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Schnittke, Alfred
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF "THE LAMENTATIONS OF DR. JOHANN FAUSTUS" ("DIE WEHEKLAGEN DES D. JOHANN FAUSTEN"), PARTLY UNPUBLISHED
Estimate
20,00030,000
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234
Schnittke, Alfred
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF "THE LAMENTATIONS OF DR. JOHANN FAUSTUS" ("DIE WEHEKLAGEN DES D. JOHANN FAUSTEN"), PARTLY UNPUBLISHED
Estimate
20,00030,000
JUMP TO LOT

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Schnittke, Alfred
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF "THE LAMENTATIONS OF DR. JOHANN FAUSTUS" ("DIE WEHEKLAGEN DES D. JOHANN FAUSTEN"), PARTLY UNPUBLISHED
a working manuscript, comprising three fascicles bearing the three untitled lamentations extracted from Schnittke's draft autograph score of the opera Historia von D. Johann Fausten; the first beginning "Ach, Fauste! Du verwegenes und nichtswertes Herz" (on 3 pages of a bifolium, paginated '33', '34' and '35' by the opera's librettist Jörg Morgener, a fourth page containing a divergent autograph draft of the opening of Faustus's oath from Act I "Ich, Johannes Faustus, bekenne mit meiner eignen Hand": see 'chapter' 5 of the opera libretto); the second, "Ach, ach, ach, ich armseliger Mensch", and the third "O ich armer Verdammter, warum bin ich nicht ein Vieh", the first three pages unpublished, notated in pencil (original notation of the vocal line) and red and black ink (notation/amplification of the instrumental accompaniment) on mostly three stave systems, dated at the end, respectively, "10.01.88" and "02.09.1990", with autograph scoring in the margins and autograph pencil numbers in the upper left-hand corners referring to the relevant page of text in the modern edition of the original libretto source [Historia von D. Johann Fausten (Berlin: Verlag der Nation, 1953)], with additional autograph numbers in brackets or as subscripts indicating where the text is to be found, also containing numbers in black ink in the lower margin, in Morgener's hand, recording the chronological sequence of the original pencil draft, and other numbers in Morgener's hand in red and violet inks, denoting, respectively, the page numbers within Schnittke's draft score and the relevant text pages in the libretto source; together with three leaves (paginated "6"-"8") from the typescript libretto, taken from chapters 4-8 of part I of the original libretto source, beginning with the words "Hingegen will ich dir etliche Jahr zum Ziel setzen", extensively annotated by the composer in pencil, including text revisions and additions and indications of scoring, the verso of one of the leaves containing an autograph single-stave motivic sketch entitled 'das Boese'

17 pages in all: 13 pages of music, 4to (30.9 x 23.7cm), 18-stave paper; 3 leaves with 3 pages of annotated libretto text, with another page containing musical notation, 29.6 x 21cm; the music dated [no place,] 10 January 1988 and 2 September 1990


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Catalogue Note

This is an extraordinary manuscript complex, containing music which is the emotional and expressive heart of one of Schnittke's greatest works.

Written over the course of eleven years (1983-1994), Schnittke's opera was recognised from the beginning as a seminal contribution to twentieth-century music theatre. Described as a 'negative passion' by the composer, and dealing with the elemental forces of of good and evil, it grew out of Schnittke's 1983 cantata 'Seid nüchtern und wachet', which closes the third act. The three lamentations of Faust are placed in the opera in Act II (see 'chapters' 16, 22 and 23). In them the magician gives heart-wringing utterance to the terror he feels at his impending fate. Based on the lamentations contained, respectively, in chapters 63 (entitled 'Doctor Fausti Weheklag, daß er noch in gutem Leben und jungen Tagen sterben müßte'), 64 ('Widerumb ein Klage D. Fausti') and 66 ('Doctor Fausti Weheklag von der hellen, und ihrer unaußsprechlichen Pein und Qual') of the original libretto source - Historia von D. Johann Fausten (Frankfurt: Spies, 1587) - Faust's laments present a fearful crescendo of desperation, which reach a climax in the third of these in which the learned doctor wishes that he were a beast without a soul. 

We understand that it was Schnittke's intention to make an independent composition out of the three lamentations, a project that was thwarted by his poor health and untimely death in 1998. In the opera, the first lament is separated from the second by the appearance of Mephistopheles and his partner, who cruelly taunt and mock Faust. What would have been lost by doing away with the suspense of delay created by Mephistopheles and his partner's intervention would undoubtedly have been compensated, in a freestanding treatment of the lamentations alone, by a heightened compression of dramatic expression. 

Schnittke's opera was premiered in an abridged form in Hamburg, with Gerd Albrecht conducting the Hamburg State Opera, on 22 June 1995. One victim of this abridgement, which was due to the opera's great length, was the final lamentation, the first half of which was cut, from 'O ich armer Verdammter' to 'mit...Erschreckung der Ohren, Zittern der Hände und Füsse': this music remains unpublished. We understand that the remainder of the autograph score of the opera is in a European private collection.

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