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Variations plaisantes sur un thème grave pour orchestre et harpe obligée. A Monsieur A. Blondel. Autograph musical manuscript signed
- Folio (ca. 350 x 270 mm.) Disbound. 1f. (title), [i] (blank), [i] (dedication), 14, 1f. (blank) pp. Notated in blue and red ink on 22-stave music paper blindstamped "H. Lard Esnault Ed. Bellamy Sr. Paris" at upper inner margins.With the autograph signature of the composer ("Roger-Ducasse") and date ("Octobre 1906") to lower portion of title. Includes two autograph dedications, one to the harpist Albert Blondel at upper margin of title and the other "A Jean Aubry, en souvenir du 24 février. Très amicalement R.D." to the verso of the second leaf.The complete score of this work for harp in orchestral reduction, with the harp part notated in blue ink and the orchestral part in red. With numerous annotations, corrections, and performance markings in pencil in another hand, almost exclusively to the harp part.Slightly worn and soiled; short tears and remnants of sewing thread to inner margins. Variations plaisantes was first performed in Paris on January 24, 1909, with the renowned harpist Marcel Grandjany (1891-1975) at the harp. A. Durand published the work in both full score and piano reduction in the same year.Roger-Ducasse "studied composition with Fauré, counterpoint with Gédalge, harmony with Pessard and piano with Charles-Auguste de Bériot. He was a founding member of the Société Musicale Indépendante (1909) along with Ravel, Vuillermoz and Koechlin. A friend of Debussy's, he gave an early of performance En blanc et noir with him in December 1916, and was with Chouchou (Debussy's daughter) when Debussy died." Barbara L. Kelly in Grove Music Online.Music critic Georges Jean Aubry (1882-1949), the second dedicatee, "belonged to a circle of avant-garde musicians and littérateurs and was a frequent contributer to periodicals. Encouraged by his 20-year friendship with Debussy, he wrote enthusiastically in support of contemporary French composers, noting similarities between their music and that of the 18th century (Couperin, Rameau)." Grove Music Online.This attractive and carefully executed manuscript, with its numerous annotations and corrections, offers harpists and scholars alike an intriguing glimpse of the genesis of the piece. Many of the corrections were incorporated into the Durand edition; some differences between this manuscript and the published version, however, remain.
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