Charles Levens

Levens, Charles

French composer (1689-1764). Autograph letter signed ("Levens"). Bordeaux. 4to. 1½ pages on bifolium. With integral address panel. Armorial seal.
$ 5,034 / 4.500 € (74331/BN48346)

Levens writes to Monsieur Le Comte de Rochefort as a reaction to the suggestion of performing his music without symphony, which should be a new approach. Levens fears this idea to fail, because it would only be suitable for churches with chapters and therefore not worth the expense: "Vous me conseillériés volontiers de donner ma musique sans symphonie au public. Ce seroit du nouveau, dites vous: mais je crains fort que cette espèce de musique n'étant d'usage que pour les églises et les églises où il y a des chapitres, ce seroit à pure perte que j'en ferois la dépense." Levens has composed a motet especially for St.

André and asks Rochefort to send a courier from Avignon or Montpellier to collect it, to avoid sending it by mail: "J'ay fait un mottet de paroles propres pour la fête St. André: Je vous l'offre avec plaisir et vous aurès la bonté de m'indiquer quelque correspondant d'avignon ou de montpellier [...] afin que je luy puisse remettre afin d'épargner un si gros paquet par la poste." Levens doubts Rochfort to be satiesfied with the choosen motet, as Levens had difficulties to find an accurate solo part ("sujet récitant"). - On fol. 2, Levens has noted the lyrics of this motet for a performance in Bordeaux. - Small tear on fol. 2 due to breaking seal. Traces of old folding. Verso with traces of old montage..

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Levens, Charles

French composer (1689-1764). 2 autograph letters signed ("Levens"). Bordeaux. 4to. Altogether (2½+2 =) 4½ pages. Each on bifolium with integral address panel. Armorial seal.
$ 8,390 / 7.500 € (74332/BN48347)

1) Levens writes to Monsieur Le Comte de Rochefort, concerning his motets and the questionability of their success as music without symphony by means of subscription, as Levens already has some experience in working with cathedral chapters, that would usually subscribe. Nevertheless he agrees on trying: "Vous croyés Monsieur la voyer des souscription praticable pour la musique sans symphonie, je doute du succés connoissant comme je fais les chapitres de la plupart des cathedrales qui sont ceux qui par preference devroient souscrire: mais enfin on peut tenter".

Levens mentions the offer of a Parisian engraver, his idea of using smaller paper and the addition of 14 staves for further possible voices, such as two bass parts and small choirs in the choirs: "J'avois trouvé à Paris un graveur qui m'avoit promis de graver ma musique en symphonie [...]. Je ne say à quel prix on pourroit le faire en petit papier [...]. J'y ay mis 14 portées parce qu'il se trouve quelque fois deux Basses differentes ou des petits choeurs dans les choeurs". Levens ends his letter by recommending his 26-year-old son for the position of a "maitre de Musique" in Avignon, mentions his son's skills in composing and playing the violoncello, and that the chapter of Toulouse hasn't accepted him due to his young age: "Sa musique est de fort bon goût [...] il a d'ailleurs fort bien étudié et joué du violoncello comme il faut, tant pour l'accompagnement que pour des pieces. [...] Les Messieurs du Chapitre de Toulouse le trouvent trop jeune [...]". He gives a list of pieces of music: 12 masses, 24 Magnificat, 6 Dixit, 6 Beatus, etc. (Letter from 23.V.1746). - 2) Levens gives a list of pieces of music without symphony. It's a list of 32 titles of religious music, followed by their numbers. Levens hopes that the count's efforts regarding his music are not in vain and states his concerns in cooperating with the chapters. Levens ends with mentioning his son's employment as "maitre de musique" at Saint-Étienne in Tolouse since August: "Les tems sont très mauvais et les chapitres, avec qui, il faudroit pour ainsi dire, avoir affaire, sont très difficiles [...]" (Letter from 10.X.1746). - Both letters with traces of old folding, verso with traces of old montage and a small tear on fol. 2 due to breaking seal..

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