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One of the foremost European music publishing companies of the 20th century, notable especially for its promotion of contemporary music; Schenker's principal publisher from 1901 to 1924, and 1932 to 1935.

The Publishing House

The cooperative creation in 1901 of three Viennese music publishers, Josef Weinberger, Bernhard Herzmansky (of Doblinger), and Adolf Robitschek, Universal Edition was established to produce music for schools, and editions of the Classical composers, in which latter connection Schenker was first engaged in the founding year to edit keyboard works by C. P. E. Bach (1903), to which Beitrag zur Ornamentik was the companion volume, and arrangements of Handel organ concertos (1905). After six years, the company was on the brink of failing when, in 1907, it brought in Emil Hertzka as its Director. While maintaining the two original lines, Hertzka moved contemporary music to the center of UE's enterprise. By sound judgement, a keen sense of publishing politics, and skillful negotiation, he identified many of the leading progressive and avant-garde composers. By entering into agreements with other companies (e.g. Eberle, Josef Aibl, Fürstner, Bote & Bock, Simrock) in the first few years, offering contracts to progressive composers (e.g. Mahler, Schoenberg, Schreker, Foerster, Bartók, Delius, Webern, Zemlinsky, Szymanovsky, Janácek), with many of whom he forged strong personal bonds, and adopting aggressive advertising strategies, Hertzka brought to UE the profile of leading publisher of contemporary music.

UE also launched in-house journals-- Musikpädagogische Zeitschrift (1911), Musica divina (1913), Musikblätter des Anbruch (1919), Pult und Taktstock (1924), and Schrifttanz (1927)--which offered publicity and forums for discussion of UE's catalog; and by acquiring the publishers A. J. Gutmann in 1920 and Philharmonischer Verlag in 1927, UE extended its range significantly. Hans Heinsheimer joined the company in 1923 to develop its opera catalog. At Hertzka's death in 1932, UE was directed jointly by Hugo Winter, Heinsheimer, and Alfred Kalmus, the latter emigrating to England and founding UE's London company in 1936.

As a Jewish company, UE was aryanized during the Nazi period, and much of its stock was confiscated, including works by Schenker. After World War II, it resumed its dominant position in the publishing of contemporary music, with its influential Darmstadt-inspired journal Die Reihe, and the music of Boulez, Stockhausen, Ligeti, Berio, Birtwistle, Kagel, Kurtág, Rihm, Schnittke, and others.

Universal Edition and Schenker

After his happy first five years with UE, and despite his antipathy toward UE's new Director after 1907, Schenker continued to publish with the company, producing the Instrumentations-Tabelle (pseudonymous author "Artur Niloff") (1908), the edition of J. S. Bach's Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue (1910), the monograph Beethovens Neunte Sinfonie (1912), and the Erläuteruntgsausgaben of Beethoven's piano sonatas Opp. 109, 110, 111, and 101 (1913-20). UE also took over from J. G. Cotta of Stuttgart the publication of Schenker's Harmonielehre and Kontrapunkt 1 in November 1921, publishing Kontrapunkt 2 itself in 1922. The nine issues of Der Tonwille (1921-24) were published by UE but at arms' length under the pseudonymous imprint of the Tonwille-Flugblätterverlag, marketed by Albert J. Gutmann in Vienna and Hofmeister in Leipzig.

An out-of-court settlement having been agreed in December 1925 in the face of threatened court proceedings, Schenker parted from the company and moved to Drei Masken Verlag of Munich, returning later for the Fünf Urlinie-Tafeln / Five Analyses in Sketchform, printed by Waldheim-Eberle for the David Mannes School of Music in New York in a print-run of 1,000, of which 800 were for New York, 180 for UE to market in Europe, and 20 for Schenker and his close associates, Johannes Brahms, Oktaven und Quinten u.a. in 1933, and his last work, Der freie Satz, published posthumously in 1935.


  • Nigel Simeone, "Universal Edition," NGDM2 (2008)
  • 25 Jahre Neue Musik: Jahrbuch 1926 der Universal-Edition, eds. H. Heinsheimer & P. Stefan (Vienna: UE, 1926)
  • UE: Universal Edition 1901-2001 (Vienna: UE, 2000)
  • Federhofer, Hellmut, Heinrich Schenker nach Tagebücher ... (Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1985), esp. pp. 31-4, 320-23 ("Kaufmannsstand-Handel")
  • Bent, Ian, "'That Bright New Light': Schenker, Universal Edition, and the Origins of the Erläuterung Series, 1901-1910," Journal of the American Musicological Society 58/1 (Spring 2005), 69-138
  • General Prefaces to Der Tonwille: Pamphlets in Witness ..., ed. William Drabkin (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 2005), I, v-viii, II, v-xii [recounts conflict over Tonwille]
  • Hailey, Christopher, "Universal Edition - die Anfänge eines Welverlages," Österreichische Musikzeitschrift lvi/8-9 (2001), 8-14
  • Hailey, Christopher, "'Anbruch' and 'Tonwille': the Verlagspolitik of Universal Edition," in Eybl-Fink-Mennel (2006), pp. 59-67


  • Marko Deisinger and Ian Bent

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