In 1886 American composer Horatio Parker had been hoping for a performance of his string quartet by an important Boston ensemble. When the performance fell through, his colleague George Whitefield Chadwick wrote a cheerful letter explaining what had gone wrong:

In the first place, Kneisel gave me an excuse for not playing your Quartet that so many people wanted to hear the Brahms Sextet that he was obliged to put it on the program to the exclusion of the great American work! And in the second, Brother Gericke told the astute critic of the Transcript that he was so exhausted by his arduous labors with the flute and oboe player that he could no longer read a score, in which the astute critic doubtless sympathized with him!

That, however, he saw no reason why he could not play it next season and also that he could do it early in the season.

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This, I think, will be much better for you than to have it half played. I would select the Allegro in B-flat which you can easily call “Venetian Overture,” which is not only a good tune but a good name also, which is rather to be chosen than great riches.

I have made some new songs for one and four male voices, scored my Dedication Ode, and am at present at work on a string quartet in D major, which I hope to show you completed when you come. Whiting has done nothing! Niento! Gar Nichts! Says he hasn’t any ideas. Perhaps I haven’t either, but I don’t mean to forget how to make notes, etc., while I am waiting for some. I want to see that opera of yours. That it will be funny I have no doubt.

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