Memoirs of a Composer: Luise le Beau


When I now try, at the age of 59, to describe my experiences as objectively as possible, it is not out of vanity or conceit, but out of various other considerations. The first is that it was a wish of my dear, darling father, that I should demonstrate the many difficulties that a woman encounters in the field of composition, of the jealousy and resentment of colleagues, as well as of the prejudice and folly of those very circles in which most of us are employed, and which are in a position to promote talent; and that I should tell the full truth without reticence or any consideration for well-known names. Then, I was also encouraged by other people who played a role in artistic life to tell the story of my artistic life, and after what I saw in many circles caused me more and more to repress my own interests and to withdraw myself completely from public life - not least because of my consultation work for the Badener Badelblatt - I feel the need to defend myself against such accusations as "I did not understand the hype" , or "I did nothing to help myself", etc.

How much of the character and money of the victim this "hype" demanded, one should to some extent learn from these experiences. If it is in vain to battle against stupidity, then it has also been impossible for me to take up the weapons needed in the fight against vulgarity - and much is vulgar in today's music circles.

In his Encyclopaedia of Music History, volume 5 page 193, Ritter compares the music business of the nineteenth century with a large forest, in which all possible types of trees are to be found, and says that it is not only the few giant trees that constitute the forest, but also the small trees, bushes, grasses, flowers and mosses, which are necessary in order to lend the whole a certain character. I know very well that I do not belong to the great trees, but many of my colleagues who wished to lord it over me are also no taller than I. What I have been given in talent I have nurtured through hard work; no one can do more. But I also did not despise the small things, but took pleasure in all musical works, as long as they were artistic and meant to be truthful. So not only in the pounding of the storm or in the roar of the sea, but also in the peace of nature and in the quiet of the forest, when the lowly moss glows brightly and pleasantly in the sunlight, does the Creator speak to those who are pure enough to heed His voice.

So I have at the same time pointed at the gulf that separates me from many of my contemporaries. I am alienated from the current trend. I consider the "hyper-modern" to be a detour in progress; a mistake, as history has shown so many times in so many areas. This current will die away - it also gave me a reason to keep my thoughts, feelings and strivings to myself.

There were many wonderful successes for me when I was in the midst of general artistic life; indeed, I was perhaps granted more recognition and fame than I deserved. The royal libraries in Munich and Berlin retain all my printed works, and later also took all the manuscripts which I gave them. Historians and anyone else who wants to pay particular attention to me can judge of my efforts through this collection of my works, rather more impartially and fairly than my contemporaries, who like to look down on anything other than their own works. Should one or another of my compositions be worthy to please later generations, I shall not have written in vain. More recognition than I deserve, I have never desired.

Finally, I owe thanks to all those, whether they are still living or have preceded me into that better land, who have gifted me with their interest and friendly encouragement.