Sessions, Roger. (1896–1985) [Zukofsky, Paul. (1943–2017)]
Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra - with Two Autograph Letters Signed to Paul Zukofsky
Orchestral score and solo parts to Roger Sessions' 1971 Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra, together with two autograph letters from Sessions to violinist Paul Zukofsky, who premiered the work. Both scores are facsimiles of hand-written scores on loose leaves; orchestral score (84 pp.) on large format manuscript paper, 11 x 17 inches (28 x 43 cm) with some toning; a duplicate of p.48 and a duplicate of p. 65 are included; overall fine. One correction has been made in pen to the first page, swapping the two solo parts. Violin and cello parts include many duplicate pages, most out of order, but with at least one copy of the complete score, 37 pp. Irregular sized pages, 10 x 14 inches and 9.5 x 12.5 inches; overall very good.
In the accompanying ALS (n.d.; 2 pp.), Sessions writes: "Dear Paul,— I enclose the first installment of the Violin & Cello parts of my Double Concerto; it is about twenty measures short of the first movement. The other movements are well in hand, & will follow before too long. John is in Cummington this month—about 30 miles from Tanglewood—& he will be getting in touch with you shortly. I am also sending him the same copy, plus the master sheets, just in case. I hope the violin part is feasible—I think it is. Bowings indicated are subject to both your & John's revision; but I trust the musical intentions are clear. He has already seen much of his part—& having written a concerto, a Duo, and a Solo sonata I feel somewhat more at ease in writing for the violin than for the 'cello; but John has helped me a lot. [...] We leave for Europe tonight—but I shall be working steadily & expect to be through with this piece by the time we get back. You will of course have a copy of the full orchestral score when it is ready. All the very best & greetings around Tanglewood. Affectionately as always, Roger. P.S. The two measures on the bottom line of the last page (12) of my enclosure are simply to enable John to finish his phrase, as it were. The violin enters in measure 187—and of course those two measures will be on the following page when you receive it. There will be no pause between the movements, & the first movement as such contains, at the very most, twenty measures more than what I am sending you." 8.5 x 11 inches (21.4 x 27.4 cm), slight paperclip mark, otherwise fine.
In a further ALS (May 3, ; 1 p.), Sessions writes: "Dear Paul—Excuse this hasty note—but I am busy! Naturally I will be delighted to write liner notes (that's not true—it's a bore—but I will gladly do it!) for the recording of the Sonata. It was great to hear your performance the other night—it was a superb achievement & you made it sound easy! As always affectionately, Roger." 5.5 x 8.5 inches (14.2 x 21.5 cm), very fine, together with original envelope.
Also included are three large original mailing envelopes addressed to Zukofsky in Sessions' hand and postmarked August 20, 1970, July 12, 1971, and July 21, [1971?]
"During the 1960s and 1970s [Sessions] occupied himself mainly with orchestral works: Symphonies no. 5–9, [...] Rhapsody for Orchestra (1970), Concerto for Violin, Violoncello, and Orchestra (1971), and Concerto for Orchestra (1981). Dense scores, written in a highly personal idiom and demanding much of the listener, these works were received with enthusiasm and respect but were not performed frequently during the composer's lifetime." (Roger Sessions, in: The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music.)
American violinist and conductor Paul Zukofsky was known for his work in the field of contemporary music. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Zukofsky was the only child of the American Objectivist poet Louis Zukofsky and Celia Thaew Zukofsky, a musician and composer. He began performing at an early age and was soon drawn to modern music, especially to the possibilities of extended techniques on the violin. Over the course of his career, he collaborated with composers including Milton Babbitt, John Cage, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Morton Feldman, Philip Glass, Peter Mennin, Krzysztof Penderecki, Roger Sessions, Charles Wuorinen, and Iannis Xenakis. He gave world premieres of concertos by Robert Sessions (for violin, cello and orchestra), Charles Wuorinen (for amplified violin and orchestra), Morton Feldman (for violin and orchestra), Phillip Glass, and the Scottish composer Iain Hamilton, among others.