Title pages

Bibliographic analysis of a printed edition inevitably starts with the title page, which contains essential information such as the title of the work, name of composer, dedicatee, opus number, sale price, publisher, and often affiliated foreign publishers and concessionary sales agents. On many TPs the plate number and the name or initials of the engraver or lithographer involved in the production of the edition also appear.

Five different types of title page are distinguished in this catalogue:

  1. individual title page (ITP);
  2. passe-partout/series title page (STP);
  3. common title page (CTP);
  4. album title page (ATP);
  5. half-title (HT).[1]

The title pages of the vast majority of Chopin’s first editions were written in French; this resulted in numerous orthographical infelicities above all in the English publications, and to a lesser extent in the German first editions. In relevant entries of the Annotated Catalogue, these mistakes are systematically detailed in the section on ‘Errors’.

Each of the works that Chopin published before settling in Paris was brought out by a single firm whose name appears by itself on the title page; it is hardly surprising that at this stage he did not attempt the simultaneous release of multiple editions that he routinely sought in later years in order to maximise copyright protection and income. In the first editions brought out in Paris, Leipzig and Berlin in 1833, the names of two publishers feature on the title page (see Opp. 6–11, Grand Duo Concertant), with a third – that of the English publisher – systematically appearing from late 1833 onwards (see Op. 12 and subsequent publications).[2]

[1] A definition of each of these terms appears in the Glossary.

[2] Note however the following exceptions: first impressions of Maurice Schlesinger’s Op. 15 and Mechetti’s Op. 45 (names of German and English publishers omitted, probably inadvertently); A. M. Schlesinger’s Op. 32 and first two impressions of Brandus’ Op. 63 (name of English publisher left blank); first impressions of Troupenas’ Opp. 35 & 36, of Maurice Schlesinger’s Opp. 44 & 46–49 and second edition of the Etudes from Méthode des Méthodes, of Breitkopf & Härtel’s Opp. 17, 46–49 & 63–65, and of Mechetti’s Opp. 44 & 45, in addition to all subsequent impressions of the latter (no English publisher named). In the French editions of Opp. 22, 63 (third impression onwards), 64 & 65, the wrong English publisher is indicated. A similar error in the name of the French publisher can be found on the TPs of Breitkopf & Härtel’s edition of Op. 28. Finally, in the editions brought out by Cramer, Beale & Co. and their successors, the names of the continental publishers are missing in the copies catalogued under 63/1–1-CRB, 64/1–1-CRB, 64/1–1a-CRB, 64/1–1b*-CHAP, 64/1–1c-CHAP, 64/2–1-CRB, 64/2–1*-CRB, 64/2–1a-CHAP and 64/2–1b-CHAP, while that of Breitkopf & Härtel is missing from 64/1–1b-CHAP and 64/3–1-CRB.