Handwritten letter in German

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Joseph Krips's letter

Paris, March 1949

Roberto Benzi is 11 years old and teached in conducting by André Cluytens since two years. Roberto Benzi started conducting during the summer of 1948. In March 1949 he has already appeared during many concerts in France and Spain.

In 1949 André CLUYTENS is permanent conductor of the «Société des Concerts du Conservatoire de Paris» (the future nucleus of the Orchestre de Paris) and at Paris Opéra Garnier and Opéra Comique. It is asked to the pupil to share a programme with his teacher by conducting the prestigious «Société des Concerts» at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.

In that same Theater, Wiener Staatsoper (on tour for first time in France after World War II under famous Maestri Karl BOEHM and Josef KRIPS) is performing Mozart operas. After assisting to a rehearsal of Roberto BENZI, Joseph KRIPS writes the following letter:

Original German text of the letter of the Maestro KRIPS

Roberto Benzi ist kein Wunderkind, er erscheint mir wie ein geborenes Stück Musik. Er dirigiert nicht, er macht nicht Musik: er ist Musik. Aus dem kleinen Körper wahre Musik, dass er die Bewegungen, diese Musik auszudrücken, finden muss. Was dieses Kind macht ist zwingend und bezwingend. Alles an diesem Kind ist natürlich. Das Gefülh dieses Knaben für die musikalische Linie, das die meisten Musiker erst in reifen Jahren finden, ist heute schon in erstaulichstem Masse entwickelt. Das Kind hört jede falsche Note und korrigiert die Musiker, wie es sonst nur erfahrene Dirigenten vermögen. Gott schütze den kleinen Roberto und erhalte ihn gesund. Bei gleichbleibender Entwicklung ist die Stufe, die Roberto Benzi erreichen kann, überhaupt nicht abzusehen.
Paris 18.3.1949
Josef Krips


Roberto BENZI is not a child prodigy. He appears to me as a real piece of music. He does not conduct, he does not make music: he is the music itself. Music springs out from his delicate body and finds its right expression through his movements. What this boy is doing is fascinating and enchanting. All in him is natural. The feeling of this child about the musical line (only reached in mature years by most musicians) is surprisingly already an evidence. He hears each wrong note and corrects the players, like a very experienced conductor. Will God protect the small Roberto and keep him healthy. By following in this way, the level he can reach is immense.
Paris, March 18th, 1949
Josef Krips