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Georg Philipp Telemann as the Publisher of his own Compositions

During his time as Director musices in Frankfurt am Main (1712-1721), Georg Philipp Telemann was not just busy with the Sunday church services and involved in the administration of the Frauenstein Society (secretary and treasurer). Regular concert life in Frankfurt began in 1713 with the revival of the Collegium musicum and its weekly concerts. The enterprising Telemann found yet another field of activity.

Telemann dedicated himself to publishing for the first time and ventured into the commercial side of music, which was not too surprising given the status of Frankfurt as a marketplace and trade fair city, but nonetheless it involved financial risks.

The first publication resulting from this enterprise appeared on 24 March 1715: Six sonates a Violon seul, accompagné par le Clavessin […] Au depens de l'Auteur (Frankfurt am Main 1715, RISM ID no. 990063937). 

Over 40 printed editions followed this one, until 1740. When Telemann took up a new position in Hamburg, he also expanded the musical genres of his publications. In 1725/26 he published the cantatas from the Harmonischer Gottesdienst (RISM ID no. 990063919), Telemann's first publication of sacred vocal pieces.

Save for one exception, Telemann only published his own works. By doing so he was able to steer and engineer broad reception of his music. Furthermore, Telemann decided to introduce a subscription scheme in order to adjust the print runs to demand. His works were quickly disseminated and it can be seen from extant lists that he received orders from all over Europe. For example, 185 subscribers ordered 206 copies of the Musique de table (Hamburg 1733, RISM ID no. 990063965) and 232 subscribers ordered 237 copies of the Nouveaux quatuors en six suites (Paris 1738, RISM ID no. 990063978). After 1740, Telemann transferred publication of his compositions to other publishers. 

In the RISM catalog's Advanced Search in the field Publisher, a search for Telemann, Georg Philipp finds 43 results.  


Image: Title page, Nouveaux quatuors en six suites, Paris 1738, D-Mbs 4 Mus.pr. 2009.2615#Beibd.1 (RISM ID no. 990063978).



Category: RISM A-Z

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