[Wagner, Richard. (1813–1883)] Popper, David. (1843–1913)


Mainz: B. Schott's Söhne. [April, 1875]. Götterdämmerung... Vollständiger Klavierauszug von Karl Klindworth. Folio. Lithographed throughout. [PN] 21500. 1f. (general title, "Der Ring des Nibelungen"), 1f. (title), 1f. (half-title), [1] (cast list and contents), 2-357, [i] (blank) pp. Inscribed on the title page by cellist and composer David Popper as follows: "Der unsterblichen / Muse Richard Wagner / kunstbegeisterten / Förderer durch Wort / und Schrift von / seinem, ihn herzlich / ...David Poper / Wien, 6. Mai 1875 / III. Wagnerkonzert in Wien" ("The immortal muse of Richard Wagner / his art-loving supporter through written/ and spoken word,/ warmly, / David Popper / Vienna, 6 May 1875 / 3. Wagner concert in Vienna").    Contemporary black cloth boards, quarter brown leather. Generally in fine internal condition throughout, with a few light pencil markings, one leaf (p. 11/12) with two significant tears; spine covering largely perished, boards separating from the block (rear board barely holding on). Fuld p. 465; Deathridge, Geck and Voss (WWV) p. 402; Klein p. 51. 

The present historic copy was inscribed on the occasion of Wagner's conducting portions of Götterdämmerung in concert in Vienna, in advance of the the complete opera's Bayreuth premiere in 1876. The publication of this piano vocal score preceded the full score by over a year, and the general title page, on which Popper has inscribed, as well as the half title, are common to the full scores of all four Ring operas.  As with Siegfried and Parsifal, Schott's first edition of Götterdämmerung was issued in lithographed form, with only a few (mainly presentation) copies being issued directly from the engraved plates. 

One of the most influential cellists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Popper was a student of Julius Goltermann and at age 25, secured the position of principal in the Vienna Hofoper and the Vienna PO (the youngest player to hold such a post) and later joined the Hellmesberger Quartet.  He was in friendly contact with Franz Liszt, whose pupil, pianist Sophie Menter, became Popper’s first wife in 1872. This marriage, which produced in 1876 a daughter, Celeste, ended after fourteen years although during that time the couple appeared in countless joint recitals. His acquaintance with Liszt led Popper also to Richard Wagner and in 1873 he became a co-founder of the first ever official Wagner Society (the Viennese Wagner-Verband). In 1886, his marriage dissolved, Popper was appointed by Liszt as professor at the National Hungarian Royal Acadamy of Music, where he established the cello and chamber music divisions. He remained until his death, having also served as a member of the Hubay Quartet. A cellist of superior technique and a warm, powerful tone, Popper was a champion of new music, and the composer of more than 75 works, mostly for his own instrument. His most important contribution is certainly the Hohe Schule des Violoncello-Spiels, a set of 40 studies that examine the positions of the left hand within a highly chromatic, Wagner-influenced setting. 
Götterdämmerung is the fourth opera in the Ring cycle. Excerpts were first performed in a concert at the Musikverein in Vienna on March 25, 1875; the entire work was first performed as part of the Ring cycle at Bayreuth on August 17, 1876. "The final opera of the Ring... provides an appropriately weighty conclusion to the epic cycle. 26 years elapsed from the time Wagner made his first prose draft for the work (then called Siegfrieds Tod) to the completion of the full score, with inevitable consequences in terms of stylistic unity. Retrogressive elements of grand opera exist side by side with motivic integration representative of Wagner’s most mature style. And yet, the stylistic integrity of Götterdämmerung is scarcely compromised, so skillfully are the disparate elements welded together and so intense the dramaturgical conviction. The resources and stamina demanded by the work (from both singers and orchestra), combined with its sheer length and theatrical potency, make it one of the most daunting yet rewarding undertakings in the operatic repertory." (Grove Music Online) (18437)

Signed Document/Item