The complete 61-volume set of J.S. Bach’s Collected Works published in Leipzig in 1851-1926
Originally $4,800 – Now $2,500
Offer valid for the month of February only
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Johann Sebastian Bach’s Werke. Herausgegeben von der Bach-Gesellschaft in Leipzig. [Leipzig]: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1851-1926.
61 volumes bound in 47. Folio. Uniformly bound in dark blue morocco with cloth boards with titling, rules, and the initials “C.H.” gilt to spines. Original printed upper wrappers bound in. Engraved throughout. With attractive bust-length frontispiece portrait of Bach by L. Sichling after G. Haussmann to Volume I.
Provenance: The collection of Dr. Calderon Howe (1916-1999), student of the distinguished harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick at Yale and son of the noted American composer Mary Howe. Bindings slightly worn, rubbed and bumped. Some foxing and other minor defects, but a very good set overall.
An important and attractively-printed and bound set of the first complete edition of Bach’s works, published by the Bach-Gesellschaft, founded in Leipzig in 1850 “with the primary intention of producing a collected edition of Bach’s works. It grew out of the Bach revival of the early decades of the 19th century that increasingly focused on the composer’s great vocal works. These had previously been largely neglected, but several attempts were now made by individuals or publishers to initiate editions of the complete works or of particular groups of works. During the second half of the 18th century Bach’s works had been transmitted mainly in manuscript copies, but in the early 19th century, after the dispersions of several great manuscript collections, the need arose to secure his music – now valued as a national heritage – once and for all in reliable editions.”
Boyd, ed.: J.S. Bach, pp. 56-57.
Mary Howe (1882-1964) was an important figure in early 20th century American music history. In addition to her activities as a composer, she raised the money to found the Washington-based National Symphony Orchestra in 1930; founded, together with Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, the Chamber Music Society of Washington; and helped to organize the Association of American Women Composers with Amy Beach.
Complete sets, particularly in this condition, are quite rare to the market.