Text Box: VIOLINST AUTOGRAPHS
Text Box: HARMONIE AUTOGRAPHS AND MUSIC INC.

MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS & ANTIQUARIAN
Text Box: MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS AND EPHEMERA BOUGHT AND SOLD

Phone: 212-860-5541

 

Price: $2000.00

EXCELLENT CONDITION

EDUARD REMÉNYI - VIOLINIST

Historical and extraordinary autographed and inscribed jumbo original 13 3/8” x 15 11/16” mounted albumen photographed archivally framed to19.5” x 23” in the original heavy solid oak frame.  The legendary Hungarian violinist autographs and inscribes the photograph to his violin dealer and alleged Stradivarius thief, Victor S. Fletcher, New York, May 12th, 1894.

This photograph arrived in our office in the original frame, noting water damage, we brought the photograph to our framer and he gingerly removed the image from the frame.  All original nails were intact, it had never been opened.  Unfortunately, some of the emulsion had adhered to the glass and therefore, we sent the photograph and glass to the talented New York City based photograph conservator J. Luca Ackerman. Mr. Ackerman was able to bring the image to a splendid position without appearing as if any conservation had taken place. The photograph is now in a static state and has been archivally reframed by museum and gallery framer, The Gallery of Graphic Arts in the cleaned original frame with non-reflective top of the line Optium Tru-Vue Museum Acrylic® which blocks 99% of uv rays.  The non-reflective surface appears to the naked eye as normal “glass” and is not shaded in appearance.

Reményi (1828-1898) is a seminal figure in the world of 19th Century music. He was well regarded as a violin virtuoso, a celebrity by some, treasonous by others and arguably at one time the most famous Hungarian born violinist on the concert platforms of Europe. (He was a well marketed fireworks showman, akin to a crowd-pleasing André Rieu, Paganini, or Johann Strauss sohn, even better known to the average European at that time than Sivori, Ernst and even Joachim.)

The violinist was born to a Jewish family whose last name was Hoffmann.  The family for political reasons converted to Catholicism in 1836 when “Ede” was first recognized as gifted to advance his future.  The local Archbishop was taken with the wunderkind’s talent and sent him to Vienna in 1842 to study.  His teacher Joseph Böhm was the Director of the Vienna Conservatory, a colleague of Beethoven’s, initially a touring virtuoso, he settled into a pedagogue and administrative career and his musical progeny became the greatest violinists in the German speaking world at that time and in addition to Reményi included, Ernst, Hellmesberger, Hubay and Joachim. Eduard left Vienna, spending time living and performing in Paris and London and returned to Hungary in 1848 to enlist in the Magyar forces who were fighting the Hapsburgs. Eduard and his older brother “Hungarianized” their last name to Reményi to show their patriotism.  He was assigned as a musical aide de camp to General Artur Györgey the commander in chief of the Hungarian forces and was kept away from the fighting as he was considered valuable for troop morale and his impromptu concerts were known to raise their spirits.  After the Austrians crushed the rebellion and due to his alliance with Györgey he was expelled from Hungary by the newly installed pro Habsburg government.  He escaped to Hamburg where he played a series of highly praised concerts, including one where he collaborated with Jenny Lind and Otto Goldschmidt. The patriotic violinist continued to wear his uniform during these concerts and when his loyalties became suspect, he left for America in November 1849 where Hungarian refugees were welcomed.  Greeted as a hero in America for his participation in the "Great Patriotic Magyar Revolution" he played first in New York City in large venues and then toured his way South playing benefit concerts for his fellow Hungarian dissidents.  New Orleans was as far as he reached on the tour.

In November 1851 he arrived in London where he was booked into large venues. In Fall 1852, Reményi arrived in Hamburg with an accompanist.  The accompanist called in sick the morning before a concert and the violinist needed a replacement.  The owner of a local musical instrument shop recommended the talented Johannes Brahms, then nineteen years old, was attempting to make a living as piano teacher and failing miserably. Brahms auditioned for the violinist in his hotel room and Reményi found he was a far better musician than his current accompanist and was immediately hired.  Reményi's politics were still suspect and some thought he was a Hungarian spy for the old government.  The violinist and Brahms toured Europe together, stopping in Weimar where Brahms was introduced to Franz Liszt and in Hannover where he was introduced to Joachim which was to become an exceedingly important professional relationship and friendship.  Reményi was arrested as a spy by the Hannover police for “subterfuge” and expelled from the city.  At this point, the violinist and Brahms parted company, however, the violinist's profound influence can be felt in Brahms "zingare" works written throughout his life.

Reményi reappeared in London in 1854 where he was quickly appointed Court Violinist to Queen Victoria.  He remained there until the 1860 Amnesty which brought many Hungarian revolutionaries back to their native land.  While Reményi returned, it would appear he was never comfortable there again.  The Conservative government led by Prime Minister Count Guyla Andrassy and Justice Minister Ferenc Deak were not predisposed to the young and charismatic violinist, who spent more time than not touring Europe with his new wunderkind accompanist Nandor Plotenyi.  In 1872, their professional partnership ended with Reményi's marriage to Gisella de Fay de Faj, the daughter of a well-placed Hungarian musician who Liszt claimed would have been an even greater composer than he and his son and law, Richard Wagner if only he would spend time composing.  The marriage was one of the social events of 1872 with Liszt arriving in town with a special march he wrote for the occasion and the promise of a violin concerto for Reményi.  The young couple were blessed with twin daughters, but that did not keep the violinist in Hungary long, as he continued to tour in Europe, Asia and Africa.  In 1878, still frustrated with the Hungarian government, which by that time had become more liberal, left for America where he lived for the rest of his life, touring until the day he died, on stage of a heart attack in San Francisco in his first “Vaudeville” concert of 3000 attendees where he had brought down the house.  It was said in his New York Times obituary regarding his final concert, …Edouard Remenyi, the famous violinist, has made his last appearance on earth. The curtain was rung down upon his life at the Orpheum Theater yesterday afternoon. His death was very sudden, and wholly unexpected. It occurred just as he had often wished it would— with his violin in his hand…But the life of Remenyi had fled. It was a fitting finale. His exit was in accord with his career. It began on the stage and ended on the stage.

This large photograph surely held a pride of place in the violin showroom of violin dealer and luthier Victor S. Fletcher (1849 - 1929) when he opened his shop in Union Square, in New York City in 1894. He was known to have operated a violin dealership and repair business from 1894 until at least 1921. (As late as 1922 Fletcher’s name was used in The Strad as an endorsement for Lugen Crystal Metal Violin Strings.) Fletcher was Reményi’s dealer and luthier and there was among other things correspondence to the collector Frederick Sterns in March, 1896 with Fletcher telling him that he had “old curio instruments” that Reményi had told him that the important collector had an interest.  After Reményi’s death, The Strad Magazine featured a small article in their July,1898 edition stating that Fletcher was selling the late Eduard Reményi’s violins and bows in his studio.

Later in 1896, Fletcher was prosecuted for attempting to sell the stolen Stradivarius violin which had belonged to the German violinist Jean Joseph Bott.  Bott’s violin was allegedly stolen after he had accepted an offer of $5,500 from Adelina Patti’s husband tenor Ernest Niccolini in 1894.  It was said that Bott died of a heart attack due to hypertension caused by the stress of the theft.  Fletcher maintained the violin he was attempting to sell was not a genuine Stradivarius, however the dealer was prosecuted and convicted in 1896 and served a one-year term in Sing-Sing prison.  The case was upheld on appeal.  However, in 1902 a different violin was found in a Brooklyn antique shop which had been sold to that dealer in a Manhattan flea market was identified as Botts by his widow and which was vouched as a genuine Strad by two dealers and returned.  The initial indictment was reversed and the Fletcher conviction stricken from the record.

This magnificent and historically important photograph of Reményi literally comes to life in person. He stares directly at you and it is entirely immediate.  The violinist is seated in his velvet “military style” frock coat similar to ones worn by both Wagner and Liszt.  His violin and bow clearly posed in his hand.  We have not encountered another autographed photograph of Reményi this size anywhere.

Due to current VAT shipping regulations, we cannot ship this item to Europe, Great Britain, or Australia.  We will quote special packing and shipping costs based upon your location, or it may be picked up from our office.