Berlin: J.J. Hummel In der Königlich Privilegirten Musicalien Stecherey und Handlung, n.d.
Small quarto. Early red paper boards with decorative edges gilt, manuscript titling to spine, red edges. 1f. (recto title, verso blank), 2ff. (list of subscribers), iv (foreword), [v]-vi (contents), 88 pp. text + 13 pp. music, [ii] (blank), 18 pp. music, [ii] (blank), 15 pp. music, [i] (blank). Title and music engraved, text letterpress. Decorative headpiece to first page of text; occasional tables.
With attractive engraved device with musical motif to title, date of 1783 in manuscript under imprint, and price in manuscript to lower outer corner.
The list of subscribers includes important organists Johann Becker of Cassel, Johann Friedrich Gottlieb Eckkmann of Celle, Harson of Berlin, Johann August Just of Amsterdam, and Schulz of Reinsberg, some former pupils of Kirnberger; Johann Gottlob Naumann, Kapellmeister at Dresden and Johann Gottfried Schwanenberg, Kapellmesiter of the court in Braunschweig; Johann Nikolaus Forkel in Göttingen; Daniel Gottlob Türk, music director at the University in Halle; and publishers; booksellers, etc., all organized alphabetically by locations including Amsterdam, Berlin, Braunschweig, Breslau, Cassel, Coppenhagen[!], Danzig, Dresden, Ebstorf, Haag, Halle, Hamburg, Königsberg, Leipzig, Magdeburg, Moskau[!], St. Petersburg, Riga, Weimar, and Wien.
With small oval collector's handstamp and small circular early handstamp of music school in Dresden to lower margin of title and several other pages.
Binding worn, rubbed, and bumped; spine lacking, reinforced with dark ivory paper tape. With call number, circular handstamp, and library deaccession stamp to verso of title with faint showthrough. Uniform browning; light minor dampstaining to outer margin of several leaves; occasional foxing; numerical annotation to blank upper outer corner of title. Plates in very good condition.
First Edition, variant issue, without "nebst XXXXV kupfertafeln." Gregory-Bartlett p. 137 ("Another L. of C. copy of the examples has an engr. title, as above, with the words "nebst XXXXV kupfertafeln" added). Hirsch I p. 94 (with "Nebst XXXXV Kupfertafeln" to title). Not in Cortot. RISM Écrits p. 452 (as in Hirsch).
Kirnberger, a pupil of Johann Sebastian Bach, "devoted a great part of his energies to perpetuating the teaching and methods of that master. Consequently, the Grundsätze des Generalbasses is often regarded as an attempt to formulate the keyboard method of Bach." Fling: Johann Philipp Kirnberger: Grundsätze des Generalbasses ..., p. ii.
"Kirnberger was among the most significant of a remarkable group of theorists, centred in Berlin, which included J.J. Quantz, C.P.E. Bach and Marpurg. Almost without exception his contemporaries described him as emotional and ill-tempered, but dedicated to the highest musical standards. Criticized for being inflexible, conservative, tactless, and even pedantic, his detractors still acknowledged his devotion to his students and friends. These included his employer Princess Anna Amalia (whose famous library he helped to assemble), and such eminent musicians as C.P.E. Bach, J.F. Agricola, the Graun brothers, J.A.P. Schulz (his most important pupil) and the encyclopedist J.G. Sulzer, to whose Allgemeine Theorie der schönen Künste (1771–4) he contributed articles ... Although his musical knowledge was wide and profound, it was, according to his contemporaries, disorganized ... Nonetheless, even his most severe critics, such as Marpurg, considered his theoretical and didactic works to be invaluable." Howard Serwer in Grove Music Online.
The Grundsätze was Kirnberger's most popular theoretical work, widely circulated.
Price: $1,350.00 other currencies