The German states

A remarkable evolution occurred in the successive reprints of the German first editions of Chopin’s music. First of all, over half of the original TPs were replaced altogether, mostly to bring them up to date stylistically but sometimes because the lithographic stone used to produce them had worn out.[1] Modifications to TP content also occurred, in most cases affecting the sale price. This was not the result of inflation, however: in fact, prices stayed surprisingly stable over several decades.[2] Instead, the principal reason concerns two key events in nineteenth-century German monetary history: first, the introduction of the Neugroschen in 1841, and, secondly, the birth of a new currency, the Mark, upon the creation of the German Empire on 4 December 1871. The Neugroschen was the result of the Thaler’s appreciation in value from 24 Groschen to 30 Neugroschen as of 1 January 1841. No transitional phase was needed for this straightforward revaluation, whereas in the case of the Mark, which replaced existing monetary units across the board, a period of transition lasted until 31 December 1873. This two-year phase left its trace on many TPs from the period, in that prices in Marks and Pfennigs are printed next to their equivalent in old currency. After 1 January 1874, prices in Thalers and Neugroschen started disappearing, but one can safely deduce that a given German edition was published after this date if it bears a price in new currency only. Although double prices can also be found on the TPs of other editions from the first half of the nineteenth century, they refer to equivalents in foreign currency (see e.g. 2–1-HAt, 2–2-HAt, 74–1-G, HEX–1-RI, HEX–1-HAt)[3] or to respective values in either Groschen and silver Groschen (1–1-Sam) or Neugroschen and ‘gute Groschen’ (6–2a-KI, 7–2-KI).

Several German first editions bear no sale price. In the case of the Variations Op. 12 (see 12–1-B&H) and the Bolero Op. 19 (19–1c-PE), an oversight probably occurred on the part of the lithographer or publisher, whereas the price of the two Nocturnes Op. 32 (see 32/1–1-Sam, 32/2–1-Sam) was deliberately omitted because of their inclusion in albums. It is less certain why no price appears on any of the later reprints by B. Schott’s Sohne of the E minor Waltz and the G# minor Polonaise.

Changes were also made to the information printed at the bottom of German TPs, including the names of principal and foreign publishers and their concessionaires, the plate number, and the engraver’s or lithographer’s imprint (e.g. 59–2a-PE). R. Lienau’s name featured on impressions of the Posthumous Works and the Songs Op. 74 published after the firm’s assimilation of A. M. Schlesinger, likewise on reprints of editions originally brought out by the Austrian publisher Haslinger, whose list had also been acquired by the Berlin firm. Brandus’ take-over of Maurice Schlesinger similarly left its mark on ten German title pages produced after 1845.[4] Adjustments of this sort were not carried out systematically, however: the name of the French publisher on some German editions either remained unchanged[5] or was otherwise inaccurate.[6]

The fact that publishers’ addresses rarely appeared on German TPs meant that relatively few adjustments were needed to this type of information,[7] whereas details of their foreign sales agents changed with some frequency.[8] Often the agents’ names were removed from later impressions because they had been commissioned to sell a given publisher’s music for only a limited period of time (see 21–1e-B&H, 22–1b-B&H, 23–1c-B&H, 26–2a-B&H, 26–2d-B&H, 27–1d-B&H). Opp. 29 & 30 are exceptional in this regard: three successive versions of the Impromptu’s TP cite the same concessionaires in St Petersburg and Warsaw, likewise two versions of the Mazurkas (see 29–1b-B&H, 29–2-B&H, 30–1-B&H, 30–1e-B&H).

In the editions published by B. Schott’s Söhne, whose TPs underwent multiple transformations, one notes the following changes in addition to those mentioned above: removal of the Polish publisher’s name (see PolG-–1b-SCH, WaltzEm–1b-SCH), addition or repositioning of the plate number (PolG#m–1b-SCH, WaltzE–1a-SCH), revision or removal of information about the publisher’s branches in other countries (PolG-–1b-SCH, WaltzEm–1d-SCH), and excision of a reference to deposit in France and England (PolG-–1b-SCH).

Imprints consisting of the name or initials of the lithographer disappeared early on from the TPs of successive reprints. Generally small and drawn with great delicacy, these imprints were highly susceptible to wear through intensive use and therefore had to be removed once the quality of reproduction became compromised (see 34/1–1a-B&H, 34/2–1b-B&H). Their disappearance was also necessitated by changes in the printing firm (see 44–1b-ME, 44–1c-ME, 45–1c-ME) or, in a few cases, for unknown reasons (see 26–1a-B&H, 59–1b-ST).

Common title pages appear principally in editions of works divided into two volumes (i.e. Opp. 10 & 25) or published separately (Opp. 32, 34, 64). They caused their publishers major headaches with regard to numbering and classification. For the first impressions of the Etudes Opp. 10 & 25 and the Waltzes Op. 34, Kistner and Breitkopf & Härtel varied the number of the ‘book’ or work in accordance with the contents of the score (thus, ‘Liv. I.’ and ‘Liv. II.’ in the case of Opp. 10 & 25’s first and second volumes respectively), but in later impressions of these works the practice was abandoned, as a result of which the relevant TPs invariably feature the roman numeral ‘I’.[9] The same defect can be found in editions of the Nocturne Op. 32 No. 2 (see 32/2–1a-Sam, 32/2–1b-Sam) and the Waltzes Op. 64 Nos. 2 & 3 (see 64/2–1-B&H, 64/2–1a-B&H, 64/3–1-B&H, 64/3–1a-B&H, 64/3–1c-B&H). The solution that A. M. Schlesinger adopted in later reprints of Op. 32 was to leave a space for the number of the work within the opus (see 32/1–2a-Sam, 32/2–2-Sam), that number then being added by hand on each printed TP. Perhaps the best solution was the one taken when producing the four-volume version of Op. 28 (see 28–1c-B&H), in which a CTP lists all four volumes and their prices, thus eliminating the risk of confusion arising from the production of tailormade ITPs.

The first passe-partout appeared relatively early in the German editions of Chopin – initially in the Etudes Op. 25 published in separate editions by Breitkopf & Härtel in 1841. The Posthumous Works released by A. M. Schlesinger in 1855, as well as the mazurkas, nocturnes and polonaises brought out in separate editions by Breitkopf & Härtel from 1863, also have this type of title page.[10] Another passe-partout was used in Hofmeister’s collection of the Chopin works in his list, entitled Altes und Neues, while Bote & Bock included the Mazurka dedicated to Emile Gaillard in the series Dziedzina tonów polskich, again featuring a STP of this kind.

It is interesting to observe the close resemblance of the TPs in otherwise different Chopin editions, which probably resulted from the continued involvement of an original lithographer who used the earlier TP as a model when preparing the subsequent version. Despite their similarity, however, these ‘identical twins’ generally can be distinguished by minor discrepancies in decorative motifs and the size and spacing of numbers or letters, all of which are difficult if not impossible to convey in a standard bibliographic transcription (compare 7–2-KI and 7–3-KI; 10/1-6–2-KI and 10/1-6–3a-KI; 10/7-12–2-KI and 10/7-12–2a-KI). Very occasionally one notices the recycling by a given publisher of decorative frames or borders, either in whole or in part, on the TPs of distinct works (see 32/2–1-Sam, 45–1d-ME, WaltzEm–1e-SCH). Similar decoration on the TPs of editions brought out in different countries can also be found, namely in the albums containing the Mazurka from La France Musicale, published in Paris and in Mainz (see MFM–1-E, MFM–1-SCH), and in the later reprint of the Bolero Op. 19 (19–1c-PE) produced in Leipzig, which resembles the decorative frame on the passe-partout of certain Polish editions (see Appendix I: KAUFMANN, OEUVRES|DE|CHOPIN.|POURLE PIANO, version 1).

[1] The following compositions nevertheless retained the original TP throughout their commercial lifetime: Opp. 3, 12, 13, 16, 20, 24, 30, 35, 39–41, 44, 46–50, 52, 54–56 & 60–63, Hexameron, and Mazurka from La France Musicale (separate edition).

[2] Prices increased in only three cases: Posthumous Works, Tarantella Op. 43 and Polonaise Op. 44 (see Posth–1a-Sam, 43–1b-SCHU, two-hand version of 43–1d-SCHU, and 44–1d-ME). A price decrease occurred in respect of the Rondo Op. 1 and Variations Op. 2 (1–1a-Sam, 2–2-HAt). A lower price may also have been intended for the second edition of the Mazurkas Op. 24 from c. 1863 (24–2–B&H), the TP of which indicates an anachronistic price of 20 Groschen rather than the correct 20 Neugroschen (compare 24–2d-B&H; see also 24–1–B&H).

[3] Some double prices were updated after the introduction of the Mark: see 2–2b-Sam, 74–1e-G, HEX–1a-HAt (cf. also 4–1a-Sam).

[4] See 14–1b-KI, 22–1b-B&H, 23–1c-B&H, 26–2a-B&H, 26–2d-B&H, 27–1c-B&H, 31–1b-B&H, 33–1c-B&H, 33–2a-B&H and 37–1b-B&H.

[5] See for example the TPs of 21–1e-B&H, 29–2-B&H, 34/1–1c-B&H, 34/1–2a-B&H and 34/1–2b-B&H, on which the name of the first French publisher remains. The transfer of Opp. 10, 18 & 25 from M. Schlesinger to Lemoine was not taken into account on any German TP. All of Kistner’s later reprints and new editions of the Etudes Op. 10 retain Schlesinger’s name (see, e.g., 10/1-6–2-KI, 10/1-6–3-KI, 10/1-6–3a-KI, 10/1-6–3b-KI); Breitkopf & Härtel similarly kept his name on the TP of the Waltz Op. 18 (see 18–3-B&H), as well as that of Pleyel on the TPs of the Mazurkas Op. 17 (see 17–1a-B&H, 17–2b-B&H).

[6] See for example the TPs of 25/1-6–1e-B&H and 25/1-6–2a-B&H, where Brandus’ name erroneously appears. The wrong French publisher is cited on the TPs of all Breitkopf & Härtel impressions of the Preludes Op. 28 (see 28–1-B&H, 28–1b-B&H, 28–1c-B&H, 28–1k-B&H, 28–1l-B&H).

[7] The publisher’s address was modified on the TP of 59–1d-F and on A. M. Schlesinger’s STP (OEUVRES DE PIANO.|FRANCOIS LISZT.|FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN versions 3 & 4, OEUVRES DE PIANO|DE|FRÉD. CHOPIN versions 4 & 5). Although present on the TPs of 43–2-SCHU and 43–2a-SCHU, Schuberth’s address is absent from 43–2b-SCHU (Titelauflage).

[8] Sales agents’ names were added to the TPs of 21–1a-B&H, 24–1a-B&H, 27–1a-B&H and 43–1a-SCHU, and to the STP of A. M. Schlesinger (OEUVRES POSTHUMES|POUR|PIANO|DE|FRÉD. CHOPIN version 3). They were either partially or entirely removed from the TPs of PolG-–1b-SCH and PolG#m–1c-SCH, and from A. M. Schlesinger’s STP (OEUVRES POSTHUMES|POUR| PIANO|DE|FRÉD. CHOPIN version 5, OEUVRES DE PIANO.|FRANCOIS LISZT.|FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN versions 2–4).

[9] Kistner nevertheless seems to have regarded this detail as important, judging from his efforts to ensure the accuracy of the number indicated on the TP. In all copies of the second and third editions of volume II in Op. 10, the second ‘I’ in ‘Liv. II’ appears to have been carefully added by hand after printing, most likely in the workshop responsible for producing the TPs (see comments to 10/7-12–2-KI, 10/7-12–2a-KI, 10/7-12–3a-KI). In contrast, the second ‘I’ is faintly printed on the TPs of some of the copies catalogued under 10/7-12–1-KI, which suggests that the title pages of both volumes were produced using the same lithographic stone and that the missing roman numeral was added to it prior to printing.

[10] In their successive Chopin editions these two publishers employed numerous different STPs, some of them appearing only on wrappers. For descriptions see Appendix I.