Text Box: COMPOSER autographs


Price: $4500.00



Autographed and inscribed first edition piano-vocal score of the composer’s sole opera, “Wuthering Heights”.  Herrmann has added a 2 bar musical quotation from the prologue opening of the opera.  Novello & Company, Limited; London, copyright 1965, soft cover, folio, 254 pages.


Herrmann (1911-1975) is considered by many to be America’s most talented 20th Century composer.  A child prodigy composer, he first audited classes at the New York College of Music with Ruben Goldmark and Bernard Wagenaar and later studied composition with Percy Grainer and Philip James and Albert Stoessel  at New York University.  He then went on to the Juilliard School. In 1933 he led the New Chamber Orchestra in contemporary works including his own. His music trajectory changed in 1934 when he was hired by CBS to program compose and conduct live music for radio programs with Johnny Green as his assistant.  He then was positioned doing the same for CBS’s Columbia Workshop and in 1938 he was hired as the composer-conductor of the CBS show Mercury Theatre of the Air, where he met the young Orson Welles. The show’s broadcast of Welles version of “The War of the Worlds” featured the programming and conducting of Hermann.  Their artistic relationship led to Welles inviting Herrmann to Hollywood in 1941 to write the score for his film, “Citizen Kane” and the film’s success led to Herrmann’s career as a Hollywood composer.  That first year in California, the composer scored both “Citizen Kane” and “The Devil and Daniel Webster”, was nominated for an Oscar for both and won for “The Devil and Daniel Webster”.  Welles hired him the following year to write the music for “The Magnificent Ambersons”.  In 1943, Orson Welles and David O. Selznik requested that 20th Century Fox hire Herrmann to write the music for a film adaptation of “Jane Eyre”. The composer had already written some music for the “Mercury Theatre of the Air” version in 1938.  While he was working on “Jane Eyre” in 1943, he began to simultaneously work on his most ambitious project, possibly of his life, the opera “Wuthering Heights”.  Like Sir Arthur Sullivan who spent a good amount of his time concerned that his legacy would be “topsy-turvy” operetta rather than for his serious works, songs and operas, Herrmann was plagued by the same circumstance.  He completed the opera in 1951.  During the interim he scored 6 films including, “Anna and the King of Siam”, “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “On Dangerous Ground”.  He orchestrated and arranged 7 films and conducted the orchestras of even more. Herrmann spent the rest of his life trying to get the work performed.  The New York City Opera had it under consideration when Julius Rudel was the Music Director.  Sir John Barbirolli who had premiered the composer’s cantata “Moby Dick” with the New York Philharmonic in 1940 and was now back at the Hallé Orchestra in England also considered the opera.  The opera was considered as a project for Leopold Stokowski to conduct at the San Francisco Opera and there was even a contract for performance by the Heidelberg Opera in Germany and that was cancelled. Herrmann would go on to work with Alfred Hitchcock, scoring his best known films, “Psycho” (with its’ signature violin screech), “Vertigo”, “The Birds”, “North by Northwest”, “The Trouble with Harry”, “The Man Who Knew Too Much”  and others. However, it appeared the opera world took him as a film composer and not an opera composer. He would never score another opera.  All said, in 1966, under his direction, a commercial recording was made of “Wuthering Heights” with a mainly British, but United Kingdom cast.  The initial release did well enough that it was re-released in 1972 and is now available on compact disc and download.  The World Premiere occurred in 1982 by the Portland Opera in Oregon.  From 2010 to 2019 performances were held by, Orchestra National de Montpelier (France), Braunschweig Stadttheater (Germany), The Minnesota Opera,  the Winnepeg Symphony and Opera Nancy (France). 

The soft-backed score while in overall good condition has some separation  at the very top of the binding of the spine.  The pages are in excellent condition. 

A rarely encountered autograph and musical quotation, moreover, this score due to the circumstances of performance in his lifetime makes this score quite unique!

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