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Saturday, February 25, 2012

A truly spectacular piece of Music Antiquaria, a Ralph Vaughn Williams World Premiere Program

In my quest to bring really outstanding items to my clientele, I always keep my eye out for the extremely unusual.  In a week where we received and handled a portrait of Edgard Varese, a complete manuscript of Max Reger and a great letter of Ella Fitzgerald, this item stood out!  You, my readers will hear about this before my clients, as I was excited to post it here before launching the item on my website.  What you see above is the World Premier program of the legendary British composer Ralph Vaughn Williams Sinfonia Antartica.  His seventh Symphony written between 1949 and 1952 was given it's World Premier with Sir John Barbirolli and the Halle Orchestra on the 14th of January, 1953.  The work was derived from his film score of Scott of the Antartic about the explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott's disastrous 1912 trip to the South Pole.  The Antartic held an absolute fascination for Vaughn Williams and the Symphony is  exceptionally well colored, loaded with musical themes inspired by glaciers, wind, blizzards and even penguins and some of the leitmotifs return throughout the work.  The program is autographed on the cover by Vaughn Williams, which is a rarity in itself, but also Sir John Barbirolli, soprano Margaret Ritchie, concert master Laurence Turner and Peter Scott, Captain Scott's son!

Here is a Youtube link to the first movement of the work, led by Barbirolli, the Halle and Margaret Ritchie.  A most commanding work by a composer well ahead of his time!

Update 2/28/12: The item is now sold.

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