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Editions of Chopin’s Works in the Nineteenth Century

Aspects of Reception History


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 3. Editions of Chopin’s works: the historical perspective


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Chapter 3 Editions of Chopin’s works: the historical perspective

1. Legal and economic context of music editing in the nineteenth century

1.1 Quantitative context: circulation

One of the major issues in nineteenth-century musical editions studies is economics. There are no extensive studies on the circulation of those editions nor on the scale of benefits they could offer publishers and composers. This state of affairs stems largely from a lack of extant documentation (accounting books of publishing houses, stock registers of printers, and so forth). Victoria Cooper writes:

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