Breitkopf & Härtel

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Breitkopf & Härtel

Breitkopf & Härtel, important German firm of book and music publishers. As an established printing firm in Leipzig, it was bought in 1745 by Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf (b. Klausthal Harz, March 2, 1695; d. Leipzig, March 23, 1777). His son, Johann Gottlob Immanuel (b. Nov. 23, 1719; d. Jan. 28, 1794), entered the business in 1745; it was his invention which made the basis for the firm’s position in the publication of music. In 1756 he devised a font with much smaller division of the musical elements, and this greatly reduced the cost of printing chords (and hence piano music). The firm soon began to issue numerous piano reductions of popular operas for amateur consumption. The earliest music publications, such as the Berlinische Oden und Lieder (3 vols., 1756, 1759, 1763), were made by Johann Gottlob Immanuel Breitkopf himself, and bore the imprint “Leipzig, Druckts und Verlegts Johann Gottlob Immanuel Breitkopf’; from 1765 to 1777 the firm name appears as “Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf und Sohn”; from 1777 to 1787 (after Christophe death) Johann’s name again appears alone; his second son, Christoph Gottlob (b. Leipzig, Sept. 22, 1750; d. there, April 4, 1800), joined the firm in 1787; from 1787 to 1795 publications were issued as “im Breitkopfischen Ver-lage” (or Buchhandlung, or Musikhandlung); in 1795 (the year after Immanuel’s death) Christoph Gottlob Breitkopf took as his partner his close friend Gottfried Christoph Hàrtel (b. Schneeberg, Jan. 27, 1763; d. Cotta, near Leipzig, July 25, 1827); since 1795 the firm has been known as Breitkopf & Hàrtel, although no Breitkopf has been actively associated with the firm since Christoph Gottlob’s death in 1800. Hàrtel’s tremendous energy revitalized the firm. He added a piano factory; founded the important periodical Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung (1798; ed., J.F. Rochlitz); introduced pewter in place of the harder copper for engraving music; used Senefelder’s new lithographic process for either title pages or music where suitable; issued so-called “complete” eds. of the works of Mozart, Haydn, Clementi, and Dussek. The firm also began the practice of issuing catalogues with thematic indexes and keeping stocks of scores. From 1827 to 1835 Florenz Hàrtel was head of the firm; Hermann Hàrtel (b. Leipzig, April 27, 1803; d. there, Aug. 4, 1875) and his brother, Raimund Hàrtel (b. Leipzig, June 9, 1810; d. there, Nov. 9, 1888), together dominated the book business of Leipzig (and thus all Germany) for many years; the sons of 2 sisters of Raimund and Hermann, Wilhelm Volkmann (b. Halle, June 12, 1837; d. Leipzig, Dec. 24, 1896) and Dr. Oskar von Hase (b. Jena, Sept. 15, 1846; d. Leipzig, Jan. 26, 1921), succeeded them. After Wilhelm Volkmann’s death, his son, Dr. Ludwig Volkmann (1870–1947), headed the firm jointly with von Hase; von Hase’s son Hermann (1880–1945) entered the firm in 1904 and was a co-partner from 1910 to 1914. Hermann von Hase publ, essays tracing the relation of J. Haydn, C.P.E. Bach, and J.A. Hiller to the firm; in 1915 he became a partner in the book business of K.F. Koehler. His brother Dr. Hellmuth von Hase (b. Jan. 30, 1891; d. Wiesbaden, Oct. 18, 1979) became director of the firm in 1919. The old house was destroyed during the air bombardment of Dec. 4, 1943; it was rebuilt after the war. In 1950 Dr. von Hase moved to Wiesbaden, where he established an independent business, reclaiming the rights for the firm in West Germany. Important enterprises of the firm throughout its existence are eds. of Bach, Beethoven, Berlioz, Brahms, Chopin, Gluck, Grétry, Handel, Haydn, Lassus, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Palestrina, Schein, Schubert, Schumann, Schiitz, Victoria, and Wagner. The German government supported the publication by Breitkopf & Hàrtel of the 2 series of Denkmàler Deutscher Tonkunst (1892–1931 and 1900–1931). Other publications of the firm are Der Bar, yearbook (since 1924); Katalog des Archivs von Breitkopf und Hartel, ed. by Dr. F.W. Hitzig (2 vols., 1925–26); Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung (weekly; 1798–1848 and 1863–65); Monatshefte fiir Musikgeschichte (1869–1905); Mitteilungen des Hauses Breitkopf und Hartel (1876–1940; resumed in 1950); Vier-teljahrsschrift fiir Musikwissenschafi (1869–1906); Zeitschrift der International (monthly; Oct. 1899–Sept. 1914); Sammelbande der International Musikgesellschaft (quarterly; 1899–1914); Korrespondenzb-latt des Evangelischen Kirchengesangvereins fiir Deut-schland (monthly; 1886–1922); Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschafi (monthly; 1919–35); Archiv fiir Musikforschung (1936–43).


B. Brook, éd., The B. Thematic Catalogue...1762–1787 (N.Y., 1966); R. Elvers, éd., B. & H. 1719–1969. Ein historischer Überblick zum Jubilaum (Wiesbaden, 1968); I. Hempel, éd., Pasticcio aufdas 250jahrige Bestehen des Verlages B. & H.(Leipzig, 1968); O. von Hase, B. & H. Gedenkschrift und Arbeitsbericht (3 vols.: 1, 1542–1827; II, 1828–1918; III, 1918–68; Wiesbaden, 1968).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire