ELGAR (EDWARD) Autograph sketches for The Dream of Gerontius, Op.38
Lot 49
ELGAR (EDWARD) Autograph sketches for The Dream of Gerontius, Op.38
Sold for £13,145 (US$ 21,479) inc. premium

Lot Details
ELGAR (EDWARD)
Autograph sketches for The Dream of Gerontius, Op.38, including early trials for the 'Profiscere' which concludes Part I ('Go forth upon thy journey, Christian soul!'), comprising two sections (i) Sketch headed "Semi-Chorus/tone higher", of the entry of the semi-chorus (Priest's Assistants) after Gerontius' initial solo, with the words "Kyrie eleison" (Part I, cue 291-3020), differing at the end from the final version, comprising ten bars, in two five-stave systems for SATB and orchestra condensed, marked at the head in pencil by Edward Speyer: "Edward Elgar: Sketches for 'The Dream of Gerontius' op.38", 1 page, in ink, with additional words and notations in pencil, cancelled in red crayon "K", filing-hole at head, 4to; (ii) Sketch for Gerontius' opening solo of Part II, preceding the entry of the Angel, when he has first intimations of her song ("Another marvel: someone has me fast/within his ample palm;.../...A uniform/And gentle pressure tells me I am not/Self-moving, but borne forward on my way./And hark! I hear a singing: yet in sooth/I cannot of that music rightly say/whether I hear, or touch, or taste the tones"), notated in a three-stave system for solo and orchestra in piano score, thirteen bars with one deleted, also marked at the head in pencil by Edward Speyer: "Edward Elgar: Sketches for 'The Dream of Gerontius' op.38", one page on a bifolium (otherwise blank), the first three bars in ink, continuing in pencil, cancelled in red crayon "K", on Breitkopf & Haertel paper, folio [probably February or March 1900]

Footnotes

  • SKETCHES FOR WHAT IS WIDELY REGARDED AS THE GREATEST OF ELGAR'S MASTERPIECES - famously acclaimed a work of genius by Speyer's friend Richard Strauss - including a trial version for what is, in its final version, one of the work's supreme moments, the great 'Profiscere' concluding Part 1: 'Go forth upon thy journey, Christian soul/Go from this world! Go, in the name of God'. On the otherwise blank verso of the sheet containing the sketch for the Kyrie section, Elgar has written the words and notated the music of a short phrase: "name, in the name of". This is from midway through the 'Profiscere', at the point where the chorus of Assistants takes up the valediction from the Priest: "Go forth in the name, in the name" (in the final score the bass part at cue 734). Over the words of the Kyrie itself, Elgar has pencilled: "Through the same, through Xt [Christ] our Lord". These - sung first by the SATB quartet of Assistants and then by the Priest solo - are the words which conclude the 'Profiscere': "go! Go on thy course!/And may thy place to-day be found in peace, And may thy dwelling be the Holy Mount of Sion/- through the same, through Christ our Lord"; so marking the passing of Gerontius' soul. In the final version (at cue 78 onwards), the quartet is set to the music found in our sketch, but down a semitone (in D major rather than E flat).

    Christopher Kent lists eleven different sketch MSS for the work, of which ours is No.8: it should be noted that the Kyrie is for bars 291-302 (not 301 as stated by Kent) and the passage from Part 2 is for bars 93-111 (not 103).
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