Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

A biographical study of Antoine Meissonnier´s periodical for voices and guitar, 1811-27

STENSTADVOLD, ERIK. "A BIBLIOGRAPHICAL STUDY OF ANTOINE MEISSONNIER'S PERIODICALS FOR VOICE AND GUITAR, 1811-27." Notes, vol. 58, no. 1, Sept. 2001, p. 11. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 5 Aug. 2022

A salient feature of the growing music-publishing industry of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was the vast production of brief song sheets with simple accompaniment for piano, harp, or guitar. This fashion seems to have been particularly widespread among French publishers who produced such songs in the thousands for an apparently insatiable amateur market. The repertory, which mirrored the general bourgeois taste, consisted partly of arrangements of airs from the popular operas of the time, and partly of newly-composed romances, an extremely popular genre. Many publishers offered their commodities in series, often as a subscribable periodical ("Journal de musique") issued monthly, biweekly, or even weekly. Among the publishers producing song periodicals with guitar accompaniment, we find Baillon, Bouin, Bressler, Doisy, Cammand, Leduc, Lelu, Meissonnier, Momigny, Pacini, Porro, and Vidal.

This study focuses on the bibliographical aspects (that is, the systematic arrangement, not the contents) of three serial music publications or music periodicals predominantly containing songs with guitar accompaniment, edited and published by Antoine Meissonnier from 1811 to 1827: Journal de lyre ou guitare, La lyre des jeunes demoiselles, and Le troubadour des salons. The object is to ascertain the arrangement and interrelation of these three periodicals, thereby providing a detailed apparatus for scholars and catalogers when dealing with Meissonnier's publications. Antoine Meissonnier was one of many music publishers who established a business in Paris in the early years of the nineteenth century. He was also a guitarist and a minor composer, and his publications include both his own works and those by other composers, of which music for guitar has a central part. Meissonnier served as Fernando Sor's main publisher in Paris from about 1815 until 1827. Several of Sor's works were issued in connection with the Journal de lyre ou guitare.

Plate numbers can be of considerable help in determining the date of a printed edition of music. It is no secret, however, that the plate numbers of most French publishers of the early nineteenth century are of limited value because of their inconsistency or incomprehensible sequences. The publishers' addresses are generally more useful as dating tools since many French publishers changed addresses frequently: a new address could be the result of a physical change of domicile, but resulted as often from a post-revolutionary practice--partly ideologically-based--of extensive alterations or modifications of street names and house numberings. Antoine Meissonnier, for example, had six different addresses during the period 1811-25.

The two-volume Dictionnaire of French publishers by Anik Devries and Francois Lesure provides copious information, including dated address lists, of all known French publishers from the earliest years of the trade until 1914. [1] The address lists are based on various archival documents and on advertisements or announcements in the press. There are, however, several difficulties in creating such lists. Advertisements appeared irregularly, in particular for the minor publishers. Furthermore, announcements or advertisements could be printed belatedly and therefore reflect an address already abandoned. In Devries's and Lesure's Dictionnaire, the correlation of address and date for some publishers has wide gaps. Antoine Meissonnier's address list is fairly complete, though not precise in all details, as we shall see later. [2]

Each single item of an early-nineteenth-century music periodical usually had a caption title that included the name and address (imprint) of the publisher. Because of their regularity--monthly, in some cases weekly, issues--these periodicals are unique in reflecting the current address of the publisher at any given time, thereby providing a reliable source for a precise correlation of address and date. Nevertheless, there are good reasons for the hitherto general disregard of this source material. The date of each periodical issue is not always easily ascertained, and few periodicals exist in near-complete runs in the same library or collection. Identifying single items and correlating them to the correct series, volume, and issue is a laborious and thankless task.

Such tasks have been facilitated considerably by the notable work of Imogen Fellinger. In her magnum opus Periodica musicalia, a publication of more than one thousand pages, Fellinger lists the contents of numerous music periodicals of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries located in libraries all over Europe and the United States. [3] Fellinger proposes a dating of each periodical and lists composers, titles, issue numbers, and annual volumes for every identified item of a periodical. Regretfully, Fellinger did not record the publishers' addresses as represented in the imprints of the separate items of the periodicals, which would have been very valuable for our purpose. Furthermore, certain important collections of periodicals were not consulted, such as the Fryklund Collection in the Statens musikbibliotek, Stockholm, which contains several thousands of uncataloged periodical songs with guitar accompaniment.

Fellinger located a varying number of issues of Meissonnier's three periodicals (none of them complete) in five different libraries. [4] Some additional issues and single items have come to light during the search I carried out in four of those libraries. In addition, I have identified a great number of songs pertaining to Meissonnier's periodicals in other libraries and collections, in particular the aforementioned Daniel Fryklund Collection in the Statens musikbibliotek, Stockholm (hereafter referred to as DF) and the collection of the late Robert Spencer, London, now in the Royal Academy of Music, London (hereafter referred to as RS). [5] Those two collections together contain songs from all the annual volumes of the three periodicals, and several years are complete. With that large body of material, it has been possible to deduce the orderly arrangement of Meissonnier's periodicals and establish a precise dating of Meissonnier's various addresses up to approximately 1827.


Of Meissonnier's three periodicals for voice and guitar, Journal de lyre ou guitare was by far the most long-lived. [6] There has been some uncertainty regarding its dating: Fellinger suggests that it commenced around 1815, Devries and Lesure 1809 or 1810. My research indicates that the Journal commenced in 1811, based on the following observations:

* The Journal de lyre ou guitare, with the specification "[10.sup.e] Annee," is listed in Cesar Gardeton's Annales de la musique of 1820. A similar listing appears in Gardeton's Bibliographie musicale of 1822, specifying the Journal of that year being in its "[12.sup.e] Annee."

* The timbre fiscal. From the end of the eighteenth century, a duty was imposed on printed matter such as newspapers and sheet music, which were marked with a license stamp, the timbre fiscal. For the years here in question, the timbre fiscal had two distinctly different designs that reflected the political situation in France before and after the Restoration: until the end of 1814 the stamps included a representation of the imperial eagle, but in January 1815 stamps with the royal fleur-de-lis and the text "Timbre Royal" were introduced. During les Cent fours, May to August 1815, the imperial stamps reappeared; thereafter, the royal stamps were reinstated for good. [7] The stamps found on the fourth- and fifth-year songs of the Journal correspond to this usage in 1814 and 1815, exhibiting the recurring alternation between imperial and royal stamps that did not occur in other years. [8]

* After its thirteenth year, the Journal was replaced by a new periodical, Le troubadour des salons. As shall be seen later, Le troubadour had various features showing that it was issued as a direct sequel to the Journal. Contemporaneous advertisements show that Le troubadour commenced in 1824. [9]

Curiously, a Meissonnier catalog in the Bibliotheque nationale de France, Paris, with a printed title-page date of 1827, lists Le toubadour as being "it a sa dix-huitieme Annee." It is difficult to find an explanation for this statement, which, in view of the aggregated evidence of the 1811 dating presented above, is incorrect. [10] Devries and Lesure, in their somewhat confusing listing of the Meissonnier periodicals, base their dating of the Journal on this announcement.

The title page of the Journal states that it was published monthly, each monthly issue containing four different pieces: "deux Romances francaises un Air italien et une piece pour la Lyre ou Guitare." [11] The songs were predominantly brief solo songs with guitar accompaniment, almost exclusively comprising only two pages, in the small, so-called "Parisian" format (ca. 250 mm x 170 mm). Both pages of a song were printed from one plate on one side of a double-sized sheet of paper that was folded so the two images appear on facing pages. The solo pieces for guitar could be somewhat more extended. A separate sheet was normally used for each song, which included a price; in this way the songs were sold individually as well. [12] Each monthly issue had a standardized passe-partout title page carrying the series title and other publication details. [13] During the first year the title page was headed Journal de la lyre moderne, but from the second year and throughout its existence the title page was headed Journal de lyre ou guitare (see fig. 1). This passe-partout title was printed on the reverse of the first song of an issue, which, when folded, displayed the title as the front page. In the earlier years the solo guitar pieces were in the same format as the songs, but later they were issued in the larger folio format normally used for French instrumental music. Although not indicated in the passe-partout title, the Journal probably was offered for subscription both with and without the instrumental pieces, [14] perhaps explaining the great predominance of preserved monthly issues with songs only. RS contains some complete issues with the three songs enveloped by a pink carton wrapper with the text "journal de Lyre ou Guitare redige par Meissonnier" printed on the front. We must assume that this was how the subscribers received their monthly cahier.

Because the individual songs of a monthly issue were printed on separate sheets, but only the first song was equipped with a title page, it can be troublesome to relate individually preserved Meissonnier songs to the correct issues of his Journal or his other periodicals. Nevertheless, song sheets generally have other distinctive characteristics to aid in identification. Each song has a caption title which, from the second year, was standardized by presenting the title of the song, its author, composer, and arranger (almost exclusively Meissonnier himself), as well as Meissonnier's imprint and the price of the separate song (see fig. 2). The first-year captions varied, making it more difficult to identify songs of that year lacking the passe-partout title. In addition to the caption title, the songs generally have three other significant characteristics identifying their relation to the Journal: song number, plate number, and volume/issue mark. These features, derived from the examined songs, are specified i n table 1.

All the songs of the Journal are numbered, except for some from the first year (the first-year songs present special problems in addition to numbering and are treated separately below). In the early years, the French and Italian songs had two independent series of numbering (this can be seen in Fellinger's listing of the songs of the sixth year, which is the first year recorded by her). Though questions remain about the numbering of the first two years, it is clear that in the third year the French songs were numbered 25-48, the Italian ones 13-24. The two parallel number series continued consecutively until the eighth year, when, from the fourth issue, probably commencing with song no. 152, the French and Italian songs were given a joint, continuous numbering, irrespective of genre, perpetuating the number series previously assigned to the French songs. [15] This new numbering then ran regularly throughout the thirteenth and final year of the Journal.

From the numbers used in the third and subsequent years, we can deduce that the second year, at least in principle, operated with nos. 1-24 for the French and 1-12 for the Italian song series. I have located one Italian song from the second year, song no. 9 with plate no. 9. [16] In this case, the song and plate numbers correlate as did those of the Italian song series of the third year (see the discussion of plate numbers below), hence it can be assumed that the Italian second-year songs were numbered 1-9. The French songs are more problematic, however. Of the eight songs I have identified from that year, [17] with numbers ranging from 2 to 14, there are two cases of two different songs with the same number (nos. 2 and 7). I have been unable to detect any plate numbers on these French songs; furthermore, the songs lack the qualifying indication of monthly issue that appears from the fifth year. Any attempt to correlate the songs to a specific issue is therefore purely conjectural. It is possible that, in th e two cases of parallel numbering, one of the songs, though de facto French, belonged to the Italian series (there are some examples of this from later years of the Journal), suggesting the likelihood of a numbering system with 1-24 for the second-year French songs. [18]

As described above, only one identified second-year song appears to have an original plate number. In the songs of the ensuing years, however, the plate number is often positioned between the inner margins of the two facing pages rather than at its normal location at the foot of the page. By that placement, the number easily gets concealed when the sheet is folded and the songs are collected in bound volumes, which is how the majority of the songs are preserved in the collections I have examined. It is therefore possible that songs of the second year also have similar margin plate numbers. Extrapolating from the numbering used during the third year, the second-year numbers--real or assumed-- would have been 1-12.

The third year shows evidence of plate numbers as far apart as 13 and 124. Closer examination reveals, however, that the numbers in the hundred series were added later. The original third-year plate numbers were 13-24. All three songs of a monthly issue had the same number, but, in addition, each song had an individual digit of identification appended to the plate number, resulting in numbers such as 14-1, 14:2, or sometimes in the reverse order, 3-14 (identification digits 1 and 2 were used for the French songs, 3 for the Italian, 4 for the instrumental pieces--see table 4). These numbers were used regularly and sequentially until the end of the fifth year, by which time plate no. 48 had been reached.

Apparently, individual songs were reissued frequently. At some stage this led to the assignment of new plate numbers in a series devised by adding 1 in front of the old plate number (13 became 113, and so forth; enclosed in parentheses in table 1). These numbers, which lack the individual identification digit of the original plate numbers, are always placed at the foot of the page. Nearly all the songs of volumes three through five in DF have the original plate number (or none), whereas those in RS often have the new number. Occasionally one finds songs with both the original margin plate number and the added new number.

From the beginning of the sixth year, all the songs were assigned plate numbers in the new hundred series, commencing with plate no. 149. Sometimes the numbers also included the individual identification digit (such as 154-3), most frequently for the Italian songs.

Except those of the first year, all songs have a plate mark at the foot of the page ("footing"), usually on the left side, such as "[4.sup.e] Annee," indicating the running year. During the second year, an additional letter A for the French songs ("A [2.sup.e] Annee") B for the Italian ones, or C for the instrumental pieces (to be discussed later) was appended to the volume mark. This identification letter was abandoned in subsequent years. From the fourth month of the fifth year there is an additional indication of issue (livraison): "[5.sup.e] Annee [4.sup.e] [L.sup.on]," and so forth, which radically facilitates the relating of individual songs to the correct monthly issue of the periodical.

The first-year songs are problematic. Although I have found several songs with the address Meissonnier had only during the first year of the Journal, the relation of some of those songs to the periodical is somewhat uncertain because of inconsistencies in other variables (caption-tide imprint, song no., plate no., etc.). Five songs, however, have features that unquestionably connect them to the periodical: three French songs have the passe-partout title Journal de la lyre moderne, and one Italian and one French song lacking the title page have a footing specifying the Journal. [19] Table 2 lists all significant variables of those five songs, the first of which is represented in figure 3.

Apart from peculiarities such as page numbering (omitted in subsequent years, except for the occasional song of more than two pages), the song numbering for the first year is puzzling: whatever system Meissonnier used, no. 45 is surely an anomaly. The possible explanation for this and other idiosyncracies is that the songs may have originated from different sources: the Journal could have been provided with songs that Meissonnier and Madame Benoist, with whom Meissonnier was in partnership during the first year of the Journal, initially had produced and sold as separate items. [20] It is also possible that some of the songs were originally issued--separately or in periodicals--by other publishers before Meissonnier commenced the Journal in 1811; I have identified several songs composed or arranged by Meissonnier, issued before 1811 by publishers such as Boieldieu, Frere, Naderman, and Momigny. [21] Meissonnier may have procured the plates for some of his earlier works and reissued them through his own compan y in 1811. For example, I found a song with Meissonnier's caption imprint but with a footing which reads "[2.sup.e] Annie du Journal des Troubadours," [22] a periodical edited by Blangini and Pacini and published by Momigny from 1808. [23]


Meissonnier also published two other periodicals for voice and guitar, Le troubadour des salons and La lyre des jeunes demoiselles. After its thirteenth year (1823), the Journal de lyre ou guitare ceased publication and was succeeded by Le troubadour des salons. Although Meissonnier also published this new periodical, its title page indicates that it was edited in collaboration with the composer Antoine Romagnesi, who contributed a song to nearly every issue. Like the Journal, Le troubadour appeared monthly with three songs (now exclusively French, thus mirroring a change of musical taste in France) and an instrumental piece for guitar. Meissonnier and Romagnesi also edited a parallel series of Le troubadour with piano or harp accompaniment; it had the same title, and, with few exceptions, contained the same songs. [24]

There are clear indications that Le troubadour was a direct continuation of the Journal. The first volume mark of Le troubadour begins with "[14.sup.e] Annee [] [Liv.sup.on]"; the last volume mark of the Journal was "[13.sup.e] Annee [12.sup.e] [L.sup.on]." [25] The first song of Le troubadour is numbered 353, and the last song of the Journal was 351 [sic]. The first plate number of Le troubadour is 245, and the last plate number of the Journal was 244. Throughout the [14.sup.e] Annee (i.e., the first year, 1824) of Le troubadour these numberings continued quite regularly. But from the second issue of the [15.sup.e] Annee (the second year), irregularities appear. All songs by Romagnesi now lack a song number (being passed over in the number sequence), plate number, and volume/issue mark. Furthermore, the numbered songs of the sixth to ninth issues are 341-346, numbers which, confusingly, are lower than even those of the first-year songs of Le troubadour. [26] To add further to the confusion, many iss ues include one song originally belonging to a third Meissonnier periodical, La lyre des jeunes demoiselles. [27] Although other irregularities continued, it seems that the songs resumed a numbering in the four-hundred series (beginning with 413) from the eleventh issue of the [15.sup.e] Annee (second year) of Le troubadour. When reaching the [17.sup.e] Annee (fourth year) of Le troubadour, Meissonnier vacillated in the indication of the volume of the guitar series; variably the songs are marked "Troubadour des salons [17.sup.e] Annee" or "Troubadour des salons [4.sup.e] Annee." Le troubadour seems to have terminated at the end of that year, 1827, with song no. 467. [28] Fellinger indicates no connection, serial or chronological, between the Journal and Le troubadour, and suggests a date of approximately 1825 for the [14.sup.e] Annee, the first year, of Le troubadour. [29] As previously mentioned, contemporaneous announcements make clear that the date was 1824, as indicated also by Devries and Lesure. [30]

La lyre des jeunes demoiselles, Meissonnier's third periodical for voice and guitar and also published in cooperation with Romagnesi, contained "24 Romances ou Nocturnes" (per year) and appeared twice a month with an issue containing one song. [31] As already mentioned, several of its songs were also reissued in Le troubadour. Fellinger suggests a date of about 1825 for its first year, Devries and Lesure 1826. It seems clear, however, that La lyre had already appeared in 1824: the seventh-month (July) issue of the [15.sup.e] Annee (1825) of Le troubadour includes a song by Romagnesi marked "[24.sup.e] [L.sup.on] de la Lyre desJeunes [d.sup.elles]," indicating that it had already appeared in a twelth-month (December) issue of La lyre, which, by necessity, must have been of a previous year, that is, 1824. [32]


The caption title of the separate songs of Meissonnier's three periodicals always included the address of the publisher, some first-year songs of the Journal excluded. Due to the songs' ephemeral nature as "consumers' goods" and their frequent issue, they were surely manufactured and printed close to their actual date of appearance. Hence, there is little doubt that the imprint of the songs reflected Meissonnier's current address at any given time. [33] Having identified and systematized the majority of the songs belonging to his periodicals, one can establish a precise dating of Meissonnier's addresses.

Based on the previously mentioned erroneous listing in the 1827 Meissonnier catalog that Le troubadour was "a sa dix-huitieme Annee," Devries and Lesure suggest that the partnership between Meissonnier and Madame Benoist at Rue de Richelieu no. 20 began in 1809 or 1810. But, as shown above, the Journal did not commence until January 1811, and to my knowledge there is no evidence of prior publishing activities of the company. Nevertheless, we must assume that, in order to produce the first issue of their periodical by the beginning of January that year, their firm was already established, in some way or another, before the end of 1810. There is, however, evidence that Meissonnier was involved not only in arranging music for other publishers, but also in his own direct publishing activities before his partnership with Benoist commenced. Two separate songs (not related to the Journal) that clearly originated prior to that time present Meissonnier as both composer and publisher at Rue neuve Momorency no. 1, an a ddress previously unrecorded. [34]

From the material I have examined, Meissonnier's addresses can be established from approximately 1810 to 1830 (see table 3). With one exception, I have ascertained the exact month when a change of address took place. [35] Compared to the address--date list established by Devries and Lesure, there are adjustments of up to one year.

In the address table, I have included references to Meissonnier's partner in Toulouse, Meissonnier aine (an elder brother?). Meissonnier aine is not identified by a Christian name, although Devries and Lesure tentatively suggest Louis. A copy of Meissonnier's Etrenne aux amateurs de guitare ou lyre in RS bears a pasted-on address label with the imprint "A Toulouse, Chez Louis Meissonnier aine," confirming their suggestion. For approximately six years, 1816-22, the address of the Toulouse company supplements Meissonnier's own Paris address in the caption titles of the periodical songs. Devries and Lesure recorded Meissonnier aine in Toulouse from approximately 1818, and the Journal shows that he was already active in 1816. The references to Meissonnier aine in the Journal disappeared around the middle of 1822. Other publications by Meissonnier in Paris continued to include the imprint reference to the Toulouse Meissonnier, however, and according to Devries and Lesure, the Toulouse firm continued under the sam e name at least until 1827.

As previously noted, Le troubadour des salons was edited in collaboration with the composer and publisher Antoine Romagnesi. Devries and Lesure list Romagnesi's address in 1815 as Rue de Richelieu no. 78, with no further record of his whereabouts until 1828 when he was at Rue Vivienne no. 21. Based on Le troubadour, this list can be supplemented: when Le troubadour appeared at the beginning of 1824, Romagnesi's address was Rue de Gretry no. 2, and from December of that year, Rue St Marc no. 9.


Throughout the thirteen years of the Journal and the four years of its sequel, Le troubadour, the monthly issues contained instrumental pieces in addition to the three songs. The compositions were usually for solo guitar, but there were also duets for two guitars or guitar with another instrument. Relatively few of those compositions are preserved, however (or have been identified; Fellinger lists none). There may be several reasons for this. As previously mentioned, subscribing only to the songs was probably possible and may explain why few instrumental pieces are included in the many bound volumes of romances in various libraries and collections. Furthermore, during the first four years (through 1814), the instrumental pieces of the Journal were in the same small, Parisian format as the songs. [36] Those instrumental pieces, to an even greater extent than the songs of the first years, lack distinctive characteristics (publisher's imprint, volume/issue mark, or other marks) by which they can be correlated t o Meissonnier and his Journal. Accordingly, the instrumental pieces of those years are extremely difficult to identify unless preserved in complete issues with the songs. Their unassuming presentation probably added to their ephemeral nature. (Also, such pieces are not likely to be top-priority items for music librarians in their cataloging work.) Figure 4 shows the first page of Mauro Giuliani's Thema varies (op. 7) from the November 1813 issue of the Journal. Table 4 lists all instrumental pieces I have identified from the first four years.

The second-year pieces are known only from their inclusion in a separate Meissonnier publication, in which the pieces have various marks that make their original connection likely. [37] Of the third-year pieces, only one has a significant "[3.sup.e] Annee" footing; however, the entire set has been identified by its inclusion in a complete third volume of the Journal. [38] Note the irregularity of appearance of the plate numbers: nos. 14 to 24 represent the basic plate numbers, which correspond to those of the same-issue songs. The adjoining digit 4 is the identification digit of the instrumental pieces of those issues.

From the fifth year (1815), the instrumental pieces were in folio format (340 mm x 270 mm), a format commonly used for instrumental music. The publications were now given a more conventional design: they either have caption titles that include the composer's name, the work title, and Meissonnier's imprint, or they have a proper title page. In addition, there is always a volume/issue mark identifying their relationship to Meissonnier's music periodicals, and a plate number. It is clear that these instrumental pieces were also reissued and sold independently of the Journal (sometimes with the volume/issue markings erased), thus furthering their dissemination. This, and the publications' conventional format and design, surely contributed to their preservation. Finally, while the instrumental pieces of the previous years comprised from two to five pages, they were now often more extensive and, as a consequence, were sometimes published across several consecutive issues ([5.sup.e] Annee [], [2.sup.e], [3. sup.e] [L.sup.on]). Identified instrumental pieces from the fifth year and onwards are listed in table 5.

I have found no instrumental publications with indications [7.sup.e] to [10.sup.e] Annee (1817-20). Several instrumental pieces, but no songs, published by Meissonnier have the perplexing marking "Nouvelle Collection," with or without the additional indication of monthly issue. Since the indication "livraison" for three of the works covers some of the same months ([9.sup.e] and [10.sup.e]) it can be inferred that the appellation "Nouvelle Collection" was in use for at least three years. Rue Montmartre no. 182, the address on all those publications, was Meissonnier's address from 1815 to around 1820. The appellation "Nouvelle Collection" is mysterious; it is quite clear that Meissonnier, during that period, did not publish a new periodical. Nevertheless, the "Nouvelle Collection" seems to fill the slot of the missing [7.sup.e]-[10.sup.e] Annees of the Journal. If this apparent correlation is not just coincidental, then publications marked "Nouvelle Collection" were probably issued from 1817 to 1820 with the J ournal.

As already noted, the plate numbers of the instrumental pieces of the third and fourth years conform to those originally assigned to the songs of the same issues. Table 5 shows that this practice continued in the sixth year. [39] The dissimilarity of the two plate numbers of Sor's opp. 4 and 3, which, although issued consecutively, are as far apart as 49-4 (on later issues altered to 149) and 150, has puzzled Sor researchers. [40] They are, however, concordant with the plate numbers of the songs that changed series around those issues, as previously seen in table 1, and there is no reason to assume that op. 3 originally had plate no. 50-4. [41]

With the advent of the "Nouvelle Collection," there is no longer a correlation between the instrumental plate numbers and those of the Journal songs, the instrumental plate numbers being lower. The rationale behind this new numbering is unknown; it is worth bearing in mind, however, that the introduction of the new hundred series in the [6.sup.e] Annee, commencing with plate no. 150 for the instrumental pieces (later also with 149 replacing the original 49), left 50-148, so to speak, 'vacant' in relation to the instrumental pieces. With the return of the "Annee" marks from the eleventh year (1821), the disparity of the plate numbers of the songs and instrumental pieces continued. During the next years (1822-23) the instrumental plate numbers are lower than those of the equivalent songs, [42] but in 1824 with Le troubadour, the instrumental pieces now have higher numbers. The available material is far too meagre to ascertain a system-if any-in Meissonnier's use of plate numbers for the later years of the Jour nal and Le troubadour. Most likely, those plate numbers did not constitute a separate series, but were integrated with the numbers of Meissonnier's other instrumental publications.

For his sustenance, the average musician of the early nineteenth century had to engage in a variety of activities: playing in the salons, teaching the young ladies (or the young men), composing music for his pupils and for his own use; many also got involved in music publishing. A small-scale publishing activity was a means by which a musician could disseminate his music to a wider market of amateurs, and thereby hope to obtain some extra income. With the gradually increasing wealth in society, there was also a growing market for music "geared to the tastes of those for whom music was less 'an affair of state' and more 'a sweet distraction.' " [43] This was clearly mirrored, not least in Paris, by the mushrooming of music-publishing firms, and, consequently, by the increase in the amount of printed music being marketed. Antoine Meissonnier was a typical representative of this musician/composer/publisher, who, in order to survive, did his best to exploit the market by offering music that was popular and easil y accessible (that is, uncomplicated both in musical and technical terms), and thus had broad sales potential. His song periodicals filled those functions: they presented popular romances at affordable prices, commodities intended for consumption rather than contemplation.

Meissonnier's three song/guitar periodicals appeared during a period when the guitar enjoyed a rather intense but relatively short-lived popularity in Paris. Near the end of the 1820s, interest in the guitar faded and the piano took over the leading role once and for all. [44] Meissonnier broke his long-lasting association with Fernando Sor around the same time as his last guitar periodical came to a halt; in mid-1828, Sor became his own publisher in association with Pacini. [45] Antoine Meissonnier was not, however, defeated by the decline of interest in guitar music. Pie published music for other instruments, and during the 1820s and 1830s his business grew steadily. In l839, Jacques-Leopold Heugel became his partner, and later took over the firm. Under the name of Heugel, the publishing company, which modestly began its activities in 1811, existed almost to this day.

The goal of identifying a consistent, systematic arrangement of the output of a publisher is perhaps unachievable. Irregularities always appear, the result of intention or perhaps merely incidental, last-minute modifications introduced during the struggle to publish on time. Nevertheless, a systematic study of a publisher's total output in one genre can provide important general information about the publisher and his activities. [46]


Erik Stenstadvold is a guitarist and professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Oslo. A preliminary version of this study was presented at the Nordic Congress of Musicologists, Oslo, 24-27 June 1992, and published as Erik Stenstadvold, "Musikkforleggeren Antoine Meissonnier: Nytt lys over hans virksomhet Paris Ca. 1810-25," in Nordisk musikkforskerkongress, ed. Nils Grind, Idar Karevold, and Even Ruud, Skritserie fra Institutt for musikk og teater, no. 2 (Oslo: Universitetet i Oslo, Det historisk-filosofiske fakultet, 1993), 70-75.

(1.) Anik Devries and Francois Lesure. Dictionnaire des editeurs de musique francais, 2 vols., Archives de 1'edition musicale francaise, t. 4 (Geneva: Minkoff. 1979-88).

(2.) Ibid., 2:310 ff.

(3.) Imogen Fellinger, Periodica musicalia (1789-1830), Studien zur Musikgeschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts, Bd. 55 (Regensburg: Gustav Bosse Verlag, 1986).

(4.) Staatliches Institut fur Musikforschung, Berlin; Bibliotheque municipale, Nantes; Bibliotheque nationale de France, Paris; British Library, London; and Gemeentemuseum Muziekafdeling, Den Haag.

(5.) I would like to thank Mr. John Dodds, the cataloger of the collection of the late Robert Spencer, for his generous help in checking some of my records and for providing data from his catalog. Thanks also to Mr. Matanya Ophee for providing specifications of some songs in his collection.

(6.) Fellinger, 477-85, lists issues from the [6.sup.e] to the [13.sup.e] Annees.

(7.) Elisabeth Lebeau, "Le timbre fiscal de la musique en feuilles de 1797 1840," Revue de musicologie 27 (1915): 20-28.

(8.) I examined songs of those years in DL and RS and identified as well many reissues from after 1815 of songs originally from the fourth and earlier years but bearing the royal stamp. These songs often exhibit other evidence of later reissue: new plate numbers and, in some cases, a later Meissonnier address.

(9.) The second year of Le troubadour piano was advertised in the Journal general d'annonces des oeuvres de musique, gravures, lithographies public en France et a l'etranger, 21 January 1825; the third year, specified with piano or guitar, was advertised in the 18 January 1826 issue.

(10.) That the same statement also appears in what is considered to be an earlier catalog (in the Bibliotheque nationale de France, Paris, dated 1824 by the library) adds to the befuddlement.

(11.) The "Lyre" refers to the lyre-guitar a short-lived, a la mode instrument resembling the Greek lyre, but tuned and played like the guitar.

(12.) The price of a two-page song was invariably seventy-five centimes, a price that seems to have been the standard of suds publications in Paris during those years.

(13.) The annual subscription price was fifteen francs for Paris, sixteen francs for the provinces, and eighteen francs for foreign countries. The price remained constant throughout all the years of the Journal.

(14.) This was certainly possible in later years as stated in an advertisement in the Journal general, 18 January 1826, concerning Meissonnier's Le troubadour, although not indicated in the passe-partout title of this periodical either.

(15.) In the sixth year, song no. 101 was passed over.

(16.) Bibliotheque municipale, Nantes, 22212 (vol. 1).

(17.) Two songs are in the British Library, London: E.1717.o.(59.) and E.1717.o.(62.); the rest are in RS. All are without title pages.

(18.) Song no. 11 has an added p1. no. 106, implying an original (hypothetical?) pl. no. 6 (see the ensuing discussion of plate numbers). The song and plate numbers correlate within a numbering system as suggested, and would pertain to the first French song of the sixth monthly issue. Similarly, song no. 14 has an added p1. no. 107 (i.e., 7), which correlates to the seventh issue.

(19.) Four in RS, one in DF.

(20.) As later shown in table 3, Meissonnier and Benoist separated after one year when Meissonnier moved to new premises. Madame Benoist continued as a publisher on her own at their original address.

(21.) In RS. It should be noticed, however, that Meissonnier also collaborated with other Parisian publishers after he set up his own business; of about one hundred songs in RS arranged by Meissonnier but issued by other publishers, many can be dated after 1811, such as a version of "God Save the King" published by Pacini ca. 1815.

(22.) In RS.

(23.) Devries and Lesure, 1:120.

(24.) The guitar series is listed by Fellinger on p. 332 ff., the piano series on p. 813 ff.

(25.) The parallel series of Le troubadour for piano begins, however, with [] Annee.

(26.) Probably because of their low numbers, Fellinger incorrectly assigned song nos. 341-346 (which, incidentally, are not reprints of the songs in the Journal with the same numbers) to a fictitious thirteenth year of Le troubadour. The songs are, however, unambiguously marked "[15.sup.e] Annee." In the series of Le troubadour for piano, those songs also appear in the corresponding issues of its second year, which, as pointed out, equals the fifteenth year of the guitar series.

(27.) Those songs bear the volume indication "[24.sup.e] [L.sup.on] de la Lyre Jeunes [d.sup.elles]" or similar marks, and normally lack both plate and song numbers.

(28.) Meissonnier, however, did continue to publish single song sheets after that date. At least to some extent, they were furnished with song numbers continuing the enumeration from his periodicals: RS contains three later songs numbered 485, 492, and 565, the last one apparently published as late as ca. 1834-35.

(29.) In fact, Fellinger's listing implies unknown []-[l3.sup.e] Annees of Le troubadour, commencing ca. 1812. As already seen, however, those unknown volumes were the thirteen annual volumes of its predecessor, the Journal.

(30.) Only the piano series is listed by Devries and Lesure, who attribute the periodical to both Antoine Meissonnier and his brother, Meissonnier jeune, who opened his publishing business in 1820. There is no evidence, however, that the latter had any connection with the publication of this periodical.

(31.) Fellinger, p. 753 IF.

(32.) This date is also supported by the marking "Lyre des [d.sup.lles] [9.sup.e] [L.sup.on]" on the last song of the [14.sup.e] Annee of Le troubadour, an unnumbered song not listed by Fellinger but appearing in a complete l4th-year volume in RS.

(33.) It should be noted that the passe-partout titles, on the other hand, often continued to display an earlier address long after the caption address had changed. A caption imprint showing a later address than expected indicates a reissue; see note 8.

(34.) British Library, London: E.1717.p.(55.) and RS. The imprints of both songs also indicate an association with the publishers Gaveaux freres.

(35.) I have not found song nos. 240-252 of October 1820 through March 1821; consequently, it has not been possible to establish exactly when Meissonnier's address changed from Rue Montmartre no. 182 to Boulevard Montmartre no. 4 during that period.

(36.) During those years, Meissonnier did also publish guitar music unrelated to the Journal in full-size folio format.

(37.) Meissonnier's Etrenne aux amateurs de guitare ou lyre, [] livraissn, a collection in Parisian format probably published early in 1813 (copies in RS and the Bibliotheque nationale de France, Paris). The six pieces in this collection are numbered individually as recorded in table 4 (but appear in a different order), showing that they were originally published in a different context: the footing "C. [2.sup.e] Annee" indicates that they were probably the instrumental pieces of the second year of the Journal. The captions include the composers' names. In the Bibliotheque nationale de France copy, they also include Meissonnier's imprint (Rue Bergere no. 5); in the RS copy there is no such indication.

(38.) Complete volume in RS, four pieces also in DF.

(39.) I have found only one incomplete fifth-year piece: the piano part of a set of variations for guitar and piano by Meissonnier, without plate number.

(40.) Brian Jeffery, Fernando Sor: Composer and Guitarist, 2d ed. (Soar Chapel, Penderyn, South Wales: Tecla Editions, 1994), 65, 150.

(41.) That op. 4 was given 49-4 and not 149, like the songs, probably just indicates that it was already engraved by the time Meissonnier decided to alter his numbering system.

(42.) The identified eleventh-year pieces, two sets of duets for flute and guitar, are known only from their inclusion in Meissonnier's later Petile methode for guitar (they were printed from the original plates). Extant volume/issue marks reveal their relation to the Journal; the plate number is, however, identical to that of the method (160) and was probably altered. The captions of the two duet sets do not name the composer, probably Meissonnier himself since the duets were included in Isis method.

(43.) Peter Bloom, ed., Music in Paris in the Eighteen-Thirties, Musical Life in 19th-Century France, vol. 4 (Stuyvesant, N.Y.: Pendragon Press, 1987), ix.

(44.) Publishers' catalogs clearly mirror this shift of attention: from the late 1820s and onwards, they list less and less new guitar music.

(45.) Jeffery, 89.

(46.) Readers are invited to communicate to this author information about other relevant Meissonnier publications that can cast further light on the issues discussed in this article. Of particular interest would be Journal songs of the first and second years. Journal songs nos. 240-252, and instrumental pieces pertaining to the periodicals. The author may be contacted by e-mail at

Numberings and marks of
the songs of Journal de lyre ou
Year                Song no.                      Plate no.
                    French               Italian
1                             irregular           irregular
2                   1-24?                1-12?    1-12?
3                   25-48                13-24    13-24 (113-124)
4                   49-72                25-36    25-36 (125-136)
5                   73-96                37-48    37-48 (137-148)
6                   97-121               49-60    149-160
7                   122-145              61-72    161-172
8                                                 173-184
 issues 1-3:        146-151              73-75
 from issue 4,
 jointly numbered:            152-178
9-13                          179-351             185-244
Year                               Volume/issue mark
1                                  none / [1.sup.ere] Annee
2                                  A. [B.] [2.sup.e] Annee
3                                  [3.sup.e] Annee
4                                  [4.sup.e] Annee
5                   issues 1-3:    [5.sup.e] Annee
                    from issue 4:  [5.sup.e] Annee [4.sup.e]
                                   [-[12.sup.e]] [L.sup.on]
6                                  [6.sup.e] Annee []
                                   [-[12.sup.e]] [L.sup.on]
7                                  [7.sup.e] Annee []
                                   [-[12.sup.e]] [L.sup.on]
8                                  [8.sup.e] Annee []
                                   [-[12.sup.e]] [L.sup.on]
 issues 1-3:
 from issue 4,
 jointly numbered:
9-13                               [9.sup.e] [-[13.sup.e]]
                                   Annee []
                                   [-[12.sup.e]] [L.sup.on]
Variables of the identified
songs of Journal de la lyre
moderne (first year of Journal
de lyre ou guitare)
                         Page       French/  Caption-title
Song no.  Plate no.      numbering  Italian  imprint
none      3.G. [margin]  2-3        F        yes
15        15             34-35      F        no
20        20             46-47      F        no
35        21 [margin]    7-10       I        yes
45        45 [margin]    2-3        F        yes
Song no.  title          Footing
none      yes            Journal de la Lyre
15        yes
20        yes
55        no             Journal de la Lyre
                         Moderne, [1.sup.ere] Annee
45        no             Journal de la Lyre
Meissonnier's addresses with dates
derived from his periodicals
(including references to
Missonnier aine in Toulouse)
1, Rue neuve Momorency             1810 or before
20, Rue de Richelieu (in partner-
  ship with [] Benoist)    I.1811-XII.1811 a
5, Rue Bergere                     I.1812-IV.1815
182, Rue Montmartre, au coin       V.1815-IX.1820 b
  du Boulevard from IX.1816
  with the additional: et a
  Toulouse, chez Meissonnier Aine
  et [], Rue [S.sup.t]
  Rome [N.sup.o] 49
4, Boulevard Montmartre            IV.1821-I.1822
  et a Toulouse . . . 49, Rue
  [S.sup.t] Rome from V.1821: 28,
  Rue [S.sup.t] Rome
15, Galerie des Panolramas c       II.1822-X.1824
  et a Toulouse . . . 28, Rue
  [S.sup.t] Rome from IX.1822:
  without the Toulouse reference
25, Boulevard Montmartre, pres     XI.1824-ca.1830 d
  du Passage des Panoramas
(a)Roman numerals represent months,
e.g., I.1811 = January 1811.
(b)The change of address from Rue
Montmartre no. 182 to Boulevard
Montmartre no. 4 took place
sometime between September 1820
and March 1821.
(c)Name variant from IX.1823:
Galerie du passage des Panoramas.
(d)With the discontinuation of his
periodicals at the end of 1827,
later address information based
on those sources is not available.
According to Devries and Lesure,
Meissonnier remained at Boulevard
Montmartre no. 25 until ca. 1830.
Instrumental pieces of
Journal de lyre ou guitare in
"Parisian" format
     Composer/work a                 Item no.  Volume mark
1811 No pieces found
  Meissonnier: "La Therese"          1         C. [2.sup.e] Annee
  Meissonnier: Sauteuses et Menuets  3         "
  L. Fortunato: Rondo                5         "
  Guglielmi: Ouverture               7         "
  Megevand: Air varie                8         "
  F. Moretti: Thema varie            9         "
  L. Moretti: Thema con var.                   [3.sup.e] Annee
  Cerruti: Theme varie                         none
  Anon: Sonata; Anon: Duo (2g)                 "
  Anon: Simphonie (vl/g)                       "
  Anon (no title)                              "
  Megevand: Morceaux divers                    "
  Anon: Duo (vl/g)                             "
  Anon (no title)                              "
  Anon: Ouverture della Griselda               "
  G. Fabricatorello: Duettino (2g)             "
  Giuliani: Thema varies                       "
  L. Moretti: Rondo, Air varies                "
  M. Giuliani: Thema varies                    none
     Composer/work a                 Plate no. b
1811 No pieces found
  Meissonnier: "La Therese"          A.1.
  Meissonnier: Sauteuses et Menuets  A.3.
  L. Fortunato: Rondo                A.5.
  Guglielmi: Ouverture               A.7.
  Megevand: Air varie                A.8.
  F. Moretti: Thema varie            A.9.
  L. Moretti: Thema con var.         (4)
  Cerruti: Theme varie               (14) 4
  Anon: Sonata; Anon: Duo (2g)       (15) 4
  Anon: Simphonie (vl/g)             4:16
  Anon (no title)                    17.4
  Megevand: Morceaux divers          18:4
  Anon: Duo (vl/g)                   19:4
  Anon (no title)                    20.4
  Anon: Ouverture della Griselda     4:21
  G. Fabricatorello: Duettino (2g)   4:22
  Giuliani: Thema varies             4:23
  L. Moretti: Rondo, Air varies      24.4
  M. Giuliani: Thema varies          4:34
(a)"All compositions for solo guitar
unless otherwise indicated. g = guitar;
vl = violin.
(b)The numbers are presented as they
appear on the publications (including
the noted parentheses).
Instrumental pieces of Journal
de lyre ou guitare and Le troubadour in
folio format
Composer/work a                          Volume/issue mark
  Meissonnier: Theme var. g/pf           [5.sup.e] Annee [],
                                         [2.sup.e], [3.sup.e]
  Sor: op. 4                             [6.sup.e] Annee []
  Sor: op. 3                             [6.sup.e] Annee [2.sup.e]
  Carpentras: op. 1                      [6.sup.e] Annee []
                                         et [6.sup.e] [L.sup.on]
"Nouvelle Collection" (1817-20?)
  Giuliani: op. 50                       Nouv. Coll. [6.sup.e] et
                                         [7.sup.e] [L.sup.on]
  Meissonnier: Divertiss. fl/g           Nouv. Coll. [8.sup.e]
                                         [9.sup.e] [10.sup.e]
  Carcassi: op. 3                        Nouv. Coll. [blank]
  Carcassi: op. 2                        Nouv. Coll. [blank]
  Sor: op. 8                             Nouv. Coll. [11.sup.e] et
                                         [12.sup.e] [L.sup.on]
  Sor: op. 9                             Nouv. Coll. [9.sup.e] et
                                         [10.sup.e] [L.sup.on]
  Sor: op. 10                            Nouvelle Collection
  Meissonnier: Ouverture vl/g            Nouv. Coll. [9.sup.e] et
                                         [10.sup.e] [L.sup.on]
  Meissonnier (?): Theme var. fl/g       [11.sup.e] Annee [6.sup.e]
  Meissonnier (?): Six Pet. Pieces fl/g  [11.sup.e] Annee [8.sup.e]
                                         et [9.sup.e] [L.sup.on]
  Sor: op. 15c                           [12.sup.e] Annee [9.sup.e]
  Giuliani: op. 21                       [13.sup.e] Annee [11.sup.e]
  Giuliani: op. 91                       [14.sup.e] Annee [4.sup.e]
  Aguado: op. 1                          [41.sup.e] [sic] Annee
                                         [11.sup.e] [L.sup.on]
  Kreutzer: Theme var.                   [15.sup.e] Annee []
  Giuliani: op. 111/1                    [15.sup.e] Annee [2.sup.e]
                                         et [3.sup.e] [L.sup.on]
                                                     Plate no. of the
Composer/work a                          Plate no.   same-issue songs
  Meissonnier: Theme var. g/pf           none        37/38/39
  Sor: op. 4                             49-4 (149)  149
  Sor: op. 3                             150         150
  Carpentras: op. 1                      154         153/154
"Nouvelle Collection" (1817-20?)                     (161-208)
  Giuliani: op. 50                       89
  Meissonnier: Divertiss. fl/g           98
  Carcassi: op. 3                        111
  Carcassi: op. 2                        112
  Sor: op. 8                             118
  Sor: op. 9                             119
  Sor: op. 10                            120
  Meissonnier: Ouverture vl/g            145
  Meissonnier (?): Theme var. fl/g       ?           214
  Meissonnier (?): Six Pet. Pieces fl/g  ?           216/217
  Sor: op. 15c                           219         229
  Giuliani: op. 21                       24 [sic]    243
  Giuliani: op. 91                       287         248
  Aguado: op. 1                          307         255
  Kreutzer: Theme var.                   326         256
  Giuliani: op. 111/1                    327         257/258
(a)Shortened titles. All compositions for
solo guitar unless otherwise indicated.
fl = flute;
g = guitar;
pf = piano;
vl = violin.

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