New York Nov. 27, 1927
No doubt, by this time you are wondering whether I have deceased or forgotten all about you —– well, believe me, it’s nothing of the sort. I made several attempts to write you but after reading the “damned things” over I destroyed them. Such sentimental trash and nonsense was unfit for you and not complimentary to me. The truth of the matter was that I was homesick, mostly love sick. The latter condition is a chronic disease with me and you are the all to blame!!!! There I go again —- I better stop this slush or I’ll be tearing this one up also. I hope those “blues” left me forever never to return again. I’m sure you will understand and forgive me; and if you will do that I will embrace you eternally.
Since I wrote last I have attended quite a few concerts. These are the only form of amusement I have had since I have come to N.Y.C. Oh! I beg your pardon, Fanny Toretsky took me to a dance at the Pennsylvania Hotel. There was quite a few in our party. The dance was a great success, everybody seemed to have had a hell of a good time. As special features there was the leading stars of all the B’way shows to perform for us. Stars from Ally Oop, Student Prince in Hedelburg, Rio Rita, Love Call and several others that have slipped my dull mind. Hope Hampton appeared wearing the most valuable fur coat and gown in the world, but honestly I felt like a lost puppy (commonly called a “bozo”) at the damned affair. I didn’t dance once. After the dance the gang landed in a fashionable restaurant and began to pack away food; that was about three o’clock in the morning. I refused to eat. There and then the party saw I wasn’t one of them. They didn’t understand. I am sure you do. Getting back to the concerts, I heard Benno Rabinof make his debut with Leopold Auer conducting sixty men of the New York Symphony. Rabinof proved a worthy pupil of the super-teacher. He played a very difficult program. The Elgar and Tchaikovsky concertos and some smaller numbers. Carnegie Hall was packed to the doors and every one of the pack would not move until he played several encores. Then I heard the Philadelphia and Boston Symphonies. The Philadelphia is to orchestras what Auer is to violin teachers. I’m not exaggerating either. But To-day – ah! ah! when I think of it I am almost overcome with wonder —- I went to hear Yehudi Menuhin (the eleven year old violinist). He played the Beethoven Concerto, with orchestra. It is unbelievable and ridiculous to say this, but that kid played, with all the merits that a matured and experienced artist could do. Intelligence, nuance, with a broad, sonorous and beautiful tone! Oh hell I’ll become a raving maniac if think anymore about that concert, but don’t forget to make Leo tell you all about it. Leo, Esur and I went to-gether. Even Dave Harris had to admit that the kid compared favorably with Heifetz!!! Being so small, playing on a three-quartered size violin and having the concert-master tune his violin made the concert so striking that New York will have some to remember for a long time to come. Tonight I took my mother and Mrs. Toretsky to a show on B’way. We all had a very good time (the first time I went to a show since I went with you last.) To-day was an enormous day for me; what with a rehearsal in the morning, concert in the afternoon and a show at night. Well I am fairly knocked out.
Hoping you will forgive me and answer me soon I am more than ever
P.S. Regards to all our mutual friends.
Editor’s Notes: I wonder if Thelma forgave Izzy after reading about his “chronic disease” of lovesickness. This letter is chock full of names of Broadway plays and concert performers. November was a month chock full of entertainment for Izzy. Fanny Toretsky was the matriarch of the home Izzy stayed in while living in NYC and he mentions her many times as a wonderful host. I do wonder what makes him not “one of them” when the party dines at a restaurant in the wee hours of the morning.
The concerts are most important to Izzy, as a violinist himself, and he saw a few monumental ones in November 1927. Benno Rabinof may very well have been one of Auer’s most prized pupils. Auer declared Rabinof to have “true virtuoso qualities” at the age of 13 and at 21 Auer conducted Rabinof’s debut as a show of esteem and belief in Rabinof’s talent.
Leopold Stokowski, Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra had left for a trip to Europe in April of 1927 so it’s unclear who was leading them that evening, but Izzy’s awe of them was most likely due to years of Stokowski’s leadership.
Seeing and hearing Yehudi Menuhin must have been quite the experience. Izzy is not exaggerating that the boy was 11 years old and incredible. By 13 he was deemed a prodigy and received international acclaim for his advanced sound at such a young age. Izzy’s passion for music is evident in this passage.
Etymology Corner: “To-day” and “To-gether” may look strange but it was a common spelling in the early 1900s. “B’way” is of course short for Broadway.