RAVEL’S DAPHNIS & CHLOÉ: A FASCINATING ASSOCIATION COPY INSCRIBED BY THE GREAT 20TH-CENTURY CONDUCTOR CHARLES MUNCH ON THE DATE OF HIS DENVER PERFORMANCE OF DAPHNIS & CHLOÉ TO TRAILBLAZING FEMALE CONDUCTOR ANTONIA BRICO
RAVEL, Maurice. Daphnis & Chloé. Ballet en un Acte. Fragments Symphoniques 2e Série. Lever du Jour-Pantomime-Danse Générale. Paris: Durand, (1913). Folio, original printed paper boards. $3500.
Association copy of the full score of one of two orchestral versions of Ravel’s ballet, often considered his greatest work, inscribed by noted conductor Charles Munch on the date of Denver performance of the work to one of the first world-class female conductors, Antonia Brico: “En Souvenir a mon premiere concert a Denver. le 7 Nov. 48. Charles Munch.”
Charles Munch, who has inscribed this copy, was one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century and a friend and colleague of Ravel. He is perhaps best known for his work on French composers, particularly Ravel: he, in fact, recorded Daphnis & Chloé twice, both times with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which he led from 1948 to 1962. (Those recordings are today still considered the standard against which all subsequent ones are measured.) He has inscribed this copy to conductor Antonia Brico, arguably the most celebrated female conductor of the 20th century. A native of the Netherlands, Brico grew up in the United States and studied conducting both here and abroad. Her talent was immediately recognized; while still in her twenties, she became a popular conductor, working with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Los Angeles and San Francisco Symphonies, and the New York Philharmonic, routinely as the first woman conductor an orchestra worked with. After working in New York throughout the '30s, she settled in Denver in 1940, where she became conductor of the Denver Community Orchestra. In 1974, Judy Collins, Brico's most famous student, made a widely seen documentary on Brico (Antonia: Portrait of a Woman) that produced many new invitations to conduct, at places such as Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. In this copy, Brico has written a list of conductors, orchestras, times and places, presumably times she heard Daphnis & Chloé performed. All of the performances are in New York up to 1938; the last two listed are Ormandy with Philadelphia in Denver in 1946 and Munch with the National Orchestra de France in Denver on November 7, 1948, the date of the inscription.
Front hinge starting, but interior otherwise fine. Light edgewear to original boards, a bit of discoloration to rear board. A near-fine copy with a wonderful provenance.