Publications of J. Meissonnier and successors (J. Meissonnier fils, Compagnie Musicale, E. Gérard et Cie)

Chopin turned to Jean Meissonnier in mid-1845 when his principal Paris publisher, Maurice Schlesinger, was winding up his business affairs, and it was for this reason that the former brought out the Berceuse Op. 57 and Sonata Op. 58. A decade later, in 1855, Meissonnier’s son similarly took charge of the publication of Chopin’s Posthumous Works after Brandus withdrew from the project. His edition – which remained on the market for over thirty years[1] – was sold both as a volume and as separate works; it featured no fewer than fifteen versions of the same STP, of which the first eight were in colour. In April 1887 the Posthumous Works were acquired by Heugel, who rapidly released a corrected version printed from the original plates but with new plate numbers (H. 8329–H. 8336) within Marmontel’s Edition classique series. The Fantaisie-Impromptu Op. 66 was also published in the Album des Pianistes released by the Compagnie Musicale in 1859, of which only one copy (held in a private collection) had been traced to date.[2]

Lithographic transfer was used in the case of only three works published by Meissonnier’s successors, namely Opp. 66, 67 & 69 (see +66–1a*-COM, 67–1a*-COM and the impressions from 66–1b-GE to 66–1i-GE, as well as 69–1d-GE).

[1] In the 1880s the Posthumous Works were the subject of a lawsuit filed by Gérard against Breitkopf & Härtel, which had tried to sell these pieces in France through the machinations of their agent Durdilly. Gérard attempted to gain control of this edition in a legal process that lasted several years, including an appeal; he died, however, before a final judgement was reached. The ultimate decision, pronounced on 22 November 1888, confirmed that protection of Opp. 66–73 would continue until June 1891.

[2] Publication of this album was announced in the RGMP (25 December 1859, p. 436).