[Nadia Boulanger.] Eight pages of Autograph musical annotations and text in French, at the start of a notebook containing the musical scores of several pieces by her pupil Sheena Tennant (including 'Sarabande' and 'Pluie d'Ete').

Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979), French composer, conductor and teacher [Sheena Lilian Kendall (1883-1974), daughter of James Tennant (1852-1933) of Fairlieburne, Fairlie, Ayrshire, Scotland]
Publication details: 
Undated, but at Clichy, Paris, France, between 1909 and 1911.
SKU: 16308

6pp. by Boulanger, out of 46pp. in a landscape 14.5 x 23 cm notebook of printed staves, stitched within plain white covers. In fair condition, lightly aged and worn, with five leaves loose and a sixth leaf with loss to one corner. Eleven pages in ink (all by Tennant), the other 35pp. in pencil. In pencil at head of front cover: 'Lundi 4 h.' The initial three leaves (the third of them loose) carry the six pages of musical composition and text by Boulanger; the rest of the volume (40pp.) comprises musical composition by Tennant. A very interesting artefact from the earliest period of Boulanger's career as a teacher, showing her interaction with a pupil. Having spent years three-and-a-half years studying music under Bussmeyer, Beer-Walbrun and Schmid-Lindner at the Royal Academy of Music in Munich, ending in March 1908, Tennant travelled to Paris, where she studied composition under Boulanger between February 1910 and May 1912. Her diaries for the period survive (offered separately) and give a clear impression of her time with the exacting 'Miss Baker', to whom she responds with a mixture of admiration and exasperation. On 13 February 1911 Tennant describes 'a very thorough & interesting' lesson 'on a movement of a trio I had done, & came home rather encouraged, in spite of a manuscript almost unrecognizable from pencil marks of correction & suggestion.' The present item comprises a similar artefact. Boulanger's six pages are placed at the beginning of the volume, and give a basic overview of various families of instruments. On the first page she writes: 'Les Bois | les Cuivres | les instruments à <?> | Percussion (la Batterie)', and on the second page, headed 'Les Bois', two columns, the first for 'Flûte' and the second for 'Bassons'. The remaining four pages by Boulanger carry musical notation, with the occasional text in French (for example 'Traité d'orchestration de <?>' and 'Cor Anglais toujours en fa in f'). Boulanger's writing on the reverse of her last (loose) leaf is in a particularly loose and hurried style. All of Tennant's text is in musical notation, with three pieces carefully written out by her in ink (the first an 'Andante', the second titled 'Sarabande', and the third 'Pluie d'Été'), the last of the three carrying a few pencil annotations by Boulanger. The rest of Tennant's text comprises pencil compositional studies. An additional leaf carrying 2pp., of composition in ink on printed staves (probably by Boulanger) is loosely inserted in the volume. Sheena Lilian Grant Tennant came from a privileged Scottish family, being the youngest of the six children (five daughters and a son) of the wealthy Scottish industrialist James Tennant of Fairlieburne, Fairlie, Argyllshire, a nephew of Sir Charles Tennant of the Glen (father of Margot Asquith, wife of British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, who was hence James Tennant's cousin). She was educated at Cheltenham Ladies' College, studied music composition in Munich (1904-1908) and then in Paris (1910-1912), and published eight piano pieces (including arrangements of songs by W. E. Henley and W. B. Yeats) between 1908 and 1929. She worked during the war and until her marriage as assistant to Major William Byam (1882-1963), Royal Army Medical Corps, at the Mount Vernon Military Hospital in Hampstead. On 31 July 1919 she married Herbert Moorhouse Kendall (1881-1941) of the P & O, previously of the 3rd Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.