American Sheet Music: ca. 1820-1860
Table of Contents
Music Copyrighted in Federal District Courts, ca. 1820-1860:
Composers from Abroad

Sacred Music

image: caption following
Idol mio = Most beloved, aria
by Vincenzo Bellini.

American publishers also published the music of European composers who did not visit the United States. The publication of orchestral music of any kind, however, was still beyond the economic capability of American publishers. One interesting exception in this collection is the choral parts prepared for the American premiere of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which took place in New York in 1846. The instrumental parts were obtained from Europe, but, because the choral parts were to be sung in English, a separate edition was printed--a simpler alternative to copying the music out many times. Although it was generally more economical to import instrumental and vocal music from Europe than to print it in the United States, the major numbers from operas were in such demand that it was economically feasible to engrave and publish versions of them in America. Gaetano Donizetti is the European composer most extensively represented in this collection, but there is also much music by Mozart, Vincenzo Bellini, Rossini, Verdi, Daniel-François-Esprit Auber, Michael William Balfe, Meyerbeer, Weber, and others. Not all the music by European composers in this collection appears under their names--American arranger-composers appropriated their tunes for marches, variations, quadrilles, and other works, and published them under the name of the arranger. Nor were operas always given in their European form--this collection contains three arias for Mozart operas and a version of the Lucia sextet as quartet. There are also many shorter pieces by European composers--from Bach to Handel to Liszt.

American Sheet Music: ca. 1820-1860