250 years of the music publisher André in Offenbach

Martin Bierwisch

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

There are many musical anniversaries to celebrate this year (for a list, see our earlier post). However, the notable anniversaries include not only those of musicians and composers but also those of companies. A case in point is the music publishing house of Johann André, founded in Offenbach in 1774, which has remained in family hands to this day. Its long history could offer a number of intriguing topics: Senefelder and lithography, Mozart’s estate and posthumous first editions, or the changing conditions of music publishing.

But this time let us limit ourselves to the sources: André’s editions number around 18,000, of which the early prints in particular are of course cataloged in RISM (see RISM Catalog | RISM Online). We already reported on the dating of early André prints in 2021.

Searches in the RISM database for André’s publishing house return close to 3,500 hits. In the course of the 19th century, the landscape was further enriched by the branches C. A. André in Frankfurt am Main (RISM Catalog | RISM Online) and G. André in Philadelphia (RISM Catalog | RISM Online), which partly operated as independent publishers.

In contrast to many other publishers, André still has its own archive (D-OF, RISM Catalog | RISM Online). RISM alone lists over 2,000 sources from this collection (not only prints, by the way). Nevertheless, the publisher’s archive is even more extensive than the sources found in RISM seem to suggest. In addition to the numerous printed editions (some with production documents) that go beyond the period the A/I series originally covered, a variety of other sources can be found there. Not merely letters received from composers, other publishers, trading partners, and customers have been preserved (albeit with significant gaps), but also the virtually complete outgoing correspondence in the form of letter copy books from the end of 1804 to 1844.

The 250th anniversary is celebrated with more than two dozen concerts featuring works from the archive. In addition to Mozart, members of the André family and several other – in part forgotten – composers will appear on the program. For an overview of the events, see the website 250 Jahre Musikverlag Johann André.

Image: Stamp of the archive Joh. André, Musikverlag Offenbach a. M.

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