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Cantata Misericordium [inscribed to 'Tom' Hemsley]

Cantata Misericordium [inscribed to 'Tom' Hemsley] by BRITTEN, Benjamin [Thomas Hemsley] (1963)

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Author: BRITTEN, Benjamin [Thomas Hemsley]
Title: Cantata Misericordium [inscribed to Thomas Hemsley]
Year: 1963
Publisher: Boosey and Hawkes
Place: London
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: Yes
Price: £400
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Added under Signed and inscribed  

Inscribed by Britten to a favourite baritone and collaborator, Thomas Hemsley, who gave the work's British premier in 1963 and performed the Cantata around Europe. At the end of that tour Benjamin Britten has written on the verso of the title page: 'For Tom with gratitude and every good wish from Ben/ London - Amsterdam - Scheveningen 1964'.

Large, thin folio with textured, brown paper wrappers, stapled binding with loss to the backstrip and fraying along the edges. Further fraying along the foreedge of the title page which is printed on slightly larger paper like the second part of the score. Consequently the first leaf of music has been torn along the foreedge by Hemsley as he turned the page to get to the score itself.

Hemsley has annotated his solo part with a red crayon line and occasional additional pencillings such as a pause mark over a crotchet rest at page 20 and rhythmic pulses in the bar ahead of his high solo entry at figure 22.

The world premier of this work which was commissioned to celebrate the centenary of the Red Cross was conducted by Ernest Ansermet in Geneva in August 1963 followed by Britten's British premier a few days later in London starring Peter Pears and Hemsley himself. This was followed by performances in the Low Countries and at Scheveningen again alongside Britten and Pears on which occasion Hemsley seems to have had this copy signed by the composer.
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