• Valuable Manuscripts and Print auction at Christies

    Sale 1160

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    20 November 2013, London, King Street

  • Lot 107

    BACH, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750). Dritter Theil der Clavier Übung bestehend in verschieden Vorspielen über die Catechismus- und andere Gesaenge, vor die Orgel. [Leipzig: for the author, 1739].

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    BACH, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750). Dritter Theil der Clavier Übung bestehend in verschieden Vorspielen über die Catechismus- und andere Gesaenge, vor die Orgel. [Leipzig: for the author, 1739].

    Oblong 4° (215 x 270mm). Engraved throughout. (Title in pen-and-ink facsimile, lacking pp. 26-29 and 56-77, first four leaves shorter and presumably from another copy, some light browning, occasional light spotting, last leaf soiled and with minor marginal repairs.) Olive-brown moroccco by Zaehnsdorf tooled in gilt and blind, gilt edges. Provenance: collection of Ernst Otto Lindner, Berlin (stamp to title; his sale, Liepmannsohn, 1879, cat.15, p.36, no. 838, giving apparently erroneous pagination) -- W.H.C. (bookplate in imitation of Caxton's device).

    FIRST EDITION OF BACH'S MOST IMPORTANT PUBLICATION FOR THE ORGAN, FIRST IMPRESSION IN THE UNCORRECTED STATE. Of the 22 surviving copies of the Dritter Theil der Clavier Übung recorded in the NBA, 19 bear corrections either in manuscript or to the engraved plates, in three distinct schemes. The present copy is one of only three uncorrected examples: intriguingly, one of the other two, Ambrosius Kühnel's copy now at the British Library (Hirsch III.39) also lacks pp.26-29. Even though of different sizes, both the first four leaves and the remaining leaves are from the uncorrected first impression, and the early stab-stitching holes present in both sets suggest that they were together from an early date. Although Liepmannsohn paginates the Lindner copy as complete, the marked soiling to p.55 indicates that the loss of the concluding leaves occurred at an early stage.

    LIFETIME EDITIONS OF BACH'S MUSIC ARE RARE. Given the resemblance of the musical text in this edition to Bach's own handwriting there is some speculation that the engraved plates were prepared by the composer himself. The year of publication is significant as it was the bicentennial of Martin Luther's sermon at the Thomaskirche and of the city's official acceptance of Luther's Augsburg Confession. RISM B 488.


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