HENSCHEL, Sir George, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts



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A most unmusical interlude

HENSCHEL, Sir George (1850-1934). Musician.
Series of 12 Autograph Letters Signed to Mr Webb, 36 pages 8vo or small 4to (rather worn, with filing-holes), The Red House, Hornton Street, 28 March 1930 - 15 January 1931. A compact correspondence chronicling a rather sad musical adventure.
Accepting the presidency of a Handel Society; suggesting that his Stabat Mater would be a better choice than his Requiem for a forthcoming performance, to be broadcast by the BBC; giving a history of the work and quoting a letter he had received from Parry ('my dear H, your work will live ...'); discussing possible soloists; asking for a copy of Bruch's Odysseus, to be performed in the same concert; discussing details of the fees to be paid; and asking for a change in the score (giving a musical quotation). At this point the whole scheme grinds to a halt:
'... It was a kind and benevolent Providence that made me give up a previous engagement for last night and go to the Handel Soc's concert instead.
 'With sincerest and deepest regret I am forced to tell you that in the present state of wood-wind and brass - indeed of the orchestra altogether, when I think of that violin solo in G flat alone, it will be utterly impossible for me to conduct my Stabat Mater or even to wish for a performance of it at all.
 '... To quote only one instance: the aspirations, last night, of oboe & trumpet were no doubt well meant and therefore praiseworthy, but the achievements lamentable, pitiable to a degree. ...'
The correspondence concludes with financial arrangements consequent upon the cancellation of the performance, and with Henschel's resignation as president of the society.
[No: 23739]


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