Publications of Maurice Schlesinger

Between 1832 and 1845, Chopin brought out the majority of his works with this important Paris music publisher, on only two occasions taking his business elsewhere. A quarrel alienated the two men in 183940, whereupon Chopin succumbed to Camille Pleyel’s promise of better conditions which in fact never materialised. As his correspondence reveals,[1] Chopin regretted forsaking Schlesinger at this time, and once the two were reconciled he remained committed to him until his eventual retirement from music publishing.

The editions of this firm are well represented in the Annotated Catalogue, despite the lack of deposit copies in several cases. The resultant lacunae were nevertheless redressed thanks in large part to the BnF’s acquisition of the former collec­tions of Camille Dubois-O’Meara and Jane Stirling.

As Table 1 reveals (see Music text), the music text of nu­merous Schlesinger editions of Chopin was refined subsequent to their initial publication, in each case in a single ‘corrected reprint’ that almost certainly was initiated at Chopin’s behest. The works in question include a significant proportion of those shown in Table 1, i.e. Opp. 9, 10, 13, 18, 21, 23, 25, 26, 33, Op. 34 Nos. 1 & 3, Opp. 44, 4649, 52 and 54–56, and the Etudes from Méthode des Méthodes. Altogether new engravings were undertaken only in the case of works which had initially been published in either an album (Op. 45, Op. 50 No. 1) or an anthology (Etudes from Méthode des Méthodes).

A sizeable number of impressions – namely of Opp. 24, 26, 29, 30, 33 & 51 – were produced by means of lithographic transfer for the subscribers to Schlesinger’s journal; lithography (or possibly lithographic transfer) was also used to prepare two albums published in quantity (see 45–1-Sm, 50/1–2-Sm). Colour appears in two of Schlesinger’s Chopin editions: Op. 45 (see +45–1-Sm) and a special impression of Op. 30 (see 30–1a-Sm) which most likely was released in the Album du Pianiste 1838, of which no surviving copies have been traced. Nor has it been possible to locate one other an­thology which contained works by Chopin and which is known only through press announcements: Album des Pianistes 1836 (Mazurkas Op. 24).[2]

[1] See Chopin’s letter to Fontana of 10 August 1839 in KFC 1955: i/353–354.

[2] Announcements of the publication of the 1836 and 1838 albums appeared in the RGMP. The copies of the 1833, 1834 and 1838 albums are described respectively under +9–1-Sm, 15–1a-Sm, 34/1–1-Sm, 34/2–1-Sm and 34/3–1-Sm.