I’ve been spending some time with facsimiles lately. You know, reproductions of composition manuscripts. Particularly fascinating is our copy of Richard Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel. How anyone could hear so many voices in such a dense setting is beyond me.
Stumbled across this great letter from Frank Cooper regarding his facsimile collection at the University of Miami. His spot-on description of the thrill of seeing the composer’s hand is excerpted here:
“At a glance can be seen the left-handed Beethoven’s in being smeared by his sleeve, the emotions of Puccini as he enlarges or diminishes his script to enliven the visual as[ect of changes in dynamics and tempo…. You can touch them, riffle their pages, stop where you wish to savor a point of interest, feel their weight, imagine what they must have meant before anyone ever rendered the originals into print.”