Josef Weinberger has been synonymous with popular musical theater for over 125 years. Weinberger was born the son of a goldsmith in Lipto St. Miklo in Hungary but his family moved to Vienna in 1865. In 1885 Josef Weinberger and Carl Hofbauer started an art and music store in Vienna, but the partnership ended when both partners set up on their own, Weinberger in 1890 and Hofbauer in 1892.
Weinberger saw the potential, in publishing and licensing, of the craze for operetta, and made a connection with Johann Strauss II. Within a few years all the great operetta composers were his clients: Strauss, Millöcker, Zeller, Kálmán, Oscar Straus, Stolz, and Fall. He even provided licensing services for the last great Viennese operetta composer, Franz Lehár, who from the 1920s published through his own company, Glocken-Verlag.
The firm expanded quickly, opening branches in Paris (1885) and Leipzig (1889) where they worked with Friedrich Hofmeister. Weinberger was active in three other fields apart from popular music. Firstly he was Gustav Mahler's first publisher, bringing Symphonies Nr. 1-3, "Klagende Lied" and "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen" into print from 1897. Secondly he took an active part in setting up a trade association, AKM (Gesellschaft der Autoren, Komponisten und Musikverleger or society of authors, composers and publishers) in 1897. Finally, in 1901 they participated in the founding of Universal Edition in Vienna, providing them space in their premises until 1914.
The founder died in 1928 leaving the firm to his daughters Katharina and Margarethe Weinberger, for whom the founder’s nephew Otto Blau (1893-1980) acted as manager. Blau could see the worsening situation for Jewish businesses in central Europe, and wisely set up a branch in London in 1936. After Hitler’s Anschluss in 1938 the firm was confiscated and given to Sikorski of Berlin, with the name Dr. Hans C. Sikorski KG Berlin, as was Anton J. Benjamin in Hamburg. Blau had an eventful war, being interned for a time as an "enemy alien" on the Isle of Man (U.K) - as were two members of the future Amadeus String Quartet- and later being deported to Australia. Fortunately Blau survived the war, although both Katharina and Margarethe Weinberger died in 1941 (see LexM article below). Blau rebuilt the firm from 1947, and even continued to expand, opening a branch in Frankfurt and taking over Octavia Music Co., Ltd.
In the last 70 years each branch of the firm has independently found opportunities in its local market. For example, the British branch has gone into music for the media, opening a production music library, JW Media Music, Ltd., and it also represents the Broadway publisher Music Theatre International, licensing their shows in Europe.
Josef Weinberger's plate numbers were issued in a regular chronological fashion. Plate numbers are in the format of J.W. ####. Dates in italics are estimated.
|629||Brüll||Gringoire, Op.66 (overture, arr. piano 4-hands)||1892|
|893||Fuchs||Des Meeres und der Liebe Wellen Overture, Op.59 (f.s.)||1897|
|1627||Strauss Jr.||Jabuka (vocal score)|
|1785-6||Toch||String Quartet No.8, Op.18 (sc&pts)||1911|
|2027a||Goldmark||Piano Quintet No.2, Op.54||1916|
|2360||Poldini||Farsangi lakodalom (vocal score, arr. Volk)||1924|
|4187||Schmidt||Quintet in A major (sc&pts)||1959|