Puccini among Friends

Puccini among Friends

Puccini among Friends

Puccini among Friends

Excerpt

Nearly all Puccini's biographers remark on his distaste for writing letters. Nevertheless when my mother died nearly two years ago I found amongst her papers more than seven hundred letters from him, all written during the last twenty years of his life. Nor can this have been the full tale; many, I know, have disappeared, and others have found their way into the hands of 'collectors'; for it was my mother's way to give freely to all who asked.

From what remained I have selected, in whole or in part, some three hundred letters to form the basis of this memoir. In no sense of the word can it be considered a formal biography; for one thing, it lacks the correct proportions, since it deals mainly with those years during which my mother knew him. Still less is it a critical appreciation of his work--a task for which I do not possess the necessary qualifications; but rather the portrait, largely self-drawn, of a very lovable character, and the record of a singularly beautiful friendship.

The letters of a famous man (unless he happens also to be a man of letters--and not always even then) are not necessarily in themselves interesting. The life of a statesman can often be read more clearly in the public services that he has rendered to his country; that of a composer, in his music. But these letters of Puccini seem to me to be of more than personal interest for the light that they throw not only on the methods of the musician but also on the character of the man. They possess no great literary distinction, nor are they particularly profound but if, as is . . .

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