José María Ciebra:

Theme and Allegro
from the Fantaisie on the English Song
“We have lived and loved together”

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8 pp., $7.95, Presser Order number 494-02793 (PWYS-75)

 This is the first edition of a delightful composition by José María Ciebra, a nineteenth century Spanish composer who is mainly known today by literary reference. The main source of information on Ciebra are the memoirs of Nikolai Petrovich Makarov (1810-1890), a Russian nobleman who organized the first known guitar composition competition in Brussels in 1856. In his memoirs, Makarov speaks at great length about his meetings with Ciebra, one of the composers who submitted his works to the competition, and about his music and abilities as a performer. He also mentions his own performance of this music and the good effect it had on the audience, and particularly on the ladies... This edition is based on the actual autograph manuscript given by Ciebra to Makarov. The title page, reproduced on the cover, reads as follows:

Theme (pour Guitare / seule) de la Fantaisie sur la / Chanson anglaise / “we have lived and loved together.” / par / J. M. de Ciebra. / i / Allo sur la chanson / We have lived & loved together” / par / J. M. de Ciebra

    As this text implies, this is an extract from a larger work, a complete Fantaisie. Another manuscript of this work was known to have been given by the composer to Fernando Cruz Cordero, an Argentinian friend of his, but so far, this version, supposedly of the full Fantaisie, is not known to have survived. The Introduction to this edition includes a new, updated and corrected translation from the Russian of that section in Makarov’s memoirs where he discussed Ciebra. It includes a detailed discussion of Ciebra’s unusual right-hand technique, a subject that will surely be examined in detail by specialists.

    The song on which this composition is based, “We have lived and loved together,” occupied an important place in the English and American hit-parades during the nineteenth century. The song is actually an aria, Dans un Délire extrême, from the opera Joconde ou Les coureurs d’aventures (1814), by Nicolò Isouard [Nicolò de Malte] (1773-1818), on a libretto by Etienne. It seems to have been adopted as a popular song, to lyrics by Charles Jefferys (1807–1865) circa 1835. It enjoyed a great many arrangements, the most famous of which is the piano variations by Henri Herz, Dedicated to Her Royal Highness The Princess Victoria.

Nota bene: This is as good a place as any to explain the provenance of the autograph manuscript. After the death of Makarov in 1890, his collection went to a collector named E. A. Chernikov. In 1919, Chernikov gave, or sold the manuscript to a collector named E. V. Voronin. There is a hand-written statement, in Russian, at the bottom of the title page which says: Получил от Е. А. Черникова 3/III 1919. Е. В. Воронин. [Received from E. A. Chernikov on March 3rd, 1919. E.V. Voronin]. The latter's pressure stamp is visible on the top right corner of the title page. Eventually, the manuscript ended up in the collection of Alexander Ivanov-Kramskoi, from where I acquired it in 1992. The letters И-К, visible on the top left corner of the title page, are Ivanov-Kramskoi's initials.

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Last Modified: Saturday, November 19, 2011 11:33 AM