Supraphon is the most common name under which the Czechoslovakian state music publishing company was known. The origins of this firm go back to 1949 when Czech music publishers, among which Urbanék, Hudební Matice, and Starý, were nationalized. In 1951 some firms were brought together under Národní hudební nakladatelství Orbis (People’s own music publisher Orbis) while the imprint Hudební Matice remained also in use.
In 1953, Orbis became a self standing department of Státní nakladatelství krásné literatury, hudby a umění (SNKLHU, State Publishers of Literature, Music and Art). In 1955 the Dvořák Complete Edition was started. As early as 1956, the cooperation between Bärenreiter and Editio Supraphon began, when Karl Vötterle, the founder of Bärenreiter, was able to secure the rights for publishing czech music editions in the western world.
In 1961 the firm was split in Státní nakladatelství krásné literatury a umění and Státní hudební vydavatelství (State Music Publishers). The latter became Editio Supraphon in 1967 but the name was changed backdating to 1961. In 1978, Editio Supraphon and Bärenreiter started the co-production of the Janáček Complete Edition. In the 1980s Bärenreiter printed licensed editions of works being out of stock at Editio Supraphon. After the fall of the soviet regime, the music publishing part of the company was separated from the incorporated company in 1990 and converted into a separate but still state-owned firm. To help with the privatization of Editio Supraphon, Bärenreiter founded Nakladatelství Bärenreiter Praha in 1991 which was changed into an incorporated company and renamed into Bärenreiter Editio Supraphon in 1993. When Bärenreiter became shareholder of the firm in 1998, it underwent another change of name into Editio Supraphon Praha. Due to the successful suit of the sound recording company Supraphon that forbid the use the name of Supraphon, the music publishing company was forced to change its name again into Editio Praga in 1999. In the same year the publishing company became part of the Bärenreiter group under the name of Editio Bärenreiter Praha.
Supraphon and its predecessors had an emphasis on publishing works of Czech composers, both of classical artist (with complete editions of Dvorák (Antonín Dvořák - Souborne Vydani dila), Smetana, Janáček, and the monumental series Musica antiqua bohemica and contemporary composers.
The critical editions of older composers such as Dvorak and Smetana produced by Supraphon more than 30 years ago are public domain in the EU due to the 93/98 EU Copyright Directive. As explained elsewhere, these editions - even those less than 30 years old - are most likely ineligible for copyright status in Canada due to both a failure to meet the "threshold of originality" and their status as government publications produced by state employees. However, IMSLP voluntarily observes a 25-year term for all such editions - including those issued by Supraphon. Most of these editions are likewise free in the USA thanks to their PD status in the country of origin, absent or defective copyright notices, etc. Thus they have been reprinted extensively by Dover, Kalmus and others. In contrast, the works of more recent Czech composers - who died less than 50 years ago (70 years in the EU) - are fully protected by copyright. On the other hand, the entire catalog of Hudební Matice has been in public domain since the sheet publishing house Supraphon ceased to exist, as there is no successor.
Imprints, Addresses and Agents
- Hudební Matice (1871-1951)
- Národní hudební nakladatelství Orbis (1951-1953)
- Státní nakladatelství krásné literatury, hudby a umění - SNKLHU (1953-1961)
- Státní hudební vydavatelství - SHV (1961-1966)
- Supraphon, also Editio Supraphon (1967-1991)
- Nakladatelství Bärenreiter Praha (1991-1993)
- Bärenreiter Editio Supraphon (1993-1998)
- Editio Supraphon Praha (1998-1999)
- Editio Praga (1999)
- Editio Bärenreiter Praha (from 1999)
The nationalised Hudbní Matice changed its H.M. imprint to H ####, which was continued by the respective state music publishers. Titles from the Hudební Matice catalogue were frequently reprinted with the new plate numbers. Orbis used the imprint EO ###.
|EO 3||Voříšek||Piano Sonata, Op.20||1949|
|EO 135||Novák||Variations on a Theme by Schumann||1950|
|EO 139||Godard||Etudes, Op.149||1950|
|EO 246||Fibich||5 Feuillets d'Album, Op.2||1950|
|EO 297||Suk||About Mother, Op.28||1950|
|EO 298||Suk||Spring, Op.22a||1950|
|EO 305||Fibich||Etudes Picturales, Op.56||1951|
|EO 384||Fibich||Moods, Impressions, and Souvenirs, Op.41: Book 1||1951|
|EO 425||Fibich||Moods, Impressions, and Souvenirs, Op.41: Book 2||1951|
|EO 475||Novák||Sonatinas, Op.54||1951|
|EO 479||Novák||Sonata Eroica, Op.24||1951|
|EO 675||Fibich||Moods, Impressions, and Souvenirs, Op.41: Book 3||1951|
|EO 738||Fibich||Romance, Op.10||1951|
- 1. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, edited by Stanley Sadie.
- New York and London: Macmillan Publications, 1980.
- 2. Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. 2., neu bearb. Ausg. ed. Ludwig Finscher. Kassel: Bärenreiter, Stuttgart: Metzler 2006. Personenteil Bd. 16, S. 296-297
- 3. Wikipedia article
- 4. Department of Justice, Obchodni rejstrik (Online database of Czech companies).
- 5. Bärenreiter Chronik, December 18, 2013.