Translation © Robert W. Eshbach, 2013
Wilhelm Figdor to Julius and Fanny Joachim [i]
Vienna, 2 Dec. 1844
Dear brother-in-law and sister,
It gives me great pleasure to be the bearer of pleasant news from your dear Jos. But at the same time you realize how necessary and useful it is for him, from time to time to receive admonitions and inducements from afar, and especially from his homeland and from his parents. It is up to you to impress upon him that he must aspire to achieve independence and to make a name for himself. He can only do this through composition — and this is not possible without effort and perseverance. Fanny certainly does not ask more of him than he can achieve, and she knows full well how much of his negligence is due to his tender years. Also, she has not complained, except that he needs to be pushed. We all know this, and the more he is courted by foreigners, the more tireless his relatives must be in saying to him that his successes so far have owed more to his youth and the fortunate external circumstances here, and that without composition, which demonstrates his diligence, he will have achieved nothing, and when he is older, and stands there merely as a violin player, he will be nothing. You must demand, with the authority that only parents possess, that he complete the work that he has begun. I also write to him often, and do what I can to push him on to greater effort. We are all well, and hope to hear the same of you and your children, to whom I send many greetings.
[i] British Library: Joachim Correspondence, bequest of Agnes Keep, Add. MS 42718, p. 200.