Shakespeare concert

The Hector Berlioz Website

Berlioz: Pioneers and Champions

Editors: Charles Malherbe (1853-1911)

Home Page     Search

Charles Malherbe

Contents of this page

Malherbe and Berlioz
The Breitkopf and Härtel edition
Excerpts from Le Ménestrel
Letter of Balakirev to Malherbe

This page is also available in French

Copyright notice: The texts, photos, images and musical scores on all pages of this site are covered by UK Law and International Law. All rights of publication or reproduction of this material in any form, including Web page use, are reserved. Their use without our explicit permission is illegal.


    The inclusion of Charles Malherbe among the pioneers and champions of Berlioz in France, in the same company as his contemporaries Ernest Reyer, Édouard Colonne, and Julien Tiersot, may seem paradoxical and calls for a word of explanation. In later Berlioz scholarship Malherbe is remembered in the first instance as one of the co-editors (together with Felix Weingartner) of the Breitkopf and Härtel edition of Berlioz’s musical works, the shortcomings of which are widely acknowledged: whatever the initial intentions of the publishers and editors, the Breitkopf edition may have done Berlioz more harm than good. To quote for example Tom S. Wotton in his 1935 book on Berlioz (ch. 8 p. 184), who is himself taking his cue from Tiersot:

Why Charles Malherbe was selected as an editor is one of the mysteries of the edition … he did not possess the requisite knowledge to be the editor of any of the masters … He was an amiable gentleman, whose métier was that of a musico-biographer etc.

    This negative assessment was taken up by Jacques Barzun in his monumental two-volume study of Berlioz (Berlioz and the Romantic Century, 1st ed. 1950, 3rd ed. 1969), and has been generally accepted by subsequent Berlioz scholarship. The aim of this page is not to seek to overturn this verdict, but to give a fuller view of the career and work of Charles Malherbe, with particular reference to what he did for Berlioz.

    A summary of Malherbe’s career is provided by the obituary notice written by the critic Arthur Pougin (1834-1921), who though senior to Malherbe by nearly two decades was to outlive his younger colleague by another ten years. The obituary appeared in the weekly journal Le Ménestrel (14 October 1911, p. 325-6); it is reproduced here in both the French original and in an English translation (by Michel Austin). This obituary notice may serve as a convenient starting point.

    Naturally enough in the circumstances, the obituary is an eulogy of the deceased’s achievements and personal qualities. Pougin and Malherbe were close friends; they knew each other well and shared common musical tastes. For example, a few months before his death Malherbe published a warm review of a book on 19th composers by Pougin (Le Ménestrel, 28 January 1911), and not long after Pougin reciprocated with an equally complimentary review of a book by Malherbe on the composer Auber, a former director of the Conservatoire (Le Ménestrel, 24 June 1911). In his obituary notice Pougin was understandably inclined to magnify the achievements of his friend and make him into a more significant figure on the musical stage than may have been the case. The truth is perhaps that both as writer and musician Malherbe was more of an enthusiastic and versatile amateur than a professional. Born in a family with musical interests on his mother’s side he studied at first law, then literature; the musical education he received was seemingly not as a formal student at the Conservatoire but through private teachers. Though reportedly an accomplished pianist he did not perform in public as a professional player. He composed music, but mostly comic operas and some instrumental music, and none of it was able to establish itself permanently in the repertoire.

     As Pougin emphasises, Malherbe’s true musical passion was as a collector of autographs and manuscripts, a taste he developed early in his life and was able to indulge through the large fortune he inherited (presumably from the successful business that his father had run as a trader; it is not clear in what branch). This enabled him to build up a collection of musical autographs and other memorabilia which was famous in its day (cf. Le Ménestrel, 18 December 1898; 5 February 1905; 10 September 1910; 9 December 1911; 18 January 1913; and Pougin’s obituary notice). The further implication is that his private means were sufficiently ample to enable him to enjoy a life of cultured leisure where he could pursue his interests without the need to earn a living. This made it possible for him to accept the post of keeper of the archives at the Opéra, at first in 1896 as an assistant to Charles Nuitter before taking over in 1899 the full post; as Pougin mentions, the post was not much sought after, as it did not carry a salary. In 1909 Malherbe became in addition librarian of the Opéra in succession to Ernest Reyer (Le Ménestrel, 13 February 1909). As a person Malherbe seems to have been courteous and likeable; references to him in Le Ménestrel are unfailingly complimentary. One may quote here the comment of Felix Weingartner, his co-editor in the Berlioz Edition (Felix Weingartner, Lebens Erinnerungen, vol. II [1929], p. 120; translation by Michel Austin):

Charles Malherbe was not only a first-rate collaborator, but I also gained in him a dear friend. This excellent man died shortly before the beginning of the World War [in fact in October 1911]. He was spared from experiencing the revolting expressions of hate which unfortunately were directed not only at the way the German people was being led, but against the people itself.

    Malherbe’s affability helped him to establish numerous contacts in the musical world of the time. It is an indication of his easy-going character that, although he joined Adolphe Boschot in a prolonged and rather acrimonious polemic in 1906 against Julien Tiersot over the composition of the Marche au supplice (from the Symphonie fantastique), he does not seem to have borne Tiersot any malice in the long run, and was happy to cite Tiersot’s biography of Berlioz approvingly in one of his concert notes (8 March 1908).

Malherbe and Berlioz

    As Pougin says in his obituary, Malherbe was better known as a writer than as a composer; he published a number of books on musical subjects, at first in collaboration with Albert Soubies, then later on his own. He contributed to numerous journals, including Le Ménestrel from 1886 onwards, where he was evidently well-liked. For example between 1889 and 1893 he co-authored with Soubies a series of articles on the second Salle Favart which was eventually published in book form. Malherbe had a wide range of musical interests; but it will be noted that in Pougin’s review of Malherbe’s publications one name is conspicuously absent: that of Berlioz. This is despite the fact that Malherbe devoted several years of his life to a collaboration with Felix Weingartner over the Breitkopf and Härtel edition of Berlioz’s musical works, an undertaking which Pougin altogether fails to mention. The omission is surprising and raises the question of Pougin’s attitude to Berlioz; this in turn also brings into consideration another friend of Malherbe, Adolphe Boschot (1871-1955), author of a large 3-volume biography of Berlioz which was long influential in France.

Arthur Pougin

    Arthur Pougin had been a contributor to Le Ménestrel from as early as 1869, and his name turns up very frequently in the journal up to 1914 (when the publication of the journal was suspended for the whole duration of the first World War). As a critic and writer he had frequent occasion to pronounce on Berlioz and his music. From 1885 onwards he enjoyed at the journal a de facto monopoly of reviews of concerts at the Conservatoire, with which he had close links. The Conservatoire’s repertoire was generally unadventurous, unlike those of the concert societies of Pasdeloup, Colonne and Lamoureux, and performances of Berlioz’s music there were rather few and far between. Excerpts from Pougin’s reviews of those concerts are reproduced in the French version of the page The Paris Conservatoire and Berlioz: 1869-1914. Pougin also reviewed other works of Berlioz that were performed in the theatre: la Prise de Troie in 1899, the staged version of la Damnation de Faust in 1903 and 1910, and Benvenuto Cellini in 1913. His general view of Berlioz is expressed in a passage from the last mentioned review:

I believe I will not be thought of as someone who despises Berlioz: my long career as a critic is there to attest to my deep admiration for the genius of this powerful master, so vigorous yet at the same time so uneven. But I claim the right to be selective with his output, and not to admire everything indiscriminately, nor to prostrate myself in adoration before any particular work of his just because it bears his name.

    Pougin does indeed express appreciation for some of the works of Berlioz that were performed at the Conservatoire, notably Roméo et Juliette (Le Ménestrel, 3 February 1889) and above all his favourite l’Enfance du Christ, which he considered to be Berlioz’s masterpiece (Le Ménestrel, 25 December 1909; 28 December 1912). He also found much of beauty in la Prise de Troie (in 1899), while criticising its lack of dramatic movement when staged on its own without the subsequent acts; he gave a cautious welcome to staged performances of la Damnation de Faust (in 1903 and 1910); but he was not convinced by Benvenuto Cellini and refused to consider it an unjustly neglected masterpiece (in 1913). Berlioz was not a composer Pougin instinctively sympathised with. His preferences are shown by his 1911 book, Musicians of the 19th Century and the selection of names covered: included are Auber, Rossini, Donizetti, Ambroise Thomas, Verdi, Gounod, Victor Massé, Ernest Reyer, and Léo Delibes. Wagner is conspicuous by his absence: Pougin openly disliked the German composer, and broke with his erstwhile friend Lamoureux because he felt the latter’s championing of him was an ‘outrage against our country’ (obituary notice on Lamoureux, Le Ménestrel, 24 December 1899). By contrast, some of the leading champions of Berlioz at the time, Ernest Reyer, Adolphe Jullien, and Julien Tiersot, had no difficulty in admiring both Wagner and Berlioz at the same time.

Adolphe Boschot

    Equally conspicuous in Pougin’s 1911 book is the absence of the name of Berlioz. It is appropriate to mention at this point two reviews by Pougin of the first two of the three-volume biography of Berlioz by Adolphe Boschot (1871-1955), first published in 1906, 1908 and 1912. In Le Ménestrel of 11 February 1906 Pougin welcomes the first volume, on the grounds that its extensive research will dispel the atmosphere of uncritical eulogy which, in his view, has come to surround Berlioz: Berlioz could now be exposed with all his weaknesses. Similar in spirit is his summary a few months later (Le Ménestrel, 16 September 1906) of an article by Malherbe on an early autobiographical work by Berlioz (on which see P.-R. Serna on this site): Pougin shows unconcealed delight at what he sees as the progressive debunking of the myth of Berlioz, a myth that Berlioz had allegedly created himself. When it comes to reviewing volume 2 of Boschot’s biography of Berlioz (Le Ménestrel, 6 June 1908), it seems that Pougin’s patience has completely snapped: while acknowledging all the research that has gone into the book, he has simply had enough of Berlioz and all the fuss made about him...

    These sentiments are not only indicative of Pougin’s own preferences, but reflect also an ambivalent view of Berlioz which was prevalent in some French musical circles of this period and later (see on this the article by P.-R. Serna on this site). Boschot’s three-volume biography is an expression of that attitude; he did admire Berlioz, in his own way, and carried out a vast amount of research to document Berlioz’s career in the most minute detail. But he did so in a spirit which leaves questions in the reader’s mind.

    There is for a start a flagrant contradiction in Boschot’s approach. He insisted that his work was ‘objective’, based as it was on a vast amount of documents and detailed research. But his style of writing is itself highly subjective: he assumes that he can read Berlioz’s mind, identify with his subject and interpret him to the reader. He writes in an artificial and self-consciously ‘literary’ manner, which some readers might find almost pretentious. Furthermore, Boschot was one of those critics who started from the assumption that Berlioz’s Mémoires are a semi-fictional work designed to mislead the reader, hence the task of the biographer is to expose the errors and distortions of Berlioz’s autobiography (in this he was in direct opposition to Julien Tiersot, who assumed rather that the Mémoires were essentially truthful). Boschot adopts a patronising attitude towards Berlioz, and takes obvious delight in scoring points against him and showing up his errors and shortcomings. The composer emerges as a weak, vacillating and even shifty character, and the reader is left baffled. How can it be that this unattractive personality achieved as much as he did and was able to create so many great masterpieces, works which Boschot himself evidently admired?

    Boschot’s censorious approach was criticised at the time and later by some, such as Adolphe Jullien (see his reviews of the three volumes of Boschot’s biography of Berlioz in 1906, 1908 and 1913, and his review of the abridged version of 1920), and Tom Wotton in his 1935 book (see the Index under ‘Boschot’); Wotton in turn influenced Jacques Barzun, who devoted a section in his study of Berlioz to a critical examination of Boschot’s work (volume II, pp. 312-20). But Boschot found favour with others, such as Pougin and Charles Malherbe himself. Malherbe openly praised Boschot’s work (see for example his programme note for a Colonne concert of 8 March 1908, where he welcomes the second volume of Boschot’s biography as a ‘remarkable book’). Boschot on his side frequently referred to Malherbe, his senior by almost two decades, in very positive terms as a collaborator and guide (Le Ménestrel, 27 May 1906). It is enough to quote from the first edition of La Jeunesse d’un Romantique (1906), p. 516:

M. Charles Malherbe could, as it were, lay claim to a large part of my work. I am happy to acknowledge this. — Through the critical edition of the works of Berlioz, which he is pursuing together with M. Weingartner; through the countless manuscripts of every kind that are in his possession, the majority of which are unpublished; through his learning and his inexhaustible kindness, and even through his friendship, M. Malherbe has done everything in his power for this History of a Romantic.

    It is an open question who, of Boschot and Malherbe, had the greater influence on the other. One is reminded of the saying: With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Malherbe’s programme notes for the Concerts Colonne

    The Berlioz Museum at La Côte-Saint-André holds a large collection of the programmes of the Colonne concerts of this time which contained music of Berlioz; these have provided the material for the present section.

    In the early days of the Colonne concerts the programmes that were distributed consisted simply of a listing of the pieces played and of the performing artists (see for example the illustrations of the concerts of 17 November 1878 and 23 February 1879). Subsequently commercial adverts started to creep in and became gradually more invasive, but information about the works performed also became fuller, such as including the text of vocal works. For example, a programme note of 22 December 1895 gave the complete libretto of l’Enfance du Christ. More detailed comments about the works performed seem to have started around 1894.

    We have not been able to establish when exactly Malherbe became a regular contributor of programme notes for the Colonne concerts, though it probably was around the mid-1890s. Malherbe, it should be said, wrote programme notes for all the works that were performed at the Colonne concerts, not just those of Berlioz, though those he wrote about Berlioz are naturally of particular interest here. One milestone was a performance of la Damnation de Faust on 6 December 1896 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the work’s first performance: a special illustrated programme was provided, with detailed notes due to Charles Malherbe (Le Ménestrel, 6 December 1896). Thereafter Malherbe was closely associated with the Colonne concerts, and indeed became close to Colonne personally (he was among those who attended Colonne’s funeral in 1911, only a few months before his own death; cf. Le Ménestrel, 1 April 1911). Malherbe’s notes on Berlioz and other composers could be very detailed: they would give a history of the composition of the relevant works, information about their first performance and reception, and analysis and comment on each work. Generally speaking the programme notes written by Malherbe for the Colonne concerts were more extensive than those provided by the rival Lamoureux concerts. In the case of Berlioz Malherbe would often cite from the composer’s own writings, including his letters, of which Malherbe possessed an extensive collection. The programme notes for the 100th performance of la Damnation de Faust at the Colonne concerts on 11 December 1898 ran to over 9 pages and included a number of illustrations. Malherbe’s programme notes became well-known in musical circles and were on occasion referred to in the Paris press (see for example Le Ménestrel, 3 November 1901; 8 December 1901; 18 September 1904, p. 299). A few years after the death of Malherbe Tom S. Wotton mentioned incidentally in an article in 1915 that Malherbe ‘had done creditable work in the analyses for concert programmes’.

    There can be no question of reproducing even a selection of these notes in full, and only excerpts from a few of them are provided in the original French, to illustrate Malherbe’s views on Berlioz. Included are excerpts from the notes for concerts on 20 March 1898 (which included the Symphonie fantastique), 11 December 1898 (the 100th performance of la Damnation de Faust at the Colonne concerts), 29 January 1899 (which included Roméo et Juliette), 29 November 1903 (which included the Symphonie fantastique and the duet from Béatrice et Bénédict), 6 December 1903 (la Damnation de Faust), 22 October 1905 (a concert performance of les Troyens à Carthage), and 8 March 1908 (a Shakespeare concert; the first page is reproduced above).

    The notes reflect the ambivalent attitude of Malherbe towards Berlioz, which he shared with Boschot and Pougin. He genuinely admired many works of the composer, and could on occasion stand up to defend his cause when he felt he was not receiving justice; but at the same time he never fully entered into Berlioz’s world and could not share whole-heartedly his spirit. See for example his general verdict on Berlioz in the programme note of 6 December 1903:

[…] Among all the composers produced by France during the 19th century, Berlioz is without argument one of the most remarkable and important. Through the originality of his personality and of his works, through his adventurous life, through the difficulties of a career in the course of which he plucked a few roses abroad but was not spared thorns in his native country, through the very special character of his works which mingle classical aspirations with a very romantic temperament, he appears in the musical history of this period as a rather strange figure though one worthy of attention, as an incomplete genius but a creative one in his way, a kind of forerunner of new ideas, in short a master whose name remains glorious. […]

    It should be mentioned that this paragraph is reproduced word for word from the opening paragraph of the Preface in the first volume of the Breitkopf edition of Berlioz’s works which was published in January 1900.

    Here is his appraisal of the Symphonie fantastique (programme note of 20 March 1898):

[…] The Symphonie fantastique may not be its author’s most accomplished work; he may have risen elsewhere to greater heights and penned nobler inspirations, deployed greater breadth or mastery; but more than any other, it comes across as original and truly personal. It is a first step outside the beaten track of classical art; many daring harmonies, many instrumental devices, which in the past have caused surprise or even displeasure, have now become familiar to us, but that is where their origin is to be sought. It commands thus the attention of the curious and the admiration of all, for in several passages it bears the stamp of genius.

    Compare also his views on Roméo et Juliette (programme note of 29 January 1899):

[…] When studying the score of Roméo et Juliette critics have never failed to point out the incoherence of the musical plan and the uncertain character of the whole work, the absence of a clear distinction between symphony and opera, and especially the strange role of the chorus, which at one moment explains the action like a narrator and at another participates in it like an actor. Berlioz must have sensed the truth of some of these comments; when the full orchestral score was published in October 1859, twenty years after the first performance (in those days publishers were never in a hurry), he inserted the following notice:
[Malherbe quotes here Berlioz’s preface to the work]
This defence is intriguing, and the arguments are far from sounding all decisive and convincing. But the cause has been won long ago, and the power of the melodies has triumphed over the weakness of the system. When a beautiful and genuine artistic impression emerges, it does not matter whether certain principles have been flouted. Genius has no difficulty in emancipating itself from common rules. […]
Such is in a few pages a summary history of this work; taken as a whole it may not be its author’s most accomplished work, but several of its movements are among the finest he has written. The capricious fantasies of Queen Mab will always delight the ear, and the love scene will move the heart with intense emotion. In truth, Berlioz rose there to the heights of his art and entered the luminous sphere where eternal beauty shines.

    With la Damnation de Faust, Berlioz’s most popular work in France in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Malherbe had no reservations (programme note of 11 December 1898): no one argued about the work any more and it had become universally popular. It is also to Malherbe’s credit that he went out of his way to combat the idea which was gaining ground at the time, that the work should be transferred to the stage. Had Berlioz intended the work for the stage he would have written it differently, and Malherbe pointed to the title page of the autograph score, which he reproduced in the programme note, and where Berlioz had initially called the work ‘Opéra de concert’, later amended to ‘Légende’. Malherbe concludes:

There is thus no point in wasting time and effort in designing fine stage sets, realistic costumes, or ingenious stage effects. Nothing should be added to the work under the pretext of increasing its effectiveness. It should be left to the concert hall, the setting for which it was designed. To honour the dead one should carry out their wishes!

    It is similarly to Malherbe’s credit that, on the occasion of a concert performance of les Troyens à Carthage, the second part of the original single opera les Troyens, as well as praising the many beauties of the work, Malherbe called not only for the staging of the work at the Opéra, for which Berlioz had originally intended it, but also for the complete performance of both parts of the work on consecutive evenings, so that the work’s true greatness should be allowed to emerge (programme notes of 22 October 1905):

A day will come, and let us hope it will be soon, when everything will fall back into its place. [...] The Opéra will take on les Troyens, and perform the work as a grand ‘bilogy’ over two evenings. That will be the day of the true rehabilitation. Berlioz’s memory will be avenged for all the disdain that he experienced in his lifetime. His name will shine in the opera house as it does in the concert hall. The admiration of the crowds will hail the operatic composer, and this final success will be no more than a just homage to his genius.

    One other point which emerges from Malherbe’s programme notes is his French patriotism, which is displayed in several ways. In one of his concert notes he observed that ‘in the domain of symphonic music France could successfully pit the names of Saint-Saëns and César Franck against those of Brahms and Bruckner, the two most remarkable composers of symphonies in Germany in the second half of the 19th century’ (Le Ménestrel, 8 December 1901). In a concert programme of 29 November 1903 he rebuked the Russian composer Balakirev for suggesting in a letter (on which see further below) that Berlioz was ‘France’s only composer of genius’: this he felt was ‘a slight to our national art’. The large collection of musical manuscripts and autographs he built up over the years was destined in his mind for France and was not to be dispersed, as Pougin mentions in his obituary notice. In a concert note of 8 March 1908, Malherbe gives a concrete example of this: he relates how he acquired the autograph manuscript of Berlioz’s Tristia from its Russian owner and thus had the good fortune of being able to secure its permanent possession by France, ‘the native country of the master, which is no longer, as he used to say, “a country of cretins and rascals from the musical point of view”, because it now knows how to do justice to his genius’.

    These patriotic sentiments, it should be said, were not peculiar to Malherbe, nor indeed to France alone; rather, they reflected the strong nationalism of European countries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Other French musicians shared his attitudes, such as Pougin (see above his reaction to Lamoureux’s championship of Wagner) and Octave Fouque, who insisted that Berlioz was ‘French and truly French’. Abroad one could point to Tom Wotton’s pride in being able to claim Berlioz as ‘the most typically English of all the great masters’, and similarly German musicans were happy to claim Berlioz as ‘an honorary citizen of musical Germany’ (see below the prospectus issued by Breitkopf and Härtel for the launch of the edition of Berlioz’s musical works).

    What Berlioz would have made of all this is another matter. His musical thinking was not bounded by national frontiers, and when some German critics complained that he had diverged from Goethe in his treatment of the Faust legend, as though it belonged exclusively to Germany, his reaction was dismissive: ‘Patriotism! Fetishism! Cretinism!’ (Mémoires, chapter 54).

The Breitkopf and Härtel edition

    In one of his programme notes (29 November 1903) Malherbe makes a direct reference to the Breitkopf and Härtel edition of Berlioz’s works:

At this moment Germany is paying to the memory of Berlioz a homage of a rare and special kind: it is publishing at the firm of Breitkopf and Härtel in Leipzig the first edition of his complete works, a task for which I have the honour of collaborating as editor with M. Weingartner, the eminent composer and conductor.

    Malherbe’s work on this edition, which spread over several years, was his most important contribution to Berlioz studies, and whatever its flaws it deserves treatment in its own right.

    It was Berlioz himself who first thought of a collected edition of all his works, as is known from letters of his of 1854 and 1855: the relevant evidence is mentioned in the main page Berlioz: Pioneers and Champions, to which the reader is referred. Part of the earliest letter to mention the project, a letter to Auguste Morel dated 26 June 1854 (CG no. 1771), is actually quoted in the prospectus issued at the beginning of 1900 by Breitkopf and Härtel to announce the new edition, as well as in the Preface to the first volume of the edition (p. 9). But both quotations omit to mention that Berlioz initially had in mind the publisher Kistner, not Breitkopf and Härtel, and thus make Berlioz’s letter read like an advance advertisement for the Breitkopf edition. The autograph of that letter was at the time in the collection of Charles Malherbe, which makes it likely that it was Malherbe himself who suggested to the publishers that they should quote that text (Malherbe may also have been responsible for the omission of the name of the publisher Kistner, though he did not actually sign the Preface of the edition).

    The launching of the project of a complete edition of Berlioz’s work at this particular time was the result of a convergence of several favourable events. There was in the first instance the approaching centenary of the composer’s birth on 11 December 1903, which had itself been preceded by more than two decades of a revival of interest in the composer’s music, in France, Germany and elsewhere (see for example the pages on the Berlioz revival in Paris, Jules Pasdeloup, Édouard Colonne, Hans von Bülow and Felix Mottl). Then there was the crucial question of copyright legislation: in France, where Berlioz’s music (or much of it, except for his three operas) had first been published, copyright extended to 50 years after the composer’s death (i.e. it only expired in 1919); the same applied to a number of other countries. But in Germany (and also in Britain) copyright extended only to 30 years, which meant that all Berlioz’s works fell into the public domain after 1899: hence German publishers were in a position to take advantage of the difference in legislation (cf. Le Ménestrel, 7 January 1900; 15 January 1905). This was perfectly legal in Germany and in other countries with the same copyright rules (such as Britain), but it had as consequence that any edition of Berlioz’s works published in Germany could not be sold in France, and French publishers naturally took steps to protect their rights (Le Ménestrel, 8 April 1906). In practice copies of the German edition did circulate in France, and performances of works first published in the German edition did take place there (such as a performance of the Rob Roy overture in Paris in February 1901; Le Ménestrel, 3 March 1901).

    According to the prospectus issued by Breitkopf and Härtel in January 1900, the project had been in preparation for several years; the speed with which the publication proceeded (twenty volumes were issued between 1900 and 1907) implies as much. A passage from Weingartner’s autobiography gives some information about the beginnings of the project (Felix Weingartner, Lebens Erinnerungen, volume II [1929], p. 82–3; translation by Michel Austin):

The piece [Weingartner’s orchestral work Das Gefilde der Seligen] was performed at the music festival of the Society of German Music in Mannheim, where in the meantime Reznicek was working as principal conductor at my suggestion. It was also published by Breitkopf and Härtel, with whom I now concluded a general agreement about the publication of my works. At this music festival the ground was laid for an important undertaking. Breitkopf and I took the decision to publish a complete edition of all the works of Hector Berlioz, which were only available in the first French editions and which in some cases were still unpublished. The keeper of the archives of the Paris Opéra, Charles Malherbe was invited as collaborator and agreed. The work could thus start immediately.

    The music festival in Mannheim took place between 27 May and 1 June 1897 (according to Le Ménestrel, 23 May 1897, p. 166). This therefore places the inception of the project in the early summer of 1897. It further emerges that the project was first elaborated on the German side between Weingartner himself and the publishers Breitkopf and Härtel, though it is not clear whether the initial idea belonged to Weingartner or to the publishers. Malherbe was then invited to join as co-editor and with his acceptance work was able to proceed quickly.

    From the point of view of the publishers the choice of Weingartner and Malherbe as co-editors was almost self-evident. Weingartner was already one of the leading conductors in Germany, he was a Berlioz champion and had promoted the Breitkopf project, and he already had dealings with the publishing firm. Malherbe was also a known quantity: he had previously collaborated with the publishers in their collected edition of Rameau. He was also well-known as the owner of a large collection of musical autographs (among Berlioz manuscripts he owned the autograph score of the Symphonie fantastique, the Symphonie funèbre et triomphale, and Tristia; cf. Le Ménestrel, 28 August 1904, p. 275 [Tiersot, Berlioziana]). Based in Paris he had easy access to almost all the other musical autographs of Berlioz which were then at the Conservatoire (cf. Le Ménestrel, 3 March 1901; 15 November 1903), as well as to the original French editions of his works. (One may remark incidentally that, despite his professed patriotism, Malherbe did not apparently have any qualms about collaborating in a German edition of a French composer which took advantage of the difference in legislation between the two countries.)

    The choice of Malherbe was subsequently considered regrettable (notably by Tom S. Wotton; see above). On the French side one possible alternative candidate to co-edit the Breitkopf project might have been Julien Tiersot, and one is tempted to speculate about what the edition might have been under his editorship. But in the 1890s the bulk of Tiersot’s published work on Berlioz still lay in the future: his book on the composer was only published in 1904, the same year as the first volume of his edition of Berlioz’s correspondence, and it was also in 1904 that Tiersot started the series of detailed studies published in Le Ménestrel under the title Berlioziana. From Tiersot’s point of view, Berlioz’s centenary came a few years too early.

    Neither the publisher nor the two co-editors say anything about the division of labour between the two editors: they all give the impression that both editors were fully and equally involved in the whole enterprise. All the prefaces to the individual volumes are signed by both editors. There appears to be no direct evidence as to how the collaboration worked in practice, given that much of the time the two men were living in two different countries. Were both editors involved in correcting the proofs of each volume? How did they keep in regular touch with each other and monitor the progress of their work? Among the letters addressed to Malherbe which are now preserved at the Bibliothèque nationale de France there are apparently no letters of Weingartner to Malherbe, though the two must have corresponded at times, and in his autobiography Weingartner presented Malherbe as having become a personal friend.

    It has generally been assumed from Tiersot onwards (in his 1930 publication of Balakirev’s letter to Malherbe), that much of the work was done in practice by Malherbe in Paris rather than by Weingartner in Germany (thus explicitly Wotton in his 1935 book, followed by Barzun, volume II pp. 336-58 [pp. 358-81 in the 3rd ed.]). The one exception is Wotton himself in his article in the Musical Times of 1915, in which he presented Weingartner (eccentrically) as the dominant influence in the collaboration, a view he abandoned later. It may well be the case that Malherbe was the active figure in the partnership. The French introductions to each volume are certainly written in idiomatic French and do not sound like translations (unlike the English versions, which are poor), and this suggests that they were written by Malherbe himself. But it remains true that in referring to their own work both Malherbe and Weingartner present their collaboration as a genuine one, and suggestions to the contrary depend on general practical considerations and plausibility, rather than any concrete evidence.

    The Breitkopf edition appeared rapidly between 1900 and 1907, and had some genuine merits. The print quality was excellent and the fonts used attractive; the price was significantly lower than that charged by French publishers. This was a point that Berlioz himself remarked on: the French editions were expensive and he got very little return from them (cf. CG no. 1901); this was one reason for his project of publishing a collected edition of his works in Germany. In their prospectus the publishers emphasised the affordability of their new edition. And finally the edition made available for the first time a number of works that had hitherto been unpublished: the Resurrexit, the Scène Héroïque, the Prix de Rome cantatas Herminie and Cléopâtre and the fugue submitted for the 1829 competition, the orchestral versions of Hélène and Le Chasseur danois, the Rob Roy overture, the Quartetto et coro dei maggi, Zaïde, the Chant des chemins de fer, Nessun maggiore, and, last but not least, the full score of the opera Béatrice et Bénédict. To judge from a number of articles in Le Ménestrel in the following years, the initial reaction in France to the Breitkopf edition was positive, even though the edition was not supposed to be available in the country! (see Le Ménestrel, 7 January 1900, 3 March 1901, 15 January 1905, 18 March 1906).

    The Breitkopf edition was announced as intended to be complete, but in the event it remained unfinished; the most important gaps were the two operas Benvenuto Cellini and Les Troyens. According to Wotton (chapter 7 p. 147) Malherbe was working on an edition of Cellini at the time of his death, but after him nothing further happened. Whatever his previous role in the edition Weingartner took no further part in it, and within a few years the outbreak of the first World War consigned all such projects to irrelevance. But even apart from its unfinished state the Breitkopf edition had numerous flaws (see further on this the page on Tom S. Wotton and chapter 8 of his book).

     A convenient starting point here is a letter written in January 1900 by the Russian composer Mili Balakirev, an admirer of Berlioz who had dealt with the composer during his last visit to Russia in 1867-1868. The letter is in answer to one from Charles Malherbe, who needed the cooperation of the Russian composer over the publication of the Te Deum (cf. Le Ménestrel, 15 January 1905): this was the only major autograph score of Berlioz that was not in Paris, as Berlioz had donated it to the Russians in 1862 (CG nos. 2650, 2676, 2676bis). In his reply Balakirev dwelt at length on the Breitkopf project as a whole and the spirit in which it was being undertaken by the publishers, with the acquiescence of the editors: instruments that were used by Berlioz but were now judged to be obsolete were to be unceremoniously replaced by new ones. Balakirev urged Malherbe very strongly to preserve the integrity of the original works, and appealed to him as a Frenchman to show respect to France’s ‘only composer of genius’.

    Malherbe alluded to this letter in a programme note (concert of 29 November 1903) where he took issue with Balakirev for calling Berlioz France’s ‘only composer of genius’, but said nothing about the rest of the letter. In the preface to the Breitkopf edition of the Te Deum Balakirev was thanked for his work in revising the score (p. 191) but nothing was said about his letter of 1900. The full text of the letter (which is now in the Bibliothèque nationale de France) was only published years later, by Julien Tiersot in the Rivista musicale italiana of 1930; there is a partial citation of the letter in Wotton’s Hector Berlioz (chapter 8 p. 182). The complete text of the letter is reproduced in the original in the French version of this page, and an English translation (by Michel Austin) is included below.

    In the event Malherbe and Weingartner ignored Balakirev’s warning, even though he was raising a fundamental point of principle. The publishers wanted an edition that would be ‘practical’, i.e. suitable for performance by orchestras at the time, and fidelity to the composer’s wishes and to historical accuracy were regarded as secondary. The editors were happy to go along with this, and Balakirev’s appeal to Malherbe’s own patriotism fell on deaf ears. From this followed a whole series of flaws in the design of the edition. Instruments regarded as ‘obsolete’ were replaced with new ones (e.g. ophicleides with tubas), the names of instruments were changed from Berlioz‘’s French to Italian (e.g. flauti and oboi for flûtes and hautbois), tempo and other indications were similarly turned from French to Italian (piu lento for plus lent etc.). Even more worrying than such changes was a patronising attitude to Berlioz himself that recurs in the edition.

    One illustration: Berlioz regularly specified in his scores the minimum numbers of players and singers he felt necessary for the correct performance of his works. For his first three symphonies Berlioz specified a string complement of 15-15-10-11-9 (12 cellos for Harold en Italie); the editors removed these and similar figures from the scores and confined them to the critical introduction to each work, believing them to be ‘more dangerous than useful’ because they might ‘discourage’ conductors. They added the comment that conductors should be aware that the number of performers could never be too large, as this would ‘fulfill the secret desires of the Master’ (Introduction pp. 12-13). It should be pointed out that the two major concert societies in Paris at the time were actually larger than the orchestras Berlioz had in mind: the Colonne orchestra had a string section of 20-16-12-12-12, and the Lamoureux orchestra one of 20-20-12-14-12. The remark on Berlioz’s hankering for ‘gigantic performances’ is a gratuitous sneer. In this connection, the Preface which outlines Berlioz’s career and works is surprisingly sketchy and inaccurate (volume I, pp. 5-9). It fails to give a clear idea of the development of his career and of his achievement, credits him with ‘eccentric’ literary and musical tastes (p. 8), fails to mention À Travers chants among his literary works (p. 7), wrongly places the composition of Béatrice et Bénédict before that of Les Troyens, and dates the performance of Les Troyens à Carthage to November 1864 (instead of 1863). The reader’s confidence is undermined from the start. The introductions to each volume of the edition fail to give any information about the history of the work concerned, its composition, first performances and publication; this is surprising, given that this is what Malherbe had been doing regularly in his programme notes for the Colonne concerts.

    In defence of the publishers and editors it might be suggested that at the time fidelity to the letter of the originals was not a quality that was as highly valued as it subsequently came to be. For example, Wagner was prepared to modify the instrumentation of Beethoven’s symphonies to bring out what he believed was their true meaning. Weingartner himself, though he professed fidelity to the composer’s intentions, was prepared to go down this route though in a much more restrained way, and wrote a detailed work On the Performance of Beethoven’s Symphonies (Ratschläge für Aufführungen der Symphonien Beethovens, first published in 1906, 2nd ed. 1916, 3rd ed. 1928). As conductor of the Vienna Opera he was also prepared to make cuts to some of Wagner’s operas, for which Felix Mottl criticised him. Felix Mottl on his side made changes to the orchestration of a number of works, including Peter Cornelius’ The Barber of Baghdad.

    Throughout the Breitkopf edition gives evidence of haste and carelessness. The publishers prided themselves on the speed at which their edition was published (see the prospectus issued to launch the series), and twenty volumes were issued between 1900 and 1907. Only two editors were responsible for the entire project, without any external monitoring, and there is in any case uncertainty as to the respective role of the two editors and how their collaboration worked in practice. In the process it was perhaps inevitable that corners were cut.

The New Berlioz Edition and Breitkopf and Härtel

    Comparison between the New Berlioz Edition (NBE) and that of Breitkopf and Härtel is inevitably to the disadvantage of the latter. Editorial standards have greatly progressed in the intervening period, and attitudes towards authenticity and fidelity to the originals have changed beyond recognition. Berlioz scholarship has considerably advanced, and the two centenaries of 1969 and 2003 did far more for Berlioz than the first centenary in 1903. Much more information is now available to researchers and scholars, concerning for example Berlioz’s correspondence which provides so much evidence about his works, evidence which the Breitkopf editors did not attempt to utilise. The NBE was the work not just of two editors working under time constraints probably imposed by the publishers — note Malherbe’s casual remark that in Berlioz’s day publishers were never in a hurry — but of a whole team of no less than 14 musicologists under a general editor, and took nearly forty years to complete, from 1967 to 2006.

    Comparing the introductions to the volumes of the NBE with those in Breitkopf exposes the sketchiness of the latter. The introductions in NBE cover in detail the history of the composition of the relevant works, their first and subsequent performances, their publication, the instrumental and vocal forces used, and are followed by detailed critical notes about the original sources, manuscript and printed, a listing of editorial changes and variant readings, various appendices as relevant, and illustrations of autograph sources and first editions, all with detailed references to the primary material. Barring the discovery of new material, the scores provided should be definitive.

    There are in practice very few references to Breitkopf in the many volumes of NBE. As a general rule, the Breitkopf and Härtel edition is only mentioned (without further comment) when it was the first to publish a particular work, such as the opera Béatrice et Bénédict (NBE vol. 3, p. IX), the Rob Roy overture (NBE vol. 20, p. XII), the cantata le Chant des chemins de fer (NBE vol. 12b, p. IX), the song Zaïde (NBE vol. 13, p. XIV), or the orchestral version of the song Le Chasseur danois (NBE vol. 13, p. XIII), among others. There are otherwise very few specific comments on the edition. In NBE vol. 7 (Lélio ou Le retour à la vie), the editor (Peter Bloom) says briefly of the Breitkopf edition: ‘This edition […] includes a number of “perfectionnements” not always distinguished from the composer’s own markings’ (p. XVI). The only more detailed comment is in NBE vol. 16 (the Symphonie fantastique). The editor (Nicholas Temperley) attributes the Breitkopf edition to Charles Malherbe specifically, points out that the autograph score of the Symphonie fantastique was at the time in the possession of Malherbe, and comments (p. XIII):

This edition naturally became the basis for subsequent performances and programme notes. Though it is in many ways a good working score, it suffers unfortunately from an abundance of editorial additions and alterations which are not distinguished from the composer’s own markings. There are also frequent misunderstandings of Berlioz’s intentions. Some of the discarded versions from the autograph are included in the Preface, but in many cases they are so full of errors as to be of little use.

    Regrettably, this comment could be extended to the entire Breitkopf and Härtel edition.

Excerpts from Le Ménestrel

Le Ménestrel 14/10/1911, p. 325-6:

Charles Malherbe

    Another one to depart prematurely! And one that will not be the least regretted by all, not only for his talent full of serenity and sincerity, but because of his high moral worth, his inexhaustible kindness and his impeccable courtesy. All of us researchers have had dealings with him, not just in his capacity as keeper of the Opéra’s archives, but as owner of the most wonderful collection of autographs, letters and manuscripts, to be found in the world, a collection that was generously open to all and from which all came to draw, as its owner was always prepared to share his treasures.
     Born in Paris on 21 April 1853, Charles Malherbe was son of a trader, but on the women’s side was doubly related to music. His mother, née Mozin, belonged to the family of Théodore Mozin, who won the second Prix de Rome in 1841 and was professor of harmony at the Conservatoire, and was the grand-nephew of Mme Laruette, the celebrated actress at the Comédie-Italienne. He obtained a degree in law after studying literature with distinction, and devoted himself entirely to music, which he had studied early, first under Danhauser and M. Wormser, then also to some extent with Massenet. He was an accomplished pianist and a distinguished composer; he also put his solid musical upbringing to good use and carried out interesting literary work on artistic subjects. He started in collaboration with our excellent colleague Albert Soubies and published various books: L’Œuvre dramatique de Richard Wagner (1886) ; Précis d’une histoire de l’Opéra-Comique (1887) ; Mélanges sur Richard Wagner (1891) ; Histoire de la seconde salle Favart (1892-1896), which first appeared in this journal. He then published on his own: Notice sur Esclarmonde (1889) ; Notice sur Ascanio (1890) ; Auber (1911), which I reviewed in this journal only a few weeks ago [Le Ménestrel. 24 June 1911, p. 199]. Mention should also be made of an excellent Catalogue bibliographique de la Section française à l’Exposition de Bergame for the centenary of Donizetti (1897), a section which he went to organise himself with great care. He had been asked to write the biography of Weber for the Alcan collection, and he did not live to begin its preparation.
     Malherbe contributed to very many journals: le Ménestrel, le Monde artiste, la Revue d’art dramatique, etc., and was less known as a composer than as a writer. He was nevertheless very productive in this field as well. He wrote an important musical part for a comedy by M. Michel Carré, les Yeux clos, which was performed at the Odéon in 1896; he performed at Le Mans in 1905 a comic opera in one act, l’Amour au camp, and he arranged for the stage in Monte Carlo a posthumous opera buffo by Bizet, Don Procopio, to which he added recitatives (1906). He has also written three comic operas which have not been performed: l’Ordonnance, les Trois Commères and la Barbière de cette ville.
     In 1896 the admirable Nuitter had asked Malherbe to be his assistant as keeper of the archives of the Opéra. He knew very well what he was doing, by preparing the ground for a successor worthy of himself. At the death of Nuitter, Malherbe did indeed take over his place in the most natural way — a place which few incidentally envy, as it does not carry any remuneration. As keeper of the documents that were entrusted to him the services he rendered are well known, not only as regards the library but also the museum, which he organised with skill and enlarged significantly. Besides, as he had greater private means than Nuitter, he did not hesitate to make personal sacrifices for the benefit of the library, and frequently made advances of money which he had great difficulty in getting refunded. His account with the administration of the Beaux-Arts is certainly in credit at the moment.
     I mentioned that he had built up the most admirable collection of musical autographs in existence in the world, apart from what is in public institutions — which itself is debatable. For him this was an all-consuming passion from his earliest years, and one day he told me that as his father was very tight with money towards him, he would resort to all sorts of subterfuges to indulge his tastes and be able to make small-scale purchases. Once in possession of a substantial fortune, he devoted it entirely to this very interesting passion, and would not hesitate to pay on occasion, four, five, six thousand francs or more for an autograph score. He had long taken steps to make sure that this collection, which in his mind belonged to France, should not be dispersed after him. He told me more than once that he had made his will and that he was bequeathing the entire collection to the library of the Conservatoire. Apart from the autographs and the manuscripts, he had collected a very interesting and curious series of ancient titles with musical illustrations. Another side of his interests was the complete collection he built of the works of Gavarni.
     His was a generous, distinterested mind that was open to all the manifestations of art. His company was unfailingly cheerful and he was ever prepared to be of help. He had a good understanding of human nature and behind his casual air he knew very well how to deal with certain people in one way or another. Malherbe could only be liked by all those who knew him well and esteemed him as highly as he deserved. At this journal, where we have long been in a position to judge him, he leaves us nothing but the deepest and most sincere regrets.
     And yet, after performing so many conspicuous services in the important post to which he had been called, Charles Malherbe is departing without having been even rewarded with the distinction of the Légion d’honneur which nowadays is distributed in such a random and haphazard way. It is probably because he had not thought it appropriate to gain the support or recommendation of one of those excellent radical socialist deputies who are the glory of France!… At any rate, that is not to the credit of the under-secretary of State of the Beaux-Arts.


P. S. — Charles Malherbe died on Friday 6 October, in his property at Cormeilles (Eure), where every year he would spend part of his holidays. His body was brought back to Paris and buried last Tuesday at the Montmartre cemetery.

Letter of Balakirev to Malherbe

    For the original French text of the letter see the French version of this page. English translation © Michel Austin. The full text of the letter was first published by Julien Tiersot in Rivista musicale italiana in 1930, an article which we have not been able to see (cf. Wotton, Hector Berlioz [1935], pp. 182-4).

St Petersburg, 12/24 January 1900

        Dear Sir,

    Thank you very much for your congratulations and your best wishes for the new year, and also for your graciousness in fulfilling my request to express my gratitude to the memory of the late M. Lamoureux.
     On the other hand the second part of your letter has greatly distressed me. It so happens that instead of taking up arms to defend the integrity of Berlioz’s instrumentation, you are in full agreement with the projected changes, on the grounds that some of the instruments specified in the scores of Berlioz are no longer in use, and you are yielding to the pressure of the publishers who would like their enterprise to be practical.
     But if one granted to editors the right to change the instrumentation to conform with the present state of the orchestra, new scores would have to be issued every 15 or 20 years. As regards your colleague concerning the conditions imposed by the publishers, it seems to me there is a misunderstanding. The firm of Breitkopf & Härtel, as in fact all the other known German publishing firms, normally aim in their editions above all at complete fidelity, and will not admit any change, not only in the composition, but also in the instrumentation, even if it is no longer in use. This you can easily verify, if you care to have another look at the new editions of the scores of Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and other established classics. In these scores, apart from the alto trombone which no longer exists, you will find the serpent (in Mendelssohn’s overtures) and even the corni de bassetto (Mozart’s Requiem), and in the scores of Bach a multiplicity of instruments which have long been obsolete, but which no one yet has had the sacrilegious idea of changing their instrumentation to comply with the requirements of time. These can satisfactorily be dealt with comments such as: these instruments, given the difficulty of finding them in present-day orchestras, may be replaced by the following instruments. Let me tell you in this connection that I have noticed that the contrafagotto (double bassoon), which for a while had fallen out of use, is recovering its rights in the orchestra. Is it not the same for the ophicleid, which has recently reappeared in the orchestra of the opera-house in Dresden, on which I have reliable information.
     If M. Weingartner is inclined to deal with the scores of Berlioz in such a cavalier way, it is in my view because Berlioz is a complete stranger to him and may have been for him an unknown composer up to the moment when he had to edit his scores. If it was a question of editing the German classics, you may be sure that M. Weingartner would show religious respect for the most minute of their intentions and would have not allowed himself or any one else to tamper with them.
     It is from you, as a Frenchman, that the musical world has the right to expect this kind of reverent respect for the works of your only composer of genius, and it does not in the least expect, in place of an authentic edition, the “Works of Berlioz orchestrated afresh by Messrs. Ch. Malherbe and F. Weingartner”.
     You thank me in your courteous letter for all the work I had to do in formulating my objections to the corrections offered in the score of the Te Deum. For the glory of Berlioz I am ready to work twice or three times as hard, so long as that work seems congenial to me. If you want to thank me for it, the best and only recompense would be to reinstate in its entirety the instrumentation of Berlioz in the edition of his scores which you are working on. To assert that the composer himself, 30 years after his death, would be in agreement with your changes to the instrumentation of his works, would be altogether too presumptuous.
     Hurry while there is still time to repair the action, the moral responsibility of which would fall back on you as a Frenchman, and not on the foreigner Weingartner (whose religious respect for his own classical composers and his own Wagner deserves to be emulated).
     Please be so generous as to forgive the harsh language of this letter, which is prompted by a feeling of deep respect for the memory of your composer of genius, and the most cordial wish to preserve you from the reproaches which might deservedly be addressed to you.
     Please be assured, Sir, of my sincere esteem.



Portrait of Charles Malherbe
Charles Malherbe

Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France

Adolphe Boschot (1871-1955)
Adolphe Boschot

Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France

Breitkopf and Härtel publicity 4-page booklet – cover page
Breitkopf prospectus

This prospectus is in our own collection. See below for a translation of the German text (by Michel Austin).

Breitkopf prospectus


Breitkopf prospectus


Breitkopf and Härtel publicity 4-page booklet – back page
Breitkopf prospectus

Translation of the German text (translation © Michel Austin)


HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-1869) may be considered an honorary citizen of musical Germany. A decade older than Richard Wagner, he successfully laid the foundations for the orchestra of this master and of the new German school. For this, according to the saying of a perceptive Frenchman, he was able to pluck roses in Germany in his lifetime, whereas he was not spared thorns in his own country. We believe we are acting in the spirit of Franz Liszt in building to this noble guest of our land a living monument in his works, and thereby making his entire output available to the musical public. At the same time this fulfills a wish that was dear to the heart of Hector Berlioz, who wrote in a letter of the 26th June 1854 to his friend Auguste Morel: “I dream of a careful German edition in Leipzig which would comprise the totality of my works.” **** With the agreement of Berlioz’s heirs we have undertaken after years of preparation a complete critical edition of his works, for the editing of which we have secured the participation of Charles Malherbe, keeper of the archives of the Opéra in Paris, who has already been of assistance with so many of our complete editions, and of Felix Weingartner, conductor of the orchestra of the Munich court. Acting in close collaboration both editors have advanced the edition so far that the printing of the orchestral works, based almost completely on the evidence of the original autographs, is almost ready. **** Of this great symphonic composer, who stands between the classics and the romantics and has raised himself to the ranks of the masters, Charles Malherbe says: ** “He possesses exuberant and passionate vitality, audacity in his ideas and an outstanding talent for orchestral colouring, and these are unique to him. — From this point of view Berlioz was as it were a pioneer, his works deserve to be known to all, and his name will figure honourably among those of the greatest musicians of all times and peoples.” ** The BERLIOZ-EDITION is as lavishly produced as our previous complete editions of musical works, though, in view of the position of this master among the great cultural nations of this century, where words are set to music they will be provided in German, English and French. Leaving aside the operas, the editing of which is kept for a later period, as with the literary works, the SCORES will comprise about 15 folio volumes and will be supplied at a single subscription price of 15 Marks per volume (with a supplement of 2 Marks for each volume in original binding). In parallel with the scores SEPARATE PARTS of the most important works in the repertoire will be published, in accordance with the well-known and very convenient practice of our library of orchestral and choral music, at the modest basic price of 30 Pfennings for each part and voice. Further, PIANO REDUCTIONS of the larger vocal works will be made available at a modest cost, so that exact and consistent parts can be supplied and used for performances. ** The Berlioz-Edition, of which several volumes of full scores are ready for shipping, is so far advanced that the publication of further volumes will follow at short intervals. The volumes will be sent to subscribers in every case immediately after their publication; on request ordering can be facilitated by supplying only four volumes every year (at quarterly intervals). Each volume can also readily be purchased separately at a price of 20 Marks a volume (40 Marks for double volumes). ** All bookshops and music dealers, like the under-mentioned publishing firm, accept orders for the whole edition as well as separate series and individual works, and may provide inspection copies on request. — Leipzig, 1 January 1900.


The Hector Berlioz Website was created by Monir Tayeb and Michel Austin on 18 July 1997;
Page Berlioz: Pioneers and Champions created on 15 March 2012; this page created on 1 October 2018.

© Monir Tayeb and Michel Austin. All rights reserved.

Back to Berlioz: Pioneers and Champions
Back to Home Page