ELGAR (EDWARD) Autograph working full score of the 'Interlude: Gloucestershire, Shallow's Orchard' from his Falstaff
Lot 50
ELGAR (EDWARD) Autograph working full score of the 'Interlude: Gloucestershire, Shallow's Orchard' from his Falstaff
£8,000 - 10,000
US$ 13,000 - 17,000
Lot Details
ELGAR (EDWARD)
Autograph working full score of the 'Interlude: Gloucestershire, Shallow's Orchard' from his Falstaff - symphonic study, Op.68, headed "Interlude - from Falstaff op.68", signed and inscribed at the end "Edward Elgar/July 1913/to Edward Speyer", marked on the first page "N.B. The Allegretto to inclusive, should be played by a small orchestra" and scored for strings alone after page one, eight leaves written on one side only, on printed 28-stave MS paper, with extensive revisions and deletions, original ring-binder holes, attached with red white and blue ribbon, large folio, [Severn House], July 1913

Footnotes

  • A WORKING DRAFT OF THE COMPLETE INTERLUDE, a haunting exercise in what Elgar called a "sadly-merrily" mood, and one that lies at the very heart of one of his greatest works; springing as it does from 'the tune for Broadheath' which haunted Elgar throughout his musical career. With the manuscript is the envelope and Elgar's original covering autograph letter, dated 17 July 1913, with which it was sent to Edward Speyer: "Enclosed I venture to send with much shyness - a separate little movement (Interlude) from Falstaff; - this is the original score. I have had to copy it (transpose it) into the score which goes to the printer so that this little book of eight pages is more original than the original score which is printing". The transposed version is in A minor, while the draft sent to Speyer is in G minor.

    Falstaff had been commissioned by the Leeds Festival in 1913, but the idea had been in Elgar's mind for more than a decade: "To fulfil the Festival commission, he decided to carry out the Falstaff idea sketched a decade earlier - the portrait of chivalry as an ageing jester... He worked a little at the music in March 1913. Then he spent the first fortnight of April with his sister Polly and her family at Stoke. Returning on the 16th, he sketched next day a descending figure to retrace the very notes of the 'tune from Broadheath' in an unequal rhythm... It was to be the centre of an Interlude for Falstaff to rest in Shallow's Gloucestershire orchard. But the scattered ideas did not come together until close to the end of May" (Jerrold Northrop Moore, Edward Elgar: A Creative Life, 1984, pp.643-4; for the seminal 'tune from Broadheath', see pp.33-5). Elgar finished work on the score on 5 August. He wrote to the critic Ernest Newman on 26 September: "Falstaff (as programme says) is the name but Shakespeare - the whole of human life - is the theme. A theatre conductor cd easily have given a heavy scherzo & called it Falstaff - but you see I have made a larger canvas - & over it all runs - even in the tavern - the undercurrent of our failings and sorrows". It received its first performance on 2 October 1913. Newman wrote in his review: "The enveloping atmosphere of the work is, indeed, more sad than humorous to anyone who has ears to hear, for Elgar has seen his subject too completely in the round to be seduced by the superficial farce of it". Basil Maine, Elgar's first biographer, held the work in especially high esteem: "In the history of music Elgar will be remembered as the man who so far lifted the status of English music that the once fashionable description of England as 'the land without music' became an absurdity. 'Falstaff', one of the finest of all works written for a modern orchestra, is called a symphonic study and the symphonic aspect cannot be too much emphasized. The music's behaviour, that is, is guided by an inner logic of its own rather than by a series of scenes and events, although it is still true that the agreement between that inner logic and the 'programme' is a remarkable feature of the music. When Elgar's finely imaginative achievement in 'Falstaff' is contemplated...it is impossible not to be set wondering what heights the composer would not have reached in the Ben Jonson opera he was sketching [at the end of his life]" (DNB).
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