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Capriccio for horn solo woodwinds and brass. Autograph manuscript full score. Composed for Queen Victoria's visit to Woburn Abbey in 1841. Apparently unpublished
Folio (ca. 303 x 240 mm). [25], [i] (blank) pp. Notated in black ink on paper with the watermark "SE & Co. 1836." 20 staves per page, drawn with rastrum. Partially paginated. Undated, but ca. 1841. With autograph titling "Capriccio ?- Musica del M.o F. Schira" and inscription "Composto in Occasione della visita della Regina al Castello di Woburn del Duca di Bedford", most probably in Schira's hand, to upper and lower blank margins of first page. Occasional autograph corrections, annotations in Italian and English, performance markings, and cuts in black ink and pencil in Italian and English. Scored for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn obbligato, 2 horns, and bassoon, the work comprises several interlinked movements, which incorporate two British national songs, "God Save the Queen" (the national anthem) and "Rule Brittania," as well as two variations and two short cadenzas for solo horn. Loosely sewn. Light dampstaining, fraying, and occasional tearing to outer edges; moderate soiling to first page and lower corners; occasional light smudging not affecting music; pp. 21-22 creased at folds. Together with: A complete set of manuscript parts, notated principally by one copyist. Contemporary ivory paper wrappers. Folio (ca. 303 x 240 mm). Horn obbligato: [11], [i] (blank) pp.; flute [11], [i] (blank) pp.; oboe: [12] pp.; clarinet: [12] pp.; bassoon: [12] pp.; 2 horns: [21], [i] (blank) pp. Notated in black ink on paper with watermark "SE & Co. 1836." 12 staves per page, drawn with rastrum. Autograph titling "Capriccio ?- Musica del M.o F. Schira" to blank upper margin of first pages; occasional annotations, corrections, erasures, and cuts in pencil and black ink ?- some autograph ?- throughout; some passages of music perhaps copied by Schira himself. Upper wrappers inscribed "Signor Puzzi..," most likely a reference to the great horn virtuoso Giovanni Puzzi, for whom this work was probably composed. Edges of wrappers and some leaves with minor dampstaining and foxing; final pages of each part with remnants of adhesive slightly affecting music, as well as one or more thin strips of blank paper partially (or formerly) laid down over one or more staves; occasional minor tears with slight loss, and wear to edges not affecting music; light bleeding; pp. 9-10 of flute part folded into inner margin with 4 vertical creases. . Apparently unpublished. Not in Grove works list. As the inscription indicates, the Capriccio was composed for the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to Woburn Abbey, the residence of the Duke of Bedford, on July 26-29, 1841. According to the Morning Post (July 28, 1841), Giovanni Puzzi (1792-1876), the most celebrated horn virtuoso of his time, was contracted to superintend "the band and all musical arrangements" for this special occasion. Elizabeth Bradley Strauchen, "Giovanni Puzzi: His Life and Work..." (D. Phil thesis, University of Oxford, 2000), p. 85. Schira's Capriccio, which showcased Puzzi and his small "band" of wind instruments, was probably one such "musical arrangement." As the present score and parts include additional performance markings, corrections, cuts, and other signs of use, it is possible that Puzzi and his musicians performed from them. Puzzi was "principal horn at the King?'s Theatre, the Philharmonic Society (1821?-4) and the Concert of Ancient Music (1823?-6), as well as at provincial festivals; he was also the first professor of horn at the Royal Academy of Music, where he played in the Royal Academic Concerts. He also organized a chamber music series in 1837, known as Classical Concerts for Wind Instruments... [Puzzi] enjoyed a virtual monopoly of private and benefit concerts for over 20 years. The large body of works composed and arranged by Puzzi formed the basis of his solo repertory, and reflects both the extreme popularity of the Italian Opera and the fascination for virtuoso performers that was then characteristic of London musical life. His works include a concerto, fantasias and numerous vocal arrangements with horn obbligato (MSS in GB-Lbl). These compositions, and those written for him by contemporaries, represent the apex of chromatic hand horn technique in the cor-mixte style." Elizabeth Bradley Strauchen in Grove online Schira was an Italian composer, conductor, and teacher. "After a brief visit to Paris in 1842, Schira was appointed director of music at the newly opened Princess's Theatre in London. In 1843 he conducted a short season under Alfred Bunn's management at Covent Garden, and in the following year joined Bunn at Drury Lane on the resignation of Benedict as conductor. He remained there intermittently until 1847, conducting both foreign adaptations and a number of English operas... Schira conducted Bunn's 1852 season at Drury Lane, but thereafter he devoted himself to teaching singing... while continuing to compose... He was totally opposed to any style other than the Italian, which led the Musical Times to declare, on his death, that ?'his music suffered mainly from the disavantage of being out of fashion?'... Despite his narrow musical tastes, Schira was, after Verdi, one of the outstanding Italian opera composers of his generation. Arditi, who conducted the première of Niccolò de' Lapi, justly described the work as ?'a patriotic opera … written in the genuine Italian style … fervid, melodious, and free from pretence or assumption?'. Selvaggia, his masterpiece, is even more powerful: its through-composed texture sustains a consistent dramatic tension which clearly foreshadows the methods of Puccini." Nigel Burton and Keith Horner in Grove online.
      [Bookseller: J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians LLC]
Last Found On: 2015-06-17           Check availability:      Biblio    

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