Frederic Chopin and His Publishers

Frederic Chopin and His Publishers

Exhibition curated by Standley Howell.

First and early editions of scores by Frédéric Chopin are featured in this exhibition surveying the relationship between his music and its publishing history. The exhibition includes first editions, images of Chopin and his associates; facsimiles of autograph manuscripts; and later editions prepared by Chopin's students and performers of his music. "Frédéric Chopin and His Publishers" is drawn from the University of Chicago Library's distinguished collection of some 285 first and early editions of Chopin's scores. Because of inconsistencies in contemporary copyright laws, nearly all of Chopin's works had to be issued simultaneously by publishers in France, Germany, and England in order to discourage piracy. Moreover, Chopin was inconsistent about including performance details, which he felt were not fixed elements of his music, in his manuscripts; and he often changed his mind in proofs. As a result, modern performers, editors, and scholars must compare an array of manuscript and printed sources in order to understand what Chopin intended. Most of the manuscripts and nearly all corrected proofs have disappeared, so the first editions are the primary sources for establishing the text of Chopin's music. Editing Chopin's works continues to this day, and the early editions remain essential sources. The exhibition illustrates how its publication history affects the way we hear and understand Chopin's music. The full text of this exhibition is accessible online. A copy of the publication issued in conjunction with the exhibition, A Catalogue of Early Printed Editions of the Works of Frédéric Chopin in the University of Chicago Library (1997), is available for sale from the Department of Special Collections. The Library website also contains additional information on the University of Chicago Library's Chopin holdings.

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