"Le Gladiateur". Autograph musical manuscript signed.
Folio. Title page and 28 ff. written on rectos and numbered 1-10, 36-46, 46, 47-52. In contemporary paper sleeve.
Unpublished manuscript of a large part of the cantata "The Gladiator", with which Debussy won second place at the Prix de Rome in 1883. The present manuscript is the score for voice and piano, written in black and brown ink and set into 3 or 4 line systems (of a total of 24 systems per page, each carrying the embossed signet of the Papeterie Lard Esnault). It comprises ff. 1 to 10, and 36 to 52 (including a revised duplicate of f. 46). Nine of the 25 missing pages were formerly kept in the collection of Hélène de Tinan, Debussy's stepdaughter (from his marriage with Emma Bardac). The piano part is written on 3 or 4 staves. The first part, with the Prelude, then Narbal's Tale and Air (tenor), is carefully written. From page 36 onwards, where Fulvie (soprano) and Narbal come to join Metellus (bass), the writing becomes hastier and more cursive: this is obviously the first draft manuscript, including sketches, erasures and corrections (leaf 46 is duplicated, abandoning a sketch on the first sheet). The title page and f. 52 bear Debussy's signature, the latter amended by a small notice, "Finit le Samedi 9 à 4 h".
Edges browned and with slight damage throughout.
F. Lesure, Catalogue de l'œuvre de Claude Debussy (Fayard 2003), no. 52/(41).
Discography: Alain Buet (Metellus), Guylaine Girard (Fulvie), Bernard Richter (Narbal), Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, Hervé Niquet (Music For The Prix de Rome, Glossa, 2009).