of the atmosphere around Debussy and of his personality. . . contribute[s] appreciably to the ever-evolving image of Debussy and his circle. . . . The Debussy letters now published [here for the first time, and with translations,] will promote further understanding. . . . Serious students of Debussy's life and nature, and perhaps violinists, will want to read Arthur Hartmann's accounts. This well-edited book can be recommended. MUSIC AND LETTERS, 2005 [James R. Briscoe]

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