Henze | Weil | Jockisch

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Basic data

  1. Time period:
  2.  9. April 19481. July 1997
  3. Correspondence partner:
  4.   Henze, Hans Werner
  5.   Jockisch, Walter
  6.   Praetorius, Renate
  7.   Weil, Grete
  8. Editor(s):
  9.   Capelle, Irmlind

The Correspondence of Hans Werner Henze (1926–2012) with Grete Weil (1906–1999) and Walter Jockisch (1907–1970)

Basic information about the correspondence

The correspondence between Grete Weil 1, Walter Jockisch and Hans Werner Henze comprises 102 postal documents, of which only eight were written by Grete Weil and the remaining 92 by Henze. Two telegrams from Renate Praetorius to Grete Weil (on behalf of Henze) complete the correspondence. Henze often wrote joint letters to both Weil and Jockisch, but in the early period some letters were specifically addressed to only one of them and occasionally separate letters were sent in one envelope (see, for example, the letters of April 11 and May 12, 1950).

The correspondence covers the years 1948 to 1997, with a focus on the period between 1948-1953 and 1959/1960.

The language of the correspondence is German, but Henze occasionally switched to other languages. He wrote one letter, a card—and sometimes more detailed paragraphs—in French and three letters and a New Year’s greeting in English.

The letters are preserved in the Weil estate of the Monacensia and in the Henze estate of the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel. In the Weil estate, the envelopes are kept separately from the letters and cards and therefore had to be reassigned, which was not always easy with postmarks that were difficult to read and/or undated letters.

Writing characteristics of the correspondence partners

All but four of Henze’s letters in this correspondence are handwritten and it is very easy to observe the development from an initially very clear, rather narrow script to the later handwriting, in which the individual letters are rather separated and the spaces between the words are very wide.

In the early period, Henze generally uses lower case even after punctuation marks and only capitalizes the words of address (Dich, Dein, Euer etc.). Later, he uses mixed capitalization, in which the names and usually also the beginnings of sentences are capitalized. However, this is not a clear chronological development: Henze repeatedly has phases in which he writes consistently in lower case.

The capital and small “l” cannot be distinguished, which is why this is transcribed according to the overall context. The lowercase “z” is quite individual in the early period, where Henze only very rarely writes a crossbar and which, especially as an initial letter, strongly resembles an “n”.

Henze’s French is easy to understand, but grammatically and orthographically not flawless. Above all, the use of the accent is very “limited” the grave accent is only used for short words such as “très”, “à” and “concrète”, otherwise he always writes the acute accent and does not use the circumflexe at all.

Postal documents from Grete Weil have only been preserved since Walter Jockisch’s death on 22 March 1970 (see the section “Characterization of the relationship”). Of the eight documents, two telegrams and three letters each are handwritten and typewritten. Weil’s handwriting is (and probably always was) difficult to read, as Henze complains in the very first surviving letter (“ta lettre etait prèsque inlisible”), which is why she preferred the typewriter. To get an impression of Weil’s handwriting, see the illustration in Lisbeth Exner’s biography on p. 115.


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