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Price: $650.00

FINE CONDITION

Autographed first edition score of the composer’s first William Blake song cycle, “Songs and Proverbs of William Blake”, Faber and Faber, 1965.  The cycle dedicated to Dieter, was written for his friend Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.  The pair first performed the work at the Aldeburgh Festival, June 24, 1965.

BENJAMIN BRITTEN/Songs & Proverbs of/William Blake/FOR BARITONE AND PIANO/OP. 74/Faber and Faber 24 Russell Square London/B. Schott’s Söhne, Mainz · G. Schirmer, Inc., New York

Wrapper, title page, blank page, DFD dedication, 2 pages of libretto of VII proverbs and poems with notation From the Songs of Experience the Auguuries of Innocence, and the Proverbs of Hall, selected by Peter Pears. The autograph is on the publication page which notes the copyright and 22 minutes duration.  The first page of music with plate  F015 begins on page 1.  Music ends on page 38 with the printed notation of the completion date, Aldeburgh April 6th 1965. The wrapper is blank on the inside page followed by a Faber Music nomenclature on the end of the wrapper.

Britten (1913-1976) composed the work for his friend Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau for whom he had written the baritone part of his 1962 “War Requiem”.  DFD was a regular guest at the Red House and participant in his Aldeburgh Festival.  Fischer-Dieskau had highly praised the recorded Schubert cycles Pear and Britten had released and Britten suggested the idea of a cycle for the baritone.  Each of the seven poems in the cycle were selected by Pears from three of the 18th Century poet’s books and each was given a proverb by the poet as a preamble.  As mentioned above, the work was given it’s premiere at Britten’s Aldeburgh Festival on, June 24, 1965 with Fischer-Dieskau singing and Britten at the keyboard.  The critics heaped praise on the work and the composer and baritone made a recording at Croydon Hall in London on December 6, 1965.  It was not released however until May, 1969.  After the release of the record, one critic stated it was “one of the great works of the twentieth century”.  The pair did not perform it often, though it was performed by the duo at the 1968 Edinburgh Festival.  Perhaps as the tessitura of the vocal part lies high for the average baritone and the accompaniment is difficult.  Britten even surprised himself when he first performed the work.

Today there are numerous recordings available of the cycle.

 

           BENJAMIN BRITTEN - COMPOSER