New York Oct. 16, 1927
This letter, I know, is late a couple of days, but that does not mean that I haven’t been thinking about you. Much to the contrary, each day that has passed you loomed before me in larger proportions until it seems all other objects are invisible.
Well I have some good news for you. I am a member of the Young Men’s Symphony. This morning we rehearsed from 10 A.M. To 12:30 P.M. Believe me it is quite an orchestra. The instrumentation is complete and the conductor is superb. His name is Paul Henneberg. At the audition I had to play several scales in three octaves from memory and part of some piece I had studied. I played the first two pages of the Mozart’s Concerto without a mistake or scratch. It was a surprise even to me, just imagine, I didn’t play that since last winter. It was luck, good luck, that’s all. I couldn’t do it again to save my life. He placed some very different music up before me to read, so I played it very slowly, this pleased him. To play slowly is very difficult said the conductor, it shows up the tone and schooling. Everybody can get technique but a good tone is essential; it puts one ahead quite a bit. Some of the applicants played the Mendelshon Concerto, Scherzo Tarentelle etc but got the air. They were all technique.
I do hope you can manage to come on the train excursion Oct. 23. Nothing could please me more, so don’t forget and let me know all about it.
Outside of Dave Harris, I associate with noone. Sunday is the only day that I can see him. I haven’t seen a show or movie since we went together so you can see that I am disciplining myself in order to keep straight and carry out my purpose for coming to New York. The only diversion I get is reading before going to bed.
What books are you reading? How far are you in the Mysteries of the People? Say if you want to read a magazine with good sense in it try this last issue of the Nation. There is an article on Charles Evans Hughes as a possible candidate for President. It’s a masterpiece. I am sure you will enjoy it.
Please try and write me longer and warmer letters, you can’t realize how much it will be comforting to me. Don’t do it however, if it is not of your choosing. Mistake this not for a complaint it is merely an ardent desire.
P.S. Regards to everyone of the Stein’s and also to the folks in Pittsfield.
Editor’s Notes: Woohoo! He passed his audition and is in the Young Men’s Symphony! I have not been able to find any recordings of them but have found a few mentions of the conductor, Paul Henneberg, and recordings from his other bands.
While Izzy was in NYC trying to make it as a musician, some of his friends and family would take “train excursions” down from Troy to visit. Thelma was sometimes among them and it took much coordination through letters and very occasional telephone calls to sort out the meeting. It is unclear whether she took this particular excursion because the next letter we see is about 3 weeks after this one.
Socialist author, Eugene Sue, wrote “The Mysteries of the People” about feudalism and capitalism. DeLeonism.org has some good history on the works – “Daniel De Leon, with the assistance of his eldest son, Solon, translated The Mysteries of the People over several years and serialized them in the Daily People. Subsequently, the Socialist Labor Party brought out two editions of the work through its publishing agency, the New York Labor News. The original 21-volume edition and individual titles from the series — especially The Silver Cross — were reprinted a number of times. A second edition, complete in three stout volumes, was brought out in 1923. Regrettably, however, Sue’s greatest work has long been out of print, and the important project of getting out a new edition has been delayed for many years by a succession of obstacles, chiefly financial.” You can find a bunch of the serials on Google Books for free.
The Nation still is a “leftist” magazine and the Internet Archives has recorded the old issues and has the article Izzy tells Thelma she should read.
Thelma’s last name is revealed in the P.S., she’s a Stein.
This letter also begins some interesting discussion on how Thelma’s letters appeared to Izzy, not long and warm enough apparently.