Dutilleux, Henri. (1916–2013) [Rosenthal, Manuel. (1904–2003)]

Two autograph letters signed to Manuel Rosenthal

2 ALS of the French composer to Manuel Rosenthal, one of the most influential and respected French conductors of the 20th century. Both in French, translations and details as follows:

1. Paris, September 18, 1975. 1 p. Dutilleux thanks Rosenthal for sending him the score of Le temple de mémoire. "Your score of 'Le Temple de mémoire' has reached me this morning, and I opened it with the impatience and emotion you can imagine. I even started reading it, which I expect to give me a lot of pleasure over the next few weeks. Thank you for reserving me the privilege of gracing the first page with your kind dedication." 11.75 x 8.25 inches (29.7 x 21 cm), i.e. format A4; uncut paper. Red crayon marks to verso. In fine condition.

2. Granville [Normandy]. April 3, 1993. 1 p. Letterhead paper with Dutilleux's Paris address. Dutilleux thanks Rosenthal for sending him a copy of Musique adorable, Rosenthal's then yet unpublished memoirs, and informs him about his and his wife's state of health; the latter, pianist Geneviève Joy (1919–2009), is undergoing rehab treatment after a knee operation ("like I had it two years ago"): "I have come to bring her here for these Easter holidays, and she will have to brace herself with patience for well over a month, a not too auspicious perspective, even so close to Mont-St-Michel. / She has asked me to kiss you and Claudine and to thank you for the warm words that you had for her during a broadcast on F[rance] M[usique] (with Damian, I believe). She did not listen, but friends told her about it." 11.75 x 8.25 inches (29.7 x 21 cm), i.e. format A4. Small stain to head left. Otherwise in very good condition.

Le temple de mémoire for mezzo-soprano or baritone with orchestra from 1975 turned out to be Rosenthal's last composition. Rosenthal's memoir, Musique adorable, was published in 1994. Claudine Verneuil, mentioned in the second letter, was his second wife. "Damian" is Jean-Michel Damian (1947–2016), a music journalist at Radio France–France Musique.

The French composer and conductor held leading positions with musical organizations in France and America. He was friends with many of his contemporary composers, and despite a considerable list of compositions is mostly remembered for having created the popular ballet score Gaîté Parisienne and left a varied legacy of recordings.  Rosenthal's ties with many French composers, and especially with Maurice Ravel, gave him an unrivalled authority in the contemporary French repertory. "In 1926, Ravel invited him to bring him some of his compositions. From being one of Ravel's rare pupils, Rosenthal soon became a friend, and he left moving tributes to the maître in articles and interviews, as well as the book Ravel: Souvenirs De Manuel Rosenthal (1995). Rosenthal tried to emulate Ravel's example of perfectionism, with memories of many a laboriously completed exercise torn up and dropped in Ravel's waste-paper basket.

It was Ravel who decided Rosenthal's future as a conductor. In 1928 he persuaded the Concerts Pasdeloup to devote a concert to Rosenthal's works and to engage him to conduct it. Never having been on a rostrum before, Rosenthal was terrified, but among those impressed was the celebrated conductor Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht; when he founded the French National Orchestra in 1934, he took on Rosenthal as his assistant." (Roger Nichols, The Guardian, "Manuel Rosenthal: Obituary," June 8, 2003).


Classical Music
Autograph Letter