This book provides a complete inventory of the Chopin first editions, and subsequent impressions published in his lifetime, found in over forty European and American collections. They total some 4000 scores. Prefaced by an extended historical discussion from Christophe Grabowski and John Rink, the book constitutes the first systematic investigation of Chopin's first editions, which have until now been neglected despite their potential to inform us. Much is revealed here about the content of Chopin's music, his idiosyncratic editorial methods, and early nineteenth-century publication practices in general. Furthermore, the insights gained into the evolution from manuscript to later impressions of Chopin's first editions counter prevailing notions of the circumscribed 'work', encouraging a more flexible conception in which variants become part of the music's aesthetic property. The value of the volume is enhanced by the reproduction of more than 200 title pages from first editions.
John Rink is professor of music at Royal Holloway, University of London.