Lot Number 75
Year Published 1896
Place Printed
Printed By
Description AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF THE "AVE MARIA" FOR CHORUS, FROM THE QUATTRO PEZZI SACRI, HERE TITLED BY THE COMPOSER "SCALA ENIGMATICA ARMONIZZATA A QUATTRO VOCI" notated in open score in black ink on two four-stave systems per page, using soprano, alto and tenor C-clefs, and bass clef, a working manuscript with deletions, erasures and alterations, four verses, comprising seventy-one bars in all, including a final “Amen” of seven bars, containing an early version of the title-page, heavily revised by the composer (deleting the words “Ave Maria” and the sixteen-bar scala enigmatica”), 5 pages, including the title page, oblong 8vo (c.15 x 26.7cm), 10-stave paper, contemporary red half morocco album, red-gilt title label, blanks bound in, [c.1896], some staining, including smudges by the composer, hinge reinforced at start and end of the manuscript
Comments CATALOGUE NOTE This is a complete work by Verdi, from his final period. Whilst musical quotations from Verdi's operas are by no means uncommon at auction (and more rarely sketchleaves), we have no record of a such a celebrated piece by the composer ever being offered for public sale. Verdi originally composed his choral “Ave Maria” in March 1889, prompted by Boito to set a musical puzzle that had been published by a certain Professor Crescentini in the Gazetta musicale di Milano in August 1888. Verdi wrote to Boito that “the puzzle could be made into a piece with words, for example: An Ave would be my fourth! So, I could hope to be beatified after I die” (letter of 6 March 1889; Boito retorted that he would have to compose a good many more' Ave Maria's for the Holy See to forgive him for Iago's 'Credo'). There exist two versions of this piece, the first one performed privately in June 1895, by students of the Parma Conservatory (where a manuscript survives), and the present revision, which Verdi wrote in 1896, when he found he no longer had the original. This second “Ave Maria” contains a considerable amount of further work and refinement of the earlier version; the text is “better distributed and the polyphony freer and more adventurous” (J. Budden, Verdi, 1986, p.338). The sixteen-bar verses are notated, unusually, across both pages of each opening, with the subsequent verse written below. Verdi did not originally wish for the Ave Maria to be performed with the other pezzi sacri, the Stabat Mater, Laudi alla Vergine Maria, and the Te Deum, since he felt it had been a technical puzzle, a mere "sciarada" (see lot 76). However, he later changed his mind and revised the work in manuscript. Moreover, the Four Pieces have almost always been performed together, and Verdi agreed to (and supervised) its publication as the first of the set, by Ricordi in 1898.
Estimated Price GBP 80,000.00 - 100,000.00
( USD 134,400.00 - 168,000.00 )
Actual Price GBP 145,250.00 ( USD 232,400.00 )



Auction House Sothebys
Auction Name Important Manuscripts, Letters and Memorabilia from the family of Arturo Toscanini
Sale Number #12413
Auction Date November 28, 2012 - November 28, 2012
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