The Letters of Beethoven

New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1985. Hardcover. Three volumes (complete) in publisher's slipcase, octavo size size, 1604 pp. Fine / fine. Item #CNJL2245

While everyone knows the name "Ludwig von Beethoven" (1770-1827) and many of us have favourites amongst his musical compositions, very few of us can claim to know the man behind the music.

This three-volume set of his letters provides a fascinating glimpse into the persona of Beethoven. Opening the first volume at random, we came across this: "Dear Röckel, Be sure to make a very good arrangement with Milder - Just tell her that you are asking her in advance today and on my behalf so that she may not sing ANYWHERE ELSE. But tomororw I will come myself to kiss the hem of her garment - Be sure not to forget Marconi either - And don't be angry with me for bothering you with so many things - Wholly your, Beethoven".

Included in these volumes are virtually all of Beethoven's letters and other relevant documents covering a period of forty years: from 1787, when Beethoven was seventeen and still in Bonn, to 1827, the year of his death in Vienna. "An indispensable and valuable source book for a complete study of the composer's life, the three volumes contain nearly 1,600 letters and about 60 documents presented as appendices" (n.b., from dust jacket flap).

___DESCRIPTION: The volumes bound in full brown textured paper, gilt lettering and rules on the spines, each volume with a different black-and-white reproduction of a portrait of Beethoven, each volume with a section bound into the middle of additional black-and-white reproductions of portraits, musical scores, and letters (each section sixteen pages, not included in the pagination); octavo size (8.75" by 5.5"), pagination: Volume One, [i-vi] vii-l, [1-2] 3-484; Volume Two, [i-iv] v-xxxiv, [485-486] 487-984; and Volume Three, [i-iv] v-xxx, [985-986] 987-1490. The glossy paper dust jackets show the original set price of $75.00, each show on the front panel a portrait of Beethoven reproduced from a stipple engraving by Blasius Höfel after the drawing by Louis Letronne (1814) (the same as the frontis in Volume Two), the portrait on a light peach background, black lettering with ruled borders, spine illustration to match, rear panel blank, front flaps with a summary of the work, rear flaps with a short bio of the editor. The volumes are housed in the publisher's cardboard slipcase covered in glossy paper and designed after the dust jackets.

___CONDITION: Volumes are fine, the paper boards clean and free of wear, the binding strong and square with solid hinges, the interiors clean and bright, and the set entirely free of prior owner markings; the upper back corner of the third volume gently bumped, else fine. The dust jackets are also fine, unclipped, not sunned, with perhaps a small area or two of exceedingly minor edgewear. The slipcase is near fine, strong and sturdy with a few spots of very light soil and the paper covering slightly rippled at the top (not from damp, we surmise it was due to the glue used to apply the paper to the cardboard).

___POSTAGE: Please note that this is an extremely large and heavy set and therefore additional postage will apply. We are happy to ship at cost to both domestic and international customers, please inquire for details.

___Swan's Fine Books is pleased to be a member of the ABAA, ILAB, and IOBA and we stand behind every book we sell. Please contact us with any questions you may have, we are here to help.

Price: $300.00