Briefwechsel zwischen Goethe und Zelter in den Jahren 1796 bis 1832. Herausgegeben von Dr. Friedrich Wilhelm Riemer …

Berlin, Duncker & Humblot, 1833-34.

6 vols., 8vo, with 2 folding tables in vol. IV; closed tear to p. 213 in vol. IV; occasional light offsetting only; a very good set, uniformly bound in contemporary German half calf, flat spines decorated gilt, spine labels lettered gilt; vol. VI worn at head of spine, otherwise light wear only, upper corner of the front flyleaf in vol. V cut away.

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First edition, printed on a superior paper to the regular issue, in an attractive and well-preserved contemporary binding.

Goethe was so captivated when he first heard a song by Carl Zelter in 1795 that he wrote his own poem for the music, and it was not long before the two were in touch and collaborating on other projects. It proved a firm and long-lasting friendship: the correspondence extends over 35 years, and Goethe said that he preferred Zelter’s settings of his poems over those of any other composer. Both died, only weeks apart, in 1832.

Goethe chose the editor of the correspondence himself. Friedrich Wilhelm Riemer (1774–1845) had been private tutor to Goethe’s son, August, and helped Eckermann edit the Ausgabe letzter Hand. His indexes here include personal names (i.a. Mendelssohn, Zelter’s star pupil whom, aged 12, he took to meet Goethe in 1821), subjects, and particular pieces of art discussed in the letters.

Provenance: flyleaf of the first volume inscribed by the humanist Coburg teacher Ernst Ludwig Trompheller (1803–1879), indicating that he received this set from four of his pupils as a gift on 14 April 1834. After Trompheller’s death, Ludwig Schemann (1852–1938), member of Wagner’s Bayreuth circle.

Goedeke IV/2, 660, 1491a; Hagen 513; Wilpert/Gühring 159.

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