Hamerik

The Hector Berlioz Website

The Danish composer Asger Hamerik and Berlioz 

by

Christopher Follett*

© 2005 Christopher Follett

 

 

 

    This essay presents excerpts from 22 letters recently discovered in Copenhagen which throw fascinating light on Berlioz in his final years as seen through the eyes of the young Danish composer Asger Hamerik1.  This long-neglected late romantic composer was in his time the best known Danish composer outside his own country after Niels Wilhelm Gade2. He often claimed to be Berlioz’s pupil, though the claim is open to qualification3.

    The correspondence, dating from 1864-65, is from Hamerik to his parents Peter Frederik and Julie Augusta Hammerich in Copenhagen. The letters – written in Danish and hitherto unpublished – were found in a collection of family memorabilia owned by the late Valdis Hamerik, Asger Hamerik’s second daughter, who achieved fame as an opera singer at The Royal Theatre in Copenhagen in the 1930s and died in 1995 at the age of 92.

    Asger Hamerik (1843-1923) studied music under such luminaries as Gade, the legendary German pianist and conductor Hans von Bülow, and Berlioz, before travelling to the United States to become director of the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, a post he held for almost 30 years. Born in Copenhagen, Hamerik initially studied the piano, musical theory and composition with the established local composers Gade and J. P. E. Hartmann4, a relative of Asger’s mother, Gade and C. F. E. Horneman5, all leading lights on the local music scene.

    Briefed by the family friend Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75), the fairytale author, Hamerik left Denmark in 1862 at the age of 19 on a musical voyage d’études financed by his parents. After visiting London, the young Dane travelled on to Berlin, where he continued his studies of composition under Hans von Bülow, a pupil of Liszt and follower of Wagner; at the time von Bülow was married to Liszt’s daughter Cosima. In Berlin, von Bülow introduced the young Hamerik to visiting musical giants of the day such as Anton Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky and Wagner.

    The declaration of war by Prussia and Austria on Denmark on 1 February 1864 – a conflict which ended in the Prussian invasion of Denmark and a crushing defeat for the Danes in April, and the eventual loss of Schleswig-Holstein to Prussia – greatly soured life in Berlin for Hamerik. He changed his surname from the original Hammerich – a German spelling – to the more Danish-style Hamerik and decided on political grounds to quit the German capital for Paris and align himself under the banner of Berlioz. With him, Hamerik had letters of introduction and a recommendation from von Bülow and Gade to Berlioz, whom he calls "the world’s greatest composer."

    In a letter from Berlin dated 3 March 1864 Hamerik wrote to his parents about his motives for wanting to meet Berlioz:

Berlioz is the sole reason for my move to Paris, I intend to make his acquaintance and try and get him to show an interest in me one way or the other; if I succeed all my wishes will have been fulfilled and I will have carved myself out a way ahead. [...] I love him through his works and know that only by getting to know him will I be able to achieve success.

    In his last letter from Berlin, dated 22 March 1864, Hamerik looks forward to the winter season in Paris with Meyerbeer’s latest operaL’Africaine6 due to be premiered (in the event posthumously) and "exemplary concerts by Berlioz" on the schedule. "Thanks a million for funding my stay in Berlin, thank Gade for his positive remarks about Berlioz, I hope I will bring you and my country honour in the times ahead." The letter details Hamerik’s expenses for the month, including the purchase of Berlioz’s A Travers Chants and Grand Traité d’Instrumentation et d’Orchestration Modernesnbsp;as well as scores of works by Beethoven and Schumann. Hamerik left Berlin for Paris in early April 1864.

    After a stop over in Cologne to visit the cathedral, on 15 April Hamerik arrived in Paris – "the most agreeable place of sojourn for an artist, and the French people are easy to get on with" –  intent on tracking down Berlioz. He took up residence in the quarter near the Conservatoire and made contact with Stephen Heller (1813-88), a Hungarian-born composer working in Paris, who helped him gain quick access to the salon of Berthold Damcke (1812-75), a Paris-based German composer. Both Heller and Damcke were close friends of Berlioz. The salon of Damcke and his wife Louise, at their home at 11 Rue Mansart, close to Berlioz’s flat in the 9th arrondissement, was a favourite gathering place for musicians.

    At the time when Hamerik got to know him, Berlioz was living at his last place of residence, a five-room apartment at 4, Rue de Calais (fourth floor) in the 9th arrondissement, not far from Place de Clichy. He lived there with his mother-in-law Madame (Sotera de Villas) Martin, a formidable Spanish lady who spoke a guttural French, his domestiques Pierre Guillaume and Caroline Scheuer Schumann, lodged in an attic room, and a caged parrot which would shriek "Cochon!" – the only word at its command. Hamerik studied in Paris with Berlioz from 1864-69, the French composer’s last years, building up a relationship of privilege with the ailing maître. Times were hard for the aging Berlioz; his second wife Marie Recio had died in 1862 and his greatest work, the opera Les Troyens, staged in truncated form in 1863 after many frustrations, was given a mixed reception. At the same time his intestinal neuralgia condition was getting ever more serious, only to be aggravated by news of the death of his sea captain son Louis from yellow fever in Havana, Cuba in 1867 at the age of only 33.

    Hamerik’s letters home express growing concern for Berlioz’s health but despite the melancholy setting for their friendship, a close bond developed between the composer and the Dane, who would proudly claim, with some exaggeration, that he was "the only pupil" of the French composer and frequently express gratitude for his patronage and protection. The respect was mutual with the French maître describing Hamerik as "un jeune compositeur Danois de beaucoup d’ardeur et de talent" (a young composer of much ardour and talent)7, esteeming his abilities and showing great fondness for the young Dane, who stood in for Berlioz on several occasions when the composer was too ill to perform.8

6 July 1864, Paris 

The best thing that has happened to me at Damcke’s is to meet Hector Berlioz, who is there every evening. When he heard that I was one of his greatest admirers (and it is unheard of that Berlioz should have supporters, let alone admirers)9 he asked me which of his works I was acquainted with and as I was unfortunately not able to vaunt myself with knowing awfully much, he said I could visit him and he would show me some of his latest works. I told him that I had his publications in German, he was not aware that they had come out in German10, but was very amused by this and I promised that I would bring them over to him so that he could see them, but  not having any command of German, he would be unable to read them. His best book is A Travers Chants. Having daily contact with Stephen Heller and Hector Berlioz makes me extremely happy to be living in Paris. ... I forgot to mention that when I was bold enough to tell Berlioz that I was a pupil of Bülow and expressed open admiration for him, he suddenly became very quiet and frowned and asked me what on earth I had been able to learn from Bülow. ... Berlioz does not like to hear any mention of Germans, he is a true Frenchman and hates the Germans instinctively.11

    The letter ends with regards to Gade whom Hamerik asks his parents to thank profusely for his letter of recommendation "which helped bring Berlioz and myself together."

9 August 1864, Paris

I have visited Berlioz several times. I am very taken in by him. He has given me a big score of his music and written on it: "A Monsieur Hammerik (sic) souvenir de l’auteur Hector Berlioz."

12 September 1864, Paris

Hector Berlioz is my teacher now! My long standing wish has been fulfilled, he has accepted me of his own accord, I come to him regularly now, almost like a son. This man, who nobody has ever understood12, who has had to fight until his hair turned white, lives like a hermit in Paris, he considers himself to be dead, when I asked him the other day what he was working on, all he said was:

Je n’écris rien
Je ne compose rien
Je suis mort, c’est fini!

This man has adopted me, I work at his house, he sends me home with major scores to study after going through them with me in meticulous detail; in short, he is my teacher, I am his pupil, but don’t go thinking that he charges me for this, to offer him payment would be the surest way of falling out with him, he would feel hurt. I once thought that the privilege of just standing on the staircase in the house where he lives would make me great, now I visit him on a daily basis, whenever I want, he is always at home for me!

5 October 1864, Paris

Liszt has been in Paris, I was introduced to him and he invited me out to lunch, he spoke to me a lot, I spent a whole morning with him, he sends his very best regards to Gade. Hector Berlioz has not yet returned from his travels, but I hope he comes back soon so that I can resume working with him, I am looking forward very much to his return13. ...

    In October, Hamerik wrote his Opus 10 song Le Voile for baritone and piano, based on one of  Victor Hugo’s Les Orientales collection of poems, a work which was eventually premiered at his debut concert in the Salle Pleyel in Paris in the spring of 1865. Berlioz’s song La Captive was also based on one of the poems in Hugo’s oriental collection written in 1829.

2 November 1864, Paris

I have written a major tone poem to a text by Victor Hugo –  Le Voile – for vocal soloist and piano accompaniment. I hope to get the piece performed during the winter before a select audience here in Paris. I showed Berlioz the score, he gave me the notes back with the comment: "Je vous félicite, mon cher monsieur Hammerik (sic), ce n’est pas une composition, c’est une peinture!" 

30 November 1864, Paris

I am still visiting Berlioz, he is having a life-size portrait of himself painted these days, he is by the way very unwell, he suffers from heart disease and people fear for his life; on December 18 the first concert performance is to be given of Act 3 (sic) of Berlioz’s The Trojans, I am really looking forward to hearing this great act, which was the first part of the opera he wrote, I am studying the score thoroughly so that I know it all inside out. ... on December 4 there is going to be a major celebration in honour of Meyerbeer. ... I’ll be spending the day of your birthday with Berlioz. ...

    A performance of Act 4 of The Trojans had been scheduled for November at the Paris Conservatoire but Berlioz cancelled it after the committee demanded excessive cuts (cf. Correspondance Générale no. 2948). The last three acts of the opera (Acts III-V) had been performed 22 times in November and December 1863 at the Théâtre Lyrique under the title Les Troyens à Carthage.

    Encouraged by Berlioz, Damcke and Heller, Hamerik continued to work hard in winter 1864 on compositions to be performed at a debut concert in Paris to be held in the spring of 1865. Over Christmas he had reached the final stages of composing an opera Tovelille (Little Dove), after Jens Peter Jacobsen’s Gurre poem on King Valdemar’s tragic love for a commoner, Tove, and his queen’s revenge, set in a Danish castle in medieval times, a theme to be taken up in the 20th century by Schoenberg in his Gurre-Lieder.

Christmas Eve, 1864, Paris

Between Christmas and the New Year I have been invited over to Damcke’s to give a trial performance of my drama Tovelille. A number of top musical people will be there as will leading critics along with Berlioz and Stephen Heller, so I am very busy at the moment working on a French translation of the text because I know just how much this helps the music, Berlioz puts a lot of store on understanding music or rather comprehending it in the right way. ... Before I close my letter I would like to tell you of the utter enjoyment I experienced the other evening at Damcke’s. I must admit it was a rare pleasure, Berlioz read Shakespeare’s Hamlet up aloud, he recited it so intensely that the tears streamed down his cheeks, he read it in such a way that even those who never liked the play would have been powerless to prevent themselves from being moved by Hamlet, it was really as the French say "un moment de bonheur."

14 January 1865, Paris

... the concert with my musical drama at Damcke’s had to be postponed because Berlioz fell ill, so it was not until last night that it could take place ... everything went off well (Acts II & III) ... Berlioz had nothing to say, he just came over to me and shook me firmly by the hand ...

2 February 1865, Paris

With your permission I intend to give a major public concert of my works, notably the musical drama, here in Paris in early April! Stephen Heller, Berlioz and Damcke have been pressing me to do this for ages, so I’ve now given in and decided to get on with it ... Berlioz remains very involved in me, I am completely like his son, I attend concerts with him, dine with him at his home in the evenings; on one occasion he confided the following to me: "You have a future for yourself in Paris, but never if you restrict yourself to Denmark." 

    According to Dr Lubov Keefer’s The Baltimore Music – the Haven of the American Composer (1962) not only Bülow but [Hans Christian] Andersen and Berlioz inculcated the young Dane with "a burning faith in America." "With Berlioz, [Bülow] held that redemption was due in either Russia, because of its past, or from America, with its bright future", Keefer writes.

14 February 1865, Paris

... Berlioz and Damcke propose that my debut concert should be free of charge, this will ensure that we can choose the public we want to attend, the elite of Parisian musical life...

    Hamerik’s debut concert was initially scheduled to take place at the Salle Pleyel on 22 April 1865, but a welter of delays, difficulties with soloists and last minute problems meant that it had to be postponed until 6 May 1865. Berlioz and Damcke had secured the hall free of charge, leaving Hamerik (and his parents) to pay for the choir, musicians, waiter service, the printing of the programmes and scores and all the practical details. Following the advice of Berlioz, the concert, with Hamerik conducting vocal soloists in his own works, was by invitation and not for the general public.

8 March 1865, Paris

... the thought of earning money from my music in Paris is utterly out of the question! Maybe it would be possible if I had a name like Liszt or Beethoven, but since I’m only Asger Hamerik I’ll just have to content myself with being allowed to give a concert and pay for it ... I do not know what I would do without the help of Berlioz and Damcke!

    Taking a break from the hectic preparations for his Parisian debut, Hamerik joined Berlioz at a concert of music by Gade in Paris in late March, under the baton of Pasdeloup, dutifully reporting back to the Danish composer in a letter dated 1 April: 

Berlioz joined me at the concert; he was positively carried away, he never says much on these occasions but when something moves him, he always goes completely red in the face, he is normally as white as marble so if his complexion is anything to go by, the verdict is overwhelmingly in your favour. The [Hamlet] overture was well played and acclaimed by the 5,000 present ... so the music of Gade is resounding in Paris too ... Berlioz asked me to tell you that he longs to shake the hand of the composer of Ossian and Hamlet again and would like to thank you for performing excerpts from his Roméo et Juliette Symphony and La Fuite en Egypte (in Copenhagen) ... my forthcoming concert here, on the 22nd of this month (April) in which extracts from the five-act opera Tovelille (Little Dove) for which I have written both the words and the music will be performed, has been arranged by Berlioz; he looks after me day and night as if I were his son...

    Gade, who met Berlioz in 1862, had recently conducted the French master’s works at a concert in the now long demolished Casino Theatre in Copenhagen.

    By mid-April, serious problems had began to accrue ahead of Hamerik’s concert at the Salle Pleyel; one female soloist had to call off after the director of the Opera forbade her from performing in out of house concerts, causing the postponement of Hamerik’s concert until May 6. Following this there was trouble with the tenor and bass singers who threatened to pull out of the concert on the grounds that their parts made unacceptable demands on them and another female soloist contracted a severe bout of cold. In a letter dated April 16, Hamerik told his parents of his trials and tribulations:

I ran round to Berlioz, told him everything about what was going on. He wrote a letter to the director of the main Opera House asking if he would allow one of his tenors to step in and help me. The director acquiesces and I talk to a singer, a Mr. Grisy, and he agrees to come to me on the following day, only to call off after injuring himself in the evening during a rehearsal for Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine. At this I rushed round to the Conservatoire and got hold of Auber who found me a singer by the name of Juillia who promised to sing the part – in Danish even – but of course at a price... I then went back to Berlioz, who put on his coat and accompanied me to the [Salle] Pleyel to get them to put off the concert and let us have the hall at a later juncture, we were granted May 6 – a fortnight on Saturday ... the concert must take place to deprive my enemies of the triumph that a cancellation would mean, don’t you agree? Berlioz’s comment was: "Don’t despair, now is the time to show you have character, you are not the first victim of this sort of thing, I can assure you, whatever you do, don’t ever let your resolve flinch, never..." ... and I think he was right in this.

    The days up to the concert were a nerve-wracking experience for the Dane as cancellations and illness among the singers (one of them caught typhus) continued to plague his preparations. "I am in total despair, more unhappy than I have ever been before ... my brain has ground to a standstill ...", Hamerik wrote to his parents. "If only you could imagine how much I have suffered and struggled, how often in my desperate state I have contemplated taking a jump into the Seine on my way back home over the bridges at night ..." 

    As Hamerik’s big night approached, his mood became more optimistic and his hopes were high. "I am looking forward to conducting the concert, all my friends, musicians, critics and composers with Berlioz at the head will be occupying the front rows, I pray all will go well!" Hamerik wrote on May 2. 

    In the event Hamerik’s debut concert finally took place at the Salle Pleyel on 6 May 1865. Organised by Berlioz and Damcke and attended by the elite of the music world, it was a great success. On the programme were the young Dane’s song Le Voile, a Fantasy for Cello & Piano and excerpts from his opera Tovelille, (billed as Tové in French), all with Hamerik conducting. The greatest accolades went to the Hugo song, sung by a Mlle Karen Holmsen, a Norwegian opera singer, which drew plaudits from Litolff and Bruch, who were at the concert. Hugo, absent in exile on the Channel Island of Guernsey, wrote afterwards to Hamerik to congratulate him on his "noble music", "excellent rendering of the text" and the "emotional response" it drew from the Parisian audience. 

8 May 1865, Paris

I trust you got my telegram in which you could read that not only did the concert go well but that I also managed to give great happiness through my music. This was more than I had ever expected, my music has created a sensation in Paris, a new part of my life has begun, I have made my debut ... people arrived an hour and a half before the concert to ensure they got good seats, the ladies came in full dress, composers, critics, counts, barons, diplomats, along with their womenfolk and servants; the concert was festive, all my friends in the musical world, with Berlioz in front sat in the front row ... how I missed the presence of my family ... people clapped and clapped, I was recalled repeatedly amid a storm of jubilant applause. Berlioz said to me that I had a great future ahead of me, everyone, friends and strangers alike, milled around me and wanted to shake me by the hand.

    Berlioz, overjoyed by Hamerik’s success and as a tribute to Asger’s French which he described as "almost as impure as that of a Parisian", commissioned a portrait of his Danish protégé from the painter David Jacobsen14, a Dane and student of Pissarro, working in Paris, a painting dated 1867 which hangs today in the Musical History Museum in Copenhagen. Relations with Berlioz were close and warm. In a letter dated December 1, 1865 (Correspondance Générale no. 3070), Berlioz wrote: "I have a great affection for you, your musical passion touches me greatly ... your ardent love of music, your belief in beauty, your energetic willpower, your indomitable perseverance remind me of how I was 40 years ago."

    These were busy times for Hamerik, who followed up his Paris debut with a trip to Stockholm, where he wrote and performed a Hymn to Freedom to mark the new Swedish constitution and composed  the musical drama Hjalmar & Ingeborg in cooperation with dramatist Ludwig Josephson as well as training a Scandinavian choir for participation in the World Exhibition to be held in Paris in 1867. In December 1866 Hamerik accompanied Berlioz to Vienna, acting as interpreter in German at orchestral rehearsals for performances of La Damnation de Faust.

    The World Exhibition in Paris in 1867 was a major succès d’estime for Hamerik, whose Hymne à la Paix, employing 12 harps, two organs, four church bells, 700-strong chorus and escort of the French National Guard, a work heavily influenced by Berlioz, was premiered under the Dane’s direction at the Théâtre Lyrique, winning an Exposition gold medal "pour service rendu", presented by Napoléon III; the score of the hymn was lost in the turmoil of the Paris Commune in 1871. A Scandinavian Song Festival, organised by Hamerik at the Exposition, also garnered critical praise.

    Hamerik found himself in Corsica in early 1869 working on his one act opera La Vendetta when news came to him of Berlioz’s precarious condition. "The sad message came from Paris that Berlioz lay seriously ill in a state of paralysis," Valdis Hamerik wrote in her memoirs "Derovrefra" (From Over There) (1975). "His grieving pupil returned to find him on his death bed. Berlioz managed though to muster a little smile of recognition for all his good friends who came to visit him during his last days."

    There is no record of Hamerik attending Berlioz’s funeral at the Eglise de la Trinité on 11 March 1869 but the Dane left the French capital for good that same month for Milan. It was in Vienna in 1871 that the American consul offered him the directorship of the Peabody Institute, the conservatory and musical society in Baltimore, one of the musical capitals of the New World, a post he accepted at a crossroads in his life. 

Christopher Follett
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Notes

1 Asger Hamerik (1843-1923) composed 41 opuses comprising seven symphonies, four operas, suites, chamber and choral music. It was during his years in America (1871-98) that Hamerik composed his best works as well as writing a "Musicians’ Theory Book" for use at the Baltimore Conservatory. Hamerik’s works have a distinct Nordic feel to them while at the same time clearly showing the influence of Gade and Berlioz. "Hamerik is interesting in that he is not oriented towards Mendelssohn or Schumann, the usual places for Scandinavian composers to go in those days – but he was a student of Berlioz," says Thomas Dausgaard, chief conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra/DR (Danish Radio Orchestra), who has recorded Hamerik’s symphonies. (Thomas Dausgaard’s cycle of Hamerik Symphonies with the Hälsingborg Symphony Orchestra is available on the DACAPO label.)

    Hamerik’s symphonies have titles in French; from his mentor Berlioz he adopted the use of the idée fixe a device in particular evidence in Symphonies No. 3 (Symphonie Lyrique), No. 4 (Symphonie Majestueuse) and No. 5 (Symphonie Sérieuse). Hamerik’s Requiem – composed in 1887 while the composer was on holiday in Nova Scotia – was performed at a concert in 1895 at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore to mark the centenary of the birth of its founder. Deemed Hamerik’s masterpiece, the Requiem is somewhat reminiscent of Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts. Hamerik finally settled back in Copenhagen in 1900, living his last years there with his American pianist wife and family – numbering two sons and two daughters – all of a musical bent.

2 Niels Wilhelm Gade (1817-90), Denmark’s leading composer of the 19th century. He worked in Leipzig at the Gewandhaus Orchestra along with Mendelssohn in the 1840s.  Strongly under the influence of Mendelssohn and Schumann, he wrote eight symphonies, theatrical music, and was composer of the first works of Danish national romanticism.

3 Cf. Hugh Macdonald in Correspondance Générale, Volume VII p. 730; Berlioz in his later years befriended and encouraged young musicians of talent, such as Théodore Ritter or Camille Saint-Saëns, but he did not have any ‘pupils’ as such. Apart from the few known letters of Berlioz to Hamerik or Hamerik to Berlioz (see Appendix below), there are no references to Hamerik in the rest of Berlioz’s preserved correspondence. There are none, for example, to the concert given by Hamerik on 8 May 1865 where Berlioz was present, nor to Hamerik’s presence at the performance of the Damnation of Faust in Vienna in December 1866. [Ed]

4 Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann (1805-1900); he composed romantic operas on Danish/Nordic subjects and wrote stage music.

5 Christian Frederik Emil Horneman (1840-1906), a Danish romantic composer; he studied in Leipzig with Grieg. His output is limited; he was leader of the anti-Gade lobby which found Gade "too German".

6 Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864); his opera L’Africaine was premiered posthumously in Paris 1865.

7 "Un jeune compositeur Danois de beaucoup d’ardeur et de talent" – quote from letter of introduction from Berlioz in Vienna to Pauline Viardot in Baden-Baden, Germany dated Dec 18 1866: Letter in copy form only in possession of Hamerik family in Copenhagen, not as yet in Correspondance Générale

Vienne 18 décembre (1866)
Autriche

Chère madame Viardot

Un jeune compositeur Danois de beaucoup d’ardeur et de talent, Mr Hammerick (sic), veut absolument voir Bade en revenant de Vienne. Or, comme Bade c’est vous je vous prie instamment de l’accueillir par un de vos beaux sourires qui font tant de bien. Peut-être même voudrez vous lui donner la joie de vous entendre. Mais son ambition ne va pas jusque là. Je suis ici dans un grand tourbillon musical dont il serait trop long de vous raconter les bouillonnements.

Votre tout dévoué

Hector Berlioz

P.S. Veuillez me rappeler au souvenir de Mr Viardot.

8 "On various occasions Hamerik deputized for Berlioz when the composer was too ill to superintend performances of his works." Berlioz, by  J. H. Elliot (Master Musicians, Dent, 1959), page 105.

9 A questionable statement. [Ed]

10 Another questionable statement; articles by Berlioz had been published in German years before. [Ed]

11 A doubtful assertion; Berlioz’s career, music and writings show him to have been above nationalistic prejudice, particularly as regards Germany. [Ed]

12) Berlioz had supporters and admirers, as well as enemies, from early in his career. [Ed]

13 Berlioz was in the Dauphiné re-establishing contact with his childhood love Estelle Dubeuf/Fornier at this time.

14 Baltimores Music – the Haven of the American Composer, by Lubov Keefer (J. H. Furst, Baltimore, 1962)

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Appendix 

a) The following letters from Berlioz to Hamerik appear in original French in Correspondance Générale, Volume VII, edited by Pierre Citron, Yves Gérard and Hugh Macdonald (Flammarion): 

(CG no. 3070) 1 December 1865 (part of which published also in Nordic Sounds, no. 2, 1991)
(CG no. 3101) 18 February 1866 (from Hamerik in Stockholm to Berlioz) [in Musée Berlioz collection; the only preserved letter of Hamerik to Berlioz]
(CG no. 3156) 30 August 1866 (published also in Nordic Sounds, no. 2, 1991)
(CG no. 3162) 20 September 1866
(CG no. 3175) 26 October 1866

b) Source material: Baltimore’s Music – The Haven of the American Composer, by Lubov Keefer (J. H. Furst, Baltimore, 1962); ‘Asger Hamerik  A Cosmopolitan Rediscovered’, article by Knud Ketting in Nordic Sounds (English language quarterly magazine of NOMUS, the Nordic Music Committee) No 2, 1991; ‘The Remarkable Asger Hamerik – Berlioz’s last pupil and the greatest Danish composer the United States ever had’, article by Christopher Follett in Nordic Sounds No 4, 2004.

Christopher Follett is a British freelance journalist. We are most grateful to him for writing this essay specifically for our site.

The Hector Berlioz Website was created by Monir Tayeb and Michel Austin on 18 July 1997; this page created on 10 May 2005.

© Hamerik’s photo on the top-left corner of this page is courtesy of the Danish national recording company DACAPO. All rights of reproduction reserved.

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