Month: August 2013

Newly Digitized: Massenet’s Werther, for baritone

Jules Massenet completed his opera based on Goethe’s novel Die Leiden des jungen Werthersin 1887; its first performance – sung in German – occurred at Vienna’s Hofoper on February 16, 1892, after Léon Carvalho, director of the Opéra-Comique, rejected the work on grounds that its somber subject matter was unsuitable for his audiences.

Jules Massenet, "Pourquoi me reveiller," Werther, pg. 176-177. Merritt Room Mus 742.14.640.5

Jules Massenet, “Pourquoi me réveiller,” Werther, pg. 176-177. Merritt Room Mus 742.14.640.5 (click to enlarge)

  • [Werther. Vocal score]. Werther: drame lyrique en quatre actes et cinq tableaux d’après Goethe; poème de M.M. Edouard Blau, Paul Milliet et Georges Hartmann; musique de J. Massenet; partition piano et chant. Paris : Heugel & Cie, [1893], c1892. Merritt Room Mus 742.14.640.5

The present score belonged to baritone Vanni-Marcoux (Jean Émile Diogène Marcoux, 1877-1962). He was a dominant figure in Parisian musical life following the First World War, celebrated for his performances as Massenet’s Don Quichotte. Vanni-Marcoux’s score presents the role of Werther re-written for baritone, a project that Massenet undertook in 1902 for the Italian baritone Mattia Battistini (1856-1928), who sang the role on various European stages from 1901 to 1911 (most often in Italian, but occasionally in French). Shown here is the scene from Act 3 between Charlotte and Werther leading up to the celebrated aria “Pourquoi me réveiller.”

-Robert Dennis

Newly Digitized: 1805 Mozart Thematic Catalogue

Included in the bulk lot of autograph manuscripts Johan Anton André purchased from Mozart’s widow Constanze in 1799 was Mozart’s Verzeichnüss aller meiner Werke, a thematic catalogue of works composed between February of 1784 and November of 1791 (now held by the British Library, and published online with extensive notes in their Digitised Manuscripts collection).1

Creating a published record of Mozart’s works was a priority for both Constanze and André; and soon after acquiring the manuscripts, André used the Verzeichnüss as the basis for a thematic catalogue published in two editions (1805 and 1828).

Thematisches Verzeichniss sämmtlicher Kompositionen von W.A. Mozart, pg.50-51 (Dec. 1789-June 1790). Merritt Room ML134.M9 A23

Thematisches Verzeichniss sämmtlicher Kompositionen von W.A. Mozart, pg.50-51 (Dec. 1789-June 1790). Merritt Room ML134.M9 A23 (click to enlarge)

This 1805 first edition – the earliest surviving lithographed book – reproduces the format and order of Mozart’s catalogue, while paraphrasing Mozart’s descriptions in German and French. On the verso of each opening, the compositions (usually five per page) are listed by date, title, and instrumentation, while the corresponding musical incipits appear on the recto.

The 1828 second edition, in German, transcribes Mozart’s descriptions of each piece. Both correct a mistake in the manuscript and number the works 1-145.

While the task of compiling a complete thematic catalogue occupied André for over 30 years, it remained unpublished at his death in 1842, although it survives in manuscript. Nonetheless, his work studying and publishing Mozart’s works remains important to later editors and scholars.

-Kerry Masteller


1. Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Verzeichnüss aller meiner Werke vom Monath febrario 1784 bis Monath [November] 1[791]. British Library, Zweig MS 63, http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Zweig_MS_63.

2. André, Johan Anton. W. A. Mozart’s thematischer Catalog: wie er solchen vom 9. Februar 1784 bis zum 15. November 1791 eigenhändig geschrieben hat nebst einem erläuternden Vorbericht (Offenbach: André, 1828), http://reader.digitale-sammlungen.de/en/fs1/object/display/bsb10598863_00001.html.

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