Folio. Quarter dark green cloth with lighter green boards with "Copeland[!] Gip's Song" gilt to spine. 1f. (recto autograph title, verso blank), 3 pp. music, 1 p. autograph text of 5 verses (20 lines) of the song by librettist Edwin Denby. Notated in black ink on 24-stave printed music paper. Housed in a custom-made full dark green cloth clamshell box and matching slipcase.
The Second Hurricane, an opera scored for young voices in two acts, was first performed in New York City at the Henry Street Settlement playhouse on 21 April 1937 in a production designed by Orson Welles (1915-1985) and conducted by Lehman Engel (1910-1982), with the small speaking role of Mr. Maclenahan performed by noted American stage and film actor Joseph Cotten (1905-1994).
The opera was Copland's first attempt at composing in the genre; the present number, Gyp's Song, is the first of the opera's four solos.
"A fashionable audience of artists and patrons turned out for opening night. ... Critics mostly received the work, widely covered in the press, as an attractive contribution to the high school repertory. Composers appreciated the work, however, in ways that the casual observer would hardly have suspected. Virgil Thomson, for instance, wrote:
The music is vigorous and noble. The libretto is fresh and is permeated with a great sweetness. Linguistically it is the finest English libretto in some years. ... William Schuman spoke admiringly of its 'wide gamut of feeling'; calling it Copland's 'most lyrical work,' Paul Bowles thought it contained, too, 'some of his most nervously exciting passages.' Blizstein ... deemed it 'often effective'; aspects of the work (most notably its choral commentary) arguably influenced his Regina as well as some stage works by Leonard Bernstein, who supervised Hurricane's Boston premiere in 1942 and who, 'nearly weeping with nostalgia,' whiled away a sleepless evening in 1967 singing one of its choruses.
The work made friends among the English as well. 'I love The Second Hurricane,' Benjamin Britten told Copland in 1939; he immediately set out to write a children's opera of his own, Paul Bunyan (1941). ... Only an American could have created this music-drama in which young people deal with an essential human issue of our time, without any hint of religious sanction, and in the American language - which generates also an American musical vernacular.' " Pollack: Aaron Copland, p. 309
"During his initial visit to Mexico, Copland began composing the first of his signature works, El Salón México, which he completed in 1936. In it and in The Second Hurricane Copland began "experimenting", as he phrased it, with a simpler, more accessible style. This and other incidental commissions fulfilled the second goal of American Gebrauchsmusik, creating music of wide appeal." Wikipedia
Gebrauchsmusik was a term applied in 1920s to works by Hindemith, Weill, Krenek, and others, influenced by the poet Bertolt Brecht, which were directed to some social or educational purpose instead of being ‘art for art's sake’. Copland often used this somewhat simplified musical language for his ballet and film scores as well.
Edwin Orr Denby (1903-1983) was an American poet, dance critic, and librettist. "Following his education at Harvard and the University of Vienna, he studied dance in Vienna at the Hellerau-Laxenburg school, a center of Ausdrucktanz, or expressive dance. He performed and choreographed in Germany, but returned to the United States in 1935 when the Nazis came to power. In New York City he renewed his acquaintance with composers Aaron Copland and Virgil Thomson, whom he had met in Europe. Through their good offices, he was appointed dance critic of the periodical Modern Music in 1936. His association with Copland also included the writing of three opera libretti, though only one, The Second Hurricane (1937), was actually produced on stage." Susan Au in Grove Music Online
One of the most influential American composers of the 20th century, Copland's autograph manuscripts are rare to the market.
Price: $11,500.00 other currencies