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There are quite a few people that Ernst came into contact with one would like to know more about. These include:

  • D. Birnbaum. She is the young girl who wrote of visiting Ernst and his wife in Nice just before he died, in 1864/5 [HWE:264-6] Her account is included as an appendix to Samuel Wolf’s English edition of Amely Heller’s 1904 book  published as Ernst in the Opinion of his Contemporaries (Linthicum Heights: Swand Publications, 1986), pp.21-22, although it does not appear in Heller’s original.  Does anyone know who she was or how Wolf came by her account?
  • Alfred Schönstein and Sigmund Hoffmann de Hoffmansthal dedicatees of Ernst’s two Morceau de salon op.13, C.1841-2.
  • Maurice Wehle dedicatee of Ernst’s Rondo Papageno op.21, C.1844-5. This may be the same Wehle, a young violinist, who appeared with Ernst at one of his early concerts in Vienna. [HWE:33] A Maurice Wehle is also the dedicatee of Eduard Lalo’s op.18.
  • Frédéric Klandeles dedicatee of Ernst’s Prophet Fantasy op.24 C.1849

The following are dedicatees of individual pieces in Heller and Ernst’s Pensées fugitives C.1842: No.2, Madame Montgolfier; No.4, L.Rakemann; No.8, Mdlle Smith; No.9, Madlle Raupp. I imagine most of these people were Paris-based; does anyone know who they are and how Ernst/Heller knew them? (Mark Rowe, 31/10/2013)

Posted by HWE_admin
Asked on February 11, 2014 12:27 am

It would appear that Maurice Wehle, dedicatee of music by Ernst and Lalo, was a highly educated Bohemian doctor living in Prague, who became actively involved in the 1848 Revolution. In consequence, he and his family – along with the Brandeis family (after whom the American university would later be named) – decided to flee to Madison in the USA. Fortunately a young lawyer in the area, John Lyle King, kept a diary (eventually totaling 11 volumes) in which, amongst other things, he records his interactions with the newly arrived families. The relevant entries not only show King’s desire to fall in love with every young woman he meets, but how well educated, musical and politically radical his new acquaintances are:


Tuesday, July 24, 1849: At Helen Corey’s this evening. I invited Helen to call with me on the Bohemians. Helen and I started to Wehle’s home. At the door, the elder Wehle received us. He was embarrassed and taken by surprise, and it looked as if we were not to be invited in. Adolph, inquired for, was out. I asked if we could see the ladies. Was told that they were in their chamber. But while talking, Miss Dembitz made her appearance at the door. Introductions followed. Then in. The younger Wehle, who is most au fait in social matters, was not then in, but made his appearance before we left. The ladies, considerably at ease, took interest in our conversation, and tete-teted with as much spirit as their meager English would allow. We had Miss Caroline Wehle, Miss Frederique Dembitz, and Miss Ida Weiner (governess) in the room. Miss Frederique is inclined to embonpoint, has a dark complexion, intelligent physiognomy, and substantial parts of a character, and is said to be finely educated. Caroline Wehle is smaller, younger, is of a type of gaiety, handsome, animated, and probably a little coquettish. She is the one I would fall in love with, and I should conjecture much more capable of inspiring the tender than Miss Frederique. She is the doctor’s betrothed…It amuses me and entertains me to hear the ladies talk. They are a little shy to use our speech too. Their coyness and diffidence keeps the imagination active enough to render them decidedly interesting. Helen spoke in French to them, and they were so agreeably surprised to hear a language they understood that their gratification spontaneously revealed itself in joyous exclamations, and they followed us to the gate with a new-born fervor expressing the happiness they would have in seeing her again. Helen was favorable impressed and invited them to see her and use her piano until their own arrived. [Note: among the possession the families brought with them from Europe were two (!) grand pianos, but apparently they had not arrived in Madison yet.]

Friday, September 21, 1849: Sallie Gale and I called on Dr. and Adolph Brandeis and their ladies. They live upstairs in Dr. Watts’ on Main Cross, above the storeroom. Their parlor is small but comfortably furnished, and has several daguerreotypes and portraits of their German friends hanging on the walls. They were glad to see us. They speak English much better than when I first knew them. They seem much devoted to one another, and make quite a happy group. The ladies were dressed in better taste than usual. We left early, 9 o’clock. They were disposed to complain of me for neglecting to see them for so long. Frederique has a copy of Byron which she is fond of, and we had a literary conversation.
October 5, 1849: My friend, James Morton, Dr. Brandeis, and Mr. Maurice Wehle went into court with me and filed their declaration of intention to become citizens. When asked by me if Francis Joseph was present emperor of Austria, Mr. Wehle replied, “Yes, damn him! I do abjure him!” Wehle was an insurrectionist in the tumult in Prague last year, and was a captain of insurgentsm who were all at least reduced to subjection of Wendis Chgratz [i.e. Windischgrätz, (1787-1862) the reactionary Austrian Field Marshal] and the imperial rule entirely reestablished. I was a while in Dr. Brandeis’ parlor with his and Adolph’s wives and Wehle. The ladies asked me if I would call with them on Miss Corey. I told them my intercourse was suspended there now, but if it were resumed, I would inform them and accompany them.


More information can be discovered here:

Further information is available in book form which I am now investigating.

M. W. Rowe

Posted by HWE_admin
Answered On June 14, 2016 12:54 pm