Academic journal article Canadian University Music Review

Two Fauré Sources in the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, East Berlin

Academic journal article Canadian University Music Review

Two Fauré Sources in the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, East Berlin

Article excerpt

On 14 October 1924, three weeks before his death on 4 November, Gabriel Fauré wrote to his wife:

In Paris I shall spend a little of each day giving you, for consignment to the flames, all my sketches, all my rough drafts, all the bits and pieces of which I want nothing to survive me. This is something that preoccupied me very much when I was ill. You shall help me to accomplish it. (Nectoux, 1984: 338)1

This request, together with Fauré's habit of giving away manuscripts to friends, has resulted in the survival of very few primary sources for his music. Of the sketches, there survive those for Fauré's last work, the String Quarter, Op. 121, as well as seven small pocket notebooks with material for a number of works including the Requiem, various songs and piano pieces, the Second Piano Quartet, and the opera Pénélope. Autograph manuscripts of complete works do survive from all periods of Fauré's life, from the songs Op. 1. Nos. 1 and 2 (in the Bibliothèque Nationale and the Pierpont Morgan Library, respectively) to the last movement of the Trio, Op. 120, in the library of the University of Chicago. (McKay, 182). These sources (very often fair copies intended as presentation copies or as final copies for the engraver) provide much of the information that can be gleaned about Fauré's compositional method; the scholar will find clues in careful examination of layers of entry, erasures, and measures crossed out and discarded.

The bulk of this primary material for the study of Fauré's music resides in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris: other manuscript items are included in the collections of the Harry Ransom Center for Humanities Research at the University of Texas at Austin, the Pierpont Morgan Library, and the university libraries of Yale, Harvard, McGill, Chicago, Stanford, and the Eastman School of Music, as well as in private collections such as that of the Goüin family at Royaumont Abbey north of Paris. To this list can now be added the Deutsche Staatsbibliothck of East Berlin.

Included in the collection of the Musikabteilung of that library are a variety of sources related to the life and music of Gabriel Faurc. Some of this material-notably ten letters by Faure to André Beaunier. Jeanne Raunay. and others-has received attention in the scholarly literature (Nectoux. 1984:363). but two items have not. The first of these is an autograph manuscript of Faune's "La Fée aux Chansons" (Op. 27. no. 2) whose presence in Berlin is. evidently, not generally known in spite of its having been acquired by the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek (then the Royal Library) at auction in March of 1913. long before the composer's death.- According to the auction catalog also in the possession of the Deutsche Stautsbibliotehk. the manuscript was offered for sale between 27 and 29 March of 1913 by the antiquarian dealer Leo Liepmannssohn of Berlin, and was part of a lot which included music autographs from the estates of Josef Viktor Widmann, of Felix Mottl (Privy Councillor and court Opera Director), and of A. W. Gottschulg (Court Organist).3 Nectoux and Orledge give 1882 as the year of composition and 1883 as the publication date (\ecioux. 198(1: 426: Orledge. 1979:286): and Nectoux supports this dating with the evidence of it letter from Faure to Henriette Fuchs dated 19 September 1882:

I shall have the honour of bringing to you in Paris a little song that I have composed for you and that I now ask permission to dedicate to you. (Nectoux, 1984: 109)

It may be that the manuscript now in Berlin was given to Mme. Edmond Fuchs by Faure. but it has been possible to substantiate neither this idea nor an intermediate provenance between Faure or Mme. Fuchs and one of the estates involved in the 1913 sale.

The manuscript consists of two bifolia stitched with endpapers into a library folder. The music paper is that used often by Faure and bears the embossed stamp of H. Lard-Esnault-Bcllamy. Paris.4 in the upper left corner of recto pages. …

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