Folio (349 x 270 mm). Unbound. 1f. (title), [i] (second title, cast list, and contents), [i] (historical background), 180, [iv] (blank) pp. (6 signatures of 6 bifolia and 1 signature of 4 bifolia wrapped in another bifolium protected by onionskin paper, all wrapped in blank bifolium of 20-staff music paper). Notated in blue and black ink on pre-printed 16-staff music paper with blindstamp of Edition Max Eschig, Paris.
Marks in blue ink written over (i.e., reinforced) in black ink in front matter and through p. 11; only blue ink from p. 12. Date to upper right corner of p. 1: "1957-58." Date and signature to end of score: "Alexandre Tansman Paris 1958." Durations marked throughout. The overall duration as given on the title (repeated on the second title and at the end of the score) is to be read as "2 hours 15 minutes."
Autograph corrections, some major, in both ink and pencil. Directions to engraver in pencil. Performance-related annotations in various hands in red, blue, and graphite pencil. Cues for entrances of characters and chorus marked in red pencil.
Slightly worn; occasional staining, especially to p. 162.
Sabbataï Zevi, le faux Messie. Chœurs (chantés et parlés). [Choral score.] Large folio (375 x 278 mm). Stapled. 17, [iii] (blank) pp. Facsimile of autograph manuscript. Copyright note of Editions Max Eschig, Paris, dated 1961, to foot of first page. Creased; rippled; frayed at upper edge.
Sabbataï Zevi is the fourth of Tansman's seven operas. It received a concert performance on March 3, 1961, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, but has apparently never been staged. Max Eschig, Paris, published a piano-vocal score in 1966. The choral score accompanying the present autograph was most probably created for the 1961 production of the opera.
The composer considered Sabbataï Zevi the best of his operas. Like many of Tansman's later works it is based on a distinctly Jewish subject.
"... Tansman was a French composer and pianist of Polish birth... Disappointed with his reception in Poland, he moved to Paris, giving a début recital in February 1920. Soon after his arrival, he became friendly with Stravinsky and Ravel, both of whom encouraged and advised him... Acquainted with many leading musical figures in Paris during these years, Tansman was part of the circle of foreign musicians, known as the Ecole de Paris, that included Martinů, Alexander Tcherepnin, Conrad Beck and Marcel Mihalovici. While his music retained many distinctively Polish features, such as Mazurka rhythms and Polish folk melodies, and while he wrote collections of Polonaises, Nocturnes, Impromptus, Waltzes and other Chopinesque miniatures, neo-classical traits appear in works [from about 1925]... Although he never completely abandoned a diatonic framework, critics of the 1920s and 30s described his harmony at times as Scriabinesque and atonal... Tansman was quick to achieve international success... He settled in Los Angeles in 1941 where he became acquainted with Schoenberg, renewed friendships with other European émigrés, including Milhaud and Stravinsky, and composed a number of film scores. He returned to Paris in 1946." Caroline Rae in Grove Music Online.
"Tansman was as adept at writing in C major as he was at composing serially and he made use at different times of atonality and polytonality. The music of his opera Sabbataï Zevi (1953-9), which tells of the rise and fall of the 17th-century mystic, is post-tonal in style." Anne Giradot and Richard Langham Smith in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Item #25325
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