Les yeux clos. Song for voice and piano. Autograph musical manuscript of the complete work. Signed. With autograph dedication to the Parisian contralto Lucy Arbell (née Georgette Wallace, 1878-1974). Dated Paris, May 1904, on final page. Set to text by Gaston Maurice Buchillot.

Les yeux clos. Song for voice and piano. Autograph musical manuscript of the complete work. Signed. With autograph dedication to the Parisian contralto Lucy Arbell (née Georgette Wallace, 1878-1974). Dated Paris, May 1904, on final page. Set to text by Gaston Maurice Buchillot.

Folio (350 x 270 mm.). Unbound. [1] autograph title and dedication, [2] -[4] autograph musical manuscript. Notated in ink on 20-stave music paper with small embossed stamp of "H. Lard Esnault Ed. Bellamy Sr. Paris" to upper inner corners.

With a humorous inscription in the hand of the composer: "J'offre ce manuscrit à Melle Georgette Wallace en la priant de le donner de ma part à Melle Lucy Arbell, avec mon admiration J. Massenet" [I offer this manuscript to Miss Georgette Wallace, begging her to give it to Ms. Lucy Arbell, with my admiration; Wallace and Arbell were one and the same person].

With occasional minor corrections; several pencilled markings to both title and music.

Provenance
Couturier-Nicolay auction sale catalogue, Paris, June 24, 1999, lot 18.

Slightly worn; somewhat soiled; some minor staining; creased at folds.

Les yeux clos was first published in 1905 and then again in 1912 in Paris by Heugel in Vol. VIII, 20 Mélodies for mezzo-soprano or baritone. Major recordings of the song include that of Joan Sutherland and Thomas Hampson.

"Even more than Bizet or Delibes, Jules Massenet must be considered Gounod's true successor in the province of the mélodie. The essence of his style is not the picturesque, exotic painting, or local color, but the expression of a delicate sentimentality realized with extreme refinement. He was the idol of the cultivated bourgeois of his time... First Massenet must be credit with having finally delivered the mélodie from the yoke of the square phrase. He sacrifices the line as a structural element ot the poetic content and introduces into the genre a sort of musical prose, capable of conveying all the nuances of the literary text... In general, however, Massenet's mélodie tends toward the 'poem in prose,' more or less analogous to the free verse written by poets of the period... Massenet's vocal writing shows the strong influence of Schumann... In his turn Massenet influenced young composers and certainly not the least talented. Several pieces in Fauré's first two collectons are impregnated with an atmosphere that is pure Massenet. As to Claude Debussy, the germ of his particular type of mélodie finds most of its origins at the same source. At various times both of these great masters expressed their frank admiration of this predecessor." Noske: French Song from Berlioz to Duparc, pp. 210-215.

"[Massenet] was the most prolific and successful composer of opera in France at the end of the 19th century and into the beginning of the 20th." Annegret Fauser, Patrick Gillis and Hugh Macdonald in Grove Music Online.

"Lucy Arbell... made her début in 1903 at the Opéra in Samson et Dalila and was soon remarked for her acting talent. She also sang there in Aïda and Rigoletto, with an occasional foray into Wagner. Then, for a dozen or so years, she played the lead in numerous Massenet operas, both new productions and revivals. She began to occupy in Massenet's circle something like the position Sybil Sanderson had once held. Impressed by her gift for tragedy and her strong contralto voice, the aging Master gave her the role of 'la sombre et belle Perséphone' in Ariane... Lucy Arbell was at the same stage in her life and career as Sybil Sanderson had been when she first encountered Massenet... For her Massenet wrote his next opera, Thèrèse, in which the embers of his inspiration, lately dulled in Chérubin and Ariane, took on a new and brighter glow." Harding: Massenet, p. 166. Item #31162

Price: $3,500.00  other currencies

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