ORPHEUS. A Collection of Glees, of the most admired German Composers … Book 1[–12] …
London. Novello, Ewer & Co. … [after 1867].  
12 vols, each comprising four separate partbooks and bound in four volumes, one for each voice, lettered A–D, oblong 8vo (133 × 190 mm); each partbook pp. 12; lithographed throughout; a few leaves loose at the beginning of some volumes, where the original adhesive has perished; original publisher’s polished maroon half morocco and moiré cloth, gilt morocco labels to upper boards.
The first series, complete in twelve books (comprising 82 songs), of a popular collection: ‘This Work has been long known and appreciated as the only Collection of German Part-Songs in England’ (contemporary advertisement). Three other series were issued, totalling over 200 songs in 42 volumes. Composers include Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Spohr, and Weber. The publishing programme was originally Ewer’s (c.1835–58). When Novello acquired the business in 1867, and with it the copyright to Mendelssohn’s works, they decided to reissue the series, at a new price: ‘Moderate as the price has hitherto been, the new Proprietors have resolved to place these admired Compositions still further within the reach of all who love Choral Part-Music; and it will in future be issued therefore as 2s. instead of 3s. 6d. a Book’ (ibid.). They also issued a reduced piano score of the songs, not preserved in this set.
Of the Novello edition, COPAC locates copies at Sheffield (Books 1–12, as here) and Bodley (a complete run of 42 books). WorldCat adds those at UCLA (Books 1–21), Illinois (details unknown), Melbourne (Books 1–36), and the Newberry (Books 1–16).
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