A Ravel song turns up at Yale

Les Amis de Maurice Ravel have informed us about the discovery of fragments of a song inside another manuscript at Yale University Library. Who gets to sing the premiere?

Here’s the information we have:

The orchestrator Michael Feingold, member of the Amis de Maurice Ravel, has discovered that the manuscript of the song for voice and piano Un grand sommeil noir on a poem by Paul Verlaine also contains fragments of sketches for another song by Maurice Ravel “Ballade de la reine morte d’aimer” on a poem by Roland de Marès.

These fragments are found in part on the title page of Un grand sommeil noir (fragment completely crossed out), the other part on the fourth page. Knowing that the three extant manuscripts of Un grand sommeil noir all date from 6 August 1895, Michael Feingold’s discovery makes us think that the Ballade of a queen who died of love is also maybe from 1895, and not from 1893 as has been previously thought.

The 4-page manuscript was sold at auction in was sold at auction at Sotheby’s in London on 25 May 2001 (lot no. 165) and is preserved today at the Yale University Library, in the Frederick R. Koch collection of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (Call number: Box 52 Folder 1112 FRKF869).


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  • Jean says:

    Maybe an unknown manuscript, but not an unknown song… a song with that title has been recorded a number of times.

  • Glerb says:

    Norman! The song’s well known and has been available for decades – don’t get us all worked up over nothing!

  • Mario says:

    The main point is here: the song Ballade de la reine morte d’aimer is also maybe from 1895, and not from 1893 as has been previously thought.

  • Ravel’s song “Ballade de la reine morte d’aimer” was published in 1975 (Salabert) and premiered in New York at 23 February 1975 by Sheila Schonbrun (soprano) and Arbie Orenstein (piano)

  • Esther Cavett says:

    A very misleading headline here

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