Lot 140

André MESSAGER (1853-1929). Autograph musical manuscript signed (3 times), Le Mari de la Reine, [1889]; 400 pages in fol. in one bound vol. (the spine is missing; some ff. a little soiled).

Complete orchestral score of this operetta in 3 acts, on a libretto by Grenet-Dancourt and Octave Pradels, premiered on December 18, 1889 at the Bouffes-Parisiens. It had only six performances, Paris being then struck by an influenza epidemic; the composer called it, in a letter to Henry Février, the "best of my ovens"...
The action takes place in the imaginary land of Kokistan, where the Queen divorces every two years to marry the winner of a deer race; she would like to keep the current prince consort (and vice versa); but it is the Parisian Florestan who wins the race, soon joined by his lover (whose hand had been refused), Justine Patouillard (sung by Mily-Meyer), who escaped from the rue Rambuteau; Florestan will marry Julie, and the Queen will keep
her prince.

The manuscript, in black ink on 22-line bifeuillets, was prepared by a copyist who noted down song and lyrics; the orchestration is entirely in the hand of Messager. The orchestra, as it appears in the Overture, is composed as follows: large flute, small flute, oboe, clarinets, bassoon, 2 horns, pistons, trombones, drum, bass drum and cymbals, violins, violas, cellos and double basses. This manuscript was used as a conductor, and presents some replacement fragments interspersed (in the Overture, and in the Entr'acte before Act II.