241
241
Rameau, Jean Philippe
PIÈCES DE CLAVESSIN AVEC UNE MÉTHODE POUR LA MÉCHANIQUE DES DOIGTS, OÙ L'ON ENSEIGNE LES MOYENS DE SE PROCURER UNE PARFAIT EXÉCUTION SUR CET INSTRUMENT, PARIS: HOCHEREAU, BOUVIN & THE AUTHOR, [1724]
Estimate
12,00015,000
LOT SOLD. 75,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
241
Rameau, Jean Philippe
PIÈCES DE CLAVESSIN AVEC UNE MÉTHODE POUR LA MÉCHANIQUE DES DOIGTS, OÙ L'ON ENSEIGNE LES MOYENS DE SE PROCURER UNE PARFAIT EXÉCUTION SUR CET INSTRUMENT, PARIS: HOCHEREAU, BOUVIN & THE AUTHOR, [1724]
Estimate
12,00015,000
LOT SOLD. 75,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Musical Manuscripts

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London

Rameau, Jean Philippe
PIÈCES DE CLAVESSIN AVEC UNE MÉTHODE POUR LA MÉCHANIQUE DES DOIGTS, OÙ L'ON ENSEIGNE LES MOYENS DE SE PROCURER UNE PARFAIT EXÉCUTION SUR CET INSTRUMENT, PARIS: HOCHEREAU, BOUVIN & THE AUTHOR, [1724]
FIRST EDITION, oblong 4to (c.24 x 33cm), 8 pages typeset, [1] & 33 pages of engraved music (and 2 blank), pages 3-6 contain the méthode 'De la méchanique des doigts sur le clavecin' (imprimatur: 9 January 1724), royal privilege dated 1 February 1724, eighteenth-century half calf with marbled boards and manuscript label, GEORGE MALCOLM'S COPY GIVEN TO HIM BY IMOGEN HOLST, final four leaves misbound (see note): with paper-loss to top or bottom margins restored (affecting paginations, small tears), binding worn but sound
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Provenance

Mary Hughes (old inscriptions on verso of flyleaf, possibly hers also on the label)--Imogen Holst (ownership inscription in pencil to flyleaf)--George Malcolm CBE (Holst's presentation inscription in pencil to front pastedown: "For George, A thank you for the Rameau performance June 19th 1964 at Aldeburgh, with endless gratitude from Imogen").  

Literature

S. Bouissou & D. Herlin, Jean-Philippe Rameau. Catalogue thématique, volume 1 (2007), p.65;  RISM R 183 (7 copies); J.-P. Rameau, Pièces de clavecin, edited by K. Gilbert (1978), "issue A";  G. Sadler in The New Grove II, 2001, xx, 778.

Catalogue Note

VERY RARE: we have no record of the first edition of Rameau's Pièces de clavessin 1724) ever appearing at auction.  The Catalogue thématique (2007) lists only eight surviving copies (3 incomplete), added to which we note a second one at the British Library and now the present exemplar, hitherto unrecorded.  This is the only edition to contain the composer's méthode 'De la méchanique des doigts'.  There is only one recorded copy in America: at Ann Arbor. 

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) was the greatest French composer of the eighteenth century and, in the words of Graham Sadler, "one of the greatest figures in French musical history".  Rameau's keyboard works are remarkable for their varied textures, extended range and dazzling virtuosity.  First editions of Rameau's later operas and ballets are sometimes found, but those of his keyboard works rarely appear at auction.  Previously Sotheby's has sold two copies of the second edition dated 1731 (29 November 1985, lot 190 & 20 November 2014, lot 183) and one of the 1736 edition (André Meyer collection, 16/17 October 2012, lot 258), but not the first. The Comtesse de Chambure copy of the second edition was offered at Hôtel Drouot (5 April 1995, lot 86), but we have not traced any other auction records for Rameau's Pièces de clavecin.

The four pages containing the penultimate piece, 'Les Cyclopes', were originally engraved on folding sheets so that they could be played without page-turns.  In the British Library copy e.1300.c., pages 29 & 30 have to be folded out above 31 & 32 respectively, exposing them to damage.  In three of the known copies, these four pages have been partly or completely lost, including one each at the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale.  All the pages are present here, but 29 & 30 evidently became creased and torn at an early stage and were bound in between 31 & 32 in this order: pp.28, 31, blank, 29, 30, blank, 32 & 33 (page 31 is engraved on the verso of 28, with 29 originally hinged above). 

Musical Manuscripts

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London