Antheil and Berlin: the scores

A note on the scores which Guy Livingston is using for his upcoming CD on Wergo Records

Antheil left a huge amount of manuscript scores, almost equally divided between three libraries: UCLA has his movie and television scores collection, the Library of Congress has his main works in final form, especially from the period 1930-1950, while the New York Public Library holds almost everything Antheil left at the moment of his death (1959). In this disc, one could be surprised to find scores with new titles, or with different music passages from the pieces already known, published, and played. Schirmer acquired in 1993 the rights of Antheil‘s music, and almost all the pieces here can retrieved from their library. Still, what Schirmer has (and not always has engraved) is the catalogue as it was at that time. In the meantime, musicological research and fortuitous discoveries brought out other versions of some of the pieces, and, while many of the origins of the works played here are already explained in my liner notes above, some of them have such a story behind them, that it is worth telling here. The first regards Sonata sauvage, which was printed by the Antheil Press (i.e. Charles Amirkhanian, curator of the Estate of George Antheil since the 70). For a mistake, two complete pages of the (second movement?) were completely skipped. Only a thorough analysis of the manuscript now at the Sacher Foundation in Basel could ascertain that what is played here (Guy recorded the Sonata also in the previous Antheil cd) is the complete work, without missing notes (or pages!). Other compositions reappeared by chance, such as Piece for Merle, which I bought at an auction in New York, or the pianola roll of Serpent mecanique, which the pianist Marc-André Hamelin found at an annual clearance sale of old stuff in a famous Library (the pianola rolls is unique, and bears autograph dedication from Antheil to Jan Slivinsky!). But perhaps the most amazing of all discoveries, (and itself related to Berlin) is that of the Valse Profane With an Introduction of Fireworks(1919/21). This, work, known, distributed and recorded until now with a slightly different title, is the final version of the piece, with full agogics and a more structured second movement, in the clean hand of a copyist. It was given by Antheil to Arthur Rubinstein sometime between October 1921 and March 1922, and taken by Rubinstein to his Paris apartment (without, apparently, a public performance ever). In October 1939, recognizing the threat of the Nazi over France, Rubinstein left with his family for the United States. His property in Avenue Foch, was confiscated by the Nazi the year after, and the whole collection of books and scores (among other things) transferred to the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Security Main Office in Berlin). In 1945, however, the library collection was moved from Berlin to the USSR by the Soviet occupying forces, and there remained in some storage, until 1959 when the materials (but not all of them) were returned to Berlin in partial restitution of German cultural property by the USSR. Years passed, and 71 scores of this library had to wait 2003 before some musicologists analyzed them and associated to Rubinstein’s house and property. Among the many manuscripts, works by contemporary composers such as Tansman, Tailleferre and Villa Lobos, and, of course the early piece by Antheil. The collection was finally donated to the Juilliard Institute; New York, and is hosted in the Peter Jay Sharp Special Collection Library. It can be seen and actually leafed through, online, at:

Published in: on March 28, 2013 at 1:00 am  Comments Off on Antheil and Berlin: the scores  
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