A bit of detective work

One of the things I did during my time in Paris on my Finzi Scholarship was to compile a catalogue of Jacques-François Gallay's works. It was an interesting task and was very helpful in me getting a good overview of his work. There were quite a few anomalies that have crept in over the years - a mysterious "2nd concerto" that some allude to for example, it may have been mooted but never transpired. 

I was able to put together a catalogue and managed to track down a sizeable portion of his works. Various libraries around the world were very helpful, especially the Bibliothèque national de France and the Biblioteca del Conservatorio di Musica "Giuseppe Verdi", and slowly I've been putting together my own library of copies of first editions of Gallay's works.

All of these works are out of copyright (though I've had quite a fight with one particular Italian library who seemed to think this was not the case, more another time) but of course libraries need to at least cover the costs and so many charge for "reproduction". Some libraries you have to go through quite a process to order copies of music in their collection. A laborious series of websites that you have to subscribe to, bank details to fill in, library codes and all sorts of brain ache and then eventually a few months later the photocopies arrive in the post (BnF I'm looking at you). Every so often though I would be delighted to email a collection only to receive in their reply a scan of the work I was looking for almost by return of post (Biblioteca Conservatorio Statale di Musica "G.Rossini" were wonderful!).

Back in 2011 La Revue du Corniste (the biannual magazine of the Association Française du Cor) published the catalogue I was working on and included with it my plea to any readers who might have any of my missing  works to contact me. 

One chap did, Yves Tramon (professor of horn at the Conservatoire de Lille) contacted me with a number of works. One of them was of particular interest, he had a copy of the Troisième Mélodie sur La Somnambula de Bellini (Op. 28), one of the operatic fantasias I was searching for with this recording in mind. But... it was missing the final page!

I received the incomplete score back in January 2012 and over the last couple of years have been diligently searching for a version with the final page. The Op. 28 Mélodie was, frustratingly, not turning up in various library catalogues. I was beginning to consider actually reconstructing the final page! 

Every so often I try a google search for various terms hoping something might crop up. Some Gallay works appear in transcription for cornet à pistons so a bit of lateral thinking will help you find potential sources (more on this subject anon). 

A couple of weeks ago I tried another of these fishing trips and stumbled upon this interesting pdf about the Meir Rimon collection held at the Bar-Ilan University in Israel. Meir Rimon (1946-1991) was an eminent horn player. He was principal horn of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and his collection now resides at the University. Amongst it is a first edition of the piece I was searching for.

So a couple of emails later, low and behold, in my inbox is a lovely scan of the COMPLETE Troisième Mélodie sur La Somnambula de Bellini. Totally mixing my fairy tales, now this sleeping beauty can go to the ball! Many many thanks to the Bar-Ilan University, their wonderfully helpful librarian Efrat Mor and the memory of Meir Rimon.