- Mid-sixteenth-century manuscript of German lute tablature, comprising 35 pieces, nearly half unrecorded,
55 pages, oblong 8vo (c.11 x 16cm), Italian paper (anchor watermark [Briquet 523]), sewn in one gathering, eighteenth-century flyleaves, later vellum covers, possibly Swiss (or Austrian) provenance, second third of the sixteenth century, damp-staining to top outer corners, the paper generally sound, slight loss to title on f.8, lacking at end (final work is incomplete)
The New Grove (2001) lists fewer than ten sixteenth-century manuscripts of German lute music and RISM B/VII (Boetticher, 1978) fewer than twenty. This is the most important such manuscript to appear at auction since the "Wertheim" lute book, sold at Sotheby’s, 1 December 1995, Lot 220 (now Austrian National Library, Mus.Hs.41950); dating from c.1525, this also contained works by Senfl and Hofhaimer. Printed lute tablatures from this era include Neusidler’s Ein newgewordent künstlich Lautenbuch (1536 and other editions), Ochsenkun’s Tablaturbuch (1558) and Jobin’s Das erste Buch (1572, a copy sold here in 2002), most extant in a handful of copies, emphasizing the importance of a manuscript such as this in the early history of German solo instrumental music.
The manuscript contains the following sixteen apparently unrecorded numbers: ‘Der pfarrer von S. Veytt’ (f.1v), ‘Eins zway drey’ (f.5), ‘Welsch tannz’ (f.6v), ‘Der Herman in der [...] lag’ (f.8), ‘So ist es doch kain Reitterlein es ist ain Edlman’ (f.10), ‘Ein lauf durch dy gannz lautten Wälsch st[...]l’ (f.13), ‘Nach lauf’ (f.14), ‘Pass ē mezo’ (f.14v), ‘La mais le may meray mason’ (f.16), ‘Passemezo im abzug’ (f.18v), ‘Saltarelo’ (f.19), ‘Pass ē mezo’ (f.19v), ‘Kaiser Maximilian Tanz’ (f.23v), ‘Gaiarda’ (f.24), ‘Paduana’ (f.24v) and ’Ein türgkisch Tannz’ (f.26). The volume now comprises a single gathering of 28 leaves; there is no title and the final piece ('La traditora') lacks the ending, so it is possible that there was originally another sheet on the outside, which was lost before the present binding was applied.
Sotheby's is happy to acknowledge the kind assistance of Professor Tim Crawford in our cataloguing of this lot.