Large 8vo, pp. 97; one of 200 numbered copies, printed on laid paper; title printed in red and black, and opening initial in red; a few spots to endleaves, otherwise a fine copy in the original half vellum over blue paper boards, spine and front board lettered gilt, top edges gilt, other edges uncut; publisher’s original plain paper wrapper and slip-case.
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Die Aegyptische Helena. Oper in zwei Aufzügen.
First edition of Hofmannsthal’s text for Richard Strauss’s opera – Hofmannsthal himself considered it to be his finest libretto. The opera was first performed on 6 June 1928 in Dresden, five weeks before Hofmannsthal’s death. The plot is a free adaptation of Euripides’ Helena, which introduces an Egyptian princess and sorceress, Aitra, into the story of Helen of Troy and her vengeful husband Menelaeus. Aitra assuages the husband’s anger and restores conjugal harmony.
This was the first book produced by the Mainzer Presse. This small private press was founded by Friedrich Wilhelm and Christian Heinrich Kleukens in 1927, following the model of the English private presses. 65 books were produced between 1928 and 1938, each printed with types invented by Christian Kleukens.
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L’art, ou les principes philosophiques du chant. IIe edition, corrigée et augmentée.
First edition. The designation ‘IIe edition, corrigée et augmentée’ on the title arises from the publication in 1755 of L’art du chant, dedié a Madame de Pompadour by Jean-Antoine Bérard, whom Blanchet accuses of incorporating his material. The two works certainly include many passages which are almost identical, notably the first and third chapters, ‘La voix considérée par rapport au chant’ and ‘La formation de la voix’. Blanchet in turn seems to have based much of his work upon the physician and anatomist Antoine Ferrein’s De la formation de la voix de l’homme (1741), although he refutes this imputation at the end of the ‘avertissement’ here.
EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED DELLOYE, H.-L. (editor).
Chants et chansons populaires de la France [– notices par M. du Mersan], première [– deuxième; – troisiéme] série.
First edition of a finely illustrated, serially published collection of French music, broad-margined, extra-illustrated, and accompanied by the later fourth series. Formed of four series of twenty-eight issues, sold individually at sixty centimes from February 1842, the Chants et chansons populaires are considered by Carteret to be an ‘admirable publication, printed on papier vélin fort, deservedly highly esteemed as one of the most beautiful of the nineteenth century, which can be compared to the handsome illustrated books of the eighteenth century’ (trans.).