Royal Winter Music, a new edition by Marco Minà for Schott Music on #neuguitars #blog #Henze #MarcoMinà

Royal Winter Music, a new edition by Marco Minà for Schott Music on #neuguitars #blog #Henze #MarcoMinà

Royal Winter Music (schott-music.com)

The neguitars.com blog is proud to publish this interesting article on Hans Werner Henze’s Royal Winter Music, edited by classical guitarist Marco Minà, whom I thank for his kind collaboration and commitment.

After a long research and study that started from Villa La Leprara (the historic home of Henze in Marino, near Rome) and then continued at the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, in 2022 the publisher Schott printed a new edition edited by me of Hans Werner Henze’s Royal Winter Music I, based on the author’s original manuscript. This new edition comes more than forty years after the first, always edited for the publisher Schott by Julian Bream, to whom the German composer had dedicated, in 1975-76 and then between 1976 and 1979, one of his most significant solo works which, due to the complexity of its contents and techniques, is certainly one of the most important works in the guitar repertoire, if not the most important and arduous. Together with the new printed edition comes my recording of both Royal Winter Music sonatas and also the recording of the second sonata is based exclusively on the original manuscript, kindly granted to me by the Sacher Foundation. The mediabook with the CD, which comes out for the tenth anniversary of the German composer’s death, also contains a long documentary filmed at Villa La Leprara, a unique document on the one hand since Henze’s historic home has now been sold, on the other what sums up the paradigm of the immense artistic activity, of the personal and professional encounters and of the political events linked to the composer. With me, in the story Michael Kerstan, director of the Henze Foundation.

However, the history of Royal Winter Music is long and troubled, an aspect that in these first decades after its publication has never clearly emerged until today, also due to the decision of both the composer and the dedicatee not to address the question any more which, among the second half of the ’70s and the beginning of the ’80s, however, had in fact decreed the end of the friendship and collaboration between Henze and Bream, which dated back to the ’50s of the twentieth century. The new edition, which will be accompanied by a commentary useful for analyzing some salient aspects that differentiate the first edition from the new one, will also make it possible for interpreters and scholars to enter more clearly and deeply into the merits of one of Henze’s most complex works, rediscovering both the original architecture of the piece and the individual and refined musical details. The result is a more powerful work in terms of expression and composition, as well as more coherent from a formal point of view. However, a useful comparison between the two versions is always possible. Synthesizing such complex facts and vicissitudes is not easy, but it is, on the other hand, necessary given the importance of this work for guitar. I will therefore limit myself to providing here the most important references of the study work carried out on it, a study of an objective and scientific nature, it must be said, based on documents and official correspondence between the composer, the English guitarist, the publisher Schott (with his contacts over time, among others P. Hanser-Strecker, K. Bartlett, J. Plotnikov, K. Gutmann, F. Zehm, K. R. Schöll), his secretary of those years, Helen Grob, and the contact person for the Schott in London Sally Groves. An important source of information is also the autobiography of H. W. Henze, Canti di Viaggio. To this must be added a careful analysis of the manuscript proof-copy delivered by Julian Bream for printing and the subsequent revision made on it. Finally, also the latter’s personal music library, which can currently be viewed at the Jerwood Library in London, as well as the biography A life on the road which came out right at the end of this long period which I will analyze, in 1982.

This extensive and in-depth work was encouraged by the Hans Werner Henze Foundation, in particular by the director Michael Kerstan and by the Paul Sacher Foundation and by the curator of the Henze-Collection, Simon Obert, who have supported my research over the years, providing all the documentation available. I also have to thank Schott Music and in particular Andreas Krause who followed the new printed edition of Royal Winter Music I and my record label NovAntiqua Records, who embraced the whole project. Thus I was able, through the analyzed documentation, to give concrete and scientific substance to what had initially been intuitions, putting back into place the pieces of a puzzle that is certainly unique in Henzean production. In any case, my hope and conviction is that in the future other and even more detailed information and documents will allow me to continue the work I have done so far.

In the early 1990s I was lucky enough to meet Hans Werner Henze thanks to Royal Winter Music, I was in fact completing my degree thesis on this work and I also had the intention of performing the two sonatas. Even then I manifested to the composer various perplexities that I had matured in studying the piece. Henze replied by alluding to the fact that the story was not pleasant for him to remember and that it was now a closed question, it was clear that behind this discretion there was some bitterness. Over the years our friendship has solidified and I have thus had the opportunity to return to the subject several times both with Henze and with the people closest to the composer, collecting facts and circumstances that made the story more clear, which however lacked the foundations document them. At the same time, having conversed with the composer over the years and being able to work with him at Royal Winter Music, I was able to clearly grasp the compositional, dramaturgical and existential intentions that Henze wanted to pour, deepen and develop into this piece. The fragility of the characters represented, very often conscious or unconscious “losers”, some instead arrogant, others ridiculous, still others violent or weak, are a punctual and raw representation of all humanity, filtered through the Shakespearean genius so dear to the composer and seen from his personal point of view. However, the intention for Henze is always that of a final reconciliation, of a desperate search for harmony. A very clear and defined compositional poetics.

After the composer’s death in 2012 I decided to record the two sonatas and for this purpose I also thought of contacting the only survivor of this complex story, Julian Bream himself. After an initial opening, the famous guitarist informed me instead of not wanting to collaborate in the story of the genesis and revision of the Royal Winter Music, then further communications followed which, if possible, motivated my research even more. Subsequently, while completing the study work, after the death of the famous guitarist, I was able to view his personal library, kept at the Jerwood Library in London. But let us now return to the original manuscript of the Royal Winter Music. The first incredible discovery that I was able to make while working on it (which in the new Schott edition is reproduced in its entirety, suitably fingered, and revised only in the very few points where it was strictly necessary) is that this actually presented itself with great differences compared to the first printed edition, differences such as to not be, in my opinion, understandable or justifiable. The second discovery was that the manuscript actually turned out to be perfect in itself, the fruit of the now skilful hand of Henze, who had been writing for the guitar for more than twenty years (from Der Sechste Gesange to Kammermusik 1958, to Cimarròn among other works) and who, also thanks to the knowledge, attendance and his work alongside illustrious guitarists, both cultured and popular (including Anton Stingl, Roberto Murolo, Fausto Cigliano, Leo Brouwer and Julian Bream himself) had fully understood the technical, expressive and idiomatic characteristics of the guitar, an instrument that by now had very few secrets for him. It must be clearly reaffirmed that, unlike the manuscript, which is coherent from a formal, harmonic and dramaturgical point of view (the latter aspect being fundamental in the Royal Winter Music, based on Shakespearean characters and therefore programmatically referring to the theatre, in which the poetics of the individual characters -movements of the two sonatas has precise narrative and textual references for Henze) the first printed edition presents multiple harmonic and formal inconsistencies, with inserts of notes, accidentals and musical sections extraneous to the manuscript. Naturally we are not speaking here of a simple revision work, designed to make some passages conceived by the composer in a non-idiomatic way “executable”, but of a much more radical intervention by Bream on the original text. These interventions, in many cases, have had the effect of “taming” the power of this work, in itself much more powerful and innovative, in some cases overturning its meaning, such as Ophelia, Oberon, the omission of the Chorus, which will be released only in 2001 and much more.

At this point the question that arose was how Henze could have accepted these radical changes which in some cases even modified the formal structure, as in the case of Oberon, who concludes the first sonata. From the guitarist Julian Bream’s point of view, such a significant intervention could have been more understandable: a musician at the peak of his career, a point of reference for the most important composers of those years, son of an era which, in some way, allowed and it legitimized even radical interventions on the musical text of which we have evidence in the revisions of both Bream and other important guitarists of the last century, in line with this historical approach. From the point of view of a composer as attentive and meticulous as Henze, this fact was instead difficult to understand. It was a question of tracing the sources that attested when and how these changes had been made by the guitarist and possibly endorsed by the composer.

The relationship of friendship and then of collaboration between Henze and Bream dates back to the 1950s. The common friendships, William Walton and his wife Susana, Benjamin Britten and his partner the tenor Peter Pears, just to name a few, had been the vehicle for the initial acquaintance. Henze has always had a particular love for the guitar, since his time in Naples at the beginning of his stay in Italy at the end of the 1940s. There are many testimonies of this passion for the magical sound of the instrument, as well as for the fragility inherent in it. Julian Bream is certainly a very significant friendship for Henze, both for the instrumental skills and talent of the great English guitarist and for his strong and determined character, his extroverted and charismatic personality. The esteem that Henze has for Bream is profound and over time he collects various stimuli proposed by him and linked to his love for the lute, for the Elizabethan repertoire, and then the idea of composing a complex and articulated piece, like the sonata op . 106 by Beethoven as stated in Henze’s autobiography Canti di viaggio1, with which to place the guitar among the most loved and appreciated instruments. Henze takes up the challenge by creating a piece that is actually complex, arduous and very rich from an instrumental point of view. Every single character-movement of Royal Winter Music also represents an interpretative challenge for the musician, already at the top of the instrument’s technical possibilities.

The correspondence currently available, the letters relating to the first months in which Henze and Bream collaborated between winter 1975 and spring 1976, tell of the relationship described above between the two artists. Instead the documentary archive of communications between the publisher Schott, Henze, his agents and managers between the years 1975 and 1984 and Julian Bream provides a different but very clear picture of what happened later. In support of this also, as mentioned, the template or fair-copy, the manuscript delivered by Bream to the publisher for the publication of the first sonata, revised and fingered by the guitarist. Finally, the corrections to the test print. Let’s start from the analyzed documents that are mentioned here in summary and in those parts or sections dedicated exclusively to Royal Winter Music.

In October 1975 we have the first reference to the publisher Schott about the composition of a “Gitarrensonate”2 by Henze. He also hints at the possible premiere of Royal Winter Music I at the Berliner Festwochen, which actually took place on September 20 of the same year, as we also read reported in the first printed edition of the piece. In November and December of the same year, the composer defines that it will be dedicated to Julian Bream and that it will be entitled Royal Winter Music3.

In October 1975 we have the first reference to the publisher Schott about the composition of a “Gitarrensonate” by Henze. He also hints at the possible premiere of Royal Winter Music I at the Berliner Festwochen, which actually took place on September 20 of the same year, as we also read reported in the first printed edition of the piece. In November and December of the same year, the composer defines that it will be dedicated to Julian Bream and that it will be entitled Royal Winter Music. Henze’s decision to organize what will be the Cantiere di Montepulciano also dates from this same period, a musical and political-social project that was particularly close to the composer’s heart, as we also know from Henze’s autobiography. Bream should have participated in the shipyard project as a “reward” for the work dedicated to him. In fact, the guitarist will only participate in the first edition, in 1976, and he will do so “with clenched teeth”4. The English guitarist, on the other hand, would declare a few years later that he did not remember the terms of this agreement5. In reality, in addition to the written testimonies, also collecting the direct account of Henze’s secretary at the time, Helen Grob, and of Schott’s agent in London, Sally Groves, it emerges clearly that instead Henze strongly wanted Bream to participate in the Shipyard project, where the his guitar and his prestige would have been, in the composer’s opinion, an important element in the construction of the festival, and he had accepted the writing of such a large piece under this condition. On March 30, 1976 we have a significant information from the publisher in which it is reiterated that Bream has no exclusivity, with reference to the possession and performance of the piece6. It is possible that this is the time when things gradually began to change in the relationship between Henze, Bream and the publisher Schott. As we will see, the theme of the “exclusive” possession of the piece will have a significant weight in the story. A very important date is May 18, 1976, when the rights to the first sonata are registered at GEMA, the composition of the Royal Winter Music was essentially completed. In September 1976 Henze communicated to the publisher that theRitornello must be performed seven times, in practice from the beginning of the piece and then between each single movement7. This document is also extremely important in light of the fact that Bream will not publish it at all in the first edition. The Chorus will only reappear in the 2001 reissue, with some errors and not under Bream’s revision. This fact is very emblematic, also in the light of what will happen afterwards. In December 1976, Henze was already talking about the second sonata that he was putting into work and that he hoped to finish quickly. We have no documented news of the fact that the composer will in effect also work on this new piece together with Bream (as had happened for the first sonata) from the reconstruction it would seem not. However, we must consider another aspect and that is that the writing of the first sonata takes a period of time ranging from six to eight months, not that long after all. Henze declares that he wants to take even less to deliver the second sonata, but in reality this will be completed in March-April 1979, therefore almost three years after the composer’s intentions. The following facts and documents can perhaps also explain this delay and the fact that the two artists will no longer work together as before.

The common intention of Henze and Bream, but above all of the latter, was as we know to create an entire concert program with Royal Winter Music, the continuation of the first sonata was therefore necessary, urgent and in the projects. In a document dated January 1977 this idea still stands but, in the same document, Bream is also requested to deliver his revision of the first sonata8 which in fact had its premiere the previous year and was therefore supposed to be ready for the print. In any case, from this moment the communications and, in a certain sense, the destinies of the first and second sonata intersect and, in fact, the two works will be published almost simultaneously in 1980 with subsequent revisions between 1983 and 1984. According to official documents, Henze and Bream meet, probably for the last time, on April 24, 1977 in Stuttgart (where Henze was staging Wir ereichen den Fluss), one of Schott’s editorial consultants who is most active in following up also participates the composer in these years, Ken Bartlett. From the documents we learn that Bream is designated as reviewer of the work and will insert his fingering in the future edition. Henze suggests that proofs be sent to him too for correction (this circumstance should be kept in mind for subsequent developments). Bream in turn communicates that in May he will not be able to deliver the revision of the piece as he needs the score for himself. It was decided that he would deliver a photocopy of the revision to the Schott office in London, on the basis of which it would be published9. Bream then dictates his conditions and it seems evident that his intention is to maintain the exclusive right on Royal Winter Music which had already been clearly denied to him by the publisher in March 1976. In this document there is no reference to the fact that Henze was able to view the revision made by Bream, nor to why the revision could not be photocopied on that same occasion. Finally, there is no news on the fact that the two artists also worked on the second sonata, as Henze had already intended in December 1976. According to the general precision of this documentation and the meticulousness of the composer, it seems that none of this actually happened.

In July 1977 Bream had not yet had the revision of the first sonata photocopied as promised and did not respond to the requests of the publisher10. In December of the same year, an internal Schott memo informs that Bream intends to deliver his revision for three months, from May to July 1978, but that in August he will have to get it back. It is also said that Sally Groves (the managing editor of Schott’s London office) will solicit delivery and furthermore a letter from Dr Eckhardt (a Schott official) will be sent to Bream in April as a reminder11. As can be easily understood, the behavior of the famous guitarist appears unorthodox and the pressure from various fronts intensifies to have the review for the press. From a letter of 8 September 1978 sent by Jutta Plotnikow for Schott to Helen Grob, Henze’s agent in Zurich, we learn that the copy had no longer been delivered. There is talk of the impossibility of getting Bream to hand over the review. It is said that Bream is a “difficult” person and that he does not want to submit the work on the pretext that a photocopy would not read well. Sally Groves is again commissioned to be even more incisive and it is suggested that the composer himself solicits the delivery12.

This communication from September 1978 therefore makes us understand that, in all probability since April 1977, Henze and Bream had no longer been in contact. This would explain why on several occasions it was suggested by Schott that Henze himself requested the delivery of the revision, it is therefore conceivable that Henze had no intention of contacting Bream personally at that time and knowing the composer, it is quite easy to guess the reason. However, let us remember that for the composer these were years of very intense work, of continuous travel with the addition of some health problems. We also know that, as a friendly counterpart to the composition of the Royal Winter Music, Henze had requested Bream to participate in the Montepulciano Festival. Bream in fact only participated in the first edition of the Festival, that of 1976. Leaving aside the documentary support for a moment, it is probable to hypothesize that, in the April ’77 meeting in Stuttgart (the last between the two artists, as far as we know officially), Henze may have communicated to Bream the beginning of the composition of the second sonata and the consequent request to participate in the 1977 edition of the Cantiere. The English guitarist may have declined the invitation, in fact Bream no longer participated in any edition of the festival. It is therefore possible that from that moment Henze no longer had direct contact with Bream, both because of the promise he disregarded and because of the problems he created due to the failure to deliver and publish the first sonata. It should be emphasized that Henze was in practice between two fires, on the one hand the publisher who pressed him, too, for publication, on the other hand the guitarist and friend who put him in a very awkward position. The following year, in a letter dated 26 March 1979, Henze informed the publisher that the second sonata was about to be completed and this actually took place in April13. Henze lives up to his initial promise and in fact dedicates the song again to Julian Bream. At the moment we don’t have any official document or memorandum on the matter, however we can assume that, despite the misunderstandings and bitterness, Henze attempted to resume relations with Julian Bream for the last time and, dedicating the second sonata to him again, wanted to even convincing him to go to the Cantiere in that same year, 1979, as had happened in 1976 as a “reward” for the first sonata, and then no more.

We have a radical change about a year later, in a letter dated May 1980. Henze informs Schott that he publishes what Bream has delivered as it is, recommending however not to send him the proofs for corrections14. From this letter we can therefore deduce that the English guitarist had sent his revision of the first sonata to Schott for publication in the weeks preceding May 1980, therefore four years after its composition. This lapse of time between the writing of a piece and its publication is unique in Henzean production and, as we will see shortly, it could also have conditioned the reviewer’s choice of the second sonata. However, we mainly understand that the relationship of trust and esteem between the two artists no longer exists, and the fact that Henze recommends excluding the guitarist from the corrections is a clear fact. The end of the relationship of friendship and collaboration between Henze and Julian Bream is also finally confirmed by a letter dated June 198315 in which the composer asks the referent Schott to send the second sonata to an American guitarist, Mark Delpriora. At the same time he makes a statement about Bream, certainly also dictated by his disappointment and bitterness for everything that had happened in previous years, which however confirms that by now the paths of the two artists had definitively separated. In the letter we also understand how much Henze cared about the diffusion of Royal Winter Music especially among young performers, and therefore how much he suffered from the impositions of the English guitarist in indefatigably holding an exclusive on the piece, delaying its publication beyond measure.

The process of editing and printing the first sonata still drags on until 1984. We have a note from Henze dated 30 July of that year about the corrections to the score16 (this time most probably in relation to the recording being prepared for the Wergo label by by guitarist Dietmar Kreš, who in fact recorded it the same year). We must underline that, eight years after the composition of the piece, the author is now taken by the multiple successive commitments that have occurred over time. It is understood from the tone of the letter that the details relating to the printing corrections are no longer under his direct control and, also lacking a figure of reference for the guitar, it is also difficult for Henze to provide for the corrections in a detailed manner. But we will make further considerations about this aspect shortly. In the same already mentioned letter of July 1984, the composer wrote that he could not check the second sonata because he had not received the related proofs from Schott. The production of the new sonata had already been started in 1983 by Reinbert Evers, however there is no official documentation in this regard in which the composer or the publisher identified and entrusted the piece to Evers. However, it is possible that the publisher, due to the innumerable problems and delays that had characterized the process of the first sonata, could have intervened directly in assigning the revision of the new piece, but this remains only a guess. However, although the second sonata was completed in April 1979 and still dedicated to Bream, strangely in the official documents there is no trace of a possible sending of the piece to the guitarist. The album “Dedication” which came out in 1982, contains the first sonata but not the second, which was part of the overall Royal Winter Music project so desired by Bream and which had been completed three years earlier. This would also seem to be confirmed by the absence in Bream’s personal library of the score of the second sonata as well as any drafts of the manuscript on which he may have worked17. In this regard however, still in A life on the road, Bream makes some considerations on the second sonata which would instead confirm that the guitarist had somehow received the manuscript, presumably from the composer himself, in a personal capacity.

This circumstance could find an explanation in the fact that Henze, aware of everything that had happened, wanted to test the waters with the guitarist to verify his real intentions before officially involving the publisher. Bream also adds (let’s not forget that the definitive breakdown of relations between the two artists already took place between the end of 1979 and the beginning of 1980, therefore two years before the publication of A life on the road) that the second sonata would now be found in the hands of another guitarist. Bream also makes several considerations on Royal Winter Music that we will be able to better analyze and interpret later18. A useful contribution to understanding some further aspects of this complex story can be the vision of a fragment of one of the television productions made by Julian Bream for the BBC in which Henze himself is present. The sequence, probably created in the spring of 1976 at the home of the English guitarist in Donhead St Andrew in Dorset, shows the two artists working with the manuscript on the last movement of the first sonata, Oberon, and discussing the creation of a passage. Henze’s off-screen voice seals his personal vision of the collaboration with Bream, and what the results19. In A life on the road, however, the guitarist writes something completely different from what the video-documentary captures20. These are undoubtedly revealing aspects of the friendly but ambivalent relationship between the two. Some doubts also emerge from Bream about the real scope of Royal Winter Music, but above all about the common intention of creating an imposing, complex and unique piece, an intention perhaps not entirely common. In any case, after this phase something must have changed, perhaps after April 1977, as described above.

So far we have reconstructed through documents and letters between the publisher Schott, Bream, Henze and the various interlocutors in the field, the indeed troubled history of the first edition of the Royal Winter Music. But now let’s analyze in more detail the moment in which Bream delivers his manuscript review and the steps that will follow, making some important considerations. Julian Bream sends Schott a handwritten copy of his revision of the first sonata probably before May 1980, in fact we have Henze’s handwritten letter dated 7. Mai 1980 which confirms the above. The handwritten revision delivered by the guitarist is presented on two different paper supports, one for the first and last movement (Gloucester and Oberon) and a second type of paper for the other movements, absent theRitornello. Furthermore, the original sequence of movements (present instead in the new version edited by me) is found here already modified (see first edition Schott GA467). As already mentioned, the composition of the piece begins in a phase of productive collaboration between the two artists which took place between the end of 1975 and the beginning of 1976 between Marino and Donhead St Andrew in Dorset, at the respective homes of Henze and Bream, as attested some letters, the same autobiographies of Henze, of Bream and the aforementioned BBC TV documentary. However, we also know that the guitarist’s revision interventions on the score took place in an increasingly difficult phase in the relationship between the two artists, a phase that is not very shared in which Bream has mostly tried to avoid in every way to deliver his revision and maintain an absolute exclusive on the track. As we can see today, making use of the new edition adhering to the original Henzean manuscript, Bream’s interventions on the musical text were massive, justifiable only by the freedom with which, as dedicatee, the English guitarist intended to personalize the Henzean writing. Certainly justifiable also by the authority recognized to him and by what we can define the “spirit of an era”. In A life on the road Bream, while undoubtedly praising Royal Winter Music, does not hide his perplexities about Henze’s work, for example about the easy availability of the work to the public21, but also, as seen above, highlighting his difficulties in sometimes understand the profound meaning of Henze’s writing and therefore to justify the broad and articulated compositional “gestures”, or the very feasibility of a movement such as Mad Lady Macbeth. Still in relation to Bream’s revision for the printing of the first sonata, it should be clearly emphasized that in the original Henzean manuscript there is no trace of changes or cancellations, which the composer evidently must not have decided to make under any circumstances. The manuscript therefore presents no corrections or additions. However, the question that remains unresolved is if and when Henze may have in fact viewed the definitive revision elaborated by the guitarist and what he may have thought of it. The last corrections to the proof print of the piece must have been made within 1984 as we have seen from Henze’s letter of 30 July 1984. We recall that four years have now passed since Bream delivered the revision and about eight since the composition of the song. The Schott file relating to these corrections contains the proof print with some photocopies of the possible title pages of the work and the handwritten copy of the revision delivered by Bream in 1980 and described above. As for the comparison on the merits of the revision between the two artists, after the initial phase up to 1977, we reiterate that there are no other official moments of meeting between Henze and Bream. A plausible hypothesis is that Henze, having completed the composition and comparison phase, relied on Bream for the fingering necessary for printing, not contemplating the possibility of further modifications by the guitarist. However, as we know, this phase was long and problematic and, over time, the relationship between the two artists having deteriorated, various things could have happened to the Henzean text without direct control from the author. In the analysis of the corrections to the printing present in the Schott file, we note that these were not elaborated by the composer’s hand. In fact, Henze, on the proof copy sent to him by the publisher, inserted handwritten notes only about the graphic character used by the publisher and about some editorial information in the initial pages. The corrections to the score, on the other hand, are not by him. It is also clear that the proofreader (of whom we have no information whether he was commissioned by Henze himself or by Schott) did not have in front of him the original Henzean manuscript, now archived, but only the handwritten copy delivered by Bream together with the test print. In fact, the corrections made are mostly of handwriting, or linked to small printing errors. However, several inconsistencies are found. In fact, in some cases the proofreader corrects where he shouldn’t, in others he omits instead of correcting errors, a symptom of a need to close the revision quickly and in every way in favor of printing. Here ends the work of documentary reconstruction. It should be emphasized that in this work the official documentary sources, as already specified, have been the guide for the reconstruction of the troubled history of this impressive work for guitar. Some hypotheses made in relation to some missing passages of the story, however probable, remain so, that is, hypotheses precisely. Over time, various voices and memories have come and gone from those who, for various reasons, have been witnesses or protagonists of this story. Of these items, I intended to take into consideration only those which appeared to adhere to the official documents and sources I consulted and reported here. For the protection of those who, primarily Henze and Bream who are no longer present today, played a role in the history of this piece, I did not intend to give substance to inferences or information – often intriguing but at the same time unverifiable, when not improbable – not found in the documentation present. As already mentioned, and as for all the great musical works of the past, I hope that in the future, when other and more extensive documentation becomes available, the research and investigation can go on, making the facts and circumstances even clearer. For the present, I consider it important to have brought to light the original composition of the Royal Winter Music, thus restoring justice to Henze’s coherent and highly innovative compositional effort itself. The power of Henzean compositional gestures, the idea of investigating the absolute expressive and technical limits of the guitar was in fact a key point of the collaboration between the two artists. Without Julian Bream Royal Winter Music certainly either would not have existed or would have been profoundly different. In the history of music it has happened many times that a work has needed more time to be fully understood. In my opinion, this is the case of Royal Winter Music, and the troubled history described above of its first edition is tangible proof of this. In guitar practice then, the ability to make small adjustments thanks to the difficulties of the instrument, has always existed. Although in particular in the 20th century repertoire (but naturally not only) the expressive, semantic, aesthetic value of a sound is intangible, this type of adaptation has often actually occurred. In this specific case, however, we are faced with a multiplicity of interventions on the text that are not compatible, in my opinion, with the real and profound formal, harmonic and dramaturgical dimension of the piece. These changes, which intervene on the structure of the piece and precisely on the formal and harmonic relationships, could not have seen, I believe, the informed, aware or favorable composer, Henze in fact, so attentive to the overall structure of his pieces, would never have been able to accept modifications that had distorted precisely this aspect. The documentation consulted and reported here seems to confirm this hypothesis, from several points of view. In conclusion, in analyzing the documents, in fact very clear and explicit in themselves, I decided to operate as already said with the utmost respect for the figures in the field. In reviewing the new edition of the first sonata I was also moved by the utmost respect for the work done by the great English guitarist, within the historical context in which he operated. At the same time, however, I intended to restore the score to its original formal, harmonic but above all expressive and dramaturgical structure, an essential aspect for Henze.

1 “Julian diceva: ciò che la Hammerklavier beethoveniana significa per i pianisti e per la produzione pianistica, la Royal Winter Music deve significare per la chitarra”. H. W. Henze, Canti di viaggio, edizione italiana Il Saggiatore 2016, p. 346.

2 “Henze bittet Herrn Müller, diese 4 Werken einzuplannen, daβ Sie möglichst rash einzeln dem Concord Quartett in New York und dem Gitarristen zum Studium geschicht werden können. UA der vier Werke: Berliner Festwochen 1976”. K. Bartlett – Reisebericht, Zürich 17-18 October 1975.

3 “Gitarrensonate für Julian Bream heiβt: Royal Winter Music”. K. Bartlett – Henze-Notizien, Stuttgart 16 November 1975.

4 “L’artista aveva accettato le mie condizioni a denti stretti: fu la curiosità per la mia musica “invernale” a fargli vincere la propria natura”. H. W. Henze, Canti di viaggio, edizione italiana, Milano, Il Saggiatore, 2016, p. 346.

5 “I still can’t remember whether I commissioned him and didn’t pay him, or whether I just asked him or what. I think originally I asked him; I remember saying that I wanted an important piece, something of the profound quality of Beethoven’s Hammer-Klavier Sonata”. T. Palmer, Julian Bream: A life on the road, London, Lume Books, 1982, p. 97.

6 “Royal Winter Music, Julian Bream hat keine exklusivität”. Report K. Bartlett-Schott, Telefonat mit Henze am 30. März 76.

7Royal Winter Music II werde ich in einigen Tagen mit herrn Bream arbeiten, werde versuchen, ihm alles was nötig ist, abzufragen. möchte erreichen, dass wir II schnell kriegen und nicht so langsam wie den 1. teil”. Lettera di Henze a Friedrich Zehm, London 5.12.1976.

8 “Endgültige Fassung von Julian Bream anfordern. Henze will – auf Arregungs Breams – nächstes Jahr einen Zweiten Teil componieren; Bream wünsch sich ein abend-füllendes Henze-Programm”. Information Herr Eckhardt, Henze-Notizien, Nürnberg, 14-15 Januar 1977.

9 “Julian Bream den ich am 24.4.bei Henze in Stuttgart traf, sagte mir, daβ er wegen Konzertterminen nicht wie verabredet am 2 Mai nach Mainz kommen könne, um seine Fassung von Royal Winter Music mit Henzes Änderungen abzuliefern. Da er vorerst seine Stimme nicht entbehren kann, habe ich miti hm vereinbart, daβ er sie in London von Schott fotokopieren läβt und wir die Herstellung des Werks anhand dieser Fotokopie vornehmen, wenn leztere qualitativ brauchbar ausfällt. Henze und Bream sind der Meinung, daβ Bream’s Fingersätze übernommen werden müβten, da sie zur Interpretation unerläβlich seien. Bream müβ als Herausgeber in der Titelei genant werden (etwa “herausgegeben und mit Fingersätzen versehen von J. B.”). Henze schlägt vor, daβ Bream die Autorenkorrektur liest; er selbst solla ber vor dem Druck auch einen Korrekturabzug erhalten. Ich verständige Schott-London un bitte um Anfertigung einer optimalen Fotokopie”. K. Bartlett, Henze, Royal Winter Music, 25.4.1977.

10 “Royal Winter Music, Julian Bream hat seine Ms nicht bei SL abgeliefert; telefonisch konnte ich ihn nicht erreichen”. K. Bartlett, July 1977.

11 “Henze: Royal Winter Music. Henze hat anscheinend Julian Bream jetzt überredet, sein Exemplar von Royal Winter Music, das einige musikalische Retuschen, spieltechnische Änderungen und Bream’s Fingersätze entält herauszurücken. Bream kann des Exemplar für drei Monate ab Mai 1978 entbehren, muβ es aber Anfang August wiederhaben. Herr Müller hat der Herstellung für diesen Zeitraum zugestimmt. Ich schreibe noch Sally Groves (Schott-London) sie möge sich bei Bream darum bemühen. Einem freundlichen Brief von Dr. Eckhardt an Bream im April hielte ich für nützlich. Rücksendung über Schott London”. K. Bartlett, 22.12.1977.

12 “Royal Winter Music, Mit ser Kontrolle haben wir so unsere Schwierigkeiten: als ich kürzilch von unserer Verkaufsabteilung, die dieses Werk betrut, erfuhr, daβ Julian Bream sein Manuskript noch immer nicht für die Herstellung zu Verfügung gestellt hat, ging ich der Sache nach. Sally Groves, Schott London, sagte mir, daβ sie mehrfach an Julian Bream geschrieben hat, ohne eine Reaktion zu erhalten. Er scheint ein etwas schwieriger Zeitgenosse zu sein und will offensichlich sein Exemplar nicht aus der Hand geben mit dem Argument, eine Kopie sei wegen Nichtlesbarkeit ohne Nutzen. Ich habe Sally Groves daraufhin gebsten, nochmals etwas massiver, im Namen von Herrn Henze Julian Bream zu schreiben. Das war Anfang August, und im Hinblick auf die Urlaubszeit war ich zu erwarten, daβ wir kurzfristig von ihm hören würden, was bisher auch noch nicht der Fall war. Ich werde nochmals in London nachhaken und würde Sie bitten , daβ Sie im Namen von Herrn Henze Julian Bream schreiben, sollt er – was ich nach unsere bisheringen Erfahrung annehmen muβ – immer noch nicht reagiert haben. Villeicht nutzt, wenn er einen direkten Brief von Herrn Henze erhält”. J. Plotnikow a H. Grob, 8 Sptember 1978.

13donnerstag d. 29, beende ich Royal Winter Music II”. Lettera di Henze a Frau Plotnikow e Herr Schöll, 26.3.1979.

14Sehr geehrter Herr Zehm, anbei die durchgelesenen Korrekturbögen für Royal Winter Music, mit einigen geringfügigen Änderungen in der Titelei. Als Autor des Werks sage ich Ihnen hiermit offiziell, dass die Sache so in Druck gehen kann, ohne dass wir weitere Verzögerungen durch Herrn Bream abwarten sollten”. Lettera di Henze a F. Zehm, 7.5.1980.

15Lieber Klaus, könntest Du bitte veranlassen, dass 1 Exemplar von Royal Winter Music II direct geschickt wird an Mark Delpriora […]. Er hat mir ein Band von RWM I geschickt, ganz fabelhaft (besser als Bream) und er wird im Sommer in Tanglewood sein. Immer mehr junge Gitarristen lernen diese Stücke, es ist sehr Erfreulich. Herzliche Grüsse”. Lettera di Henze a K. R. Schöll, giugno 1983.

16Lieber Herr Zehm, anbei die Korrekturen Royal Winter Music (habe auch die von Müller-Pering beachtet).Leider kann ich in Sachen Fingersatz überhaupt nichts sagen. Royal W.M. II mit Müller-Peringschen Fragen lag übrigens Ihrer Sendung nicht bei. Ich bin vom 1. – 28. August in London stationiert Dort könnten mich weitere Korrektursendungen etc. erreichen. Es ist sicher eine gute Idee, die Vorzeichensetzung in den taktfreien Stücken ganz konsequent durchzuführen. Hätte man gleich so machen sollen”. Lettera di Henze a F. Zehm, 30.7. 1984.

17 Nella collezione Bream presso la Jerwood Library di Londra da me visionata, effettivamente non è presente né il manoscritto originale henzeano della prima sonata, su cui Bream pure deve aver lavorato, né una bozza della partitura della seconda sonata che dovrebbe avere ricevuto verosimilmente dal compositore. E’ presente solo la prima edizione a stampa della prima sonata, con pochissimi segni a matita, sappiamo infatti che Henze gli impedì di revisionare le bozze di stampa.

18Recently, he has written another Sonata as a companion piece to the first, which is what I wanted to discuss with him when I was on the road. It’s much shorter, and two of the three movements are really lovely, although the last movement seems to me more or less unplayable. It was very difficult musically to see what he wanted, so I wrote and suggested he might re-write this movement. He said he’d show it to another guitarist in Cologne, and I said I’d be very pleased to find out what the other guitarist thought, because composers can sometimes overstrech an instrument and an instrumentalist’s technique for scant purely musical reason”. T. Palmer, Julian Bream: A life on the road, London, Lume Books, 1982, p. 98.

19 “It’s so exiting that very often he (Bream) comes up with an idea to change something and amongs later I discover that he has come back to my original suggestion”. A life in the country, BBC TV, 1976.

20 “He (Henze) gets a little expansive occasionally; his gestures can be a bit large for the guitar. But when he’s really concentrating on the instrument, he writes fabulously well for it. It’s when his enormous imagination comes to the fore, that he sometimes writes impossibly hard music for the instrument to play. On the other hand, I would much rather he did so, because at the end of the day he’s got such incredible facility that he can rewrite a passage on the spot if it doesn’t work”. Ibid.

21From the start, I was terrified of it. To hold an audience for 28 minutes in a piece of such complex modern music is not my idea of a night out, but the challenge is so stimulating and the music so fascinating, that it does give me immense pleasure to play it, particularly when I manage to bring it off well, which is not always”. Ibid.


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