Manuscripts/Mixed Material Letter from Aaron Copland to Carlos Chávez, September 7, 1928.
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Sept 7, 1928
Dear Carlos, --
Your letter gave me much joy both as friend and as musician. I felt happy that you wanted me to come and grateful when I thought of how hard you must have had to work to get the truly surprising terms. My first impulse was to say 'I'm coming'! But when I thought of when it could be, I realized it wasn't so easy to arrange as I imagined at first.
These are my arrangements for the winter: from October until Christmas I lecture at the New School. In January I have already signed contracts for lectures in Boston (Jan 12th) and in Cleveland (Jan 29th); and a manager is trying to get more engagements for January (which I must have in order to eat!) That leaves, as you can see, only the concert in February as a vague possibility, but even so, in would be a problem to get to Mexico City in time for sufficient rehearsals.
The more I think of it, the less I should like to make the trip in a great hurry and leave again in a great hurry. I wish to come to Mexico City for two months, not two weeks -- and not only that, but two months while you are there. But you are coming back to New York in February, aren't you? And I must give at last two Copland -- Sessions Concerts between February and April, mustn't I?
Don't you think it would be better to wait until the next season (1929-1930) when I could make all my arrangements long in advance. I admit that when you first suggested the idea in New York I thought of it as something quite fantastic, but now I assure you I am really very keen to come there and am asking you to postpone the visit with the greatest reluctance and only because I am so anxious to come when I can stay for a long time and under ideal conditions. From the standpoint of your public, the idea of playing the 'Concerto' is highly amusing to me, but they have not heard so much modern music that it can make a great difference whether they hear the 'Concerto' this year or next.
Carlos, my boy, I know how you are. I know that when you conceive an idea you are not at rest until it is accomplished. And so I am sorry to send this letter and not the immediate acceptance you hoped for, but please don't hold it against me. I hope you will still want me to come for the second season of your concerts because I can promise now that I will arrange my affairs so as to make it possible.
I am to be at the MacDowell Colony until Oct. 1st. I have been occupied on a new orchestral work which I hope to submit for the Victor Prize of $25.000 (this is a dead secret!) And have also made arrangements of my two string quartet puieces for string orchestra and my Organ Symphony for orchestra alone.
Roger Sessions wrote me a letter from Paris in which he says, "I have talked to Nadia Boulanger about Carlos; she is enthusiastic and would like to have his sonata played in Paris next year. So I'm letting her have my copy."
I too am practicing the 'Sonatina' because I am going to play it at my first lecture.
The greatest good luck with the Orquesta Sinfonica Mexicana!
P.S. Harold and Gerald, who are both in Peterboro, send their love and best wishes for the orchestra.