Autograph letter signed "C. S-S." Camille SAINT-SAËNS.

Autograph letter signed "C. S-S."

3-1/2 pp. of a bifolium. Octavo, 191 x 152 mm. Dated May 16, 1910. To an unidentified correspondent. On light blue paper watermarked "Imperial Century." In French (with translation).

Saint-Saëns writes that he will try to get an extra ticket for the Prix de Rome:

"In asking for a third ticket – which I fear I will not get – I will go against my own principles, because I find that far too many people are admitted for the Prix de Rome. But for you, what wouldn't one do!"

He also mentions a recent purchase of an opera score in Versailles:

"Yesterday I spent a delicious day at Versailles; the fair is there, and I found and purchased L'incendio di Babilonia, an old farce that is to Donizetti what Gabriella di Vergy is to Verdi. It's too amusing, but it is in two acts, and it's too much. It is an unknown curiosity and I am enchanted to have it."

From the collection of the distinguished American mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne (b. 1934).

Slightly worn and foxed; creased at folds; remnants of adhesive to edges, not affecting text.

"Like Mozart, to whom he was often compared, [Saint-Saëns] was a brilliant craftsman, versatile and prolific, who contributed to every genre of French music. He was one of the leaders of the French musical renaissance of the 1870s." Sabina Teller Ratner in Grove Music Online.

Saint-Saëns was very interested in older music, as attested to by his editions of Lully, Rameau, and Charpentier. It is no surprise, therefore, that he would be pleased at a discovery of an old opera score. The opera L'incendio di Babilonia could be that of Alphonse de Feltre (1806-1850), which premiered in 1843 and was published in 1852; this would, however, seem to be too late to match the description by Saint-Saëns as "an old farce that is to Donizetti what Gabriella di Vergy is to Verdi" seeing as Donizetti's Gabriella di Vergy was written in 1826.

"Horne had a voice of extraordinary range, rich and tangy in timbre, with a stentorian chest register and an exciting top... In concert she once achieved the feat of singing in a single programme Rossini arias and Brünnhilde’s Immolation Scene, proof of her exceptional versatility. Throughout her lengthy career she was an admired recitalist, singing lieder, mélodies, Spanish and American songs with equal aplomb." Alan Blyth in Grove Music Online.

Item #31370

Price: $650.00  other currencies

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