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J. Rutter. Autograph composing manuscript of "A Ukrainian Prayer", 2022

Sold in aid of the University of York Music Press (UYMP)

J. Rutter. Autograph composing manuscript of "A Ukrainian Prayer", 2022

J. Rutter. Autograph composing manuscript of "A Ukrainian Prayer", 2022

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Sold in aid of the University of York Music Press (UYMP)


John Rutter (b.1945)


Autograph manuscript of A Ukrainian Prayer, for unaccompanied voices, signed at the end ("John Rutter")


A COMPOSING SCORE FOR THE COMPLETE WORK, APPARENTLY THE FIRST DRAFT, scored for SSAATTBB and solo soprano/and or tenor, notated in pencil on up to five two-stave systems per page, with autograph title ("Ukrainian Prayer"), boldly written with a number of deletions, erasures, and revisions, 46 bars plus some deleted bars


3 pages, folio (36.3 x 25.5cm), 12-stave paper, the leaves headed, respectively, "AA", "BB" and "CC", no place, 3 March 2022; together with a copy of the first edition of the work (Collegium Music Publications, 2022), signed at the end by the composer ("John Rutter 3rd March 2022") 


A modern classic, and a moving addition to the choral repertory.


This dramatically beseeching setting of an anonymous Ukrainian prayer was the composer's response to current global events, written at breakneck speed following a late-night service at Clare College, Cambridge, where he heard a setting of the prayer. The world premiere was given by a choir of 300-strong in London on 15 March 2022. The autograph here, evidently the composer's initial composing draft, diverges in many points from the published score.


A literal translation of the Prayer's text is:

Good Lord, protect Ukraine.

Give her strength, courage, faith, hope. Amen.


We understand from Collegium Music Publications that the printed edition of the score has so far been acquired by around 9,000 individuals in over 80 countries.


One of the most gifted and widely-loved composers of his generation, John Rutter is especially well known for his early compositions for the church, including many carols which have come to embody choral Christmas music.


Manuscripts by living composers have become rare items, swept aside by technology. Few composers cultivate individual calligraphy when they can access sophisticated music notation on their ipads or computers. This sale of autograph manuscripts, sketches and scores composed in the last twenty years therefore represents a special opportunity.


The manuscripts comprising lots 82-93 are offered for sale by the University of York Music Press (UYMP), a charity that champions contemporary concert composers, with a focus on helping younger composers establish themselves.


The lots in this section encompass music for the concert hall, opera house and film by some of today's best-known composers: Thomas Adès, George Benjamin, James MacMillan, and Debbie Wiseman. Included too are those who continue to write an elegant calligraphy - Robert Saxton, Michael Finnissy, and Judith Weir. Most topical is John Rutter's anthem for Ukraine. Particularly fascinating is a sketch by the late Harrison Birtwistle (his initials at the foot of the manuscript were the last thing he ever wrote).


Altogether, twenty-two composers are represented in the sale, all of whom have donated their manuscripts for the support of UYMP's charitable activity. 

Condition is described in the main body of the catalogue where appropriate


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.