Publications of A. M. Schlesinger and successor (Robert Lienau)

It is possible that Chopin met Adolph Martin Schlesinger in 1828 during a trip to Berlin.[1] In collaboration with his son Maurice (based in Paris), Schlesinger published the Grand Duo Concertant, Nocturnes Op. 32, Rondo Op. 1 and Méthode des Méthodes; he also brought out the posthumous editions of Opp. 66–73 and Op. 74 in 1855 and 1859 respectively. Schlesinger’s successor Robert Lienau eventually acquired five additional Chopin works from Friedländer/Peters and Haslinger.[2]

It should be noted that the opus numbers generally used to refer to the posthumous works are attributable not to their editor, Julian Fontana, but to the publisher.[3] The latter also appears to have held the English rights to these works, in that a copy of Schlesinger’s first impression of Opp. 66–73 was deposited at Stationers’ Hall in keeping with Article II of the 1846 treaty between Prussia and England, as explicitly stated on two of the half-titles of the volume in question.[4]

Apart from two copies (see Posth–1a-Sam and  Posth–1b-Sam (PL-Wn copy)), each volume of the posthumous works features a lithographed portrait of Chopin along with a short text indicating the dates and places of his birth and death, in addition to facsimiles of his signature and the first six bars of the autograph of Op. 62 No. 1.[5] This decorative lithograph exists in several versions distinguished not only by the portraits (derived respectively from those of Ary Scheffer and Nicolas-Eustache Maurin (see Posth–1c-Sam)) but also by differences in Chopin's date of birth.[6] It is likely that the date was changed to correspond to the one given in the accompanying essay by Julian Fontana, which categorically stated that Chopin was born on 1 March 1809.[7] The location of Fontana's text varied in different versions of the posthumous works: in volumes comprising the entire set, it was placed immediately after the series title page and before the music text, whereas in the separate editions, it appeared at the end of each score (except 66–3b-Sam), thus explaining its designation in this catalogue as either ‘preface’ or ‘postscript’. There are two slightly different versions of Fontana's essay, differentiated only by the position of the publisher's note (i.e. ‘Anmerkung’ and ‘Notice’) on the second page.[8]

Schlesinger re-engraved his Chopin editions with some frequency, first and foremost Op. 32 No. 1 and Op. 66, each of which appeared in four distinct editions, while three engravings of Op. 32 No. 2 were made. Op. 71 No. 1, the Etudes from Méthode des Méthodes and the Songs Op. 74 all came out in two editions, in the latter two cases with the new plate numbers S. 2423 (see MM–2-Sam), S. 6669 (version of Op. 74 for soprano or tenor) and S. 6670 (version of Op. 74 for alto or baritone).[9] A more selective approach was taken with the Waltzes Op. 69: in the first impression of the second edition, three pages were produced using the original plates (see 69–2-Sam), whereas in the following impression only two original pages remain (see 69–2a-Sam).

The evolution of the music text within the Schlesinger prints was often extensive, above all in the successive editions of Op. 32. An especially bold revision was made to Op. 32 No. 1: in all editions subsequent to the first, the piece ends in B major rather than the original B minor – an editorial intervention without philological or musical justification.[10]

Numerous Schlesinger title pages warrant discussion. The scores of Opp. 1 & 32 and the Etudes from Méthode des Méthodes were initially available with individual TPs and then with three different STPs, each of which exists in several versions. The Posthumous Works originally contained a unique STP, but from the mid-1860s they were assimilated into larger collections with correspondingly different title pages. Chopin and Liszt have equal status on one of them (OEUVRES DE PIANO.|FRANCOIS LISZT.|FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN.). A list of all of the Chopin compositions published by Schlesinger (Lienau) appears on the STP OEUVRES|DE|FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN, including not only the original versions but also copious transcriptions. The first incarnation of this title page was in c. 1874, i.e. prior to acquisition of the Haslinger scores, although all but one of the latter appear on the following two versions of the STP.[11]

Schlesinger also published separate editions of the constituent works within the multipartite opuses on his Chopin list. The Nocturnes Op. 32 were originally released individually and only later came out in a single edition.[12] The opposite approach was taken in the case of the Etudes from Méthode des Méthodes and Opp. 59, 67–70 & 72, each of which was initially published in a volume containing the entire opus, as against the separate editions sold from 1871.[13] As for the Songs Op. 74, these were produced both separately and in a single volume from the start, likewise the Polish first edition published by Gebethner, for which Schlesinger’s firm prepared the plates (see Poland under ‘Chopin’s publishers’).

Colour was used by Schlesinger for only one ITP (see 32/1–1b-Sam) in addition to the title pages and wrappers of the albums containing the Nocturnes Op. 32 (32/1–1-Sam, 32–1a-Sam, 32/2–1-Sam). Lithographic transfer was regularly employed for the reprints published from 1865 onwards.

Versions 2 & 3 of the STP OEUVRES|DE|FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN as well as Schlesinger’s 1890 catalogue (held by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich) confirm that reprints of the Variations on a German National Air were published after 1874, although no copies thereof have been located. The 1890 catalogue also reveals that after 1879 Lienau continued to market all of the Chopin first editions originally released by Schlesinger and Haslinger.[14] A number of these might have been commercially available even after the turn of the century.

[1] Nevertheless, in a letter to his family of 16 September 1828 (KFC 1955: i/82), Chopin wrote: ‘I would have preferred to spend the morning at Schlesinger’s [shop] rather than stroll through the thirteen rooms of the zoological exhibition. The exhibition is of course a delight, but the music-shop I’ve referred to would have been of greater use to me.’ The regret expressed here leads one to surmise that before leaving Berlin Chopin may not have seen Schlesinger. (All translations are ours unless otherwise indicated.)

[2] Reprints of the edition of Op. 59 acquired from Peters bear a new plate number, S. 6071, whereas those of the editions from the Haslinger list – Opp. 2 & 4, Hexameron and (probably) the Variations on a German National Air – preserve their original plate numbers. Lienau also retained the original name of the firm, adding his own alongside it in round brackets; thus the TPs of the editions acquired from Haslinger refer to Schlesinger even though he himself had no role in their publication.

[3] Previously, in 1834, Schlesinger had taken the initiative without consulting Chopin to assign an opus number (i.e. ‘Op. 15’) to the Grand Duo Concertant (see GDC–1a-Sam). In the 1846 catalogue cited in note 9 under Wrappers and covers the Etudes from Méthode des Méthodes are designated as Op. 32a.

[4] See Posth–1-Sam (half-titles of Op. 70 and Op. 71 No. 1) and also the wrappers of the later reprints classified under 70–1b-Sam (D-Bds copy), 71/1–1a-Sam and 71/1–2-Sam (US-Wc copy). Note that the TPs of several other editions produced in Germany also refer to registration at Stationers’ Hall (see 74–1-G, 74–1-Sam, MEG–1-B&B, MazC–1-SCH, PolG-–1-SCH, PolG#m–1-SCH, WaltzEm–1d-SCH and their consecutive reprints), despite which it appears that copies of these were never actually deposited, in that none of the exemplars held by the British Library was obtained through legal deposit (indeed, all were acquired at a much later date).

[5] The six bars were extracted from the autograph Stichvorlage of the French first edition. In addition of some ‘tidying’ whereby material crossed out by Chopin was removed, this facsimile diverges in several respects from the original (compare Posth–1-Sam in CFEO and 62/1–A1-Stichvorlage in OCVE).

[6] Either ‘Geb. in Zelazowa-Wola bei Warschau im Jahre 1810.’ (e.g. Posth–1-Sam in CFEO), or ‘Geb. d. 1 März in Zelazowa-Wola bei Warschau im Jahre 1809.’ (e.g. 'Frédéric Chopin/d'après le portrait d'Ary Scheffer').

[7] See e.g. the first note in Posth–1-Sam in CFEO.

[8] For the first version see e.g. US-Cu: M32.C54 M585 c.1; for the second see e.g. US-Cu: M25.C54 F21 c.1.

[9] These two volumes of Op. 74, produced in octavo format, were part of a larger-scale repackaging of various Schlesinger editions. Note for example the three volumes published in 11–12/1872 (MlM): Opp. 67–70 (plate number S. 6666); Opp. 1, 71 & 73, and Op. 74 No. 17 (for solo piano; plate number S. 6667); and Opp. 32 & 66, Funeral March Op. 72, Etudes from Méthode des Méthodes (plate number S. 6668); similarly the new versions of Op. 74 with Polish and English texts which were released in March 1880 (MlM), once again in octavo format.

[10] This inventive ‘correction’ was taken up in later reprints of the English edition (see 32/1–1h-W, 32–1i-A&P, 32/1–1j-A&P).

[11] Hexameron was omitted. For further information about the Schlesinger STPs see Appendix I.

[12] The price of the volume is already present on the TPs of 32/1–1e-Sam and 32/2–1b-Sam, although no copies have been located of the entire opus comprising the first editions of each nocturne. The oldest complete set catalogued here contains their respective second editions (see 32–1-Sam, 32–1a-Sam); 32–2-Sam is based on their third editions, while 32–3-Sam combines the fourth engraving of No. 1 and the third of No. 2. Each of these versions forms a rather eclectic whole in terms of the CTs and pagination.

[13] In August 1871 MlM announced the publication in separate editions of Opp. 67–70 & 72.

[14] In the early 1880s Schlesinger (Lienau) released another edition of Chopin’s music, in 13 volumes: Friedrich Chopin’s Werke. Instructive Ausgabe mit erlauternden Anmerkungen und Fingersatz von Dr. Theodor KULLAK.