Lot 176
  • 176


5,000 - 6,000 USD
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  • Fine, unpublished autograph letter with music, written in idiosyncratic English, signed (“A.Dvorák”), [to his English publisher Alfred Littleton of Novello and Company], about the casting of his oratorio Saint Ludmila
graciously declining to alter the oratorio as suggested by the singer Janet Patey and Littleton, explaining his original ideas for the roles of Ludmila, Ivan and Svatava, urging him to transpose Svatava’s aria to D flat major (supplying the key signature for clarification) with relevant changes made to the previous recitative, promises to return the proof of the score and giving details of his travel plans to England for the premiere ...I never thought the part of Ludmila should be song by an Contralto and the Part of Ivan by a Baryton. The first one is written for Mezzo-Soprano and the other for Bass...I would advise you to let it so as it is now till I am there...I leave Prague on October 1. or 2...and will reach London Monday or Tuesday (Victoria Station or Charing Cross)?... 3 pages, 8vo, Vysoká, 18 September 1886, creased at folds


J. Clapham, Dvorák (Newton Abbot, 1979)

Catalogue Note

Unpublished: not in Korespondence a dokumenty, vol.2 (Prague, 1988). The publisher Alfred Littleton commissioned Saint Ludmila from the composer and it was premiered at the Leeds Festival on October 1886 on Dvorák’s fifth trip to Britain. It was composed immediately after the Seventh Symphony, one of his finest works. While the oratorio was warmly received by the audience and several critics (Clapham, p.81), others were more guarded in their enthusiasm. Perhaps the criticisms of the singers and Littleton were justified. It was regarded as too long and too Czech for English tastes. The composer later revised it and it is now a staple of the repertoire in the Czech Republic.