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Ridgewell, Rupert M.

Mozart and the Artaria Publishing House:
Studies in the Inventory Ledgers, 1784-1793

Ph.D. Royal Holloway, University of London, 1999

The Artaria publishing house was Mozart's most significant contemporary printer, issuing 45 editions of his music between 1781 and 1791. But Mozart's contact with the firm is documented by very little hard evidence. This creates two problems. First, without knowledge of the extent of the composer's involvement, the textual value and filiation of many first editions is difficult to assess. Secondly, the significance of Mozart's publishing income is left to the realm of speculation.

The inventory ledgers of the Artaria firm have hitherto aroused little scholarly attention. Yet, as the only major products of the company's administration to survive from the eighteenth century, they are important archival sources for Mozart's dealings with the publisher. This dissertation evaluates four ledgers, compiled between 1784 and 1793, from a source-critical perspective. First, I define the parameters within which the ledgers were written and locate them in the context of the firm's ownership, administration and bookkeeping. This approach leads to a re-assessment of their application to bibliographical research and allows the scope of inquiry to be widened to include issues of distribution, production and finance. Mozart's contact with Artaria is discussed in the light of three new documents: a list of manuscripts recorded in Ledger 4; and entries in Ledgers 3 and 4 showing debts due to the firm in 1784 and 1787.

There are two contrasting outcomes. Although Artaria's printing capacity was limited during Mozart's lifetime, the firm stocked and exported more copies of his music in comparison to any other composer in the catalogue before 1791. Mozart, however, failed to complete important commissions, ran up substantial debts and evidently remained ambivalent towards print as a source of income and as a vehicle for transmission.