Dating the English editions

The English Chopin editions pose certain difficulties because the registration dates at Stationers’ Hall frequently do not coincide with actual publication dates for the reasons discussed earlier. It is therefore essential to compare registration dates with those from the musical press and as inscribed on individual scores at the time of deposit in the British Museum. Inferences about publication dates based solely on the registers of the Stationers’ Hall tend to lack historical validity and to oversimplify the chronology of the English publications adumbrated in Tables 14 & 15.

All but two of the dates from the musical press in Table 14 come from respective first publication announcements[1] in The Musical World; given the relative dearth of other sources prior to 1836,[2] the exceptions are the date proposed for Op. 11, which appears in a review published in The Musical Magazine, and that for Op. 15, taken from The New Music Magazine. Where lacunae occur in the Stationers’ Hall registers, the British Museum (i.e. British Library) collection or the musical press, recourse has been made to the dates in Brown (1960, 1972)[3] and Chomiński and Turło (1990). Commentary is provided in the main body of the catalogue about several especially problematic dates (see, e.g., 1–1-W, 5–1-W, 28/1-14–1-W).

[1] A handful of acquisition advertisements appeared in The Musical World as follows:

  • 26 September 1839: Op. 28
  • 27 January 1842: Opp. 44–49, with the indication ‘In the Press’ but no sale price. Wessel thus gave notice of the forthcoming publication of six new Chopin works of which four were mentioned by name (Opp. 45 & 48 are absent from the list).
  • 11 August 1842: Op. 50, with the indication ‘In the Press’ but no sale price
  • 1 August 1846: Opp. 60–62, with the indication ‘Now Publishing’ but no sale price.

[2] The earlier periodical referred to by Brown, i.e. The Musical Library (see Brown 1972: xiii, note 2), contains no relevant information.

[3] Brown (1972) specifies when the editions of Opp. 52–56 were first advertised – hence the references to ‘first publication announcement’ (i.e. FPA) in Table 14.