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.
US $944 €837
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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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HOFFMANN VON FALLERSLEBEN, August Heinrich.
First edition of each work. Hoffmann (1784–1874), self-ennobled ‘von Fallersleben’, was first librarian (1823) and then professor of German language and literature (1830) at the University of Breslau, before his dismissal in 1842 due to the politically sensitive content of the supposedly Unpolitischen Lieder, a collection of poems highlighting rottenness in contemporary German state and society. A second edition of vol. I, replacing 10 earlier poems with 10 new ones, appeared at the same time as vol. II.
SPRÜNGLI, Johann Jacob, editor.
Männergesänge von Freunden der Tonkunst gesammelt, dem Liederkranze zu Franfurt a. M. in Liebe geweihet und zu Gunsten der dortigen Mozart-Stiftung herausgegeben …
First edition, the partbook issue. The work was also issued in score. Both are very rare, OCLC locating a copy of the 1st Bass part at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and a set at the Swiss National Library. There are apparently no copies in Germany: KVK shows the British Library copy (in score) only.
Among the 46 pieces included are works by Mozart, Just, Speyer, and some minor German and Swiss composers, but the surprise comes in three English glees, translated into German, by Samuel Webbe, ‘one of our greatest glee composers in every sense’ (Baptie), ‘Mr’ [Richard?] Wainwright, and Reginald Spofforth, his ‘Hail, smiling morn’, ‘possibly the most popular glee in the entire repertory’ (New Grove).