Lot 186
  • 186

Schnittke, Alfred

10,000 - 15,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Schnittke, Alfred
  • Autograph manuscript of "The Lamentations of Dr. Johann Faustus" ("Die Weheklagen des D. Johann Fausten"), partly unpublished
  • paper, pencil and ink
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; 1) "Ach, Fauste! Du verwegenes und nichtswertes Herz" (on 3 pages of a bifolium, paginated '33', '34' and '35' by the librettist Jörg Morgener, a fourth page containing a draft of the opening of Faustus's oath from Act I "Ich, Johannes Faustus, bekenne mit meiner eignen Hand"); 2) "Ach, ach, ach, ich armseliger Mensch"; and 3) "O ich armer Verdammter, warum bin ich nicht ein Vieh", the first three pages unpublished, notated in pencil (original notation of the vocal line) and red and black ink (notation/amplification of the instrumental accompaniment) on mostly three stave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; together with three leaves (paginated "6"-"8") from the typescript libretto, "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 sketch entitled 'das Boese'

17 pages in all, 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

Catalogue Note

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

The opera was premiered in an abridged form at the Hamburg State Opera, Gerd Albrecht conducting, on 22 June 1995. One victim of the abridgement was the final lamentation, the first half of which was cut (it is still present here), from 'O ich armer Verdammter' to 'mit...Erschreckung der Ohren, Zittern der Hände und Füsse': this music remains unpublished.

Schnittke's opera (1983-1994) is 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. In them the magician gives heart-wringing utterance to the terror he feels at his impending fate. The 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.