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Editions of Chopin’s Works in the Nineteenth Century

Aspects of Reception History

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Wojciech Bońkowski

This book presents the editions of Chopin’s works as cultural texts and gives account of the main events in their reception history. Based on a new typology and an overview of copyright and economics, 140 editions evidence a dominance of a few popular works and genres (nocturnes, mazurkas, waltzes) and two distinctive tendencies in editing: academic (historical-monumental) and popular (salon & entertainment music). Four case studies research real-life typology, reprints, edition filiation, and the use of compositional sources. The author addresses edition aesthetics, from musical work ontology through national aspects of reception and recontextualisation strategies to the role of women in Chopin editing and axiological aspects of editions. The appendix includes forewords to major Chopin editions.
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Chapter 2. Editions of Chopin’s works: sources and typology

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Chapter 2 Editions of Chopin’s works: sources and typology

1. Chopin editions in the nineteenth and twentieth century. State of research

Editions of Chopin’s works in the second half of the nineteenth century make up a very rich body of sources. The multitude and dispersal of those sources is a challenge to research. On the one hand, the large number of editorial realisations of the works of Chopin and other leading composers in the nineteenth century is a testimony to the developed market of printed music in Europe’s principal cultural centres, an aspect directly linked to dynamic concert life, the popularity of home music-making and informal concerts. On the other hand, it confirms the special success of Chopin’s music compared to other composers of that time, while also reflecting how much the reception of his output changed through the second half of the nineteenth century, triggering the emergence of numerous reprints and (more importantly) edited versions of Chopin’s piano works. As such, nineteenth-century Chopin editing constitutes a coherent and complete cultural “text,” a faithful reflection of nineteenth-century musical culture and its many detailed phenomena. The historical and analytical perspective on this body of sources is discussed in Chapters 3 and 4, respectively; the present chapter orders and classifies that material.

My research has revealed a body of over one hundred forty nineteenth-century editions of Chopin’s works: editions of complete works; larger and smaller partial editions, encompassing entire genres or a number...

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