Beethoven, Ludwig Van. (1770–1827) [Edmond de Coussemaker. (1805–1876)]


Bonn et Cologne: N. Simrock. [1822]. First German edition.

Octavo. Engraved throughout. Title (v.b.); [i, ii]; 3–108 pp. [PN] 1953. Original period boards and marbled flyleaves, nicely rebacked in brown leather with gold titling. Remnants of original front wrapper remain along left edge of front gutter with some losses to t.p. itself along that side. Price on t.p. has been erased but all other points conform; presumed to have been printed as 'Prix 9 Frs'. Kinsky-Halm, 55; Hoboken 2, 122; Hirsch IV, 258. Ownership stamp in lower margin of first page of score: Bibliothèque de E. de Coussemaker. Book plate to inner front board, from the library of Percy Digby Hawker, dated by hand April 1877, with initial A., possibly for auction of Coussemaker's library that year in Brussels.

The present first German edition is also the first edition of Beethoven's First Symphony as an independent work; it follows an edition printed in London 1809, in which the work was included among a collection of symphonies by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.

Dedicated to Baron Gottfried Van Swieten, an early patron of the composer, Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21 was composed at the age of 29. Fittingly, it was the dawn of a new century, and it appeared late in what scholars define as the first period of Beethoven's career, just a year or two before the crisis brought about by his gradual loss of hearing.  The premiere took place on 2 April 1800 at the K.K. Hoftheater nächst der Burg in Vienna. Most sources agree that the concert program also included Beethoven's Septet as well as a symphony by Mozart, but there is some disagreement as to whether the remainder of the program included excerpts from Haydn's oratorio The Creation or from The Seasons and whether Beethoven's own Piano Concerto No. 1 or No. 2 was performed. This concert effectively served to announce Beethoven's talents to Vienna.

This particular copy of the score formed part of the personal library of over 1,600 items—including first edition print scores, manuscripts, and musical instruments—of the prolific medievalist and musicologist Charles-Edmond-Henri de Coussemaker, whose scholarship encompassed chant, liturgical drama, early polyphony, the history of music notation, and music theory. 


Printed Music
Classical Music
First Edition