BACH Johann Sebastian (1685-1750).

Lot 202
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BACH Johann Sebastian (1685-1750).
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY Felix (1809-1847). 8 MUSICAL MANUSCRIPTS, Passions-Musik, [1829]; 8 oblong in-4 (ca. 20 x 24 cm) paperback binders of about 30 pages each (some titles a bit stained). Booklets of the choral parts for Mendelssohn's performances of Bach's St. Matthew Passion in 1829, including his corrections and cuttings. These eight booklets, each with its title page Passions=Musik von J.S. Bach, are intended for the choristers of Choir I ("Coro 1mo"), presenting the parts of Soprano (3), Tenore (3) and Basso (2); they are numbered: sopranos nos. 1 (2 ff missing), 18 and 19, tenors nos. 14, 15 and 16, basses nos. 14 and 15. They are in the hand of several professional copyists, in brown ink on 6-stave paper. They have 35 numbered sections (sections 34-35 are incorrectly numbered in the tenor parts), sometimes preceded by the end of the recitatives underlined in red ink, each part including an additional chorale in the second part ("Zweiter Theil"): no. 19a, "Wer hat dich so geschlagen" in the hand of Mendelssohn's copyist Eduard Henschke, inserted on a different sheet of paper These choral parts were copied and used for Mendelssohn's famous performance of the St. Matthew Passion on March 11, 1829, the most important event in the revival of Bach's music. They were later revised when Mendelssohn conducted the work at the Leipzig Thomaskirche in 1841. The story of Mendelssohn's resurrection of the St. Matthew Passion is well known: Bach's music had been largely forgotten since his death, and this Passion had remained unpublished. The Berlin Singakademie had a manuscript score, and the director Carl Zelter occasionally played some of the choruses. Mendelssohn's grandmother, Bella Salomon, gave the young Felix a copy of this score around 1824, and Mendelssohn pressed Zelter for permission to perform this immense work in abridged form for the first time since the mid-eighteenth century. These choral parts show Mendelssohn's work to reduce the score to 35 numbers, and his cuts, tempo indications and textual changes for the performances in Berlin in March 1829. Mendelssohn cut a number of famous chorales, as well as many arias; Chorale 37 was later reinstated (here in Henschke's hand, numbered "19 a"), when Mendelssohn conducted the work at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig in 1841. Mendelssohn also altered some of the words of the famous chorale "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden," changes that are seen here. These choral parts were prepared at the same time as those preserved in Oxford (Bodleian Library, Ms. Mus. d.210) and London (British Library Add. Ms. 47839 A-H), and are identical, including the chorale reinstated in 1841; but the ones presented here have remained in their original bound state. There are also copies in the Mendelssohn House in Leipzig and in Utrecht, and in some private collections. They may have been copied from Mendelssohn's complete score (in the Deneke collection at the Bodleian Library), where he marked the cuts and tempo marks observed here, or from the original (partly autograph) collection of Bach's parts at the Singakademie.
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