Important Manuscripts, Continental Books and Music

Important Manuscripts, Continental Books and Music

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 92. Vienna. Autograph manuscripts by Bartok, Berg, Schoenberg, Strauss, Webern, Kokoschka, Schnitzler etc to D.J. Bach, 1924.

Sold on behalf of the Master and Fellows of Gonville & Caius College Cambridge

Vienna. Autograph manuscripts by Bartok, Berg, Schoenberg, Strauss, Webern, Kokoschka, Schnitzler etc to D.J. Bach, 1924

Auction Closed

June 11, 02:50 PM GMT


40,000 - 60,000 GBP

Lot Details


Sold on behalf of the Master and Fellows of Gonville & Caius College Cambridge


Important collection of autograph manuscript quotations and artistic tributes to David Bach by Bartók, Berg, Schoenberg, Strauss, Webern, Hoffmann, Kokoschka, Moll, Hofmannsthal, Schnitzler, Zweig and others, Vienna, 13 August 1924,

1) including musical quotations signed and inscribed by BÉLA BARTÓK (1881-1945), Piano Concerto no.1, 13 November 1927 ("...zur freundlichen Erinnerung an die Wiener Erstaufführung..."); Bach also arranged the premieres of the Piano Rhapsody and the Six Romanian Folk Dances--ALBAN BERG (1885-1935), Wozzeck, from the opening scene (“Ja, wenn ich ein Herr wär’”), notated on two staves, a year before the first production—ALFREDO CASELLA (1883-1947), a rebus on the name “BACH”—ZOLTAN KODÁLY (1882-1967), from Psalmus Hungaricus (“…in dankbarer Erinnerung an die Wiener Aufführung 6. Nov. 1924”), a performance promoted by Bach—ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957), from the Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, op.17, performed by Paul Wittgenstein at the ‘Musikwoche der Stadt Wien’ in September 1924—FRANZ LEHÁR (1870-1944), sketches for Die gelbe Jacke—FRANZ SCHMIDT (1874-1939), from the Organ Prelude & Fugue in E-flat—ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) from Serenade op.24, concluding a long personal autograph letter to Bach; they had been close friends since 1893—RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949), unidentified extract with the words "Ich gratuliere!", conceivably connected with the Fanfare for the ‘Musikwoche der Stadt Wien’—JOSEF SUK (1874-1935), from the “Asrael” Symphony op.27—ANTON VON WEBERN (1883-1945) from the Fünf Canons op.16; Webern was one of Bach’s closest associates—ALEXANDER VON ZEMLINSKY (1872-1942) an Albumblatt on “BACH”; it was Bach who advised Schoenberg to seek out Zemlinsky, who became his teacher--together with music by Rudolf Bella, Julius Bittner ("Shimmy auf de Namen 'BACH'"), Hans Duhan, Hanns Eisler, Kurt Horwitz, Rudolf Huber, Wilhelm Kienzl, Paul von Klenau, Carl Lafite, Ferdinand Löwe (from Bruckner’s Third Symphony, among the many works he conducted for Bach), Joseph Marx, Paul Amadeus Pick, Carl Prohaska, Béla Reinitz, Franz Salmhofer, Max Springer, George Szell, Julius Toldi and Kurt Weigl,

2) Drawings and designs signed by JOSEF CAPEK (1887-1945), in charcoal, showing two figures and a child—JOSEF HOFFMANN (1870-1956) architectural design for a pavilion (“Juli 1924…Josef Hoffmann”)—OSKAR KOKOSCHKA (1886-1980) in charcoal, a semi-reclining young girl with a turban, signed with initials; his famous panorama of Vienna in 1931 was painted at Bach’s instigation—CARL MOLL (1861-1945), depicting the ‘Schwarzspanierhaus’, Beethoven’s final residence in Vienna; he was Alma Mahler’s stepfather—WALTER NEUZIL, fine watercolour of a theatre auditorium, inscribed “Zwar in der Melodei, ein wenig frei…”); Neuzil was an architect involved in Bach’s project for the Volkshaus der Kunst in 1923—together with drawings by Charlotte Calm, Leo Delitz, Fred Doblin, Mathilde Flögel, Anton Hanak (the frontispiece), Carry Hauser, Lichnowski, Fritz Löwen, Felice Rix-Ueno, Susi Singe-Schinnerl, Maria Strauss-Likarz, Oskar Strnad, Harry Täuber, Richard Teschner and Julius Zimpel,

3) Literary tributes by KAREL CAPEK (1890-1938, the author of the play Věc Makropulos, upon which Janacek based his opera) autograph letter to David Bach—JOHN GALSWORTHY (1878-1938), whose plays Bach helped stage in Vienna—HUGO VON HOFMANNSTHAL (1874-1939), inscribed “’Er versteht zu lernen’ soll bei Talmudschülern ein hohes seltenes Lob sein”—KARL KRAUS (1874-1936), his poem ‘An den Bürger’, published in Die Fackel in June 1923, one of Bach’s closest literary and political friends—ROBERT MUSIL (1880-1942)—ARTHUR SCHNITZLER (1862-1931), an aphorism by the author of Komödie der Verführung, premiered at the ‘Musik- und Theaterfest der Stadt Wien’ in September 1924—FRITZ WERFEL (1890-1945), a poem ‘Allelujah’—STEFAN ZWEIG (1881-1945), a poem ‘Auf des Lebens letztem Stamme’, the author of historical novels and an important collector of autograph music manuscripts—with Anna Aurednicek, Hermann Bahr, Richard Beer-Hofmann, Richard Billinger, Viktor Blum, Fritz Brügel, Franz Csokor, Richard Edon, Walther Eidlitz, Else Feldmann, Ernst Fischer, Egon Friedell, Felix Gotthelf, Georg Kaiser, Hermann Kesser, Richard von Kralik, Lina Loos, Hermann Mann, Max Mell, Hedwig Rossi, Paul Stefan, Erwin Stein, Otto Stoessel, Ernst Toller, Siegfried Trebitsch, Josef Weinheber and Martina Wied

comprising 87 items, on uniform paper stock, folio (c.35 c 25cm), presented to D.J. Bach on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday, including 27 musical manuscripts, 10 watercolours and coloured drawings, 2 ink drawings, 6 drawings in pencil or crayon, 1 screen print, contained in a Wiener Werkstatte python-skin presentation case by Josef Hoffmann, device with Hoffmann's monogram to verso, gilt-stamped red silk doublures ("Herrn Dr Bach überreicht von den Angestellten der Kunststelle...13 August 1924"), overall size: c.37.5 x 30cm, mainly Vienna, July-August 1924, together with many additional items, signed portraits of Bach, concert programmes of the Arbeiter-Sinfoniekonzerte and others

THIS IS A SUBSTANTIAL "TIME-CAPSULE" OF MUSIC, ART AND LITERATURE IN VIENNA IN 1924: not merely a remarkable collection of autograph manuscripts, but a fully thought-out artistic ensemble, in a striking presentation case designed by the founding member of the Wiener Werkstätte, Josef Hoffmann himself.  The composers, artists and writers who contributed their manuscripts include many of those whose careers Bach furthered, such as Bartók, Kodály, Berg, Webern, Karel Capek, Galsworthy and Kokoschka, together with much more established figures in Vienna, like Richard Strauss, Hoffmann, Hofmannsthal, Schoenberg, Franz Schmidt, Carl Moll and Stefan Zweig. 

The declared objective of the Wiener Werkstätte (1903-1932) was to permeate everyday life with artistic and aesthetic products. David Josef Bach's contribution to this movement lay first in the Arbeiter-Sinfoniekonzerte (Workers' Symphony Concerts), which he inaugurated in 1905 with a concert of Weber and Beethoven in the great hall of the Musikverein, conducted by Friedrich Löwe.  When the Socialists came to power in 1919, Bach was appointed to lead Die Sozialdemokratische Kunststelle, the arts council that presented the present collection to him in 1924. His second creation, in 1923, was the Choral Society of the Kunststelle, which he invited Webern to conduct along with the Arbeiter-Sinfoniekonzerte. Bach's concerts became a central feature of cultural life in Vienna during the first third of the century, until social democracy there was suppressed by the fascists in 1934. 

Despite the admiration he won from many, Bach's endeavours also met with criticism, both for imposing bourgeois culture on the masses and, by fascist newspapers such as Volkssturm, for promoting Jewish music (including "Aufführungen des 'Komponisten' Schönberg"). The collection includes some programmes of the concerts conducted by Strauss, Webern, Löwe and Schalk, There were no fewer than 228 concerts in all. The remarkable 200th concert held on 19 April 1926 featured Mahler's monumental Eighth Symphony, rehearsed and conducted by Webern, and Strauss's Fanfare zur Eröffnung der Musikwoche der Stadt Wien [Trenner no.250], the manuscript of which Strauss gave to Bach and which was sold by Sotheby’s in 1988.   Bach left for England in 1939, bringing this collection of tributes with him: it was listed on his declaration to the Nazis as "Geburtstagsadressen in Mappenform" and classed as "wertlos". 

Along with the birthday manuscripts of 1924, there are 2 fine pencil drawings of Bach (one by Dina Kuhn, signed by Bach), a draft letter, apparently by Bach, signed as "Eine Jude, der Recht aber kein Vorracht will", and a collection of ephemera (1909-1949), printed programmes for the Arbeiter Sinfoniekonzerte (1909-1928), and dramas staged at the Burgtheater, Volkstheater etc, issues of the Arbeiter-Zeitung and Volkssturm (railing against Bach's concerts in June 1920), 7 proofs of the woodcuts in the printed programmes, letters to Bach from the Singverein (1906), the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (1914), Walter Frey (1933) and others, family letters and telegrams, and letters and notices received on Bach’s death in 1947.

Please see "Explanation of Symbols" regarding "Restricted Materials". Sotheby's is not able to assist with the shipment of this lot to the United States.



Austrian Studies, 14: Culture and Politics in Red Vienna (MHRA, 2006), is devoted to articles about D.J. Bach's influence on Viennese cultural life, Webern, Kokoschka and music: J. Armstrong & E. Timms, 'Souvenirs of Vienna 1924: the Legacy of David Josef Bach', (pp.61-97); J. Warren, 'David Josef Bach and the Musik- und Theaterfest of 1924 (pp.119-142); J. Johnson, 'Anton Webern, the Social Democratic Kunststelle and Musical Modernism' (pp.197-213); R. Calvocoressi, 'Oskar Kokoschka, Red Vienna and the Education of the Child' (pp.215-227) and others. This lot is illustrated on the inside front cover of this catalogue 

This lot is illustrated on the inside cover of this catalogue

"The skin used on the box is a specimen of Indian Rock Python, Python molurus; CITES appendix II. A formal letter of identification can be made available to the eventual purchaser"