Typed letter signed to musicologist Henry Prunières
by RAVEL, Maurice 1875-1937
Henry Prunieres (1886-1942) was a French musicologist who founded and directed the monthly periodical La Revue musicale from 1921 until 1939. Ravel composed Ronsard à son Âme for a special issue of the Revue celebrating the 400th anniversary of Pierre de Ronsard's birth in 1924. Marcelle Gerar (a.k.a. Marcelle Regerau) and Ravel premiered the song at Aeolian Hall in London in 1924; Ravel orchestrated it in 1935. As this and other letters attest, Ravel "worked unremittingly" on L'enfant et les sortilèges "throughout 1924 and the early months of 1925, and it was ready just in time for the première," in Monte Carlo on March 21, 1925. "(Five days before, he was writing to Colette [the librettist], asking her for words to fit a few recently composed bars.) The work was conducted by Victor de Sabata, with ballet sequences by the young [George] Balanchine." Roger Nichols in Grove Music Online.Although begun in 1923, the Sonata no. 2 in G major for Violin and Piano was not completed until 1927. "The writing continues the tradition of the Sonata for Violin and Cello, with considerable independence of the parts, a sparse texture, and some bitonal passages. The blues movement marks the composer's second adaptation of jazz, and the virtuoso perpetuum mobile continues in the tradition of Tzigane. As customary, the work is tightly organized, with material from the first and second movements recurring in the finale." Orenstein: Ravel Man and Musician, p. 198.. 1 page. Quarto. Dated Le Belvédère, Montfort L'Amaury (S. & O.), June 6, 24. Typed in blue ink on personal letterhead with embossed initials and address of the composer at head. One amendation and composer's signature in black ink. In French (with translation). Ravel mentions no fewer than three of his works in this letter: L'enfant et les sortilèges; the Sonata for Piano and Violin; and the original piano-vocal version of the song, Ronsard à son Âme. Ravel and his dedicatee, the lyric soprano Marcelle Gerar, are dismayed because the song, which was to be published in Prunières's journal, La Revue musicale, lacks its dedication."From now until the first months of next year, I must finish: 1. a lyric work which is hardly begun [L'enfant... ]. 2. the Sonata for Piano and Violin, which is only half-finished. I'm not budging anymore for the whole year, and I must forget America." Creased at folds and somewhat overall; occasional light staining; two small rust holes to upper portion from early pin; signature slightly faded. (Inventory #: 23345)
Musical Autographs and Manuscripts; Rare Books on Music and Dance; First and Early Editions of Printed Music; Prints, Drawings and Ephemera relating to Music and Dance including Opera and Ballet.
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