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Tag: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Page 1 of 4)

The secret garden of Pierre Bergé

The Loeb Music Library has just acquired three items previously owned by the French industrialist, arts patron and AIDS activist Pierre Bergé (1930-2017). A co-founder of the fashion house Yves Saint Laurent, Bergé cultivated a “jardin secret” all his life, accumulating important rare books and scores as well as Impressionist paintings, Old Master drawings and decorative ceramics.

Here is a very rare first issue of the first edition of Mozart’s six Opus 3 trio sonatas, published in 1764. It was “Printed for the author and sold at his lodgings,” the house in Soho where eight-year-old Wolfgang Mozart, his sister Nannerl and their father Leopold resided during the London period of their  European tour.

The title page of a newly acquired Mozart score.

Merritt Mus 745.1.383.1

Bound in are several items accumulated by owners prior to Bergé, including a note detailing the purchase history by the original owner, Thomas Jones (“It was of the little musician himself I purchased this book”), several newspaper items, and a portrait of the Mozart family.

This note was pasted into the score by its first owner, Thomas Jones.

Merritt Mus 745.1.383.1

A newspaper clipping tells of a concert and an open house by eight-year-old Mozart.

Merritt Mus 745.1.383.1

Mozart family portrait, pasted to a blank page preceding the score.

Merritt Mus 745.1.383.1

This item was acquired by the Schafer Mozart Book Fund. Images of the entire score will soon be available online. are now available online

And there are two collections of early trio sonatas by Arcangelo Corelli, printed in Bologna in 1688 and in Venice in 1691.

The title page of a 1691 collection of trio sonatas by Arcangelo Corelli, published in Venice by Giuseppe Sala.

Merritt Mus 640.2.383.15

Two collections of late-seventeenth-century trio sonatas by Corelli, bound by the Paris firm Boichot.

Merritt Mus 640.2.383.15 and Merritt Mus 640.2.373.5

Like the rest of Pierre Bergé’s library, all three of these scores are exquisitely housed. The Mozart sonatas were bound in rich green morocco leather with gilt edges by the Victorian bookbinding company Blunson & Company, of whose work Harvard Library possesses two other equally magnificent examples. The Corelli scores were recently given pale lilac portfolios which slide into matching slipcases, an enclosure designed by Atelier de Libraire, a family firm in Paris. And all three of these items contain Bergé’s simple, elegant bookplate. These, too, are available in digital form

The bookplate of industrialist and collector Pierre Bergé.

Merritt Mus 745.1.383.1

Merritt Room collections are available for use on site by anyone with a Special Collections Request Account. Please place your request by clicking View Onsite in HOLLIS, then wait to hear from Isham Memorial Library staff before planning your visit.


Chansons des franc-maçons

For the 260th birthday of music’s favorite Freemason, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, here is a recent acquisition:  Recueil de chansons des franc-maçons à l’usage de la Loge de Ste Geneviefve. A very rare collection of sixty Masonic songs, it was published in Paris in 1763 and sold by Charles-Antoine Jombert.

Gilt-stamped morocco spine label. Mus 558.8

Gilt-stamped morocco spine label. Mus 558.8

This volume is in four parts. The first, which does not have a title, contains such songs as the florid Chanson des maitres and a combative march called La main aux armes. Part two describes Les plaisirs de la Maçonnerie, specifically Une aimable fraternité, La sagesse et l’innocence and Une égalité parfaite. Part three contains Noels en C fol ut (Fidele a Dieu bon citoyen), and part four Noels en G ré sol (Amis de la concorde).

Chanson des maitres. Mus 558.8

Chanson des maitres. Mus 558.8

This item joins several other collections of Masonic songs at the Isham Memorial Library, the special collections library located with the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library. These include The Masonick minstrel (Dedham, MA: 1816) and Auswahl maurerischer Gesænge (compiled in Germany between 1803 and 1805).

It is perhaps an overstatement to call Mozart a full-fledged political Mason. He was active in his local lodge, Zur Wohlthätigkeit, and enjoyed close friendships with his Masonic brothers. He composed music for the lodge’s meetings, such as the cantata Die Maurerfreude, K. 471, for tenor, male chorus and orchestra, and the Maurerische Trauermusik, K. 477, which went through arrangements for many permutations of instruments.

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