Founded in Leipzig in 1719 by Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf (1695-1777), Breitkopf is the world’s oldest classical sheet music publishing company and the original publisher of the works of J.S. Bach and many other important composers. The firm initially devoted itself exclusively to the printing of books, but in 1736 the publication of "Schemellis Gesangbuch" (with Bach chorales) foreshadowed the company's brilliant future in the classical sheet music publishing industry. In the years 1754-1755, the printing of classical sheet music was improved with the invention of movable type by Johann Gottlob Immanuel Breitkopf (1719-1794). He later invented a Gothic type style called "Breitkopf Fraktur," which is still known and valued today. In 1795, Gottfried Christoph Hartel took over the publishing house, and the company has been known since then as "Breitkopf & Hartel." Subsequently, there ensued close editorial collaborations to publish the classical sheet music of such important composers as Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Liszt, Wagner, and Brahms. Beginning in 1850, Breitkopf & Hartel began the publication of Complete Editions of Bach, Beethoven (1862), Mendelssohn (1874), Mozart (1876), Schumann (1879), Schubert (1884), and Berlioz (1900).
By the late nineteenth century, the company had opened branch offices in Brussels, London, and New York, and was a primary force in the industry of classical sheet music publishing. The Breitkopf & Hartel publishing house in Leipzig was destroyed during World War II, but Breitkopf & Hartel’s classical sheet music publishing activities resumed in 1945 in Wiesbaden, where the headquarters have remained. In 1992, Breitkopf & Hartel acquired the publishing firm Deutscher Verlag fur Musik. This firm, founded in Leipzig in 1954, had many scholarly editions of contemporary classical sheet music which complement Breitkopf & Hartel's classical and contemporary catalog. Shortly thereafter, in 2000, Breitkopf & Hartel also purchased the distinctive Musica Rara catalog of classical sheet music.
When Elkin Music International first opened its classical sheet music store in 1993 and began considering important foreign music publishers of classical sheet music to include in our collection, Breitkopf & Hartel was one of the first international music publishers of classical sheet music that our firm decided to stock, based on the strength of their publications. The Musica Rara catalog of classical sheet music has also been stocked in our warehouse from our first days of operations. For anyone looking to buy classical sheet music online, the Breitkopf & Hartel catalog of classical sheet music, including Musica Rara, offers an extensive choice of titles. Elkin Music International has hundreds of titles from this important international music publisher’s catalog in stock and available for purchase at our online classical sheet music store. Titles not in stock are usually available in about three weeks.
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