Music and Copyright: The Case of Delius and His Publishers
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Delius was born in 1862, twenty-four years before the signing in 1886 of the Berne Convention, the international convention for the protection of literary and artistic works of which Great Britain was a founder member. During Delius's lifetime came the birth of the record industry, the development of exercising the performing right, the introduction of the mechanical right, and the advent of films and broadcasting. Robert Montgomery and Robert Threlfall chronicle Delius's dealings with his publishers and the Performing Right Society (PRS) through his copious correspondence. Virtually all of the very early letters have been lost, but his correspondence in German with Harmonie Verlag of Berlin, Tischer & Jagenberg of Cologne, and Universal Edition of Vienna is almost complete. This book provides a selection of translations of these letters, most of which have never been seen before, and offers a unique insight into how a leading twentieth-century composer earned his living from composition in the changing environment of the world of music. Some of the problems that Delius encountered were because the administrative procedures brought in by Berne were in their infancy. Equally important in building a picture of Delius's publishing affairs is the Delius file in the PRS archive, to which Jelka Delius wrote in English, and which contains both sides of the correspondence. The book also covers the period after Delius's death when the Delius Trust, as the legal representative of his estate, took over responsibility for administering copyrights and promoting his music. The book provides a valuable model for the methodology involved in presenting a history of music publishing. It will provide a useful springboard for scholars to look at other composers in terms of their published material and how this relates to the general dissemination of their work.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; The business background; Delius and his publishers, a historical summary to 1934; Management of Delius's publishing affairs, 1934-2004; The correspondence: 1892-99; 1900-09; 1910-19; 1920-29; 1930-34; Postlude 1934; Appendices; Bibliography; Indexes.
Robert Montgomery is former managing director of Chappells and of the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society. Robert Threlfall has been involved in the Delius music Archive since 1964 and, more recently, in the production of the Collected Edition. Both are advisers to the Delius Trust.
’Robert Montgomery and Robert Threlfall must be congratulated for making this fascinating aspect of Delius's professional life available. It's a significant contribution to Delius scholarship, and one can only imagine the many months of researching this very complex story.’ The Delian ’... a fascinating case study for the business side of being a composer in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries... While Delius scholars will be the most obvious audience for this book there is much here for those researching other composers of that era or exploring the history of music publishing, copyright, performance rights, and other related topics... the introductory material on copyright and performance rights and some of the letters would serve well as assigned readings for music students as they prepare to enter the marketplace as performers, teachers, or composers. Many of Delius' concerns and frustrations at the difficulties of making a living as a composer still ring all too true today.’ Canadian Association of Music Libraries 'Delius’s papers furnish a fascinating case study not only because the extant letters prove so extensive, but also because his career spanned significant developments in music publishing... the picture they [the letters] paint, supplemented by Montgomery and Threlfall’s introductory chapters, offers compelling evidence of copyright law’s centrality in twentieth-century musical life...' Musicology Australia