Dating the French editions

Tables 5–7 present a range of information which potentially sheds light on when each edition was pub­lished and which impression was truly the first.[1] This information has been compiled from the following sources:

  dépôt légal registers (available from 1842 onwards; earlier ones have been lost)
  title pages of scores from the former Conservatoire collection (now held by the BnF)
  BnF registers in which all scores from the dépôt légal were catalogued upon assimilation into the BnF’s own collection
  Bibliographie de la France – an official periodical established by decree on 14 October 1811
  advertisements in the Paris musical and general press: Journal des débats politiques et littéraires (Opp. 2, 6–9, 12, 15), Revue musicale (Opp. 10, 11; Grand Duo Concertant), Le Pianiste (Op. 19), Revue et Gazette musicale de Paris (Opp. 1, 13, 14, 16–18, 20–34, 4465; Méthode des Méthodes; Mazurka dedicated to Emile Gaillard), La France Musicale (Opp. 3541, 43; Hexameron; Mazurka from La France Musicale).

Different types of information can be gleaned from the press advertisements. Those for Opp. 1, 2 & 6–8 are the first announcements of these works, appearing some time after their initial publication, while those for Opp. 10–19, 21–23, 25–27, 31, 32, 3541 & 4362 proclaim the recent appearance of an edition or indicate its imminent release. Some advertisements confirm when a work was published either in a supplement to the RGMP (Opp. 20, 24, 29, 30, 33) or within the albums of Maurice Schlesinger (Opp. 9, 15, 34, 45). The advertisement for the Mazurkas Op. 50 anticipated the edi­tion’s publication by nearly ten months, whereas for Opp. 6365 a similar announcement appeared only weeks in advance.

To establish the true publication date of a French edition, one must take all available evidence into account. In the vast majority of cases, the information in the registers of the dépôt légal and the BnF proves to be the most reliable. As for works which were not deposited and for which press announcements either post-dated actual publication by a long period (Opp. 1, 2, 6–9) or simply do not exist (Opp. 5, 42), other sources such as publishers’ catalogues, Chopin’s corre­spondence, the dates inscribed by the composer on title pages and so on must be consulted, which is how some of the information under the heading ‘Publication’ in Table 5 was derived.

Opp. 22, 23, 26, 37, 41, 63 & 64 were deposited twice. It is noteworthy that more than seven months elapsed between the second registration of Opp. 63 & 64 and deposit of the scores,[2] and furthermore that on the TPs of the BnF scores from this second deposit the stamp ‘1847’ can be found. Examination of the BnF’s registers confirms that a persistent error affected a sizeable number of scores (nos. 459–501 in the registers), which, despite having been catalogued in late 1848, all bear the same incorrect date stamp.

[1] Tables 3, 58, 1012, 14, 15, 17 & 19 cite only those editions presumed to have appeared first or which were published more or less simulta­neously with the former. The abbreviated dates in all of the tables and throughout the entire Annotated Catalogue Online appear in one of two formats: either day/month/year (e.g. 26/4/1834) or month/year (e.g. 4/1834). A range of months within a given year takes the form ‘y–z/18XX’, where y and z represent the months in question.

[2] The titles were registered on 23 March 1848, whereas the copies themselves were deposited on 13 November that year. Curiously, the TP and music text of the deposit copy of the Mazurkas Op. 63 are earlier versions of those in the first deposit copy.