Pauline Viardot-Garcia papers
Correspondence, literary, and musical compositions by Pauline Viardot-Garcia and Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev.
Extent2 linear feet (4 boxes)
The collection contains letters addressed to PVG and her family by other family members and close friends such as Gounod and Meyerbeer; and letters to Turgenev from the later years of his life including, among others, Alphonse Daudet, Prosper Mérimée, and Emile Zola. The literary compositions include libretti of PVG's operetta projects, and of Ivan Turgenev's first drafts of the novel Smoke, short stories, and poems, mostly in Russian.
The musical compositions include works by other composers, from PVG's repertoire. They reflect PVG's involvement with contemporary music (the collection contains, among others, two autograph manuscripts by Gounod), but also her championship of historical repertoire (Scarlatti, Bach, Handel, Gluck). Her own compositions include the operetta Le dernier sorcier, written in collaboration with Turgenev, and over eighty unpublished songs, dating from her early days as a performer of her own works to the songs initiated by her teaching career in the 1870s and 1880s.
Correspondence and compositions are in French, if not noted otherwise.
Biographical / Historical
Pauline Viardot-Garcia (1821-1910) was one of the most celebrated French mezzo sopranos of the 19th century, and a truly cosmopolitan woman artist. The collection reflects all aspects of her life: firstly as a singer, composer, and teacher; secondly as the mistress and muse of Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883) whose papers she guarded after his death; and thirdly as the center of a large circle of friends, entertaining and collaborating with the intellectual and artistic elite of Paris, and, indeed, of Europe. Her support and friendship inspired Hector Berlioz, Johannes Brahms, César Franck, Jules Massenet, Giacomo Meyerbeer, and Camille Saint-Saëns to write major works for her. Other close friends included Frédéric Chopin, Gustave Corot, Gustave Doré, Heinrich Heine, Franz Liszt, George Sand, and Clara Schumann. Many of them enjoyed the warm hospitality and happy family life that included Pauline Viardot-Garcia's four talented children. See: April FitzLyon. The price of genius; a life of Pauline Viardot (London, 1964).
Organized into the following series:
- I. Correspondence
- ___A. Letters to Pauline Viardot-Garcia and her family
- ___B. Letters to Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev
- II. Compositions, literary
- ___A. By Pauline Viardot-Garcia
- ___B. By Ivan Sergeev Turgenev
- III. Compositions, musical
- ___A. By Pauline Viardot-Garcia
- ___B. By other composers
- ___C. Printed music
- IV. Other materials
Previous owners of this collection were Martine and André Le Cesne.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
*99M-19, *2001M-19. Purchased from Les Autographes, 45 Rue de l'Abbé Grégoire, 75006 Paris, France, with the Bayard Livingston Kilgour and Kate Gray Kilgour Funds; received: 1999 September 23 and 2001 September 12.
- Patrick Waddington. The origins and composition of Turgene's novel Dym (Smoke), as seen from his first sketches. Pinehaven, New Zealand : Whirinaki Press, 1998.
- Patrick Waddington. The musical works of Pauline Viardot-Garcia (1821-1910): a chronological catalogue, with an index of titles. Pinehaven, New Zealand : Whirinaki Press, 2001.
Processed by: Barbara M. Wolff.
- Viardot-Garcia, Pauline, 1821-1910. Pauline Viardot-Garcia papers, 1836-1905: Guide.
- Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
- Language of description
- EAD ID
Part of the Houghton Library Repository
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