original version of Morte de Tintagiles

Loeffler's original version Morte de Tintagiles

Loeffler, Charles Martin

Notes on one of Loeffler’s Autographs of works with Viola d′amore held by the LOC

The Library of Congress's Music Division acts as the de facto estate of Charles Martin Loeffler and administers the rights to his primary source materials. People seeking authorization to reproduce any of Loeffler's autographs, letters and music should contact the Chief of the Music Division.

Charles Martin Loeffler, an American impressionist composer, had a very lively upbringing, with periods in Russia, Hungary, Germany, France, and the USA. He was a performing orchestral violinist (the LOC collection includes his cadenzas for the Brahms, as well as two or three other late Romantic violin concertos,) but he was also a composer. Unusually, he played the viola d'amore and used it in several works, including the following orchestral one.

As there is a recording of his tone poem La Morte de Tintagiles, of the second version of the work for solo viola d'amore and orchestra, Loeffler has a place in the consciousness of viola d'amore players, and also at the margin of the modern classical repertoire. The original 1897 version of this work was for two violas d'amore, and it was this version I focused my attention on this week.

ML 96 .L61 case

La Mort de Tintagiles

Des Tod Des Tintagiles

a Eugene Ysaye

original version Molto Allegro e appassionato, the manuscript is fragile, the first page is torn, but is clean. In the folder with this manuscript, there is also a keyboard reduction for the two violas d’amore with 1 to two extra staves for other instruments for the portions of the work that have solo violas d′amore. This reduction has many emendations in pencil and bowings in the solo parts. In addition, there is a copy of the second solo part, with additions, corrections, and marking (including bowings) in red and blue pencil. I think the piano reduction may have been a 1st solo part for the original version, as there are bowings and corrections, also in red and blue pencil.

The LOC card catalogue is far from a complete guide to the contents of the Loeffler holdings. There is no mention, for example, of the two manuscript solo parts, which contain much interesting information about Loeffler's composing manner and his approach to bowing and musical expression as a string player.

Schirmer published the version for a single solo viola d’amore in 1905, with a new tempo indication: Allegro Tempestoso.

Both viola d'amore version manuscripts are a bit dirty from handling.

In the original version, the two violas d′amore are equally important; they play in thirds a good deal of the time, and their solo entrance is 27 pages into a manuscript of 89 pages. Their role in the work is more in the character of featured solo instruments rather than a concerto-like part. The second viola d′amore part is played on solo violin. None of the solo writing is overly virtuosic.

The second version has many more details of harmony, elaboration of passage work, counterpoint, and interpretation, including passages where vibrato is specifically requested. Bar 7 after O in version 2, vibrato in upper solo strings, vibrato teneramente in solo cello. The second version also differs in tempo markings, with new passages. At the end of the second version manuscript, there is a typed concordance, in German, of names of the instruments. Maybe to prepare the score for publication?

There are two manuscript copies of the second version, one bound in Tcalfskin, which is turning to reddish dust.

The original version with two violas d′amore: Picolo, 2 flutes, 2 clarinettes in A, 2 bassoons, bass clarinet four horns, (two in C, two in F- manuscript torn) 2 trumpets in D, two cornets a piston in A, three trombones, tuba, 4 tympani in ebdg, tambour militairie, tam-tam, grosse caisse, cymbale, harp, triangle, 2 violes d′amour, 1st and 2ndviolins, altos, violoncelles, Contrebasses.

Manuscript in ink with pencil additions, normal pencil and coloured pencil,

no tuning given in the first version, D major with six strings given in the second manuscript score, and seven strings in D appear in alternate ink in a second copy of second version.