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Schubertiade Music

Autograph Letter to Vronsky & Babin - SENDING NEW YEAR'S WISHES AND REPORTING ON RECENT COMPOSITIONS AND RECORDINGS

Autograph Letter to Vronsky & Babin – SENDING NEW YEAR’S WISHES AND REPORTING ON RECENT COMPOSITIONS AND RECORDINGS

Milhaud, Darius. (1892-1974) Autograph letter from the great French composer to one of the foremost duo-piano teams of the twentieth century. 1 page, dated "XMAS" on letterhead of Mills College, Oakland, CA, signed "DM." With the hand-addressed envelope postmarked Dec 27, 1964.  In English, in full: "Dear Friends, Happy New Year! Thanks for your nice publicity with this nice picture.  We tried without success to phone you today.  I suppose the Calif. flood has something to do with it.  We had a beautiful time in Salt Lake.  The recordings of Pacem in Terris and of Honegger's Judith (Madeleine narrator) went superbly.  I work hard, as I am well now, and finished the 2nd Act of my 'last' opera. Much love to the Critic. DM." Pacem in terris, Op. 404 is a choral symphony for alto, baritone, chorus and orchestra by Milhaud. Though often identified only by its title and opus number, it is considered Milhaud's thirteenth and last symphony. The piece was written in 1963, incorporating text written by Pope John XXIII.Vronsky & Babin were regarded by many as one of the foremost duo-piano teams of the twentieth century. Vitya Vronsky (Viktoria Mikhailovna Vronskaya, 22 August 1909 - 28 June 1992) was born in Yevpatoria(then part of the Russian Empire now part of the annexed territory of Crimea in Ukraine). Victor Babin (Viktor Genrikhovich Babin, 13 December 1908 - 1 March 1972) was born in Moscow, Russia. They both died in Cleveland, Ohio, United States.
Autograph Letter to Schlesinger about his Horn Concertino and Other Works

Autograph Letter to Schlesinger about his Horn Concertino and Other Works

Weber, Carl Maria Von. (1786-1826) Partial autograph letter signed ink, "v Weber", Dresden, March 19, 1818, with postal cover on reverse to the Berlin music publisher A[dolf] M. Schlesinger. Although the letter evidently lacks the upper lines, there is much extant material, including approximately 38 lines with signature at the conclusion, and the content relates to several of Weber's major compositions, including the Missa Sancta no. 1 (which had just been premiered in Dresden), Der Freischütz, and his Horn Concertino. Large fragment with loss at head; fold separations with mends on back (appears to be archival); small tear to one edge. Overall good. 8 x 9.25 inches (20.2 x 23.5 cm). Together with a vintage postcard portrait of the composer.Weber writes to Schlesinger that he is "still very much in your debt" and mentions "the composition of a large Mass which occupies me day and night. and was performed yesterday in the Hofkirche with great success. [.] Your letter of 28.8.17 reached me on the 3rd of September in Prague, and hence I did not give the Arias to Herr Peters." He mentions his friend Gottfried Weber and goes on to complain about a "very sad" situation. Later, Weber reports that his opera [Der Freischutz] has been "very much delayed" because of the composition of another piece, and that "Herr Kapellmeister [.] will let you listen to the singing rehearsals." Going on, Weber mentions his recently-composed Horn Concertino: "What you wrote to me about the Concertino is somewhat unintelligible. If one can do everything on the newly-invented horn, then that [.] should become easy, and not need to be changed. [.] Poems by Goethe and Schiller are too often and excellently set for me to wish to try it again. A volume of etudes, a volume of folk songs, and a [.] Rondo will be the next things finished." He also goes on to mention a trio, a work for piano four hands, and the overture to Georg Joseph Vogler's opera Samori. At the close of the letter, he mentions that "the edition of the Musik-Zeitung is very good" and that he will write something "when I have the time and opportunity."1818 saw Weber in a very busy period, having just taken over as director of the Opera in Dresden. His Missa Sancta no. 1 was composed for the name-day of King Friedrich August I of Saxony in 1818. Weber had had no previous experience with liturgical music, but the mass was a great success: the king gave him a diamond ring in thanks. His work on Der Freischütz began in 1817, but was delayed because of the many other demands on Weber's time, only resuming in 1819. The Horn Concertino mentioned in the present letter had been composed in 1806 for the Karlsruhe horn player Dautrevaux, and revised for the Munich virtuoso Rauch in 1815. The work is known for its extreme technical challenges (including multiphonics which require playing overtones while also humming), and was originally composed for natural horn--the only horn at the time. However, in 1818, soon before the present letter, the first valved horn was patented by makers Heinrich Stölzel and Friedrich Blümel. While the valves did make the instrument much easier in many ways, allowing the use of many more keys, Weber's concertino remains extremely difficult even for modern horn players.
Prokofiev under the Kremlin" - Original Cartoon Drawing

Prokofiev under the Kremlin” – Original Cartoon Drawing

Prokofiev, Sergei. (1891-1953)] Norkin, Sam. (1917-2011) Striking original drawing of the great composer, shown playing the piano in the shadow of the Kremlin, which has been transformed into a giant metronome. Drawn by the noted American illustrator and caricaturist Sam Norkin in 1949 for the The Reporter Magazine. Ink on card, with separate pieces of paper taped around the image to frame it. Captioned in pencil at the foot. Image size 4.5 x 6.25 inches, overall size 9.75 x 12 inches (24.8 x 30.5 cm).In early 1948, the Soviet Politburo issued a resolution denouncing Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich, Myaskovsky, and Khachaturian of the crime of "formalism", described as a "renunciation of the basic principles of classical music" in favor of "muddled, nerve-racking" sounds that "turned music into cacophony." Eight of Prokofiev's works were banned from performance. Such was the perceived threat behind the banning of the works that even works that had avoided censure were no longer programmed. Prokofiev's fortunes steadily declined in the next years: his wife was arrested for espionage, he accumulated serious debt, and his health deteriorated. He died on the same day as Josef Stalin: March 5, 1953.New York-born cartoonist Samuel Norkin specialized in theater and arts caricatures for more than seven decades. His drawings of theater, opera, ballet and film celebrities appeared in Variety, Backstage, The Philadelphia Enquirer, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe and many other publications. He is best-known for his long tenure providing theatrical illustrations for the New York Herald Tribune (1940-1956) and covering performing arts for the Daily News (from the 1950's to the 1980's.) His highly engaging drawings have been said to "metaphorically grab the reader-onlooker by the shoulders." Because Norkin would draw the performers in rehearsal, his caricatures often served as an effective advance press for shows as they went on the pre-Broadway circuit.
Archive of Materials Relating to Amateur Dramatics at the Kent County Lunatic Asylum

Archive of Materials Relating to Amateur Dramatics at the Kent County Lunatic Asylum, 1860’s

Lunatic Asylum] Stevens, J. H. & Newcome, W. T. A highly interesting collection of ephemera relating to amateur dramatics taking place at the Kent County Lunatic Asylum in Kent, England in the 1860's. The archive contains 15 programs, a prologue and two epilogues, a photograph of an actor, and 28 newspaper clippings, nicely laid down on scrapbook pages which are housed in a custom cloth box. Taken together, the items give a fascinating and unusual view into the Victorian treatment of the mentally ill.The original sepia photograph (15 x 9.5 cm) shows a woman (or man in drag) in prim Victorian dress, standing beside a table of men's hats. The subject may be Stevens' wife, who acted in at least one performance. 15 programs, printed poster-style in 4to, one on each side of pieces of India paper of various pastel colors, each with a Kentish horse at the head, above the words "Concert Room, Kent County Lunatic Asylum, Barming Heath." One program (from 1865) has the words "The Last Night of the Season" at the head; another two (from 1866 and 1867) "Fourth Season"; a fourth (from 1867) "Last Nights of the Fourth Season"; and the last two (1867 and 1868) "The Fifth Season." Each program gives a list of the actors and the characters they play, together with the names of the Acting Manager ("Mr. J. H. Stevens" throughout); the Scenic Artist ("Mr. C. Foord"), the Stage Decorator ("Mr. W. Featherstone" and later "Mr. Russell"), Machinist ("Mr. J. Dadswell"), and later, Leader of the Band ("Mr. Russell", "Mr. Gower" and once, "Mr. Venu.") There are generally two main pieces to a performance, with the first (February 26, 1864) consisting of two farces: "My Wife's Second Floor" and "A Thumping Legacy." (As the final entertainment of the first night, "The Asylum Band will perform various selections during the Evening under the direction of M. A. de Sauzay.") The last program features the comedy "Naval Engagements" by Charles Dance, and a comic drama by William Brough, "A Phenomenon in a Smock Frock." The prologue and two epilogues are on the same paper as the programs, and are likewise headed "Kent County Lunatic Asylum." The prologue (1 p., 4to, with Brown's slug) is in two columns, and is titled "Prologue for the Season 1867-8 / (Written by W. T. Newcome, Esq.)" The first epilogue (1 p., 12mo, with Brown's slug) is titled "An Epilogue / Written by Mr. J. H. Stevens, and delivered by him at the conclusion of his performance on Tuesday Evening, the 29th March, 1864; the close of the Theatrical Season." The second epilogue (1 p., 12mo) is titled "An Epilogue / Written for the occasion by W. T. Newcombe, Esq., and spoken by Mr. J. H. Stevens, on Friday Evening, the 29th March, 1867, being the last Night of the fourth Theatrical Season." The cuttings emphasize the high standard of the performances ("The unanimous verdict of those best qualified to judge, was that the good intentions of the amateurs were seconded by an ability little, if at all, inferior to trained professionals"), and the presence of "many of the elite from Maidstone."The care taken in assembling the collection suggests that it may have belonged to J. H. Stevens, steward of the asylum, or to another of those directly involved with the enterprise. Some light toning and wear, but overall in fine condition. Modern blue cloth box with red leather label in very fine condition, 11 x 15 x 1 inches.An article in the Morning Post of April 5, 1867 gives a compassionate view of the drama program: "The efficiency of the amateurs in their respective parts was greatly due to the steward of the asylum, Mr. J. H. Stevens, who was the acting manager. The effect of these entertainments, to which between 400 and 500 of the patients are admitted, is most interesting. The perfect quiet and good behavior of the audience, and their ready seizure of the various "points" which occur, render it difficult to believe in the fact of their insanity. To all those who have inaugurated and assisted in carrying out this kindly movement great praise is due. It is little that can be done to relieve the tedium inseparable from these poor creatures' isolation, but all the plans for their benefit are carried out with a heartiness and kindness that speaks volumes in favor of the genuine humanity of all concerned.
Signed Photograph with Autograph Musical Quotation of the Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor

Signed Photograph with Autograph Musical Quotation of the Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67

Shostakovich, Dimitri. (1906-1975) Pristine signed photograph of the esteemed Soviet composer whose 15 symphonies and large body of chamber and instrumental works occupy a place of central importance in the 20th-century repertoire. An original photograph, signed and inscribed boldly in purple ink in the lower blank margin to U.M. Krasovsky [Russian; 1917-2006], dated 1947, and inscribed by the composer with a detailed three-measure autograph musical quotation marked "Allegro" from his Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67. Light toning; inscription slightly smudged, otherwise overall fine. Affixed to a same-size mount, 4 x 5.75 inches (10 x 14.8 cm).Shostakovich's Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 67, is remarkable for a number of reasons. It was written in 1944, just after his Symphony No. 8, with which it shares its overall structure; it is a lamentation for both Shostakovich's close friend, musicologist Ivan Sollertinsky, and the victims of the Holocaust, the news of which horror did not reach the U.S.S.R. until the liberation of the camps began; and it is his first work to employ a "Jewish theme," a musical tribute that used the scales and rhythms of Jewish folk music as Shostakovich knew it. Shostakovich began composing the trio in December 1943 but had only completed sketches, which he was able to share with Sollertinsky before Sollertinsky's death in February 1944. Shostakovich performed the piano part in the premiere, on November 14, 1944, in Leningrad, with violinist Dmitri Tsyganov and cellist Sergei Shirinsky, both members of the Beethoven String Quartet. The present AMQS quotes the opening of the final Allegretto, where the Jewish figurations -- the Dorian mode with an augmented fourth and the iambic rhythms -- are used in a macabre dance that is contrasted against a stern march and five-beat climbs up and down the scale. 
A Kind of Magic" - Inscribed to Elizabeth Arden

A Kind of Magic” – Inscribed to Elizabeth Arden, with a Typed Note Signed

Ferber, Edna. (1885-1965) [Arden, Elizabeth. (1878-1966)] Signed presentation copy of the American novelist, short story writer and playwright's memoir A Kind of Magic, inscribed to makeup mogul Elizabeth Arden and with an accompanying typed note signed wishing Arden a good recovery after an operation. 335 pp. Hardcover, black cloth boards, with dust jacket. Ferber has penned on the front free endpaper: "For Elizabeth Arden--who has a kind of magic of her own. Edna Ferber. New York, September 1963." In the typed note (September 23, 1963; 2 pp. on blue-bordered letterhead) she writes: "Here am I, dear Elizabeth Arden, with some of that unwelcome commodity--unasked advice. In 1940 I had my gall-bladder out. It wasn't fun. But the later change in my general well-being was miraculous. It doubtless will be the same in your experience (though I always think of you as being equipped with more health and vitality than any other living human being.) In the coming year please don't forget that one mustn't be too smarty after a major goings-on such as this certainly is. Please don't move pianos or even continents. It doesn't pay off, that post-operational year. Take it--as our American saying goes--easy. In eight months of a year you'll be better than new. Well, I said it was unasked advice, didn't I! Edna Ferber." Paperclip mark to the note and to the first few pages; some edge losses to the dustjacket, in mylar; toning; overall fine in very good dust jacket. 6.25 x 9.5 inches (16 x 24.5 cm).Although not particularly known for an interest in beauty, Edna Ferber was a notable guest at Elizabeth Arden's first spa in the 1930's.