Breitkopf und Härtel

Gottfried Christoph Härtel (1763-1827) owner from 1795
Hermann Härtel (1803-1875)
Oskar Hase (1846-1921)
Hellmuth von Hase (1891–1979)
main building 1890s
cover (ca.1812)
cover (1847)
cover (1882)
cover (1883)
The famous Breitkopf garland cover (1885)
Colorful chamber music part with garland cover (1910)
Collegium Musicum Baroque series (1903-56) garland cover
Baroque garland cover (1910)
Sepia decorative cover (1894)
modern style cover ca.1900
popular work cover ca.1900
Volksausgabe cover ca.1910
Volksausgabe cover, unusual color
The austere cover of DDT volume 1 (1892)
London branch cover ca.1900
Edition Breitkopf cover ca.1920



This firm is the oldest continuously operating music publisher in the world, with a nearly 400-year history.

The firm was founded in 1719 in Leipzig, a center of trade and learning in Saxony, by Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf (1695-1777), most likely on 24 January¹. However, the firm did not publish music until later. In 1725, Breitkopf brought out a Hebrew Bible as their first major publication. The first musical score was Schemellis Gesangbuch (1736). Bernhard's son, Johann Gottlob Immanuel (1719-1794), "one of the most versatile figures in the history of German publishing and printing"¹ brought the firm to greater prominence. He improved typeseting of music so that music could be printed in larger and more capable editions. Works published included those by Telemann, Leopold Mozart, Haydn, C.P.E. Bach, and Carl Stamitz. By the latter half of the 1700s, all major composers at least tried to have Breitkopf publish works.

The "Härtel" was added to the name when Gottfried Christoph Härtel (1763-1827) took over the company in 1795, as Johann Gottlob's sons thought that they could not handle the firm. Härtel became the sole heir of Breitkopf. It was Härtel who first considered publishing complete works editions, publishing "Oeuvres completes" of Mozart, Haydn, Clementi, etc. Important publications followed: Messiah in 1803, Bach's Ein Feste Burg ist Unser Gott, BWV 80 in 1827, and numerous others, among which 25 Beethoven first editions. The esteemed Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung (1798-1882) was, in fact, founded by Härtel. In 1807 Härtel began to manufacture pianos, an endeavor which lasted until 1870. The Breitkopf pianos were highly esteemed in the 19th century by pianists like Franz Liszt and Clara Schumann.

Härtel's sons Raymund and Hermann (1803-1875) took over by 1835, and proved more than equal to their father in farsightedness and business acumen. Hermann was friends with Mendelssohn and Schumann (both in Leipzig) and published the first edition of Schubert's C Major Symphony, D. 944 at Schumann's behest. Breitkopf und Härtel were the first to publish the operas of Meyerbeer, Cherubini, Donizetti, Bellini, Méhul, Marschner, and Auber. However, their most famous (and some would say greatest) achievement was in publishing the Gesamtausgaben (Complete Works Editions), starting in 1850 with Bach, and continuing to this day. The Härtel Brothers also published several important musicological texts at the same time. Hermann created an Italian-style villa, the Römisches Haus in Leipzig, which was briefly an important center for the arts (1834 to 1837). The villa, designed by Woldemar Hermann, was richly decorated under a later owner and was a tourist attraction for the rest of the century, but was demolished in 1905.

Another important phase began in the 1870s. Oskar von Hase (1846-1921) and Wilhelm Volkmann, nephews of the Härtels took over the company. It was Hase who initiated the "libraries" (Orchester-bibliothek, Kammermusik-Bibliothek, Volksausgabe, etc.). At the same time, the firm published Denkmäler deutscher Tonkunst (1892-1938), a "nationalistic," Teutonic "monument." C.G. Röder's new printing technology allowed sheet music to be cheaper, reaching a mass market, so there was intense competition among publishers of cheap editions (Volksausgabe).

Succeeding Oskar von Hase, his son, the eighth of his nine children,Hellmuth von Hase (1891-1979) took over. He directed the firm from 1919, and was active in professional organisations between the wars. Following the partitioning of Germany in 1945, Hellmuth relocated his operations to Wiesbaden (near Frankfurt) in the Bundesrepublik Deutschland. In 1952 the Deutsche Demokratische Republik nationalized the remaining assets in Leipzig, and publishing continued there under the name VEB Breitkopf und Härtel. In 1991 the separate companies negotiated a reunification.

The catalogue currently contains over 1000 composers, 8000 works and 15,000 music editions or books on music. The company has consistently supported contemporary composers and has had close editorial collaboration with Beethoven, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Sibelius, Busoni, d'Albert, Liszt, Wagner and Brahms. Currently in preparation are new gesamtausgaben of Boehm, Gesualdo, Lassus, Mendelssohn, Scheidt, Sibelius and others.


Complete Works Editions

BACH, J. S. - Johann Sebastian Bachs Werke. Herausgegeben von der Bach-Gesellschaft (Entirely on IMSLP)

Multiple Editors
Issued 1850-1899, 1926. 46 volumes plus supplement (1926).
Wikipedia article
Complete listing

BEETHOVEN - Ludwig van Beethovens Werke: vollständige kritisch durchgesehene überall berechtige Ausgabe (Entirely on IMSLP)

Multiple Editors
Issued 1862-1888. 25 Series; in 29 volumes
Plates B.###
Wikipedia article

BERLIOZ - Hector Berlioz Werke. Herausgegeben von Charles Malherbe und Felix Weingartner

Issued 1900–1907, 20 volumes, subsequently expanded to 25 (final, but incomplete)

BRAHMS- Brahms: Sämtliche Werke. Ausgabe der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien
Herausgegeben von Hans Gal und Eusebius Mandyczewski

Issued 1926-1927, 26 volumes

CHOPIN - Friedrich Chopin's Werke. Erste Kritische durchgesehene Gesamtausgabe

Multiple Editors
Issued 1878-1880, 1902. 14 volumes plus 1 supplement (1902)

CORNELIUS - Peter Cornelius Musikalisches Werke. Erste Gesamtausgabe in Auftrage seiner Familie
Herausgegeben von Max Hasse und Waldemar von Baussnern

Issued 1905-1906. 5 volumes

GRÉTRY - Collection complète des Oeuvres de Grétry. Publiée par le Gouvernement Belge

Issued 1884-1936. 49 volumes. (Joint publication with the Belgian Government.)

HANDEL - Georg Friedrich Händels Werke. Ausgabe der Deutschen Händelgesellschaft (Entirely on IMSLP)
Herausgegeben von Friedrich Chrysander.

Issued 1858-1894, 1902. 96 volumes plus 6 supplements.
(Breitkopf only published vols. 1-18, Chrysander published the remainder himself.)
Reprint - Ridgewood, NJ: Gregg Press, 1965.
Plates H.W.##

HAYDN - Joseph Haydns Werke. Erste kritische durchgesehene Gesamtausgabe.
Herausgegeben von Eusebius Mandyczewski (and others)

Issued 1907-1933. 11 volumes (incomplete).

LISZT - Franz Liszt's Musikalische Werke. Herausgegeben von der Franz Liszt-Stiftung (Entirely on IMSLP)

Multiple editors
Issued 1907-1936. 34 volumes.

MACHAUT - Guillaume de Machaut: Musikalische Werke

Issued 1926-?.

MENDELSSOHN - Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdys Werke. Kritische durchgesehene Ausgabe (Entirely on IMSLP)
Herausgegeben von Julius Rietz

Issued 1874-1877. 19 Series in 34 volumes.

MOZART - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozarts Werke: Kritische Durchgesehene Gesamtausgabe
(Sometimes referred to as "Alte Mozart-Ausgabe")

Multiple editors
Issued 1877-1910
Plates W.A.M. ### (Corresponds to the Köchel number)
Wikipedia article

OBRECHT - Werken, van Jacob Obrecht, uitgegeven door Prof. Johannes Wolf. Vereeniging voor Noord-Nederlands Muziekgeschiedenis. (Entirely on IMSLP)
Uitgegeven door Prof. Dr. Johannes Wolf.

Issued 1908-1921
30 Volumes

PALESTRINA - Opera omnia Ionnis Petraloysii Praenestini (Entirely on IMSLP)

Issued 1862-1907 in 33 Volumes, edited by Franz Xaver Haberl, a.o.

REGER - Sämtliche Werke / Max Reger ; unter Mitarbeit des Max-Reger-Institutes (Elsa-Reger-Stiftung) Bonn

Issued 1954-1984. 38 volumes (most are reprints of older publications)
Plates M.R.1 - M.R.38

SCHUBERT - Franz Peter Schuberts Werke: Kritische Durchgesehene Gesamtausgabe (Entirely on IMSLP)

Multiple editors
Issued 1884-1897. 21 series in 33 volumes.

SCHUMANN - Robert Schumanns Werke (Entirely on IMSLP)
Herausgegeben von Clara Schumann und Johannes Brahms

Issued 1879-1893.

SCHÜTZ - Heinrich Schütz's Sämtliche Werke
Herausgegeben von Philipp Spitta

Issued 1885-1894. 18 volumes

SWEELINCK - Werken van Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck. Uitgegeven door de Vereeniging voor Noord-Nederlands Muziekgeschiedenis (Entirely on IMSLP)

Issued 1894-1901

VICTORIA - Tomás Luis de Victoria - Opera Omnia (Entirely on IMSLP)

Issued 1902-1913

WAGNER - Richard Wagners Musikalische Werke
Herausgegeben von Michael Balling

Issued 1912-1922. 4 Series in 10 Volumes (incomplete)

Bibliotheke (i.e. Libraries)


Imprints, Agencies, Addresses


  • Gio. Gottl. Iman. Breitkopf
  • Presse Breitkopf e Härtel
  • Breitkopf & Härtel



Leipzig: (1719-1943; 1992-present)
  • Bauhofstrasse 3-5, D-04103 (1992-present)
Taunusstein: (1984-present)
  • Obere Waldstrasse 30, D-65232 (1984-present)
Wiesbaden: (1945-present)
  • Walkmühlstrasse 52, D-65195 (1969-present)


Brussels (1883-?)

England (UK)

London - Breitkopf & Härtel, London (1890-?)


Paris - Breitkopf & Härtel, Paris
  • Farid Aïch, 22, rue Chauchat, F-75009


New York - Breitkopf & Härtel, New York (1891-ca.1925)

Current Addresses (2010)

  • Germany - Breitkopf & Härtel KG, Buch- und Musikverlag
Wiesbaden: Walkmühlstrasse 52, D-65195
Taunusstein: Obere Waldstrasse 30, D-65232
Leipzig: Bauhofstrasse 3-5, D-04103
  • France - Breitkopf & Härtel, Paris
Paris: Farid Aïch, 22, rue Chauchat, F-75009

Plate Numbers

Breitkopf seems to use its plate numbers in a chronological manner. Dates given in plain type have been confirmed in the Hofmeister Monatsbericht (or Hofmeister Monatsbericht Online), Fuld, or similar sources. Dates in italics are estimated, those with an asterisk are copyright notice dates that were probably added after the fact as a "scarecrow." The Brussels branch from some point has its own series of plates "B. ***".

All Plates

Plate #Full PlateComposerWorkIMSLP #Full YearYear