[VARIOUS AUTHORS].
FOR CHURCHES WITHOUT A CHOIR
[VARIOUS AUTHORS]. A COLLECTION OF SACRED MUSIC designed principally for the use of Churches which sing without a Choir: from the most approved Authors …
Albany: Published by E. F. Backus … Utica: Printed typographically by William Williams … 1817.  
8vo (221 × 140 mm) in half-sheets, pp. [4], iv, [5]–67, [1] index; wood-engraved title vignette; additional words for a third verse of one hymn (p. 22) in early ms. ink; lightly browned due to paper stock; small stain in the lower margin, old waterstain to the first few leaves at head, small piece of upper margin of title cut away; contemporary quarter sheep and marbled boards, rubbed, corners worn, some surface wear; early ink ownership inscription of Rockwell Prit[??] (dated 1817) to the first page of music, later crossed out and replaced by ownership inscription of John D. Mann (the date changed to 1820), likewise on title-page.
First edition: ‘to furnish congregations who sing without a choir, with appropriate tunes’. Containing sixty-nine hymns, the book provides excellent insight into what music would have been heard and performed in smaller nineteenth-century New England churches. ‘A few of these tunes were composed by American authors; but most of them are from the pens of European Masters [e.g. Arne, Burney, Greene, Handel, Purcell]. They are printed in the octavo form, because it is thought the most convenient … It was intended to arrange the tunes alphabetically: but it was found that the book would contain more than was anticipated, and the arrangement was interrupted … Few books will be found to contain more music, in a smaller space, or at a less price’ (Preface).
Shaw & Shoemaker 40519; John Camp Williams, An Oneida County Printer: William Williams, Printer, Publisher, Editor, with a Bibliography of the Press at Utica (1906), p. 74.
£300   
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