Today we celebrate the 150th birthday of a very special catalogue, the famous green Edition Peters Series. The light green cover and iconic logo is known across the globe and every serious musician is guaranteed to have at least one on their shelves.
Before developments in music engraving and printing, printed works were impossibly expensive. Only the richest – or those with the richest benefactors – could afford to have printed scores. The rest would have to hire out what they needed. The creation of the rotary press, however, changed everything. The cost of production was suddenly a fraction of what it had been before.
Dr Max Abraham (1831–1900), a partner in the Peters firm, saw the potential in the rotary press and began the Edition Peters series in 1867 with Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (edited by Czerny). The modest prices for high-quality editions marked a huge change in music publishing. For the first time, the wider public could buy, rather than hire, printed music.
By 1900, it would include works by such household names as d’Albert, Brahms, Bruch, Dvořák, Flotow, Franz, Gade, Liszt, Loewe, Lortzing, Meyerbeer, Moszkowski, Raff, Sinding, Smetana, Vieuxtemps, and Wagner. Nowadays, the catalogue boasts over 150,000 works.
And it’s their 150th birthday.
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