Item #39495 Julius Caesar: An Opera. [Full score]. George Frideric HANDEL.
Julius Caesar: An Opera. [Full score]

Julius Caesar: An Opera. [Full score]

London: Printed at Cluer's Printing Office in Bow-Church-Yard, and sold there, and by B. Creake at ye Bible in Jermyn Street St. James, [1724].

Octavo. Newly bound in quarter dark tan calf with marbled boards, raised bands on spine in compartments gilt, dark red decorative title label gilt. 1f. (recto engraved title, verso blank), 1f. (recto privilege dated June 14th 1720, verso blank), 1f. (index), 118 pp. Engraved.

With an exceptionally fine illustrated title depicting performers playing on the harpsichord and bass viol, with
"James's" (?the engraver) to lower right.

Names of singers printed within the score include Senesino, Robinson, Durastanti, Berenstadt, Cuzzoni, and Boschi.

Versos of first three leaves with simple watercolor drawings of a horse and flowers; final blank leaf with a carefully noted calligraphic ownership marking: "George Waltons Book 1805."

Margins of title very slightly stained.

A very attractive copy overall.

First Edition, first issue. HWV 17. 39476. Fraenkel: Decorative Music Title Pages, no. 152. Schaal: Musiktitel aus fünf Jahrhunderten, no. 82. Smith 1, pp. 30-31. BUC p. 427. RISM H166.

Julius Caesar, in three acts to a libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym adapted from Giacomo Francesco Bussani’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto (1677, Venice) and a later version of the same libretto (1685, Milan) was first performed in London at the King’s Theatre on 20 February 1724. It was a resounding success and had an initial run of 13 nights. Handel made some changes and revived the work on 2 January 1725, after which it ran for 10 performances.

"The score of Giulio Cesare was by far Handel’s most sumptuous to date, not only in its stylistic variety and melodic richness but more specifically in its use of the orchestra, which included two pairs of horns crooked in different keys and a stage band with harp, theorbo and viola da gamba. It is also one of his most dramatically compelling operas, despite the over-frequent suicide attempts and assaults on Cornelia’s virtue. The character of Cleopatra in all her ‘infinite variety’ is painted with special insight and understanding ... Her two arias of grief, ‘Se pietà’ and ‘Piangerò la sorte mia’, are among Handel’s finest in that vein, while ‘V’adoro, pupille’, with its ravishing instrumental sonorities, is surely unsurpassed as an exemplar of seductive song. Caesar’s role includes some fine accompanied recitative (notably the moving ‘Alma del gran Pompeo’) and the remarkable aria with solo horn, ‘Va tacito’." Anthony Hicks in Grove Music Online

As regards provenance, Highfill, Burnim and Langhans record a Mr. Walton as a countertenor whom Burney stated was a performer at the Handel Memorial Concerts at Westminster Abbey and the Pantheon in 1784.

Arguably the most desirable of all first editions of Handel's operas, rare to the market.

Item #39495

Price: $8,500.00  other currencies

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