Music, London, 23 May 2007, Sale LO7402 Sotheby's, London, 2007, Wraps, , , Fine
151 pp. 192 lots. Highlights: Beethoven, The only surviving ms. of the violin sonata in A, Op. 47, ''Kreutzer,'' sold for 311,200 GBP. Illustrations: A 8 photos of Maria Callas, one reproduced full page on back of wraps; ms. page of George Crumb's Frozen Time; A Joseph Haydn thamatic catalog from 1805 hitherto unknown to scholars, 108,000 GBP. Mendelssohn, autograph ms. of three early songs, one unkown and one (Der Wasserfall) only incompletely known, for 21,600 GBP. Erik Satie: 20 lots, with 11 illustrations of autograph letters and manuscripts.A fine autograph ms. of Sibelius in blue ink of Malinconia, Op. 20, for cello and piano, for 43,200 GBP. Beautifully and generously illustrated throughout.
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from A Time of Gifts
No janitor was about. A young Benedictine, finding me loitering in the gatehouse, took me in tow,
and as we crossed the first great courtyard, I knew I was in luck. He spoke beautiful French; he was
learned and amusing and the ideal cicerone for all that lay ahead.
Afterwards, it was in confused musical terms that the stages of our progress strung themselves
together in my memory. This is how they resound there still. Overtures and preludes followed each
other as courtyard opened on courtyard. Ascending staircases unfolded as vaingloriously as
pavanes. Cloisters developed with the complexity of double, triple, and quadruple fugues. The suites
of state apartments concatenated with the variety, the mood and décor of symphonic movements.
Among the receding infinity of gold bindings in the library, the polished reflections, the galleries and
the terrestrial and celestial globes gleaming in the radiance of their flared embrasures, music, again,
seemed to intervene. A magnificent and measured polyphony crept in one’s ears. It was
accompanied by woodwinds at first, then, at shortening intervals, by violins and violas and ’cellos
and then double basses while a sudden scroll-work of flutes unfurled in mid-air; to be joined at last
by a muted fanfare from the ceiling, until everything vibrated with a controlled and pervading
splendour. Beyond it, in the church, a dome crowned the void. Light spread in the painted hollows
and joined the indirect glow from the ovals and the lunettes and the windows of the rotunda.
Galleries and scalloped baldachinos and tiered cornices rose to meet it; and the soft light, falling on
the fluted pilasters and circles of gold spokes, and on the obelisks wreathed with their sculpted
clouds, suffused the honeycomb side-chapels and then united in a still and universal radiance. Music
might just have fallen silent; unless it were about to begin. In the imagination, instruments
assembled—unseen cymbals just ajar that would collide with a resonance no more strident than a
whisper; drums an inch below their padded sticks with palms ready to muffle them; oboes slanting,
their reeds mute for a moment more; brass and woodwind waiting; fingers stretched motionless
across wires of a harp and fifty invisible bows poised in the air above fifty invisible sets of strings.