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Picture of Giacomo Meyerbeer

Giacomo Meyerbeer

Jephtas Gelübde (Jephtha's Vow) - Orchestral Score

Author(s): Robert Ignatius Letellier

Book Description

Meyerbeer's first opera, Jephtas Gelübde, has a libretto by the German academic Alois Schreiber, based on a Biblical theme taken from chapters 11-12 of the Book of Judges. The conflict between paternal love and love of country intrinsic to this story was is also the basic theme of the opera scenario, and is reflected in the overture, a symphonic anticipation of the essential features of the action. The opera, whose final rehearsals were conducted by the composer in person, was admirably produced by the Munich Court Opera on 23 December 1812, but on account of its novelty met with indifference, so that it was withdrawn. A newspaper report did, however, observe: "A delicate sensibility, united to a profound and mature insight into the workings of the impassioned human heart, is manifested throughout in a grand and elevated style that gives promise of something great in the future". This score contains the seeds of the whole of Meyerbeer's future development. It is impossible to conceive of Meyerbeer's progress to mastership without the Jephta score. Meyerbeer was responding to the heritage of his predecessors the Handel of the oratorios (in the depiction of grandiose biblical drama), and the Gluck of the tragédie lyrique (in the depth of both public and private emotional exploration), but also alert to issues in contemporary opera, like the rescue motif and development of the villain. There is also evidence of Meyerbeer's famed orchestral virtuosity and imagination already at work. In his psychological exploration, Meyerbeer already begins to use thematic tagging and foreshadowing most imaginatively, and points the way far beyond Gluck, in the direction of Weber-Wagner.
A performing edition of the opera has been prepared from the manuscript source: text by Robert Letellier, music by Mark Starr. Cambridge Scholars Publishing is printing the vocal score and the orchestral score. The orchestral parts are included in the catalogue of Noteworthy Musical Editions' Rental Library who make the parts available to opera companies for staged productions.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-3219-9
ISBN-10: 1-4438-3219-7
Date of Publication: 01/10/2011
Pages / Size: 600 / A4 portrait
Price: £120.00


Robert Ignatius Letellier was born in Durban, and educated in Grahamstown, Cambridge, Salzburg, Rome and Jerusalem. He is a member of Trinity College (Cambridge), the Salzburg Centre for Research in the Early English Novel (University of Salzburg), the Maryvale Institute (Birmingham), and the Institute for Continuing Education at Madingley Hall (Cambridge). Publications include books and articles on the late-seventeenth-, eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century novel (particularly the Gothic novel and Sir Walter Scott), the Bible, and European culture, with special emphasis on the Romantic opera and ballet, particularly the work of Giacomo Meyerbeer (a four-volume English edition of his diaries, a collection of studies, a reading of the operas, and a guide to research), Daniel-François-Esprit Auber and the opéra-comique, Ludwig Minkus and the Romantic Ballet..

Mark Starr, conductor, teacher and musicologist, a native of New York, was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and studied conducting at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome. In 1970 he joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin and in 1972 became a conductor and professor at Stanford. He is married to Isabelle Chapuis, the flautist. He has conducted many orchestras both in the United States and in Europe (Radio-France in Paris, l'Orchestre national and l'Orchestre philharmonique, the Residence-Orkest of The Hague, the orchestras of the Netherlands Radio Union in Hilversum, the Orchestre national de Monte-Carlo, the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, the Berliner Konzerthaus Orchester, formerly the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester). He runs a website for Noteworthy Musical Editions, a project involving the compilation of the various catalogues and the demo recordings for each work featured. These include his edition of the overture to Le Prophète, and orchestration, among other things, of one of Franz Liszt's fantasies on Meyerbeer's operas: the Valse infernale d'après 'Robert le diable' de Meyerbeer.