La Creazione, e Le quattro stagioni Poste in musica dal Celebre J. Haydn. Manuscript libretto. Gottfried Bernhard van SWIETEN, Franz Joseph — HAYDN.
La Creazione, e Le quattro stagioni Poste in musica dal Celebre J. Haydn. Manuscript libretto.
La Creazione, e Le quattro stagioni Poste in musica dal Celebre J. Haydn. Manuscript libretto.
La Creazione, e Le quattro stagioni Poste in musica dal Celebre J. Haydn. Manuscript libretto.
Hardly improvisational

La Creazione, e Le quattro stagioni Poste in musica dal Celebre J. Haydn. Manuscript libretto. [Turin?, ca. 1830-1835].

Manuscript on paper. 4to (binding size 264 x 197 mm). [26] pp. Contents: Fol. 1r title, verso blank, f. 2r-5v text, La Creazione, incipit: “Raffaele / Creò dapprima Iddio il ciel, la terra; / Ma giaceva la terra informe e vuota,” f. 6r half-title for Le quattro Stagioni, 6v-13v text, Le quattro Stagioni, incipit: "Coro di Contadini, e Contadine. / Vieni deh Flora, vieni / Prezioso don del Ciel.” Written in brown ink in an elegant Italian cursive on fine wove paper, no visible watermarks. Three blank leaves at front and back, the outermost being a wrapper of thicker paper (second flyleaf at back adhered to the third), the text block stitched into a Piedmontese case binding of gold-embroidered ivory silk over thin pasteboards, both covers with outer border of a leafy scrolling vine with floral sprigs composed of gilt or silver-gilt appliqués of leaves, blossoms and roundels on stems of couched silver-gilt thread, a larger flowering branch at each corner, at center of upper cover a large gilt monogram CF within a cartouche of repeated leaf appliqués with at top a closed crown, at center of lower cover a large flowering plant of gilt appliqués, couched thread, sequins, etc. (turn-ins of upper cover unsewn, dampstain within upper left quadrant of upper cover). 

A manuscript of excerpts from the librettos for Haydn’s late oratorios, the Creation (Die Schöpfung, first performed 1798) and the Seasons (Die Jahreszeiten, 1801), translated into Italian from the German of his librettist and patron Gottfried van Swieten (1733-1803). Bound in brightly gilt embroidered silk binding, the manuscript was probably produced for a court or private musical event.

Both librettos had an English origin. The Creation text, based on Genesis and Milton’s Paradise Lost, was taken from a manuscript libretto by an unknown author, originally intended for Handel, given to Haydn by the English impresario Johann Peter Salomon, and brought back by him from England in 1795.  The Seasons was loosely based on extracts from James Thomson’s poem of the same title (1730), but van Swieten had greater leeway in rearranging the text.

It was still considered a given in the early nineteenth century that vocal compositions in languages other than Latin and Italian would be translated into the language of the audience. The Creation was first performed in Italian in Milan in 1810, using Giuseppe Carpani’s verse translation of van Swieten’s libretto (first published in Vienna in 1801). The manuscript contains an abridged version of Carpani’s text (with some variants). The Quattro stagione is also abridged, and seems to be based on portions of an anonymous translation first published in Dresden in 1802, and used for the oratorio’s first performances in Italian, in 1811 in Milan and Bologna (cf. editions of Milan: Mussi, [1811], and Bologna: Ramponi, [1811]).

The manuscript was exhibited in Turin in 1998: cf. Francesco Malaguzzi, Legature romantiche piemontese: legature del periodo romantico in raccolte private, no. 67 and p. 30. Malaguzzi stated that the manuscript contains “watermarks of the Biella papermakers the brothers Avondo, datable to the third decade of the 19th century,” but this cataloguer failed to see any watermarks.

Item #4044

Price: $2,600.00