chapter  Four
34 Pages

Contemporary Issues of the Victorian Music Publisher

While examination of contemporary documents, journals, and ephemera to uncover and interpret the practices of a music publisher are a relatively new part of musicological investigation, this kind of methodology has been undertaken for some time in literary history and studies. Thus, to publish music in Victorian England often demanded a mastery of the legal labyrinth to ensure that compositions were sucessfully acquired, protected, printed, and distributed. At mid-century, a large portion of the Novello catalogue represented the repertoire of earlier centuries - music often readily available through Vincent's efforts as collector and editor. The process of selecting and purchasing compositions was interwoven with the strands of market demand and the musical environment. From his 'communications' to Musical Times readers, Alfred gauged market demand and the urgency for particular editions. The security or the copyright laws, even at mid-century, continued to be undermined by interpretation, and, once again, Alfred found he was forced to turn to the courts.