Jean-Francois Rouchon

The melodies of Charles Bordes at the mutual edition

Founder of the Schola Cantorum and composer of French melodies, Charles Bordes created in 1902 a collaborative music edition, thanks to which he published numerous pieces that were previously unknown.

Table des matières

Charles Bordes’ initiatives in the publishing field began with the foundation of the Schola Cantorum as a musical society in November 1894. The composer wanted to set up a publishing service, the first action of which was the publication of La Tribune de Saint-Gervais. The aim of this periodical bulletin was to regularly inform the members of the Schola[1] about the activities of the institution. Subsequently, the Schola Cantorum Publishing Office, on the initiative of its founder, also published Les Tablettes de la Schola[2] , an information bulletin designed as a supplement to La Tribune de Saint-Gervais, but also anthologies intended for educational purposes or for the use of church musicians, such as the Répertoire moderne de musique vocale et d’orgue[3] , the Archives des maîtres de l’orgue[4] , the Chansonnier du xvi e[5] , and the Anthologie des maîtres religieux primitifs des xve , xvie et xvii e[6] .

[1]    A sample issue of La Tribune de Saint-Gervais was published in June 1894. Thereafter, the bulletin was published regularly from 1895 to 1929.

[2]From the outset,              this booklet contained sections devoted to Schola Cantorum concerts, ‘propaganda trips’, musical novelties, and included notes and bibliographical references, performance tips, etc. See Bernard MollaCharles Bordes, op. cit. vol. I, pp. 95-96.

[3]    Publication of the Schola Cantorum devoted to works for organ or religious vocal pieces. Compositions by Vincent d’Indy, Alexandre GuilmantPaul VidalFernand de la Tombelle, Charles Bordes, Abbé Boyer and Guy Ropartz.. See ibid. , p. 106-107.

[4]    This edition offered organists a version of the works in modern notation with indications of dynamics and registrations. See ibid. , p. 108.

[5]    Publication devoted to secular songs of the 17th centurye . See ibid. , p. 110.

[6]    Transcribed by Charles Bordes in modern notation, this edition included 25 masses and 125 motets. These pieces corresponded to the repertoire of the Chanteurs de Saint-Gervais. See ibid. , p. 112.

1. The foundation of the Mutual Edition

In 1902, Bordes also had the idea of creating a structure that would allow young composers, especially those from the Schola, to enter the then very closed world of music publishing and to publish at a lower cost the works that they could not get accepted by music publishers, for whom René de Castéra does not have harsh enough words for them:

For them, music is a commodity likely to bring in large profits if it finds many buyers; they are therefore naturally led to consider its market value and not its artistic interest: If they ruthlessly reject the works of the “young”, it is perhaps less out of a commercial spirit than out of musical incompetence[1] .

Based on the mutualist model developed in particular in commerce and industry, but also in literary publishing with the Mercure de France[2] , he founded with Castéra a new publishing body: the Édition Mutuelle. Thanks to this structure, which was totally independent from the Schola Cantorum’s publishing office from a financial and administrative point of view, musicians were able to finance the publication of mainly secular works (operas, chamber music, orchestral works, piano pieces, melodies, etc.) themselves, using a subscription system[3] . For particularly poor composers, the cooperation between members, materialised by the existence of a reserve fund, also made it possible to advance the funds necessary for the engraving and printing of works. Very enthusiastic about the foundation of this new organisation, René de Castéraits secretary general and future president “when Bordes’ health prevented him from continuing his activities within this institution[4] “, also emphasised the direct support provided by the Schola in this undertaking:

The Schola is the cradle of the work, lending it moral support and providing it with great material benefits. [It places its concert hall at the disposal of the Mutual Edition and facilitates the participation of its soloists and vocal ensemble class. This offers the considerable advantage of being able to perform the works[5] .

Once printed, the scores were also deposited with the Schola’s Publishing Office[6] , which was responsible for organising their commercial distribution[7] .

Another advantage for composers using the services of Mutual Publishing was that they retained ownership of the rights to their works. They could therefore, at any time, withdraw a work from the Mutual’s catalogue and turn to a publisher with a good reputation who would agree to publish it. The publishing house founded by Bordes was thus a formidable springboard for young artists wishing to join this cooperative system. Within a few months, this project had already published some fifty works by Charles Bordes, Marthe Ducourau, Déodat de SéveracLouis de SerresLouis TriconVictor VreulsPierre de BrévilleGustave BretRené de CastéraLéon de Saint-Réquier[8]Edmond de Polignac[9]Ernest Chausson (the last two posthumously), most of whom were students, teachers or members of the Schola[10] . The catalogue was later enriched by compositions by César FranckIsaac AlbénizCharles Tournemire and Blanche Selva.

The engraving of the scores of the Mutual Edition was carried out by Léon Minet[11] at the Schola Cantorum’s engraving workshop, while Mergault[12] was entrusted with their printing. According to excerpts from an account book of the Édition mutuelle kept in the Castéra archives archives in Angoumé, the print runs of Charles Bordes’ scores must have amounted to three hundred copies[13] . These scores, which today have become true collector’s items[14] , were slipped into a brightly coloured cover, the first page of which was decorated with a logo consisting of a cicada framed by the initials E and M[15] . On the second cover, a text recalled the foundations of the Édition mutuelle, its financing principles and specified its actions, both in terms of the publication and performance of the works[16] .

Although Bordes was the driving force behind the creation of the Mutual Society, it is worth highlighting the important role played by René de Castéra in the daily activities of the publishing house[17] . In 1902 and 1903, Charles Bordes led the Chanteurs de Saint-Gervais numerous ‘propaganda trips’ that took him away from the capital for long periods[18] . General Secretary since the beginning, Castéra was therefore the linchpin of the company, before taking over the management himself.

[1]    René de Castéra L’Édition Mutuelle”, in La Tribune de Saint-Gervais, IX, no 4 (April 1903), p. 152.

[2]    “M. Ch. Bordes has resorted to mutual cooperation; he was inspired by the many services that this system renders to trade and industry, a system which, in the field of bookshops, has already been applied with rare success by the Société du Mercure de France“, ibid.

[3]    “Through the system of mutual cooperation, the composer, having become his own publisher, obtained the lowest prices for the cost of publishing and at the same time retained his complete freedom”, ibid.

[4]    Anne de Beaupuy, René de Castéraop. cit. , p. 112. Following the hemiplegic attack he suffered in December 1903, while travelling to Strasbourg with the Chanteurs de Saint-GervaisCharles Bordes had to hand over the presidency of the Édition mutuelle to René de Castéra in 1904. He also associated the publisher Alexis Rouart to the management of the Schola Cantorum’s publishing office.

[5]    René de CastéraL’Édition Mutuelle”, art. cit. , p. 153.

[6]    As the note on their front cover indicates, the scores of the Mutual Edition were also available from Breitkopf & Haertel, which gave them international distribution.

[7]    Maurice Goulet headed the publishing section of the Schola Cantorum when the school opened on rue Saint-Jacques in November 1900. René de Castéra also mentions the ‘skilful and devoted administrator M. Petit’. See René de Castéraibid.

[8]    Catalogue of the Mutual Edition, 1907.

[9]    “That year, 1902, the Schola Cantorum realized its plan to create a music publishing association, Édition mutuelle, which would promote the music of its composer members, both faculty and students. Polignac’s works were among the first to be published. The virtuoso pianist Blanche Selva, a faculty member of the Schola, was engaged by the princesse to oversee the editing and the correction of the manuscripts. Ten of Polignac’s works in diverse genres were released in spring 1903′ in Sylvia Kahan, In search of new scales, op. cit. , 2009, p. 109.

[10]   Déodat de SéveracRené de CastéraLéon de Saint-Réquierand Gustave Bret were pupils at the Schola. Louis de Serres was professor of chamber music from 1900, Victor Vreuls professor of solfeggio (1901-1903) then harmony (1903-1906), Pierre de Bréville taught counterpoint from 1898 to 1902. See Vincent d’Indy (ed.), La Schola cantorum, op. cit. , p. 194-202. Edmond de Polignac was vice-president of the Schola Cantorum from 1894. See Myriam Chimènes, “Vincent D’Indy dans la société parisienne”, in Vincent d’Indy et son temps, Manuela Schwarz (ed.), op. cit. , p. 84.

[11]   Léon MinetLéon Minet, head engraver, was also briefly in charge of the Schola’s apprentice engravers’ workshop during the year 1899-1900. See Bernard MollaCharles Bordes, op. cit. , p. 83-84.

[12]   G. Mergault & Cie , 12, rue Martel, Paris. Letters from Jacques Lerolle to René de Castéra dating from 1919-1920 (documents kept in the Castéra archives in Angoumé) suggest that archives in Angoumé) suggest that prints were subsequently made at the printer Minot: “Dear friend, I am going to take my plates (from the Mutuelle) from Minot. On this subject, could you tell me the quotations and printer of the old Bordes plates that were at the Mutuelle because I see on some copies: printer Mergot [sic] and yet I believe that there are some at Minot’s”, (Paris, 16 December 1919). “There are: 3001 Bordes La Joie, 7 plates / 3002 Bordes Idylle mystique, 21 plates” (Paris, 24 October 1920).

[13]   This booklet does not contain the complete accounts of the edition, but extracts that make it possible to evaluate the print runs for the works of various composers. As far as     Charles Bordes is concerned, only Euskal HerriaLa Bonne Chanson, Mes cheveux dorment sur mon frontand L’Hiver are listed with an identical print run of 300 copies. In a handwritten note attached to the printing rates proposed by the printer Mergault (document kept in the Castéra archives in Angoumé), the founder of the Schola underlines the interest of opting for this print run: “Dear friend, see these prices, you have much more advantage in printing at 300, as I do.

[14]   The scores published by the Mutual Edition have become particularly rare. Some pieces, such as Bordes’ melody entitled Ô mes morts tristement nombreuxare not even listed in the file of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

[15]   The design of the logo was entrusted to Carlos de CastéraRené’s brother. See Anne de Beaupuy, René de Castéraop. cit. , p. 113.

[16]   See transcript in Annex F.

[17]   See Anne de Beaupuy, René de Castéraop. cit. , p. 112-117.

[18]   Bernard MollaCharles Bordes, op. cit. Volume I, pp. 202-208.

2. The publication of the melodies by the Édition mutuelle (1902-1909)

According to the catalogue of the Édition mutuelle of 1907, it seems that the works of Charles Bordes were among the first to be published by the new structure[1] : seventeen of his melodies were thus deposited in 1902 alone[2] , then five new ones before 1909. Bordes took full advantage of the project’s establishment. With the publication of the melodies on poems by Paul Verlaine and Francis JammesThe year 1902 also saw the publication of the most important part of the corpus and only three more were published before his death in 1909. The action carried out in the first months of the Mutual Edition’s existence constitutes a very important step in the dissemination of Bordes’s melodic work, a step that is undoubtedly decisive in the transmission and current knowledge of his compositions.

[1]    Bordes’s piano works and melodies occupy two-thirds of the first thirty issues of the 1907 Mutual Edition catalogue.

[2]    The melody entitled O my sadly many dead was probably composed and published in 1903.

3. Chronology of the edition

According to the legal deposit numbers of Bordes’ works published by the Mutuelle, it seems that the pieces were collected in several groups, published at irregular intervals[1] . The collection of four melodies entitled Paysages tristes was the first to appear in May 1902, together with René de Castéra’s Prélude pour orgue and melodies by Saint-RéquierCastéra and Lucas. Then, a set of four melodies on texts by Verlaine (Paysage vertLe son du cor s’afflige vers les boisPromenade matinaleO sad, sad was my soul) as well as two piano pieces[2] appeared in mid-June 1902. The Quatre poèmes de Francis Jammesthe melody Petites fées, honnêtes gnomes (Jean Moréas) and a new group of pieces on poems by Verlaine (Sur un vieil airLa Ronde des prisonniersEpithalameSpleen) were submitted in the second half of August 1902. Conducted in less than four months, the lightning edition of these twenty or so pieces[3] testifies to the composer’s impatience to carry out a publication project that he had had to put on hold for a long time.

Later, at the end of February or beginning of March 1903, the duet entitled L’Hiver[4] , after Bouchorthen in 1907 the melody Mes cheveux dorment sur mon fronton a poem by Camille Mauclairand the melody La Bonne Chanson[5] , an isolated piece on one of the poems of the eponymous collection by Verlaine published in 1870 by LemerreJ’allais par des chemins perfides”. At the end of 1909, Paysage majeuron a poem by Louis Payenwas the culmination of Bordes’s work on publishing melodies at the Mutuelle[6] .

It is worth noting here the very high proportion of melodies on poems by Paul Verlaine among the published pieces. Fourteen, including ten unpublished pieces, have been published, i.e. the entire corpus. This almost simultaneous publication had the merit of bringing to light Bordes’ interest in Verlaine’s works. The other melodies chosen by Bordes to complete the publication are works composed after 1901, in his mature period. On the contrary, some compositions dating from 1883 to 1885 were deliberately left out, while seven of them were unpublished[7] . The selection made by the composer seems to have been guided by a form of critical judgement of his early compositions.

There thus seems to be a double division in the composer’s choice, both poetically and musically: on the one hand, Bordes favours Verlain’s work, even if some of these melodies date back to 1884, and on the other hand, he prefers later pieces, which are perhaps considered to be more accomplished compositionally. Only the case of Colloque sentimental poses a question for this analysis: composed in 1884 on a poem by VerlaineThe piece was composed in 1884 to a poem by Verlaine, and is therefore not part of the group of melodies published by the Mutuelle. It is perhaps worth remembering that René de Castérasometimes described as Bordes’ spiritual son, published a melody inspired by the same poem at the Mutuelle in May 1902. Bordes would thus have avoided publishing a piece that could be compared with the work of one of his favourite disciples[8] .

Finally, three melodies are special cases. Firstly, Ô mes morts tristement nombreux does not appear in the legal deposit register and is not in the holdings of the Music Department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France; the score, however, was published by the Mutuelle in 1903[9] . A real mystery surrounds the melody entitled Greencomposed on a poem taken from the Romances sans paroles[10]. Currently untraceable and not listed in the legal deposit register, it appears in the catalogue of the Édition Mutuelle dated 1907[11] . We can therefore hypothesise that these two melodies were published, but not deposited in the Bibliothèque nationale. And finally, as regards the melody La Bonne Chanson mentioned above, the E.M. catalogue includes what could pass for another melody under the title J’allais par les chemins perfides. It is almost certain that it is the same melody, having been successively given two different titles, the confusion being undoubtedly due to the composer’s hesitations as to the final title to be given to the piece.

[1]    The precise dating was carried out on the basis of the legal deposit register of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, taking into account the dates of publication of musical periodicals (e.g. the magazines Piano Soleil or Piano moderne).

[2]    Charles Bordes, Caprice à cinq tempsPariso, (without quotation number), 1902; Quatre fantaisies rythmiquesParis, (no number), 1902.

[3]    In the 1902 edition, the words “Édition mutuelle” appear only on the cover page, which is often missing. This explains why these melodies by Bordes are frequently listed in catalogues as having been published by Mergault, which is in reality only the name of the printer, appearing on the title page of each piece.

[4]    The publication took place at the same time as that of melodies by Saint-Réquier and Marthe Ducourau.

[5]    The poem was also set to music by Gabriel Fauré and included in the cycle entitled La Bonne Chanson (J. Hamelle, 1894).

[6]    Posthumous publication at the Edition Mutuelle (probably in December 1909, according to the legal deposit number) together with the piano pieces entitled Solitudes by E. B. Siefert, the melody also appeared in Album Musica no 89, published in 1910, pp. 37-39, with the note: ‘This melody will soon be published at the Édition Mutuelle, 269, rue Saint-Jacques’. It seems that the two publishing projects were thus simultaneous.

[7]    Most of these melodies were not published until 1921 by Hamelle in the second posthumous collection of Bordes’ vocal works.

[8]    Colloque sentimental was not published until 1924, both by Rouart, Lerolle and Cie and in the August supplement of La Revue musicale of the same year. Recueillementon a poem by Charles Baudelaireoffers a similar example: the poem had also been set to music by his friend Henri Duparcbefore the latter destroyed the manuscript; Bordes never published his own melody, the manuscript of which has been found in the Henriette Puig-Roget collection at the Hector Berlioz Media Library of the CNSMDP (Msc 447).

[9]    The score can be found at the Médiathèque Musicale Mahler in Paris, in the Guillaume de Lallemand du Marais collection.

[10]   Paul VerlaineRomances sans parolesAriettes oubliées”, Paris, VanierThe second edition was published in 1887.

[11]   According to the date of composition in the catalogue (1887), Green was composed in the same year as Spleen.

4. Quotation numbers

The publishing code of Charles Bordes’ scores shows certain singularities, the origin of which lies in the particular organisation of the Édition mutuelle. While the scores of other composers published by this publishing house adopt a code based on the initials E and M, most of Bordes’ works follow a code based on his own initials: C and B[1] . This specificity is probably a reminder of the statutes of the Édition mutuelle concerning the ownership of works. However, Bordes is the only composer to have adopted this system, the others being content to use the initials of the Édition mutuelle.

The melodies’ rating numbers start at C. 2001 B. while the Rapsodie basque is rated C. 1302 B. This may be an attempt to separate the melodies from the instrumental works; in this case, it is a short-lived attempt if we take into account the number of the piece for orchestra Euskal Herria[2] – C. 2025 B. – which is included in the list of melodies. The system adopted by Bordes is not without error: the number C. 2002 B. was thus assigned twice, for the pieces Soleils couchants and Le son du cor s’afflige vers les boiswhile the melody Sur un vieil air is alternately rated C. 2010 B., then S. 2010 C. – presumably for Schola cantorum – throughout the pages of the score. Beyond the rather anecdotal nature of these remarks, the imprecision noted in the quotation system tends to make the establishment of a chronology of Bordes’ composition and publication more complex. This chronology must therefore be cross-checked with the data from the legal deposit register, the information provided by the analysis of documents linked to the Édition mutuelle and secondary sources such as the composer’s correspondence.

The following table lists the quotation numbers of the melodies for voice and piano published in the Mutual Edition as well as the numbers listed in the 1907 catalogue for the works listed there[3] :

[1]    The quotation of the melody entitled O my sadly many dead is even more explicit: Ch. 2018 B.

[2]    Only the reduction for two pianos was published. An autograph manuscript of the orchestral version is preserved in the Salabert collection in the Music Department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (no call number).

[3]    In the 1907 catalogue of the Édition Mutuelle, the word ‘bis’ is added to the catalogue number of the songs with orchestral accompaniment, compared to the code used for the piano versions.


No catalogue

en 1907

No Cotage



Ô mes morts tristement nombreux


Ch. 2018 B.

1903 ?


Ô triste, triste était mon âme









C. 2009 B.





C. 2020 B.



J’allais par des chemins perfides





Paysage vert


C. 2001 B.



Le son du cor s’afflige vers les bois


C. 2002 B.



Sur un vieil air


C. 2010 B.



Promenade matinale


C. 2006 B.



La Ronde des prisonniers


C. 2011 B.



Mes cheveux dorment sur mon front


C. 2019 B.



Petites fées, honnêtes gnomes


C. 2013 B.


La poussière des tamis chante au soleil


C. 2014 B.



La paix est dans le bois silencieux


C. 2015 B.



Oh ! ce parfum d’enfance dans la prairie


C. 2016 B.



Du courage ?Mon âme éclate de douleur


C. 2017 B.



La Bonne Chanson


C. 2007 B.



Soleils couchants

C. 2002 B.



L’Heure du berger

C. 2003 B.



Chanson d’automne

C. 2004 B.



Promenade sentimentale

C. 2005 B.



Paysage majeur

E. 3121 M.







Table 1 Melodies by Charles Bordes at the Mutual Edition, quotation and catalogue numbers

[1] The score of this melody could not be found. See paragraph 2.3.

5. The cycle Paysages tristes at the Mutual Edition

The cycle Paysages tristes composed on poems by Paul Verlaine from the collection Poèmes saturniens[1]seems to have suffered a particular fate as far as publishing is concerned. Although these four melodies, written between 1884 and 1886, were the first vocal works by Bordes to be published by the Édition mutuelle, they did not appear in the catalogue of the edition in 1907. Moreover, the first piece, Soleils couchants exists in two versions, the first having been published in 1885 by Hamelle, in the booklet entitled Trois mélodies for tenor voice with piano accompaniment[2].

The second version of this piece, which differs from the previous one mainly in its central part, is also dated by Bordes to 1884. Here the composer probably indicates the date of first composition, as the changes to the melody refer to the other pieces in the cycle, and in particular to the last one, composed in 1886, with which this second version of Soleils couchants has strong similarities with the last one, composed in 1886, with which this second version of Soleils couchants has strong similarities, both melodies framing the cycle in an arch form.

The composer’s choice to inaugurate the edition of his melodies at the Mutuelle with this cycle suggests that he accorded it a special place within the corpus, a place to which the choice of poems set to music must have been a factor. However, one may wonder whether the publication at the Mutuelle of a melody that had already appeared with Hamelle seventeen years earlier did not raise a legal problem. It is true that the version of Soleils couchants published in 1902 differed from the previous one, but perhaps not significantly enough to avoid this question[3] . The relations between the composers linked to the Schola and the world of music publishing raise doubts as to whether Bordes actually had Hamelle’s authorisation for a new edition. This would also explain the absence of Paysages tristes in the catalogue of the Édition mutuelle in 1907. After Bordes’ death, the cycle was published in its entirety by Hamelle in 1912[4] , while most of the other melodies published by the Édition mutuelle were absorbed by Rouart, Lerolle and Cie .

[1]    Paul Verlaine Poèmes saturniens Paris, Lemerre, 1866.

[2]    See paragraph 1 above.

[3]    No document has been found mentioning any agreement between Bordes and Hamelle concerning the publication of “Soleils couchants “.

[4]    Curiously, the cycle appears in the Hamelle catalogue from 1906. See Catalogue des éditions Hamelle, 1906, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département de la Musique, without call number.


6. Errors and inaccuracies in the scores published in the Mutual Edition

Although the seventeen melodies published in 1902 constituted a great step forward in the dissemination of Bordes’ vocal works, their practical realization was not free of inaccuracies and engraving errors. Pierre de BrévillePierre de Bréville, who was responsible for the 1914 edition of a volume containing nineteen vocal works by Bordes published by Rouart, Lerolle et Cie, does not fail to underline on several occasions the problems raised by the scores published by the Édition mutuelle. Referring to a certain laxity on the part of the composer with regard to the publishing process, he considers that “his negligence in reviewing his proofs is the reason why his engraved work is full of mistakes[1] “.

The errors and inaccuracies that can be identified in the original edition of the melodies are of various kinds. A large proportion of them concern alterations, and constitute the most important source of dissatisfaction with the work carried out in the Mutual Edition. Bordes handles the precautionary alterations in a rather confusing way, sometimes noting superfluous signs, sometimes omitting to write indications useful for the reading. In addition, many passages show omissions of alterations which hinder the execution of the piece. The absence of C ♯ and D ♯ in the quotation from the Lauda Sion salvatorem at bar 30 of the melody Oh! that childhood scent in the meadow is an example of these frequent errors.

[1] Pierre de Bréville, « Charles Bordes », op. cit., p. 20.

Musical example 1 Musical example: Oh! that perfume of childhood in the meadow, bars 28-30, Mutual Edition, 1902

On this subject, it should be remembered that César Franck himself was accustomed to such inaccuracies, both in manuscripts and in editions of his works, as Joël-Marie Fauquet has pointed out in the critical edition devoted to the Prelude, Chorale and Fugue[1] for piano, a piece composed in 1884:

We note a relative imprecision, usual in FranckThis causes the signs and nuances to shift from one ms to the next. A number of alterations are redundant, while some quite crucial ones are missing, notably in meas. 114, the fa♮, an omission commented by Cortot. Punctuation is the object of frequent omissions (among others, meas. 52, m.d., the dot in the white D ♯) […].

E1 and E2 reproduce A2 and it seems that the proofs, which have not been found, did not hold the author’s attention for long, given the mistakes that these two sources contain[2] .

Reading these comments, one can imagine that Franck did not place much emphasis on the precision of musical notation in the teaching he gave to Charles Bordes. Bordes seems to have reproduced the same errors as his teacher in this respect, or at least to have shared with him a moderate consideration for the process of proofreading and correction. This remark allows us to qualify the criticism formulated by Pierre de Brévillewho speaks of “negligence” with regard to Bordes’ attitude in this area[3] .

In the original edition of his songs the composer also makes use of certain sometimes inconsistent enharmonics which make deciphering the piano parts perilous, as shown by an extract from the melody O my sadly numerous dead. The composer writes measure 35 with flats on the piano, whereas a notation in sharps would probably be more logical:

[1]    César Franck Prélude, choral et fugue pour piano, Joël-Marie Fauquet (ed.), Paris, Éditions musicales du Marais, 1991.

[2]    Ibid. A2 refers to an autograph manuscript used for the engraving, E1 and E2 to the first two editions published in 1885 by Enoch.

[3]    Pierre de Bréville Charles Bordes”, op. cit. , p. 20.

Musical example 2 “O my sadly many dead” mes. 34-36, Mutual Edition, 1903

A few rare situations also show problems of page layout, with certain notes appearing to be horizontally out of place with respect to the place they should occupy within the bar. In this case, the engraving work is responsible for the inaccuracies noted[1] .

Sometimes certain parts of the piano accompaniment are difficult to perform with two normally sized hands, as shown in the opening bars of the melody O my sadly many deadwhose two-handed tenth chords mostly require arpeggiated playing[2] .

Generally speaking, and in the absence of autograph manuscripts of the melodies published by the Mutuelle, it seems difficult to determine the extent of the composer’s lack of mastery or negligence; indeed, a number of errors were undoubtedly made during the engraving stage. The testimony of René de CastéraThe testimony of René de Castéra, who became director of the Édition mutuelle, seems to support the theory that there were recurrent problems in this area[3] . A large part of the problems observed could therefore be considered to be the result of the sometimes incipient organisation of the Édition mutuelle, and of an operating mode that left the delicate role of music publisher to the composer alone.


[1]    In his correspondence, René de Castéra does not fail to deplore the numerous mistakes made by the engravers with whom he collaborates. See Anne de Beaupuy, René de Castéraop. cit. , p. 117-118.

[2]    See paragraph 2.6. d) Variant notes.

[3]    Ibid. , p. 120.