A Britten score, believed to be long lost, surfaces after years in an American warehouse.
Parts for Benjamin Britten’s ‘lost’ orchestration of the ballet Les Sylphideshave turned up in the American Ballet Theatre’s warehouse, hidden in a plastic box beneath old tutus and sets.
Although yet to be verified by Britten experts, the inscription “ARR. BY BENJAMIN BRITTEN” was found on the Second Trumpet Part, suggesting that the work is indeed his. The rest of the scores match an uncredited conductor’s edition of the ballet that was found a few months ago by David LaMarche, the Ballet Theater’s conductor and music administrator.
A Romantic ballet blanc(ballet in its purest form), Britten’s 1941 arrangement of Chopin’s piano music was performed frequently during the mid-1950s before mysteriously falling out of favour. After seeing the American Ballet Theater’s recent production orchestrated by Roy Douglas, Dance Historian David Vaughan set the ball rolling, wondering about the fate of the orchestration he had heard in the 1950s.
Vaughan contacted LaMarche. After trawling through music publishers’ catalogues with no luck, LaMarche reached a dead end. The pair instead managed to find a number of recordings from as late as 1978. “ Les Sylphides, at that late...