“ON FRAGRANT MYRTLES LET ME LIE; AND LOVE, MY SLAVE, THE WINE SUPPLY”
(MUSIC). Orpheus. A Collection of Glees. London: Novello, Ewer, [circa 1875]. Thirty-six parts bound in three volumes for each of four voices and the full score. Together, 15 volumes. Oblong octavo, contemporary three-quarter diced purple calf gilt, raised bands, purple calf gilt labels to front boards. Housed in three leather and moiré silk wallet-style boxes. $900.
Handsomely bound collection of four-part songs.
A glee is “a simply harmonized composition for three or more voices (originally male) without accompaniment… on the whole they avoided contrapuntal elaboration and aimed rather at providing something grateful to listen to and not too demanding for the singers. Although the Noblemen and Gentlemen’s Catch Club admitted a limited number of professional musicians as ‘privileged members,’ glees were basically intended for amateurs… Though the traditional glee died a natural death well before the end of the [19th] century, some of its characteristics survived in the partsong” (New Grove 7:431). The term survives today in the phrase “glee club.” Orpheus contains a total of 193 separate pieces with a large number based on the works of Mendelssohn.
A lovely set in fine condition, in handsome contemporary bindings.