Vintage Book on Beethoven by Frederick Corder

Vintage Book on Beethoven by Frederick Corder

Here is vintage book on Ludwig van Beethoven I have in my collection. It has a soft cardboard cover and the pages are thick, almost like card. From reading about the author (who passed in 1932) I am guessing that this book dates from the 1920s or very early 1930s. It seems too old in style to be  a later dated reprint, and indeed no mention of a reprint is in there, nor a date of publication. It cost 1/6 at the time, and me £1.55.

corder cover

Here is a pensive looking Beethoven facing the frontispiece:

Ludwig from old book.edited

The book is full of charming line drawings. Here is the first page:


Beethoven’s Music Room:

music room

Discussion on the 7th and 8th Symphonies:



On Beethoven’s greatness as a composer:



Characteristics of Beethoven’s Music:

his music

The end paper has this drawing:


Wikipedia entry on Frederick Corder:


The Music Lover’s Portfolio- charming vintage folio

The Music Lover’s Portfolio- charming vintage folio

Two weeks ago I was walking past a second hand bookshop ( the building dates from the late eighteenth century). Outside there is always a couple of bookshelves with reduced priced books- 50p- £1.00. On the 50p stand I found this rare and charming gem:

music book

It is very big, so it didn’t fit fully on the scanner, but you can see its beautiful gold embossed title and pale blue cover.

Inside its first owner, an M. Porter made a contents page, which has been written in one of those lovely old dip ink pens:


It is a collection of music magazines, or folios that have been bound by hand. It dates from the 1920s. The articles are interesting, and discuss ways to play a piece of music, or how to sing a vocal works like Mozart’s Non Piu Andrai.

Here is one rather Lisztian looking character, who took my interest-   Vladimir De Pachmann:


He was by all accounts a rather flamboyant pianist. Born in the Ukraine in 1848, and of Russian-German heritage, Vladimir was well known for his playing of Frederic Chopin’s music and an eccentric style of playing. Of interest to me was the fact that Vladimir’s father was a violinist and had once met Ludwig van Beethoven and Carl Maria von Weber! Vladimir was one of the first pianists to record himself playing piano; firstly in 1906 for the the Welte-Mignon reproducing piano, and then in 1907 for the gramophone.

Here is a recording dating from 1923 of Vladimir playing Chopin’s Nocturne in B Major:

I just love vintage recordings like this! I love the background noise, the crackles….what many people today would see as imperfections ( used to the at times almost clinical sound of digital recordings on CD) I find atmospheric, warm and evocative. Their time is almost immortal, we hear exactly what they heard, can be transported back to those very moments.

Here is an online index of documents (articles, reviews, book excerpts, programs, etc.)  about  Vladimir de Pachmann .

 The article in my folio is listed being from 1922! Here is the article :

 I wonder how many pianists followed his ideas?

Here is another recording of Vladimir playing Chopin- this time the Etude in C Minor:


Beethoven-A Documentary Study compiled and edited by H.C Robbins Landon

Beethoven-A Documentary Study compiled and edited by H.C Robbins Landon.


Published 1970.

This is a book is one of my favourites in my Beethoven book collection- it is full of contemporary sources- letters, diaries and anecdotes from Beethoven’s friends and contemporaries and the great man himself. It is lavishly illustrated throughout ( portraits of Beethoven and those of his friends, places he lived, visited etc..), many in colour.

The pictures and anecdotes bring a vivid and immediate snapshot of Beethoven:



(Note: meaning the French army, not the French people in general- having once being told to play for soldiers at a dinner given by Prince Lichnowsky which annoyed him, so he left)

An unusual pencil drawing of Beethoven, by Ludwig Schnorr von Carolsfield, 1808/1809, seen side on, which gives a different impression than the usual portraits. If you look at the drawing, his expressions seem to change- one moment he is thoughtful, the next his mouth sets in determination, then amusements flickers in his eyes and the corner of his mouth..a fascinating image of him indeed! It is also interesting as we can see in 1808/1809 he still had the fashionable short hair, sideburns and flicked up fringe. He would have been 38-39 years old.

B drawing

Robbins Landon says in the book, that the artist was very famous at that time, and the drawing was done in the Malfatti family’s sketchbook, now sadly “disappeared.”. The author doesn’t say how it was lost, nor who last owned this drawing. I am presuming that this is a photograph of the drawing- maybe it is hidden in a drawer somewhere and will one day be found…

The Pianoforte- vintage book

The Pianoforte- vintage book.

pianobookThis is a  book I bought last week, for just £3, from a second hand bookshop. The bookshop itself is of interest as the building dates from the late eighteenth century. I love old bookshops- they are charming and one never knows what gems are sitting on those shelves…

The book dates from 1966, and documents the history of the pianoforte, and early keyboards. It also has some interesting chapters on famous composers and their playing styles.  There are some nice black and white photos of some beautiful instruments:

piano pic

Some links in the chain of music:


Beethoven teaches Carl Czerny:



Beethoven piano

Victorian edition of essays and letters by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Victorian edition of essays and letters by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Here is another marvellous find to add to my antique/vintage book collection- an 1886 edition of Mr Shelley’s essays and letters. I found it in a charity bookshop who give books away for FREE!


shelley title page


Of course, I was very pleased to find this little gem! Some of the pages are loose, and have come away from the spine, so I am being careful with it. I shall look into the correct way to seal them back into the book- sellotape is a no no with antique books.


Mr Shelley was rather the revolutionary in his thinking for the times he lived in- a vegetarian and  atheist, and so I assume whoever bought this book back in 1886 was rather liberal. I wonder who he/she was and where this book was bought, where it has been from 1886 until now- how many owners and readers has it had?

Below is Shelley’s Declaration of Rights, written in Dublin, 1812. How pertinent some of these statements are for us today! And how sad that still, humankind is warring and discriminating against each other.

Man, whatever his country, has the same rights in one place as another- the rights of universal citizenship.

The government of a country ought to be perfectly indifferent to every opinion. Religious differences, the bloodiest and most rancorous of all, spring from partiality.

A Christian, a Deist, a Turk, and a Jew, have equal rights: they are men and brethren.

No man has a right to be respected for any other possessions but those of virtue and talents. Titles are tinsel, power a corruptor, glory a bubble, and excessive wealth a libel on its possessor.





I did my best to scan and take photos of the text-( I had to be careful with the book laying it on the scanner due to the loose pages and delicate spine). if it is too blurry to read here the Declaration is online:

Vintage biography of Frederic Chopin

                  Vintage biography of Frederic Chopin


This was part of the Masters Musicians series. Originally published in 1947; this edition is from 1978. Another of my second hand book store buys. It’s in excellent condition.


Here is a lovely vintage photograph of Chopin’s cottage ( where he was born ) as it was in 1946:


                     And a portrait of Frederic from the book:


Charming vintage children’s book- Introducing Beethoven

Charming vintage children’s book- Introducing Beethoven.


This little book, published in 1963,  is quite a rare edition, which I got for 10p at a second hand book store about 3 years ago. It has line drawings throughout  by  J.J Crockford ( who i can’t find anything about online). It was one of the first books in my Beethoven collection; despite it being for children it is appealing to adults too- full of anecdotes about Ludwig’s life and character: