“AN OUTSTANDING MASTERPIECE OF ITS KIND”: FIRST EDITION OF THE FULL SCORE FOR BEETHOVEN’S EGMONT, SPLENDID ASSOCIATION COPY BELONGING TO CHARLES SALAMAN
BEETHOVEN, [Ludwig van]. Ouverture et Entr’ actes d’Egmont composés par Beethoven. Leipsig: Breitkopf & Härtel, . Octavo, 20th-century half red morocco, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. $2800.
First edition of the full score of Beethoven’s Egmont music, fully engraved. The copy of Charles Salaman, noted English composer.
When commissioned to provide music for a performance of Goethe’s Egmont, Beethoven “took it up with eagerness and excitement. For one reason, there was no one in German life whom Beethoven admired more than Johann Wolfgang von Goethe… another reason was the theme of the drama itself which, set in the Netherlands in 1567-68, dealt with the struggle for freedom from Spanish rule. The thought of ‘liberty against tyranny’ always kindled a fire in Beethoven, as his opera Fidelio had shown… And so Beethoven produced the most remarkable example of ‘incidental music’ in history, one in which the drama and music of genius were so well matched that the music seemed to take up without break where the words left off… today [the overture] deservedly ranks in the concert hall as an outstanding masterpiece of its kind, a concentrated example of the musical dramaturgy that had made the Eroica’ and Fifth Symphony turning points in musical history” (Scherman & Biancolli, 669-70). This full-score first edition was preceded only by the orchestral parts in 1812 (unobtainable). Engraved music with lithographed title page. Kinsky-Halm, 231. Bookplate of Charles Kensington Salaman (1814-1901), English composer, pianist, and conductor, and the conductor of the first Rome performance of Beethoven’s Second Symphony (DNB). With the clipping of a printed 1892 Letter to the Editor in the Times by Salaman referring to this copy of Egmont tipped-in.
Light foxing. An extremely good copy. Scarce.