After hearing the 'Dean of American music,' Rachmaninoff rescinds his belief that "there were no important composers in this country"
Superb TLS, two pages, 8.5 x 10.25, Hotel Ansonia [New York] letterhead, March 27, 1924. Letter to Deems Taylor, in full: "Owing to my limited knowledge of the English language, I could not express to you all I wanted to say last night. I wish to tell you that your 'Suite' made a very great impression on me. What I especially admired was the fact, that you understand how to be modern, and, at the same time, keep within the limit which is after all—not music—only color and sound. Furthermore, I was also very much pleased with the fact of your thorough knowledge of Russian, classical music. Am I right? Is that last statement of mine an unexpected one in your opinion? And finally, I wish to say that your orchestration is extraordinarily beautiful, quite first class. If one has such a sound in one's orchestration, 50% of the task is accomplished and—if—besides that, one has something to say, the whole is perfect. I have, heretofore, thought, but naturally not expressed that opinion, that there were no important composers in this country, but now, I feel sure of one who really can show something and say a great deal. As I am leaving for Europe tomorrow, I regret very much not to be able to talk more, in detail, to you about your composition, but I send you herewith my very best wishes and the hope that you will write many more such works and that I will have the possibility and the pleasure of hearing them all." In very good condition, with irregular toning and staining, and trimming and corner loss to the first page.
Deems Taylor (1885-1966) was an American music critic, composer, and promoter of classical music. Nat Benchley, co-editor of The Lost Algonquin Roundtable, referred to him as 'the dean of American music.' Taylor was the third president of the ASCAP, and held the post for six years. Established in 1967 to honor his memory, the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award 'recognizes books, articles, broadcasts and websites on the subject of music selected for their excellence.'