Abstract

This article tells the story of a self-publishing business maintained by Georg Philipp Telemann in Frankfurt and Hamburg from 1715 through the late 1730s, a remarkable venture that illuminates much about music commerce during the early eighteenth century. At a time in Germany when conditions were generally unfavorable for the publishing of music, Telemann issued forty-six entirely new editions of his own works. Not only did he solicit subscribers to his publications and set up a network of agents across Europe (anticipating the activities of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach a half century later), but he also did much, if not all, of the engraving himself and pioneered the use of pewter plates and punches in Germany. A recently discovered supplement to the subscriber list printed with the Nouveaux quatuors (Paris, 1738) enriches our knowledge of Telemann's audience, while a close examination of his engraving practices provides evidence for a redating of the well-known Hamburg collection Essercizii musici. Despite the continuing success of his Selbstverlag, Telemann suddenly dissolved the business in 1740 with the sale of his entire stock of engraved plates, a move that seems to have been motivated in part by his aspirations as a music theorist.

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