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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


77 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 eco- nomics� 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: Almost completely unexplored, however, is the publisher’s role in the dissemination of the work� How have publishers struck a balance between their perception of the market and the actual demand? To appreciate such financial stargazing, we must locate and analyse the business documents that chronicle a firm’s practices� In the absence of such records, publishers are judged by the insufficient data supplied by correspondence and catalogue advertisements� The lack of primary source material has critically limited studies of music publishers and their relationship to society� Without quantitative data, it is almost impossible to gauge either a publisher’s anticipation of the demand for a particular work or the reality of the demand� Such records are quite rare, and have not often been evaluated in financial terms�95 Newest research allows for an approximation of the European market of musi- cal editions� According to an article published in May 1839 in the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung, 2588 musical works were published in Germany during...

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