Music Publishers

I fell asleep pretty early on during the Oscars. James Franco really didn’t want to be there, did he? I liked the Times description, they said it was like pairing James Dean with Debbie Reynolds. Anne Hathaway was charming though.

So I read this piece in the Times the other day, Free Trove of Music Scores on Web Hits Sensitive Copyright Note, and it kinda makes music publishers look like the bad guys.

But I’d just been reading about when the publisher Novello start publishing small, affordable editions of choral classics. They made a fortune (I think) and they made tons of people very happy. They were heroes. From a 1894 letter to the editor:

“Looking back … over the half-century, and remembering … the costliness of good music … it is delightful to call to mind the great work which Messrs. Novello’s house has accomplished in placing the noblest monuments of the great masters in the hands of all orders and degrees of men. To them we owe the greatly enhanced enjoyment of an oratorio which springs from the possession of a portable copy which can be carried easily in the hand and used during the performance. I well remember the publication of the first octavo edition of “The Messiah” … which were eagerly looked for by the subscribers. The same original copy still stands on my music shelves …”

Finney helping me with A Sea Symphony. “No, it’s this note.”


Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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