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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 4 Editions of Chopin’s works: the analytical perspective


1. Premises and contexts of analysis In the previous chapter, I discussed nineteenth-century Chopin editions from the diachronic perspective, looking at the evolution over time and space of a large body of editions, interrelated as a series of originals and replicas, function- ing on the musical market chiefly according to laws of supply and demand� In the present chapter, I offer a synchronic insight into selected editions seen as a closed whole� I focus on their detailed filiation, namely on indicating the s ources of a given edition’s text, and on philological analysis: the establishment of the s cop e and charac ter of re v is ions introduced into that text� After quantitative aspects, therefore, this chapter focuses on qualitative ones, summarised in the question of w hat , how, and w hy a given edition changed in Chopin’s musi- cal text� In particular, my analysis aims at indicating: 1� What sources, compositional (autographs, original editions, students’ copies) and contemporary (other editions), were used by the editor in preparing the musical text, with special emphasis on the latter’s relationship to the existing original editions, French, German and English, between which, as we know, there existed significant discrepancies, as well as emphasis on the place of that given edition in the historical series of dynamically interrelated Chopin editions; 2� Whether the editor’s work was more source-driven (based on selecting com- positional sources in order to a establish a “best text”) or critical (introducing the editor’s own revisions and additions based on...

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