Loewe, Frederick. (1901–1988) [Lerner, Alan Jay. (1918–1986)]

'The Quests' – Unpublished Working Musical Manuscript from "Camelot"

Autograph musical manuscript entirely in the hand of Frederick Loewe for the song “The Quests,” intended for Camelot but omitted from the published score. Three pages, large 4to (9.5 x 12.5 inches), unsigned, [1959], with the cover sheet marked in pencil, “The Quests,” and with the names of the scene’s four characters: “Lancelot—Prisoner—Sirens—Knights.” Lyrics and musical score neatly written across interior two pages and to the rear second leaf, including 36 lines of music and lyrics, reading in part: “Woe is me [Sir Roderick], Woe is me! What bitter fate is mine! Woe is me! The victim of a swine, home he has a dungeon full of pris-ness; And thrice a day he gives them all the business. Woe is me! Woe is me! Yes! Lance Will You Change? Yes! Yes! Will you change? Will you change? Will you scrub your soul until you change? Turn from evil if I spare you? Will you change? [Meliagrance] I will change! I will change! I will scrub my soul until I change. I’ll become a saint I swear you! I will change. [Lance] [A chair at the table, Oh!] Go back to the table O! Tell them you have seen the light! Long as you’re able O! You will serve the cause of Right. Vow to the King you’ll never more live by brutal force; All of the things he’s fighting for You endorse [Meliagrance] Of course!” In fine condition. The only known manuscript, retained by Loewe himself, of this unpublished song written during the creation of this remarkable classic musical.

Based on the Arthurian legend and T. H. White’s The Once and Future King, Camelot opened on Broadway in New York on December 3, 1960, and had a run of 873 performances over two years. The original production was staged by Moss Hart, with Richard Burton, Julie Andrews, and Robert Goulet in the leading roles (Arthur, Guenevere, and Lancelot) and won four Tony Awards, spawning several revivals, foreign productions, and the 1967 film Camelot. The original cast album was America's top-selling LP for 60 weeks.  Written in collaboration with Alan Jay Lerner, the musical symbolized to many Americans an ideal society during the presidency of John F. Kennedy. In fact, its admirers included President and First Lady Kennedy, whose White House circle was often likened to Camelot. (21368)

Autograph Document
Manuscript Music
Performing Arts & Media