Berlioz, Hector. (1803-1869)

Benvenuto Cellini. Opera semi-seria en trois actes. Paroles de M. M. Le?on de Wailly et Auguste Barbier. Traduction allemande de M. P. Cornelius.... Oeuvre [23]. FIRST EDITION PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED TO ERNEST REYER

Brunswick: Chez Henry Litolff. [1856]. First Edition. Oblong 8vo. piano-vocal score, 28 x 17 cm. Title, verso blank. Dedication to Maria Pavlovna, Grande Duchesse de Sax-Weimar, verso blank. Blank, [1]. Music, pp. 2-376. Title and dedication printed in gold on smooth paper, the music engraved throughout. [PN] 1232. Inscribed in black ink on the reverse of the dedication page "A mon ami Reyer / H. Berlioz." Hopkinson 67D. Holoman, p. 178. This copy from the collection of André Meyer, with a note of a provenance from one of his children penned on a rear endpage. A closely trimmed copy, with resultant loss to the title page foot of the foreign distributors, but without any other losses throughout. In a fine half calf modern binding.

"It is not stated on the title who made the arrangmeent. On the first page of the overture it is stated that this was 'arrangée a 4 mains par Mr. de Bulow,' but nowhere else is his name mentioned. This arrangement is certainly not that of Morel, being quite different, and it can only be assumed (as there is no evidence to the contrary) that von Bulow made the arrangement of the rest of the opera." (Cecil Hopkinson, " Bibliography of Hector Berlioz," p. 156)

An important presentation copy, inscribed by the composer at the end of his life to his close friend and perhaps his staunchest supporter in the press (Journal des débats), the French opera composer Ernest Reyer (1823 - 1909). The story of Berlioz's inscription to Reyer is documented by Reyer himself and also by Jullien. In his "BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES. BY THE COMPOSER OF “SALAMMBÔ" ( Century Monthly Magazine, December 1893), Reyer writes: "A short time before the death of his master, [his servant] had accompanied Berlioz to my house. Painfully did the poor musician mount up the four flights of stairs to come and sit at my table. After the meal I begged him to write his name on the score of 'Benvenuto Cellini.' He seized a pen, wrote with a trembling hand 'A mon ami,' and then, looking at me with a wistful glance, said: 'I have forgotten your name.' It was a cruel blow, which went to my very heart. I was to see him no more till I gazed on his face as he lay upon his death-bed, that master whom I had so much admired, and on whom I had bestowed an affection which he could never doubt from the very moment when I first had the happiness to make his acquaintance. M. Adolphe Jullien, to whom I related this sad incident, has recorded it in his beautiful book entitled 'Hector Berlioz: his Life and Works,' the most complete monument which has ever been reared to the memory of the immortal author of the 'Trojans' and the 'Damnation of Faust.'"

Benvenuto Cellini is an opera semiseria in two acts to a libretto by Léon de Wailly and Henri Auguste Barbier. It was the first of Berlioz's operas, premiered in 1838. (10979)

Signed Document/Item