Dimension: 24 x 16.5 x 3.5 cm
||The Letters of Samuel Wesley: Professional and Social
Correspondence, 1797-1837. Edited by Philip Olleson.
||Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. lxiii+516p.
Hard back. Price: £75.
University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, UK.
||Compilation of letters written by Samuel Wesley from
the age of 31 until his death. With critical commentary by the editor
||227, 232, 525-530, 538, 552, 633-4, 654, 664, 676, 680,
691, 706, 711, 846-893, 898, 988, 1001-1006, 1014-19, Anh.III 167.
||Scholars specialized in the reception history of Bach's
works in England in the early 19th century.
||Very significant in this field of the English Bach movement
||he significance of Samuel Wesley’s contribution to the Bach movement
in England in the first decade of the 19th century is indisputable, as
I outlined in a separate review of Samuel
Wesley (1766-1837): A Source Book by Michael Kassler and Philip
Olleson (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2001).
One can naturally assume that this book by Olleson, one of the authors
of the above-mentioned book, is largely based on the same sources; all
the historical facts—including those potentially contentious cases—are
interpreted in the same way, as far as I can see. It is therefore important to distinguish the
differences between them whether or not we should consult either of them
or both when examining this area of research.
There is also a short biographical sketch of Wesley’s Bach awakening and his various
activities promoting Bach’s music (pp. xxxviii-xli). From this one may catch
a glimpse of what one can learn from the surviving Wesley letters. In closing,
his superb index should be mentioned, too. The Bach entries were found in pp. 484-485, and
from just glancing over these two pages one can
learn what works of Bach Wesley was interested in and what musical activities
were associated with the respective works.
and Cue Titles
Undatable Letters, c.1806-1837
| reproduces the text of Wesley’s letter in original
||Firstly, the most important difference is the style of presentation:
unlike the ‘Source Book’ (which presents each document in the form of a
summary), this book reproduces the text of Wesley’s letter in original
form, with numerous footnotes explaining the quotations and allusions that
may be behind Wesley’s writing as well as the context required to understand
Wesley’s message, which is excellent. It thus occupies much more space on paper for each
document than the Source Book.
Secondly, Olleson basically limits to his collection of Wesley letters
to those written by Wesley himself for his professional correspondence
(while the Source Book aims to describe a more comprehensive collection of
letters and documents beyond his professional activities). Footnotes are used extensively to explain the background
of the letter, including the letters that are received by Wesley, and in
this regard we cannot say that this book is less comprehensive than the
These two books are in fact complementary to each other: while the Source
Book is a more useful tool to start looking into historical records of this
area, this book will serve our needs better when we examine Wesley’s letters
Published online on 24 February 2002