Publications of Troupenas

Chopin’s strained relations with Schlesinger and Pleyel left him in the awkward position of having no French publisher just when he needed one in order to keep pace with the German editions of several works then being prepared in Leipzig. Under pressure of time he turned to Troupenas, ceding the rights to Opp. 35–41 in March 1840 and to the Tarantella Op. 43 a few months later. It is hardly surprising that in these circumstances the French editions of Opp. 35–37 were hastily produced; indeed, Troupenas barely had time to engrave the music text between signing the contract in late March[1] and depositing a copy of each in mid-May. His solution was to deposit uncorrected proofs of Opp. 35 & 37 rather than finished copies, while Op. 36, registered at the same time, was in a more advanced state but still far from definitive. The fact that Opp. 38, 40 & 41 were also deposited at proof stage is harder to explain, given that in principle Troupenas had more than five months to prepare these editions – unless Chopin was late in submitting his manuscripts to the publisher.[2]

All of this helps to explain the relatively poor state of the music text in Troupenas’ first impressions and thus the need for their ongoing refinement, a process that can be discerned from successive entries within this catalogue. One corrected reprint each of the Scherzo Op. 39 and the Polonaises Op. 40 appeared on the market, while the editions of the Impromptu Op. 36, Nocturnes Op. 37, Ballade Op. 38 and Mazurkas Op. 41 were twice revised. As for the Sonata Op. 35, no fewer than three stages of correction occurred between the proofs and the definitive version of the edition. Only Troupenas’ score of the Tarantella Op. 43 remained unchanged after its initial publication. Shortly after Chopin’s death Troupenas brought out newly engraved versions of the third and fourth movements of the Sonata Op. 35.

[1] In a letter of 23 April 1840, Chopin informed Fontana of the recent acquisition by Troupenas of Opp. 35–41; see KFC 1955: ii/8. Probst confirmed as much in his letter to Breitkopf & Härtel of 25 March 1840; see Lenneberg 1990: 73.

[2] Apart from the proof copies deposited by Troupenas (see above), only two other proofs of Chopin first editions can be located at present: see 10/2–0-Sm and 42–0-P.