Lot 63
Sold for £4,200 (US$ 7,059) inc. premium
Lot Details
Autograph sketch leaf for the Dream of Gerontius, inscribed at the head "Fuga/ a tre voci/. Demons/ mem./ These are giddy old Devils", sketched in pencil on nine systems of two or three staves (nearly forty bars in all), with the phrase headed "Answer" sketched at the head, struck through as usual with a large 'K' in red crayon indicating its incorporation by the composer, 2 pages, central fold strengthened on verso, slight dust-staining etc., but overall in good and attractive condition, 4to, [?May 1900]


  • "THESE ARE GIDDY OLD DEVILS": SKETCHES FOR ELGAR'S 'DREAM OF GERONTIUS', his great setting of the Blessed Cardinal Newman's poem, the full score of which he presented to the Birmingham Oratory inscribed with the quotation: "This is the best of me: for the rest, I ate, and drank, and slept, loved and hated, like another; my life was a vapour, and is not; but this I saw and knew. This, if anything of mine, is worth your memory".

    This sketch is for the fugue in the Demons' Chorus near the beginning of Part II: beginning "Dispossessed, Aside thrust, Chuck'd down, By the sheer might Of a despot's will...". In the final version, this fugue was to be written for voices rather than the three specified here, and the time-signature altered from 2/4 to 4/4; constituting a furious fugal opening which, in the words of Jerrold Northrop Moore, "instead of any proper fugal development" lead to "fortissimo shouts of empty fourths and fifths, and another perversion of the Part II introduction... Before the Demons began, the Soul had said that their noise 'would make me fear, Could I be frighted.' Now the listener heard as the Soul heard. Immediately after the Demons had disappeared the chromatics were drained out of the 'Mind bold and independent' counterpoint to set the Soul's question about God: 'Shall I see my dearest Master...?'" (Edward Elgar: A Creative Life, 1984, p.309). See illustration on preceding page.
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