Publications of Mechetti and successors (C. A. Spina, F. Schreiber, A. Cranz)

Chopin’s correspondence reveals that he made initial contact with Pietro Mechetti during his second and more extended stay in Vienna in 1830–31. Just before embarking for Paris in July 1831,[1] he gave Mechetti the Polonaise Op. 3, which was published in November that year. Only after a lengthy delay did the Musikalisch-literarischer Monatsbericht refer to its appearance, in the issue of May/June 1832. In July 1836, an arrangement for piano and violin of Op. 3 was released, and on this occasion the publisher amended the TP to refer to this new format while also taking the opportunity to make numerous corrections to the music text of both the piano and the cello parts (see 3–1a-ME). Publication of the new version was promptly announced in both MlM and the local press.

Some years later Chopin entrusted three other compositions to Mechetti, namely Opp. 44, 45 & 50. The TPs of the first two opuses were printed in a range of different colours. The first impression of Op. 45 was included in an album intended to raise funds for the construction of the Beethoven monument in Bonn; a later reprint (see 45–1d-ME) has a title page skilfully combining elements from the original one and that of Op. 44.

After Mechetti’s death, the firm changed hands three times. The modification of Op. 3’s plate number to ‘11048’ was probably undertaken by Spina between 1855 and 1857,[2] i.e. just after the first change of owner. This can be inferred from the impression released by Alwin Cranz[3] around 1877, which happens to be the only known example of a lithographic transfer of a Chopin edition originally published by Mechetti himself. Spina also brought out second editions of Op. 44 in c. 1868 and Op. 50 in c. 1861.

In October 1873, MlM announced Spina’s publication of a collective edition containing Opp. 44, 45 & 50. As no trace can be found of this volume, it is impossible to determine whether the three works were newly engraved or simply reprinted from existing plates.

[1] See the letter to his family of 16 July 1831 in KFC 1955: i/181.

[2] See Deutsch 1961: 12.

[3] Located at US-Wc – shelfmark M3.3 .C55 no. 2 Case. A Cranz catalogue extract appears on the verso of the last page of music text (piano part).