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One of Germany's historically most renowned publishers, based since 1810 in Stuttgart.

The firm of J. G. Cotta

Purchased in 1659 from the widow of a Tübingen bookdealer by Johann Georg Cotta (1631-92), the firm was established as "J. G. Cotta'sche Buchhandlung" (J. G. Cotta's Book Dealership). A publisher and retail book dealership combined, and from 1722 also a printing works, it was associated with Tübingen University until 1810, in which year it moved to Stuttgart under Johann Friedrich Cotta. An association with Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang Goethe going back to 1794, including the publication of Schiller's monthly philosophical/political journal Die Horen 1795-97, brought the company to world-wide fame. Cotta produced a collected edition of Goethe's works (1806-10), and went on to publish the collected works of Herder, Schelling, and Pestalozzi, and works not only by Schiller, but also by Hölderlin, Hebel, Kerner, Kleist, Oehlenschäger, Fouqué, Immermann, Platen, Rückert, and Uhland.

The company remained in the Cotta family until 1889, when it was acquired by Adolf and Paul Kröner and given the name "J. G. Cotta'sche Buchhandlung Nachfolger" (Successors to J. G. Cotta's Book Dealership). In 1901, a branch was established in Berlin. At Adolf Kröner's death in 1911 (see OJ 9/31, [32], March 4, 1911), the firm was taken over by Robert Kröner and Heinrich Beck. In 1956, the company was taken over by the Ernst Klett Verlag as "Ernst Klett–J. G. Cotta'sche Buchhandlung Nachfolger," or "Klett–Cotta" for short.

Cotta, Schenker, and Music

On the initial recommendation of Eugen d'Albert, Cotta published Schenker's first two major theoretical books, Harmonielehre (1906), and Kontrapunkt, first half-volume = Cantus Firmus und Zweistimmiger Satz (1910), these being volumes I and II/1 of his Neue Musikalische Theorien und Phantasien. The second half-volume of Kontrapunkt was due also for publication by Cotta, but was taken over by Universal Edition, Vienna in November 1921, which then back-published the first two items.

Both of the works by Schenker were publishing in Cotta's "commissioning publishing house" (Kommissionsverlag). By this arrangement, the publisher handled the printing, distribution, and advertising, and then presented the bill for these to the author (in Schenker's case, his patron Baron Alphons Rothschild) for immediate payment; the author then received three-quarters of the receipts from sales.

Cotta was involved in other musical publications, including a series, "Instruktive Ausgabe klassischer Klavierwerke," the team of co-editors being listed as "Hans von Bülow, Imanuel von Faisst, Ignaz Lachner, Franz von Liszt." In twelve divisions, it included works by J. S. Bach (edited by Eugen d'Albert), Beethoven, Chopin, Clementi, Dussek, Field, Haydn, Hummel, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert, and Weber. (Information from the end-matter of Schenker's Harmonielehre)

Cotta–Schenker Correspondence

The archives of the company were purchased in 1954 by the Stuttgarter Zeitung, and are now preserved as the Cotta-Archiv at the Schiller-Nationalmuseum / Deutsches Literaturarchiv, in Marbach.

The correspondence between Cotta and Schenker, comprising 325 physical items, is preserved in part at the University of California, Riverside, as OJ 5/6 (Schenker to Cotta, unsent draft letters, 5 items, 1908-10), OJ 9/31 (Cotta to Schenker originals, 50 items, 1905-21), OJ 9/32 (41 royalty accounts, sales reports and postal receipts, 1906-21), OJ 12/23 (Cotta/Kröner to Schenker original, 1 item, 1909), OJ 12/27 (Cotta/Kurz to Schenker originals, 15 items, 1906-13), and OJ 12/62 (Cotta/Neff to Schenker originals, 4 items, 1917-20); and in part in the Cotta-Archiv (Schenker to Cotta originals, Cotta to Schenker carbon copies, 209 items, 1905-21).

Unlike his dealings with his two other main publishers, Universal Edition and Drei Masken Verlag, Schenker was always noticeably deferential to Cotta, doubtless in part because of the distinguished history of the company.



  • Ian Bent

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