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Volume II of Schenker's series of theoretical works entitled Neue Musikalische Theorien und Phantasien (New Musical Theories and Fantasies), originally intended as a single volume, but ultimately split into two half-volumes, the first, subtitled Cantus Firmus and Two-voice Counterpoint, published by J. G. Cotta of Stuttgart in 1910, the second, subtitled Three- and More-voice Counterpoint; Bridges to Free Composition, by Universal Edition of Vienna in 1922.

Kontrapunkt 1

Bibliographical Data

volume title-page:

KONTRAPUNKT | VON | HEINRICH SCHENKER | ERSTER HALBBAND: | CANTUS FIRMUS UND ZWEISTIMMIGER SATZ | [publisher's device] | STUTTGART UND BERLIN 1910 | J. G. COTTA'SCHE BUCHHANDLUNG NACHFOLGER

dedication:

DEM ANDENKEN MEINES VATERS [To the memory of my father]

printer:

Druck der Union Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft in Stuttgart

publication number: UE 6867

Publication History

Preparation of Kontrapunkt is recorded in Schenker's diary from at least August 1906. The "Foreword" to Harmonielehre (released November 10, 1906), states: I will not neglect, before the publication of my Psychology of Counterpoint, and to reinforce and put into practice the present Theory of Harmony, to publish a supplementary text entitled "The Decline of the Art of Composition—a Technical-critical Inquiry."

The Niedergang der Kompositionskunst (Decline of the Art of Composition) was never published, and Schenker dropped the "Psychology of" from his title. After a two-month delay to prepare the second edition of Beitrag zur Ornamentik, Schenker continued drafting Kontrapunkt in June 1908, submitting the manuscript of Sections I and II of the book on September 23. On October 8, Schenker proposed splitting the work into two half-volumes, but Cotta resisted this, agreeing finally only on June 1, 1909. Proofing began in late October 1908 and continued, with interpolation of preliminary matter and supplementary material, until August 1910, the work being published on October 4, 1910.

After the negotiations with Universal Edition over Kontrapunkt 2 (see below), a print-run of 708 copies of Kontrapunkt 1 was produced for UE on February 21, 1921 (UE 6867). (A pencil note states that on March 26, 1940, 11 copies were handed over to the Gestapo.)

Kontrapunkt 2

Bibliographical Data

volume title-page:

KONTRAPUNKT | VON | HEINRICH SCHENKER | ZWEITER HALBBAND: | DREI- UND MEHRSTIMMIGER SATZ | ÜBERGÄNGE ZUM FREIEN SATZ | UNIVERSAL-EDITION A. G. | WIEN [–] 1922 [–] LEIPZIG

dedication:

DEM ANDENKEN MEINER MUTTER [To the memory of my mother]

printer:

Universitäts-Buchdrückerei "Styria", Graz

publication number: UE 6868

Publication History

Schenker spoke of "putting the finishing touches to Kontrapunkt 2" in May 1911, and persevered despite the parallel work on his monograph Beethovens Neunte Sinfonie (1912) and Erläuterungsausgabe (1913, 1914, 1916, 1920). On March 25, 1920, Schenker promised Cotta he would deliver the manuscript of the work in person in September (CA 171); but instead, Otto Vrieslander delivered Section III (three-part counterpoint) on October 4 (CA 180 and 181). On November 6, Schenker claimed that Section III was the "complete" volume, and urged Cotta to proceed with printing, while at the same time vaguely retaining the possibility that he might send them more to be incorporated (CA 183).

Cotta replied with new financial proposals, in the face of which Schenker realized that he could no longer fall back on Alphons von Rothschild for the publication costs. Schenker then turned to Emil Hertzka. In a series of letters and meetings (November–January, midst high drama over Der Tonwille), Hertzka offered to take over publication of Kontrapunkt 2 and any further volumes in the series, on condition that he gain control of all previous volumes (OC 52/239–240, December 18, 1920; CA 188, January 21, 1921). Hertzka produced a draft contract (OC 52/244, January 12, 1921). Cotta agreed on February 5 to dissolve its 1905 contract and to hand over all residual stocks to UE (OJ 9/31, [46], also CA 192).

When Schenker submitted the remaining material, and when proofing took place, are unclear. The volume went to press on May 30, 1922, and according to the UE Verlagsdruckbuch the printers delivered 994 copies to UE on November 30, 1922; however, Schenker records the release of the volume in his diary for July 7, 1922, and informs his pupils and friends. (A pencil note states that on March 26, 1940, 431 copies were handed over to the Gestapo.)

Bibliography:

  • Counterpoint, trans. Rohn Rothgeb & Jürgen Thym (New York: Schirmer Books, 1987), vol. I: Cantus Firmus and Two-Voice Counterpoint; vol. II: Counterpoint in Three and More Voices; Bridges to Free Composition

Sources:

  • correspondence between Schenker and Cotta; between Schenker and UE; between UE and Cotta
  • Schenker's diary
  • UE Verlagsdruckbücher 6867 and 6868 (UE Archive)

Contributor:

  • Ian Bent

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Correspondence

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