Collected Correspondence and Papers of Christoph Willibald Gluck

Collected Correspondence and Papers of Christoph Willibald Gluck

Collected Correspondence and Papers of Christoph Willibald Gluck

Collected Correspondence and Papers of Christoph Willibald Gluck

Excerpt

Habent sua fata libelli -- TERTIANUS MAURUS

Few books can have had such a strange history as this first complete edition of Gluck's letters. In 1913, at the suggestion of my great teacher, Professor Dr Hugo Riemann, I was invited by the Gluck Society in Leipzig to collect the maestro's letters. A year later the First World War broke out and brought the work to a halt. After the war, the inflation in Germany forced the Gluck Society into liquidation.

In the mid-twenties Dr George Kinsky, Director of the Heyer Museum in Cologne, proposed that I should collaborate with him on an edition of the Gluck letters, as he had acquired from a large antiquarian bookshop in Vienna for 25,000 marks thirty-eight unpublished letters by Gluck addressed to the Head of Chancery of the Austrian Embassy in Paris, Franz Kruthoffer. He was anxious to annotate this new addition to his collection himself. Pressure of work prevented my wife and myself from completing the manuscript by the agreed time. It was therefore agreed that Dr Kinsky should bring out the letters of Kruthoffer separately, in view of the fact that in 1926 the collections in the Heyer Museum were put up for auction and all their rare autographs were scattered to the four winds. Finally, when the collection of Gluck letters was nearing completion, it was Dr Kinsky who very kindly agreed that his research should be incorporated in a complete edition. For this we shall always be deeply indebted to him. Eventually, in 1939, the manuscript was ready, but once more publication was delayed by the outbreak of war. With considerable difficulty the type was set, only to be destroyed by bombs, together with the manuscript.

It was not until 1948 that we were able to start work again, and from then until his death in 1952 Dr Kinsky gave us unstinted support. Then followed several years in which we knocked in vain at the doors of Austrian and German publishers. But, thanks to the friendly intervention of Mr H. C. Robbins Landon, to whom we owe a great debt of gratitude, the firm Barrie and Rockliff, London, decided to accept the manuscript. So after forty-eight years of preparation the first edition of Gluck's collected letters has at last appeared. In order to complete the picture, we have included . . .

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