TIPPETT (MICHAEL) Colin Davis's conducting score used for rehearsing the first performance of Tippett's The Knot Garden, signed by Michael Tippett, 1970
Lot 354
Sold for £750 (US$ 1,260) inc. premium
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Colin Davis’s conducting score used for rehearsing the first performance of Tippett’s The Knot Garden, signed by Michael Tippett on the first page above the title, and on the front flyleaf by Colin Davis (subscribing himself “Midwife”), and by all members of the cast, namely Raimund Herincx (Faber), Yvonne Minton (Thea), Jill Gomez (Flora), Josephine Barstow (Denise), Thomas Carey (Mel), Robert Tear (Dov) and Thomas Hemsley (Mangus), marked up throughout by Davis, in three volumes, lithographed from the manuscript full score, slight yellowed through ageing, black faux-leather binding, large 4to, [October 1970]


  • COLIN DAVIS'S PERFORMING SCORE FOR TIPPETT'S OPERA THE KNOT GARDEN, signed by composer, conductor and all members of the cast. The opera received its first performance at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on 2 December 1970. Our score appears to have been used by the late Sir Colin Davis during rehearsals before the opera went into production, each volume bearing the pencilled ownership inscription of Lois Wilson and dated as received on 26 October 1970. Lois Wilson (1936-2010) was a keen supporter of the LSO and ROH, as well as Secretary of the Berlioz Society which in its early days would often hold meetings in her flat. The black faux-leather binding of our score is typical of those remaining in Sir Colin's library at his death.

    Tippett remarked that 'Colin has an instinctive understanding of what I want without our ever having discussed it. I just feel that as far as interpreting my music is concerned, he's the tops'. The present score tracing as it does Davis's early engagement with Tippett's score (and, indeed, libretto) is of unusual interest: he was after all, as he drolly remarks of himself here, the midwife; and while all performances are of course collaborations between composer and performer, that of an untried work performed in close collaboration with the composer must hold a special place. Davis's annotations in the present score are numerous and revealing (and sometimes amusing); such as where, at 135, he tersely notes "Orchestra too big", adding "where its Piano play piano" and "Pos Vln & Bass, etc, play slow here & lighten"; or other notes such as 203 ("'Represents psychological chaos' wind – do accents – watch rhythm/ very dry/not too loud"); at 216 ("This impossible"); at 488 ("What metronome here? Why desert us after all this time?"); or at 503 ("2 ideas for this: 1) Solo Vlns for 3 bars then Tutti/ 2) Tutti for 1st bar, stop for 2 bars (solo-sub piano for 2) then tutti again"). Comparison between ours and the score used by Sir Colin for the first performance should tell us much.
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