Lot 754: ALS in French, one page, 5.5 x 3.5, personal letterhead, March 2, 1911. In part (translated): "Be sure that…the ballad of Francois Villon will be ready for the 8th of March. Furthermore, Jean…will sing them at the…concert. Having extremely little time, I would ask of you to please come tomorrow, Friday, at 11 o'clock in the morning." In fine condition, with scattered soiling. In 1910 Debussy composed a suite entitled 'Three Ballads of Francois Villon,' setting three of the 15th–century French poet's works to music. The most famous poet of the Middle Ages, Villon wrote about the margins of society and engaged in some criminal behaviors himself. His work appealed to many artists in the emerging surrealist and avant-garde movements. Debussy wrote two versions of the suite, one for voice and piano and the other for voice and orchestra, and this letter must refer to the latter—the orchestral work was performed just three days later on March 5, conducted by Debussy and featuring Charles W. Clark for the vocals. Its second performance came on March 25, when it was sung by Jean Perier. A fabulous example connecting the immediate performance of Debussy's music with the arts of old.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 460
Wednesday, 16th September 2015
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