7 measures, notated in black ink on one side of the leaf. Several notes crossed out and a final passage rewritten. 1 leaf. Oblong folio (268 x ca. 170 mm).
A first draft of a polyphonic theme. Identified in German in contemporary manuscript at head: "Handschrift von Hector Berlioz Erste Skizze. (Benvenuto Cellini)."
Some wear and browning; slightly creased at folds; lower edge unevenly trimmed.
The present manuscript not recorded in Holoman.
Benvenuto Cellini, an opéra semi-seria in two acts to a libretto by Léon de Wailly and Auguste Barbier assisted by Alfred de Vigny, was based on the memoirs of Benvenuto Cellini. Set in 16th century Rome during the papacy of Clement VII, the work premiered in Paris on 10 September 1838 at the Opéra and was produced in a revised version in Weimar at the Grossherzogliches Hoftheater on 20 March 1852 and with further revision in three acts on 17 November 1852.
"Whether it originated as a serious or a comic opera, the result, in all its many versions, is a compound, a characteristic blend of idealism and farce, grandeur and wit, breadth and vivacity. Berlioz poured into [Benvenuto Cellini] every drop of invention and feeling at his command in a torrent of notes that make up a long and very lively opera, and its heterogeneity, so baffling to Parisians in 1838 and Londoners in 1853, is one of its main virtues." Macdonald: Berlioz, p. 106.
"[Berlioz] stands as the leading musician of his age in a country, France, whose principal artistic endeavour was then literary, in an art, music, whose principal pioneers were then German. In many senses the Romantic movement found its fullest embodiment in him, yet he had deep Classical roots and stood apart from many manifestations of that movement. His life presents the archetypal tragic struggle of new ideas for acceptance, to which he gave his full exertions as composer, critic and conductor. And though there were many who perceived greatness in his music from the beginning, his genius only came to full recognition in the 20th century. ...
In [Berlioz's] own words, Benvenuto Cellini 'contains a variety of ideas, an energy and exuberance and a brilliance of colour such as I may perhaps never find again.' " Hugh Macdonald in Grove Music Online
While musical quotations in Berlioz's hand are not rare, his sketchleaves are very rare to the market; we have located only one example at auction in over 30 years.
Price: $7,500.00 other currencies