ANNA SOSENKO [ca. 1933] Handwritten music score for “Time Was”


Large quarto, 6 pp. vocal score, along with about 16 pp. of instrumental parts. Np [Camden, NJ?], Lightly worn with light fading, some scattered smudges, light edgewear including short tear, very good.

Anna Sosenko (1909-2000), songwriter and manager who achieved great popularity in the 1930s.

“Born in Camden, New Jersey, she is perhaps best known as a manager and writer for Hildegarde for whom she wrote ‘Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup.’ She worked with Hildegarde for twenty years and was her companion before the two broke up in the 1950s… Anna Sosenko papers are held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.” (Wikipedia)

“Some in the LGBT community even call [Sosenko and Hildegarde] the first openly lesbian couple in entertainment. The suggestion of a romantic relationship between them has never been definitively proven.” (WhooNEW, Northeast Wisconsin website)

“Hildegarde’s theme song, ‘Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup,’ was written by her lesbian lover/producer, Anna Sosenko.” (The Dark Side of Liberace by Spero Pastos, Xlibris, 2016)

This is an original handwritten/manuscript score of “Time Was”, words and music by Anna Sosenko, working copy, mid-1930s, over first 4 pages of 6 from folded sheet plus insert, 13″ x 10″, handwritten “words and music by Anna Sosensko” on front cover; at the bottom of the first page of Sosenko’s manuscript, the copyright notice, James H. Remnick & Co., is crossed out and in the line below “Harms” is added in pencil, the entire copyright notice is “Copyrighted by James H. Remick & Co. [crossed out], New York & Detroit / Performing Rights reserved Harms [filled in in pencil] International Copyright secured”; the 4-page Sosenko manuscript is the score with lyrics on music composition sheets with scattered annotations, on page 5 in Hildegarde’s identifiable handwriting in pencil are two lines of lyrics, “Time was – when I lived through the years / Content with the joy that was mingled with tears” lyrics Hildegarde would have used in some performances; the entry for Sosenko’s song in Catalog of Copyright Entries: Part 3, Musical compositions, New Series, Volume 12, Last Half of 1932, Nos. 9-12 (page 1713) published in 1933 is: “Sosenko (A. C.) Time Was (7410)”

The instrumental arrangement consists of Hildegarde’s handwritten piano adaptation (no lyrics) on two inside pages of folded, 4-page 9 1/2 x 12″ music composition sheet, piano score in ink, notes for voice in red with a few notes for singing performance (e. g., “slightly rhythmic”) on the front written by Hildegarde “Time Was by Anna Sosenko” and on the back “Time Was” (5″ split/tear at bottom half of folded sheet), also 11 copyist pages numbered at top 3-13 (piano score pages 1-2) for varied radio orchestra instruments (e. g., Violin A, I Alto Sax) with copyist stamp at the bottoms of each page, and 4 handwritten parts headed “Time Was” for 2 violins and 2 alto saxes which are parts of a radio orchestra adaptation at some time.

/// PROVENANCE: This Sosenko manuscript music score was part of a large group (100+) of handwritten music scores by clients of Anna Sosenko as their agent kept in her office for copyright and permissions purposes, there were many Hildegarde handwritten scores for the piano and voice parts of popular songs she performed in her radio programs and live appearances with respective copyist scores for instruments of a radio orchestra, plus other handwritten scores by composers and band conductors managed by Sosenko.

/// ITEM NOTE: Anna Sosenko and Hildegarde met in the 1930s in Camden, NJ, while Hildegarde was on tour with a small, little-known troupe; working in New York City, too, for Irving Berlin as a “song-plugger,” Hildegarde let Sosenko stay in her apartment when she was on tour; Sosenko asked Hildegarde to promote her song “Time Was” she had composed; during this time Hildegarde and Sosenko formed a relationship which lasted more than 20 years and were constant companions during Hildegarde’s tours in the US and Europe and the fabulous rise of Hildegarde’s popularity under Sosenko’s management.

Handwritten music compositions by Anna Sosenko are rare.

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