Contact Alex Day or Donovan Rees

We stock a range of antiquarian music, books on music, manuscripts and autographs, with an emphasis on early printed editions and manuscript scores of important composers.

Recent catalogues have included one of a very few surviving lifetime manuscripts of Scarlatti's harpsichord sonatas; a remarkable collection of vocal and instrumental music from the library of the duchesse de Berry; and inscribed first editions of works by Berg, Janacek, Poulenc, Rimsky-Korsakov, Schumann, Shostakovich, Stravinsky and Vaughan Williams.

    with neumes, containing music for the blessing of the Paschal Candle on Holy Saturday.

    Southern Germany or Bohemia, mid-15th century.

    An unusual and striking antiphonal leaf written entirely in red and notated entirely in burnished gold, signalling the importance of the text for Holy Saturday.


  2. [PROCESSIONAL, Dominican use.]

    Processionarium ordinis fratrum praedicatorum.

    Seville, Meinardus Ungut and Stanislaus Polonus, 3 April, 1494.

    First edition of the first Spanish book to make extensive use of typeset music printing, one of the finest products of early Spanish typography.


  3. ZARLINO, Gioseffo.

    Le Istitutioni harmoniche … nelle quali; oltra le materie appartenenti alla musica; si trovano dichiarati...

    Venice, [Pietro da Fino], 1558.

    First edition, rare, of ‘arguably the most important and influential book in the history of music theory … [It] opened the way for the new tonality which has governed music from the seventeenth century to the present day’ (PMM).


  4. CAVALCANTI, Bartolomeo. 

    La retorica … divisa in sette libri, dove si contiene tutto quello, che appartiene all’arte Oratoria. In...

    Venice, Gabriel Giolitto, 1559. 

    Second edition, published in the same year as the first with a few amendments, of the earliest Italian and most innovative treatise on rhetoric.  The author ‘builds an original account of rhetoric by adding Ciceronian and Hermogenean material to an Aristotle base’ (Mack, p. 172). 


  5. RIDOLFI, Luca Antonio. 

    Aretefila, dialogo, nel quale da una parte sono quelle ragioni allegate, le quali affermano, lo amore...

    Lyons, Guillaume Rouillé, 1562. 

    Annotated copy, once owned by a music book collector, of the third edition (first 1557) of a remarkable Renaissance philosophical dialogue on the nature of love which marked the culmination of the very divisive ‘questione d’amore’ hotly debated in sixteenth-century literature. 


  6. ARISTIDES, Aelius. 

    Orationum tomi tres, nunc primum latine versi a Gulielmo Cantero Ultraiectino.  Huc accessit orationum tomus...

    Basel, Peter Perna and Heinrich Petrus, 1566. 

    First edition in Latin, a remarkable copy once owned by one of the preeminent music theorists and composers of Renaissance Italy, Gioseffo Zarlino.  The translation was prepared from the Greek by the German scholar Wilhelm Canter (1542–1575), author of an acclaimed Syntagma, a systematic...


  7. PLAYFORD, John.

    Psalms & Hymns in solemn Musick of foure Parts on the common Tunes to the Psalms in Metre: used in Parish-Churches....

    London, Printed by W. Godbid for J. Playford, at his Shop … 1671.

    First edition of the first harmonised Psalter after the Restoration, a landmark work in the re-introduction of part-singing into churches.


  8. [MENESTRIER, Claude François.]

    Des representations en musique anciennes et modernes.

    Paris, René Guignard, 1681.

    First edition. A Jesuit professor at Lyons and later Paris, Menestrier developed ‘a special interest in the history and organization of public festivals and ceremonies’. He devised ballets for the visit of Louis XIV to Lyons in 1658 and published a series of works on the subject. ‘The four...



    Il Cantore ecclesiastico breve, facile, ed essatta notizia del canto fermo per istruzzione de’...

    Padua, Stamperia del Seminario (Giovanni Manetti), 1698.

    First edition of an uncommon plainchant manual published for the use of the Minorites (Conventual Franciscans). The two striking woodcuts depict a book of plainchant on a cantor’s lectern, and the famous Guidonian hand, a medieval mnemonic device to assist with sight-singing,


  10. FABRIZI, Pietro.

    Regole generali di canto fermo raccolte da diversi autori … in questa quarta impresione corrette, & ampliate.

    Rome, Mascardi, 1708.

    ‘Fourth’ edition of a small practical manual of plain-chant, with examples, first published in 1651. Fabrizi, a Florentine about whom little is known, was maestro di capella at Santo Spirito in Sassia in Rome. The treatise was referred to by Bononcini in his Musico pratico; a ‘third edition’...


  11. [HEIDEGGER, John Jacob, arr. CONTI, Francesco, et al.]

    Songs in the new Opera, call’d Clotilda. The Songs done in Italian...

    [London] Sold by J: Walsh … & P. Randall … and I. Hare. [1709].

    First editions of three works from the first years of the Italian Opera at the Queen’s Theatre in Haymarket, including the first two fully Italian operas on the London stage. The theatre had opened in 1705 with a very rocky first season, and was turned over to the performance of opera alone...


  12. MALCOLM, Alexander.

    A Treatise of Musick, speculative, practical and historical. Containing an explication of the philosophical...

    London, J. Osborn and T. Longman, F. Fayram, and E. Symon, 1730.

    First London edition of the first history of music in English by a British author; it is a reissue of the Edinburgh-printed first edition of 1721 with a cancel title-page and the dedication removed.


  13. HANDEL, George Frideric. 

    Alcina an opera as it is perform’d at the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden.  Compos’d by Mr Handel. 

    London, John Walsh, [1737]. 

    First edition, scarce, of the score of Handel’s opera Alcina, which premiered on 25 April 1735 at the Royal Theatre in Covent Garden, featuring Anna Strada, a renowned soprano of the era, in the lead role of the eponymous enchantress.  The libretto by Antonio Marchi draws inspiration...


  14. GRASSINEAU, James.

    A Musical Dictionary; being a Collection of Terms and Characters, as well ancient as modern; including the historical,...

    … London: Printed for J. Wilcox … 1740.

    First edition, based largely on the Dictionnaire de Musique of Sébastien de Brossard and the musical articles in Chambers’s Cyclopaedia, with some original material. One of two variant issues, this has ‘A’ on the title-page above the ‘i’ in ‘Dictionary’.


  15. [SCHOLZE, Johann Sigismund.]

    Sperontes singende Muse an der Pleisse in 2 mahl 50 Oden, der neuesten und besten musicalische Stücke...

    Leipzig, auf kosten der lüstigen Gesellschaft [Breitkopf], 1741.

    Second edition of the first part, first edition of the second part – a hugely influential collection of German songs that laid the groundwork for the Romantic Lied. ‘Its engraved titles, imprinted notes and numerous charming woodcut vignettes make this one of the age’s most delightful...


  16. TANS’UR, William.

    The Royal Psalmodist compleat: or, the universal Harmony. Containing all the very best Tunes both old and new,...

    Rugby: Engraved, and printed by the Author, and published according to Act of Parliament: A. D. 1742. And sold by most Book[s]ellers in Town...

    First edition, extremely rare, a collection of 150 psalm tunes (with settings in four parts) and one anthem, by the psalmodist and composer William Tans’ur (1700-1783).


  17. GREENE, Maurice.

    Forty select Anthems in Score composed for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 Voices … Volume first [–second].

    London. J. Walsh, 1743.

    First edition. Greene was organist and composer to the Chapels Royal, and an admirer and sometime friend of Handel (their friendship expiring on the occasion of Handel’s quarrel with Buononcini). Forty Select Anthems, setting Psalms and other Biblical texts, is ‘the work on which his reputation...


  18. RAMEAU, Jean-Philippe.

    Zoroastre, tragedie, mise en musique par M. Rameau, représentée pour la premiere fois par l’Académie...

    Paris, Boivin, Leclair, Castagneri and the author, [c. 1750].

    First edition; rare. Despite a strong cast and a lavish production, Zoroastre met with only limited success (and, it seems, much bewilderment) when first performed at the Opéra in 1749. By May 1752 Rameau and the librettist Louis de Cahusac had begun an extensive reworking of the opera....


  19. CLARI, Giovanni Carlo Maria.

    Manuscript score of a collection of six two-part madrigals: ‘N° VI Madrigali a due voci’.

    Italy, mid-eighteenth century.

    A collection of secular madrigals for two voices by Clari (1677–1754), written for soprano/bass, soprano/alto, and soprano/tenor, each with instrumental bass accompaniment. The madrigals included here are: Il Soldato poltrone, Il Musica ignorante, L’Amante disperato, Amante...