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Still publishing after 300 years:  Breitkopf & Härtel


          by Martin Ederer                                          “Golden Bear” Inn in Leipzig, and  piano works (while Haydn was still  and Martin von Hase, who are al-
             ears ago, a German friend                              there  he  launched  his  publishing  alive).                ternately identified as (1) too eager-
             of mine in the bookselling                             house.                           In addition, the firm began pub-  ly Nazi hence some nice publishing
       Ybusiness  explained  to  me                                    The symbol of the bear from the  lishing  the  acclaimed  Allgemeine  projects came their way or (2) al-
       how the American business model                              inn’s sign has been the company’s  musikalische  Zeitung,  which  be-  though  not  party  members,  their
       tended to give priority to immediate                         business  logo  ever  since.  After  came a long-standing prestige jour-  nationalistic  patriotism  and  views
       profit.  In  his  line  of  work  that                       starting out publishing textbooks –  nal of all things musical. Breitkopf  aligned nicely with Nazism or (3)
       meant  that  publishing  houses  and                         especially theology – and poetry, he  & Härtel became the main publisher  they  did  what  they  needed  to  do
       bookstores  went  for  the  high-vol-                        began  to  publish  songbooks.  His  of  Beethoven’s  works,  and  from  under  difficult  circumstances.  In
       ume, high profit works that paid off                         son Johann Gottlob Immanuel initi-  there the rest was (an amazing) his-  any  event,  the  publishing  house
       quickly  and  handsomely.  He  did                           ated  the  innovation  of  publishing  tory.                 was  heavily  damaged  in  a  1943
       not  consider  any  of  those  things                        sales  catalogs  for  music  and  also  Not only did that history include  bombing raid on Leipzig. Sizeable
       good.  He  contrasted  that  with  an                        perfected  moveable-type  musical  manufacturing pianos through much  parts  of  the  archives  survived,
       observation  that  it  was  important                        note printing processes.      of  the  1800s,  but  also  a  literal  thanks  to  careful  storage  precau-
       for  German  booksellers  to  stock                             From  1756  onward,  Breitkopf  “Who’s  Who”  of  correspondence  tions. After the war, these archives
       low-volume  but  quality  titles  be-                        became  the  music  publisher  of  with  and  publication  of  the  music  were deposited in the Leipzig State
       cause integrity and broad selections                         choice  in  the  German-Speaking  world’s greats: Felix Mendelssohn,  Archives.
       were  a  matter  of  pride.  In  other quality  and  critical  acclaim  be  world.  Josef  Haydn,  Leopold  Mo-  Robert  Schumann  (who  made  the  In  1945  Hellmuth  von  Hase
       words,  prioritize  building  a  good damned.                zart,  Carl  Stamitz  and  Georg  company aware of the up-and-com-  gathered his closest associates and
       business and the profits – and suc-  That brings us to the venerable  Philipp  Telemann  became  regular  ing Johannes Brahms), Franz Liszt,  fled  to  Wiesbaden  in  the  western
       cess – will follow.           German  music  publishing  house  suppliers of compositions. The Bre-  Richard Wagner, and Edvard Grieg.  Allied  zone.  His  brother  Martin
          I often think of that when I or- Breitkopf & Härtel. It’s still in busi-  itkopf  house  also  gave  Goethe  his  From 1850 onward, Breitkopf &  joined  him  after  he  was  released
       der books for my courses. Publish- ness  after  300  years.  Bernhard  publishing start when he was still an  Härtel  launched  a  series  of  “com-  from an American POW camp. In
       ing  in  America  is  a  volatile Christoph  Breitkopf  founded  his  unknown  poet.  By  the  late  1700s,  plete  editions”  of  Bach,  Händel,  1947  Breitkopf  &  Härtel’s  new
       business. Titles may survive, but it company in 1719. He got into pub-  Breitkopf  suffered  financial  strug-  Mozart,  Mendelssohn,  Beethoven,  business was officially licensed by
       seems that publishers are constantly lishing  through  marriage  into  the  gles.          Schumann,  Schubert  and  Berlioz.  the  Military  Government  of  Ger-
       being  bought  out  and/or  reorga- Müller  family,  which  had  already  A new partnership with Gottfied  Still, through much of the 19th cen-  many  in  the  west.  Meanwhile  in
       nized.  Once  profitability  falls  off, been printing almost 200 years. In  Christoph Härtel stabilized the firm,  tury  Breitkopf  &  Härtel  continued  1952 both brothers were tried and
       books  promptly  go  out  of  print  – 1732  he  acquired  the  derelict  which henceforth became Breitkopf  printing regular works of literature  sentenced in absentia in East Ger-
                                                                    & Härtel after 1796. In 1800 Härtel  much  more  than  music.  That  all  many.
                                                                    took over the firm after a later Bre-  changed by the late 1800s, in part  What  was  left  of  the  Leipzig
      The Buffalo Synod Lutherans                                   itkopf’s death. By this time, Breit-  because so many of the “complete  operation  was  seized  by  the  East
                                                                    kopf  &  Härtel  had  already  editions”  series  were  now  being  German Government and re-estab-
       from page 2                                                  published a “complete works” edi-  produced. By that time, Breitkopf &  lished  as  VEB  (i.e.  state  owned)
         In 1866, the Buffalo Synod itself American  Lutheranism,  but  it  also  tion of Mozart as well as a “com-  Härtel established special series of  Breitkopf  &  Härtel.  Anyhow,  the
      rejected  Grabau’s  rigorous  ideas. left  an  important  local  legacy.  In  plete  works”  edition  of  Haydn’s  choral  music,  chamber  music,  or-  Wiesbaden  company  once  again
      They  tried  him  for  heresy  and  de- 1840 Grabau had founded the Mar-                    chestra parts and conductor’s scores.  began to thrive. After German re-
      manded that he recant some of his tin  Luther  Seminary  in  Buffalo,                          The 20th century brought some  unification  the  original  firm  man-
      views.  He  refused  and  was  subse- which lasted until 1930 as a training                 serious turbulence to the firm, a mix  aged  to  regain  control  of  the
      quently  suspended.  Three  pastors ground for Lutheran leaders.                            of good times and bad. Breitkopf &  Leipzig operation.
      followed him out of the synod, in-  In 1930, Buffalo Synod Luther-                          Härtel started publishing Jean Sibel-  Because  of  Breitkopf  &  Här-
      sisting that they were upholding the ans  became  part  of  the  American                   ius’  works  after  1910,  and  despite  tel’s extensive collection of manu-
      true discipline of the Buffalo Synod. Lutheran  Church,  a  merger  of  the                 the  economic  and  political  chaos  script   compositions   and
      As  things  turned  out,  the  original conservative  Buffalo,  Iowa  and                   following World War I, its complete  correspondence with great compos-
      Buffalo Synod of four expelled con- Ohio  Synods.  At  the  time,  there                    edition  of  Brahms  published  in  ers – not to mention its longevity,
      gregations managed to carry on just were still 51 Buffalo Synod congre-                     1927.                          the publishing house has been offi-
      fine. As for those who voted against gations  scattered  through  New                          Breitkopf & Härtel did well dur-  cially  designated  a  national  trea-
      Grabau, twelve pastors later joined York,  Pennsylvania  and  the  upper                    ing the Nazi years, thanks to efforts  sure  under  the  protocols  of
      the  Missouri  Synod.  Six,  claiming Midwest.  By  1988  most  of  the                     of its directors, Hellmuth von Hase  protected cultural property laws ac-
      to  be  the  new,  improved  Buffalo American Lutheran Church congre-                                                      cording to the Hague Convention.
      Synod  only  lasted  11  years.  Their gations were ready to merge into the
                                                                   2023   BUSINESS    RECOGNI-
      new,  improved  Buffalo  Synod  2.0 newly  organized  Evangelical  Lu-
                                                                   TION  AWARDS  were  presented
      disbanded  in  1877,  most  of  them theran  Church  of  America.  A  few
                                                                   on March 30 and among the honor-
      joining the Wisconsin Synod.   conservative  congregations  of  the
                                                                   ees was Andrea Ball of Great Erie
         When Grabau died in 1879, he American  Lutheran  Church  opted
                                                                   Federal  Credit  Union.  The  awards
      left  an  important  legacy.  Not  only instead to form the smaller Ameri-
                                                                   recognize  outstanding  businesses,
      did the Buffalo Synod constitute an can   Association   of   Lutheran
      important chapter in the history of Churches.                non-profits and professional leaders
                                                                   in the Greater East Aurora area.
                                                                      Ball received a Visionary Award
                                                                   which noted that “Ball is very much
                                                                   about the people, places and connec-
                                                                   tions  that  make  our  community  a
                                                                   rich and vibrate one.”
                                                                      She is active with the Schwaben
                                                                   Chor, the German Festival Commit-
                                                                   tee  and  Federation  of  German
                                                                   American  Societies  in  Buffalo  and
                                                                   Vicinity.
                                                                      A Visionary Award is presented
                                                                   to  a  Greater  East  Aurora  business,
                                                                   school, association or individual that
                                                                   promotes student preparation for the
                                                                   workplace by acting as an advocate
                                                                   for  workforce  development  issues,
                                                                   career technology education and the
                                                                   skilled trades and/or plays an active
                                                                   role  in  partnering  with  other  busi-
                                                                   nesses  and  schools  in  supporting
                                                                   career exploration activities, i.e. in-
                                                                   ternships, business tours, mock em-
                                                                   ployment  interviews  or  support  of
                                                                   employability portfolios.




                                                                             Published by
                                                                         Buffalo Standard Printing
                                                                            3620 Harlem Rd.
                                                                         Cheektowaga, NY 14215
                                                                            716-831-8013
                                                                        mail@thegermancitizen.com
                                                                         Editor - Roger Puchalski
                                                                      Consulting Editor - Martin Ederer
                                                                         For Advertising Sales call:
                                                                            Michelle Kisluk or
                                                                            Steve Kroczynski
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