Summary of Bibliography Commission Sessions in Rome

The Bibliography Commission hosted two sessions in the Rome IAML Congress. Both were accommodated in the Santa Cecilia Hall, a spacious concert hall in the Parco della Musica, and chaired by Rupert Ridgewell (British Library, London).

The first session, on Monday 4th July 2016 and titled Bibliographical Approaches to Early Music, had an audience of slightly over 60 persons. Three papers, all in English, were given in this thematically coherent session, namely The Bohemian Watermark Research in the Music Department of the National Library of the Czech Republic by Eliška Šedivá (Music Department, The National Library of the Czech Republic, Prague), The Strategies for Cataloguing Derivative Works of Early Music: Theoretical Background and Consequences by Sonia Wronkowska (Music Department, The National Library of Poland, Warsaw), and Revising the RISM A/II Records: The Case of Sl-Lnr, Mss 339–344 by Klemen Grabnar (Institute of Musicology, The Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana).

A solid basis for Eliška Šedivá in her paper was an ongoing project of creating a database of Bohemian watermarks, which she is leading. In 2014 the Czech RISM Working Group started systematically to gather watermark information for further study on the provenance of musical sources. Their goal is to publish a printed catalogue of all Bohemian watermarks used in various musical manuscript sources. An idea to attach this information also to the national union music catalogue unfortunately failed, which caused a search for an alternative option. This was found in RISM, which allows JPEG images and separate metadata for them to be saved by using the Kallisto application; basic information about the watermarks and related papermills is taken from the groundbreaking studies of František Zuman (1870–1955) and is already published within the project as a shorthand list called A Dictionary of Bohemian Papermakers. Besides RISM, the information is made available via the Bohemian Watermark Database of the Musical Sources Registered in Union Music Catalogue of the National Library of the Czech Republic . So far, four manuscript collections are fully studied, and another four are currently being prepared. From these, all watermarks are traced and copied by hand and published as such, with the addition of scans in some cases. Efficient links between watermarks, papermakers and individual manuscripts are established in the catalogue, thereby linking pictures of Bohemian watermarks to any relevant musical source catalogued in RISM, thus allowing scholars to notice connections otherwise easily missed. Statistical information about papers used in manuscripts and improved identification of papermakers were some of the advantages mentioned by Šedivá in her paper, which included several examples. In order to help assign dates to watermarks, comparison to printed music is also taken into account in the project. The project is fully funded by the National Library of the Czech Republic.

Contrary to the first speaker, the approach of Sonia Wronkowska was more philosophical. Taking 18th-century church ensembles and their program as a starting point for her project of cataloguing derivative works, she brought into question a variety of ontological problems which relate to how compositions are defined. As is well-known, music history has a long tradition of arrangements, pasticcios, transcriptions, parodies, contrafactas, etc. The principal aim of those derivative works was – and still is – to serve as sources for ‘new’ works for performance, for either aesthetic or practical reasons. Wronkowska hinted about a shift in copyright ideology (from patron owning the music in the early modern period to the opposite in our times) and reminded us of the derivative nature of some popular music (remixes!) before going into a practical question about cataloguing anonymously preserved works, which often are derivative and should be catalogued more properly as such. At the same time she cast strong doubt on how aesthetic and philosophical views of our times undermine music history (de facto) in the sake of ‘the intention of the composer’ (de jure, so to speak). This can be seen clearly in how traditional cataloguing emphasizes the authentic work. [A note: the FRBR model is now starting to shake this approach into a more reflective cataloguing.] A question of terminology was an important part of the paper, whether in relation to RISM’s descriptive classification practices (‘parody Mass’ for Renaissance works, ‘parody’ versus ‘contrafacta’ for 18th-century sacred arias based on opera excerpts, etc), or more theoretically about trying to understand the early modern period and to approach it objectively. Wronkowska’s ironic expression “Cataloguing is a responsible job” included a demand: related to musicology, one should keep in mind objectivity when describing resources: calling Handel pasticcios ‘plagiarism’ – the way such works could be seen these days – make them less interesting, even if they fully represent their own time. After the paper, two questions were raised from the audience, one by the Chair and another by Kathryn Adamson. The latter asked whether there is a need to fix the terminology used for cataloguing derivative works or simply to accept that the meaning of certain terms vary from time to time. The speaker wished cataloguers to concentrate more on terminology rather than made a demand for a total change for an ‘ultimate’ clarification.

Strong links between cataloguing and musicology were also brought to attention by the third speaker, Klemen Grabnar. His paper was two-fold: the first part was a short introduction to Slovenian RISM work, followed by a much wider look at a certain source set and its context. RISM activity in Slovenia began in 1967, and prior to 1980 ca 1,000 catalogue cards were readily available. Since 1993 these and newer cards are transferred into bibliographic records. At the moment there are 21 music manuscript collections in Slovenia, of which the great(est) part is already catalogued to RISM, a total of ca 4,000 records. One group of these records includes the so-called Graz Choirbooks (Sl-Lnr, Mss 339–344), a set of six volumes intended for the Graz Court Chapel, the main subject of the presentation. These large manuscripts (the largest containing 591 folios, cover height being 59 cm) were written by Georg Kuglmann (active 1569–1609) and four other Graz-based copyshop workers, with watermarks pointing also to Innsbruck. Already since the early 17th century they were in the possession of the Prince-Bishop of Ljubljana, Thomas Chrön, while later provenance is unfortunately only partially unknown. Musically the choirbooks represent sacred music mostly by Italian and Flemish first-rate composers of whom many were active in the Habsburg lands. All six books include unica, and Ms 344 is a very special since it contains double-choir works. RISM records for these books were recently updated, and a digitization project is to be expected soon so that these highly interesting sources could be accessed as easily as is necessary for scholars and performers alike. After the presentation, three comments were raised: First the Chair wanted to know what these choirbooks tell us about musical practices in Graz and Ljubljana. Grabnar’s interpretation was that the repertory of these books was performed in both places. For the second note, Eva Neumayr made a comparison to musical practices in the Salzburg Cathedral, mentioning that a similar program was used there until the 19th century – though it was not sang from original choirbooks but rather from newly-made copies, emphasizing that the condition of the originals do not reveal the actual usage of the program itself. The speaker then commented that there are hardly any trails of usage in the Graz choirbooks and that in Ljubljana there were not enough performers available for the larger-scale works. For the third question, again made by the Chair, Grabnar verified that there is an intention to compare the choirbooks with relevant printed sources in the near future.

The second session, on Wednesday 6th July 2016 and titled simply Music Publishing, served an audience of circa fifty persons in the same hall as the first session. Again three papers were presented, again all in English. And in contrast to the vague title of the session, the papers were closely-related: Tradition vs. Renewal: Editorial Praxis at Ricordi and the Definition of New Editorial Genres and Series by Roberta Milanaccio (King’s College London, London), Instructive Editions as Source for Musicological Studies: The Case of J. S. Bach’s Two-Part Inventions in Italy by Maria Borghesi (Department of Musicology and Cultural Heritage, University of Pavia, Cremona), and The Role of German Publishers in the Development of Italian Instrumental Music in the Second Half of the 19th Century by Luca Aversano (Department of Philosophy, Communication and Performing Arts, The Third University of Rome, Rome).

Casa Ricordi, the leading music publisher in Italy, and more specifically the history of its editorial ethos was the focus of Roberta Milanaccio’s paper. She started with a comparison to German publishing houses and their ethos in the 19th century, pointing – not as the sole person during the session – that at that time in Italy music was considered mostly to be an entertainment while in Germany it was rather an aesthetic matter. By analysing the selection of titles published by Ricordi, Milanaccio looked at the way music was categorised, reflecting the musico-cultural spheres of the clientele and the surrounding society in general: Ricordi’s Nuovo gran catalogo (1902), for example, divides editions into three categories: dramatic music, educational materials, and music for home and entertainment. In the following decades the division shifted into a following one: opera (Puccini et alii), new Italian music (Malipiero, Casella, Respighi), and pre-Romantic music. Alternating trends of nationalism and internationalism culminated during the Fascist era, when the promotion of ‘italianism’ was evident and included a wholly new publishing genre, namely facsimiles of manuscripts by Italian composers; an increase in didactic materials and instrumental music can also be seen. Continuing with dichotomies, editorialship in Ricordi was always more a matter of practice rather than the realisation of some well-established philological tradition. This can be seen also in the way early music, which became all the time a more and more important part of the catalogue, was handled by Ricordi by ‘acclimatizing’ it to make it easier to approach and to appreciate by the expected clientele. A zenith for early music followed after WWII, when Ricordi’s flagship edition, Le opere di Antonio Vivaldi (1947–1972), was introduced. While the Ricordi catalogue shows many traits of the publisher’s ethos, Milanaccio complained that there is not much implicitly-written evidence how the selection of works was done by the publishing house and what kind of principles their editorial praxis followed. After the paper, two questions were raised, the first one by the Chair, who asked what was the role of the regime during the Fascist era. Milanaccio told us that it is not easy to evaluate besides seeing the general trends mentioned in the paper. The second question, by Luca Aversano, was about the role of cuts and other harsh editing in Ricordi compared to other publishing houses, who also had similar practices. The speaker had to decline to open a deeper discussion about this, as her paper was rather about the history of publishing policy rather than a philological analysis of editing principles.

If the first paper covered a whole variety of editions, Maria Borghesi had a strictly limited genre selected as her source material, namely instructive editions. This special type is intended mainly for didactic purposes, being at the same time a combination of an interpretative model and often also a platter of older music set as a new dish and fitted with new instrumental techniques. Her chosen example, 11 Italian editions of the two-part invenzioni by Bach published between 1873 and 1973, highlights these aspects. The editions were prepared by teachers and virtuosos for students, amateurs, and performers, of whom many had lost contact with this kind of “unusual” or forgotten repertoire. Borghesi’s analysis included a history of publishing houses, their role, and a discussion about changes in copyright ownership (editorial point of view), as well as a look at the music itself, enhanced with ideas mapped from the prefaces by the editors (practical and theoretical aspects of didactic and performance research). All this was also linked to the study of reception, including discussion of such issues as: which composers and works were selected for publication; the general reception of instructive editions; and the specific reception of individual editions. A special case for Borghesi was the edition prepared by Busoni and published by Breitkopf & Härtel in 1892: with a detailed preface and heavy-handed editorship it allows us to see many facets, both theoretical and practical. In her paper, Borghesi also raised some of the challenges of making this kind of a study: scholars face a lack of bibliographical information in the form of missing publishers’s catalogues and ambiguity in OPACs [deficiency in descriptive bibliography causes headache for the study in analytical bibliography, once again!], and information about print runs, for example, is hardly available at all. Certain methodological problems were mentioned as well: there are no reliable tools to compare analyses on how editions were used, and research on performance practice and didactics (still) misses generally-accepted norms on how to approach the heterogenous data available. Two questions were raised concerning the paper: Balázs Mikusi was interested to know why sound recordings were not taken into account within the study, but according to Borghesi, during the time period in which the instructive editions were published no Italian recordings of the inventions were made as Bach’s music was used for didactic purposes only. Ann Kersting-Meuleman then asked about the total number of editions and their print runs as well as for more information about the teachers who used them. Borghesi had knowledge of seven editions in the first decades of the 20th century, but unfortunately no information about the print runs or the teachers (besides the teacher-editors themselves) and the ways in which they used these editions.

The third paper, by Luca Aversano, spotlighted the history of rich and varied German-Italian musical relations from yet another direction, pointing to the influence of German publishers on the development of Italian instrumental music in the 19th century. If concertos and chamber sonatas by Italian composers conquered the whole Europe in the 18th century (mostly by foreign editions and manuscript copies), the beginning of the following one was markedly opera-centred in Italy, while sonatas and symphonic music dominated the German publishing scene. At that time publishing houses in Germany were more experienced than their Italian counterparts, and competition between them was made even easier with no protectionistically high custom fees in Italy. This, combined with flexible payment options offered to Italian music distributors, allowed pre-eminence for German publishers, who were able to introduce Italian audience to the instrumental music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Meanwhile Ricordi (established in 1808) and other Italian publishers pushed for a renewed customs policy with higher import fees; this took effect in ca 1830 and allowed local industry to develop rapidly. Even after this point, Italian composers who wanted more prestige for their instrumental music had in any case to try to issue it via German publishers to gain Europe-wide markets and appreciation. Aversano analysed this by presenting two cases, namely Giovanni Sgambati, a protégé of Liszt, and Giuseppe Martucci, “the most important non-operatic composer in late 19th-century Italy” (according to Waterhouse & Perrino in Grove). Sgambati’s path into the Schott ‘team’ was paved with a recommendation by Wagner himself, whom he met in Rome 1876. A great deal of Sgambati’s instrumental music was then published in Germany, but – surprisingly? – the same is not true of Martucci: of his two symphonies, for example, only the first one was published in Germany (by Kistner in Leipzig) – the second one by Ricordi in his homeland. Vocal music by Italian composers was in any case published by local publishers and mostly rejected by German ones. According to Aversano, this obliged composers with both vocal and instrumental output to develop a kind of Janus-faced identity with two separate markets. A rough generalization for the effect caused by German publishers on 19th-century Italian music was that their activity helped to raise the value of instrumental music from entertaining Hausmusik to a level of true international Hochkunst.

Jaakko Tuohiniemi
Secretary, Bibliography Commission


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