Lot 6
  • 6

Debussy, Claude

10,000 - 15,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Debussy, Claude
  • Autograph manuscript of part of the cantata Daniel, APPARENTLY UNPUBLISHED
  • paper
comprising the apparently complete "Air de Balthazar" and an incomplete draft of a duet, marked "Scene II", for Balthazar and Adéna, scored for three voices and orchestra, in piano score, notated in Debussy's bold, youthful hand in dark brown ink, on three systems, each of four staves per page, some staves extended into the margins by the composer, with autograph title ("Air"), and inscribed by another hand "inédit de Claude De Bussy auteur de Pelléas et Melisande...composé vers 1885 donné à M. George Marquet du Conservatoire de Paris", over 100 bars in all, with a number of autograph corrections, deletions and alterations, some in pencil

9 pages, folio (35 x 27.2cm), plus three blanks, 14-stave paper, no place [early 1882], some slight dust-staining


F. Lesure, Catalogue de l'oeuvre de Claude Debussy (Geneva, 1977), no.20; Léon Vallas, Debussy (1927), p.51; and J. Tiersot, 'Oeuvres de première jeunesse de Berlioz et de Debussy', Le Ménéstrel, 6 January 1933

Catalogue Note

This early score, a setting of a poem by Emile Cicile, is probably a practice composition for the "Prix de Rome", the competition won by Debussy and several of the greatest French composers, which required the composition of a cantata. The prize was two years study in Rome at the Villa Medici, where Debussy resided between 1885-1887 after winning the prize with L'enfant prodigue. For Debussy this period was a type of artistic imprisonment and as with many earlier and later winners of the prestigious award, it sadly provided more to rebel against than anything more positive. Balthazar's aria "Versez, que de l'ivresse" is a boldly conceived composition in B flat, written for high baritone. The musical style has more than a whiff of Wagner about it, especially Lohengrin and Die Walküre. Formerly in the Legouix collection.