Text Box: HARMONIE AUTOGRAPHS AND MUSIC INC.

MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS & ANTIQUARIAN
Text Box: MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS AND EPHEMERA BOUGHT AND SOLD

Price: Sold

NEAR MINT CONDITION

Sondheim autographs a one page, octavo typed letter signed to composer Norman Matthews, May 5, 1994, with transmittal envelope.  We offer with an original 4.25” x 6.5” glossy 1993 publicity photograph of Sondheim flanked by several of his leading ladies backstage at Carnegie Hall.  From left to right, Madeline Kahn, Liza Minelli, Sondheim, Bernadette Peters and Glenn Close. 

 

Sondheim (1930 -     ) writes to his fellow musical and song composer Norman Matthews thanking him for his “remarks” about his latest musical at the time, “Passion”.  The musical was a disappointment to Sondheim in many ways.  It opened at the Plymouth Theatre in Manhattan after 52 previews and ran 280 performances from May 9, 1994 to January 7, 1995.  The musical was awarded the 1994 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Original Book and Best Original Score, as well as Donna Murphy’s win for Best Actress in a Musical. It also won the Drama Desk Awards in 1994 for Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Book of a Musical, Outstanding Music, Outstanding Lyrics, Outstanding Orchestration, Outstanding Actress (Donna Murphy) and Outstanding Lighting Design. Despite all the accolades, it only ran for 9 months; the shortest ever run for a Tony Award “Best Musical” to date.  The musical was beset with problems from the start, while the critics were salutary, the public had issues with the musical, in particular Donna Murphy’s role Fosca, the heroine, who in fact was viewed as an anti-heroine. All of this was very interesting as Sondheim made the work racy and sexy which usually was an audience pleaser. 

 

Mathews, (1942 -   ) is best known for his work as a cabaret song composer. Though he has written an opera and classical songs.  In his website he describes a long correspondence with Sondheim over the years and it would seem based upon the date of Sondheim’s return letter than Matthews had seen one of the previews.  Sondheim, who is known to be direct, certainly seems accepting of Mathews “remarks”, They couldn’t have come at a better time.

 

Interestingly, “The New York Times” first approached the work with an almost biographical review by Michiko Kakutani when the musical was in previews publishing a review that spent more time on Sondheim’s earlier works than the musical itself.  They then circled around om May 30th with a review of the original cast recording by Stephen Holden who wrote, If the score for "Passion" lacks the breadth and fluency of Mr. Sondheim's music for "A Little Night Music," "Follies," "Sweeney Todd" or "Merrily We Roll Along," it still has the power to transport you into another world.  Which is not a full throated rave.

 

Most of the Sondheim letters which reach the market are generally friendly in content and do not mention his work.

 

  

 

 

 

   

STEPHEN SONDHEIM - COMPOSER & LYRICIST
Text Box: COMPOSER AUTOGRAPHS

Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247