My Musical Life

My Musical Life

My Musical Life

My Musical Life

Excerpt

I am an American musician and have lived in this country since my ninth year. I was born in Breslau, Silesia, on January 30, 1862, and my first memories are connected with war, the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. I was four years old and remember being with my mother in a room in our apartment in Breslau, which was filled with flowers and growing plants (mother always had a marvellous gift for maintaining and nursing plants) and various friends coming in to condole with her over the death of my baby brother, Hans, who had died of cholera, which was then raging in Breslau. The second child of my parents, born in 1860, had been christened Richard, after Richard Wagner, who had officiated as godfather at the ceremony. This child lived but a short time, and Wagner had vowed that he would never again stand as godfather for the children of any of his friends, as the ill luck which had pursued him all his life was thus carried even into their families.

In order to safeguard the rest of her children from the danger of the dread disease to which little Hans had succumbed, my mother took my older brother, Frank, myself, and a baby sister into the country near the Bohemian frontier, where the war was being fought. I can remember my brother and myself standing at a country road, each armed with a huge bouquet of flowers we had . . .

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