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Typical Octavo Edition cover (1887)
Octavo Edition best seller: Prout's Messiah (1902-1960)
Typical instrumental work cover (1904)
Typical Novello's Albums cover (1892)
Typical Novello's Octavo Anthems cover ca.1900
Typical cover ca.1930



Novello is one of the world's longest-running publishers of choral music. Its most famous series is the "Novello's Octavo Editions" series, published from the 1830s to the present.

The company's origins date to 1811 when Vincent Novello published A Collection of Sacred Music as performed at the Royal Portuguese Chapel. The publishing enterprise was under way in earnest when Novello and his son Alfred (1810-1896) opened a shop in London's Soho district in 1829. Alfred soon realized the value of making standard works available in inexpensive editions, which in turn enabled the rapid growth of chorus and singing societies throughout England. The firm expanded rapidly with the publication of popular choral collections such as Novello's Choral Handbook, a collection of music printed in separate parts. and Singing for the Million. (by Joseph Mainzer, 1801-1851 pub 1841). By 1836, Novello was able to issue an octavo vocal score for Mendelssohn's oratorio St. Paul at a price so low that competing publishers could not believe this was possible.

In 1844, Novello launched the periodicals The Musical Times and the Singing Class Circular, which included at least one new choral work in octavo format. These proved so popular that the octavo format was soon established the one most often used for choral music and vocal scores - a practice which continues to the present day. By 1847, Novello established their own printing facilities. Using an improved version of moveable type for musical notation, the choral series known as "Novello's Octavo Editions" was established. Along with thousands of choral works by Mendelssohn and other contemporary composers, vocal scores for Handel's operas and oratorios were issued. Towards the end of the century Novello published many instrumental works by Elgar, Coleridge-Taylor, Davies, Parry, Bantock and Stanford, in addition to series for amateurs such as Novello's Violin and Pianoforte Albums and Novello's Pianoforte Albums.

Absorbed firms include Coventry & Hollier (1849-1851), Ewer (1867), Elkin & Co. (1960), Goodwin & Tabb and W. Paxton & Co. (1971). Novello was finally bought out by Music Sales, Ltd. in the 1990s and merged with Chester and Hansen. In 2018 Music Sales (now known as Wise Music Group) sold its printed music division to Hal Leonard of the US, explaining the move is this announcement: “Printed music has played a special role in the long history of Music Sales, but our direction of travel has been very clear in recent years as we continue the expansion of our portfolio of copyrights in all styles and genres across the world.” Hal Leonard now claims to be the world's biggest music publisher.


  • Purcell Society publications (1878-)


Imprints, Agencies, Addresses


  • Vincent Novello (1811-1866)
  • J. Alfred Novello (1829-November 1861)
  • [Novello's] Sacred Music Warehouse (1834-1856)
  • Novello & Co. (November 1861-1867)
  • Novello, Ewer & Co. (1867-1897)
  • Novello & Co., Ltd. (1898-


  • 67 Frith Street, Soho (1829-1834)
  • 69 Dean Street (1834-1867)
  • 24 Poultry (May 1845-July 1856)
  • 389 Broadway, New York (August 1852-1859)
  • 35 Poultry (November 1861-June 1876)
  • Clinton Hall, Astor Place, New York (1859)
  • 1 Berners Street (December 1867-end of 1906)
  • Novello, Ewer & Co., 1, Berners St. W. and 80 & 81, Queen St. E.C.

Plate Numbers

Novello's plate numbers are in the following format: ####. Dates in italics are estimated.

Plate Composer Work Year
000239 Mendelssohn Symphony No.5, Op.107 (Mvts. 3 & 4 arr. for organ by W.T. Best)
000243 Macfarren Violin Sonata No.1 (sc&pt) 1870
003533 Lemmens 4 Pieces for the Organ 1875
003909 Zimmermann Spring Melody, Op.10 1869
003924 Zimmermann Crocus Gathering 1868
003983 Zimmermann Gavotte, Op.14 1868
004909 Zimmermann Gavotte, Op.20 1873
005420 Gadsby Alcestis (vocal score) 1876
005489 Stanford God is Our Hope and Strength, Op.8 (vocal score) 1877
005712 Zimmermann Suite, Op.22 1878
006010 Abt The Wishing Stone (vocal score) 1880
006180 King Night, Op.22 1884
006252 Read Caractacus (vocal score) 1882
006370 Gounod Wedding March No.1 1880
006592 Gounod La rédemption (Arr. organ solo) 1882
006637 King Among the Pines, Op.36 (full score) 1883
006671 Zimmermann Bourrée, Op.24 1883
006715 Spohr Mass in C minor, Op.54 1870
006894 Dvořák The Heirs of the White Mountain, Op.30 1885
007178 Gounod Mors et vita (Arr. organ solo) 1885
007255 Gadsby The Forest of Arden (full score) 1886
007319 Stanford Piano Quintet, Op.25 1887
007420 Bendl 12 Zigeunermelodien (Second Series) 1887
007540 Bendl 12 Zigeunermelodien (First Series) 1887
007545 Henselt Impromptu No.4, Op.37 1888
007694 Neukomm Grand Dramatic Fantasia (ed. Peace) 1888
007719 Rheinberger Original Compositions for the Organ 1890
007846 Stanford Piano Trio No.1, Op.35
008004 Mackenzie A Jubilee Ode, Op.36 (vocal score) 1887
008005 Cowen Ruth (vocal score) 1887
008057 Stanford The Voyage of Maeldune, Op.34 (vocal score) 1889
008119 Wood Ode to the West Wind, Op.3 (vocal score) 1890
008138 Stanford Eden, Op.40 (vocal score) 1891
008141 Parker The Kobolds, Op.21 (vocal score) 1891
008160 Parry The Lotos-Eaters 1892
008180 Cowen Summer on the River 1893
008181 Dvořák Mass in D major, Op.86 (vocal score) 1893
008183 Stanford East to West, Op.52 (vocal score) 1893
008207 Parry King Saul 1894
008258 Somervell Ode to the Sea (vocal score) 1897
008306 Elgar The Dream of Gerontius, Op.38 (vocal score) 1900
009110 Armes St. Barnabas 1881
009179 Dvořák Symphony No.8, Op.88 1892
009227 Peace Sonata da Camera No.1 1891
009275 Dvořák Requiem, Op.89 (full score) 1892
009333 German Henry VIII 1892
009533 Peace Concert Fantasia on Scottish Melodies 1893
009633 Peace Sonata da Camera No.2 1893
009708 Henschel Te Deum laudamus, Op.52 (vocal score) 1893
010081 Wareing The Wreck of the Hesperus (vocal score) 1895
010200 Speer The Jackdaw of Rheims, Op.8 (vocal score) 1896
010231 Peace Concert Fantasia No.2 1896
010511 Peace Sonata da Camera No.3 1897
010560 Coleridge-Taylor 4 Characteristic Waltzes, Op.22 1903
010661 German Much Ado about Nothing 1898
010810 Pitt Hohenlinden, Op.5 (vocal score) 1899
010815 Elgar Variations on an Original Theme ('Enigma'), Op.36 1899
010982 Davies Violin Sonata No.2, Op.7 (sc&pt) 1900
011121 Cowen 4 English Dances in the Olden Style 1901
011442 Davies The Temple, Op.14 (vocal score) 1902
011514 Parry Lady Radnor's Suite (full score) 1902
011571-74 Coleridge-Taylor 4 Novelletten for String Orchestra, Op.52 1903
011645 Elgar The Apostles, Op.49 1903
011990 Elgar In the South, Op.50 1904
012046 Elgar The Dream of Gerontius, Op.38 1905
012130 Elgar Introduction and Allegro, Op.47 1905
012147 Mozart Die Zauberflöte, K.620 (Overture, arr. organ) 1905
012329 Schubert Rondo in A major, D.951 (arr. organ) 1906
012338 Hollins Allegretto Grazioso 1906
012356 Parry Suite in D major 1907
012364 Parry Overture to an Unwritten Tragedy 1906
012608 Bellairs Epic Ode 1907
012667 Elgar The Wand Of Youth, Suite No.1, Op.1a 1907
012728 Elgar The Wand Of Youth, Suite No.2, Op.1b 1908
012899 Smyth The Wreckers (parts) 1909
013056 Austin Twelve Days of Christmas (arr.) 1909
013350 Karg-Elert Chaconne and Fugue Trilogy, Op.73 (Lemare ed.) 1910
013378 Beethoven Symphony No.1, Op.21 (Andante Cantabile arr. organ) 1911
013468 Elgar Romance, Op.62 (score) 1912
013598 Elgar Symphony No.2, Op.63 (pno solo red by Karg-Elert) 1912
013678 Bantock Fifine at the Fair (fs) 1912
013868 Kühmstedt Fantasia Eroica, Op.29 1913
014566 Elgar String Quartet, Op.83 (score) 1919
014635 Elgar Cello Concerto, Op.85 (cello/piano reduction) 1920
014737 Elgar Cello Concerto, Op.85 (full score) 1921
014748 Dupré Vêpres du commun des fêtes de la Sainte-Vierge, Op.18 1920
014946 Karg-Elert Homage to Händel, Op.75b 1922
014962 Karg-Elert 7 Pastels from the Lake of Constance, Op.96 1923
014991 Holst The Perfect Fool, Op.39 (ballet music) 1923
016644 Medtner Sonata-Idyll, Op.56 (f.e.) 1938
016790 Medtner Violin Sonata No.3, Op.57 1940
016985 Moeran Symphony in G minor (score) 1942
017175 Moeran Sinfonietta (score) 1947
017702 Moeran Violin Concerto (score) 1950
018378 Austin Twelve Days of Christmas (arr.) (transposed to A) 1957
018978 Frankel Piano Quartet, Op.26 1962
121253 Sallinen Cello Sonata, Op.86 (sc&pt) 2005
954646 Sallinen Piano Quintet No.1, Op.85 (sc&pts) 2005
956087 Sallinen Symphony No.8, Op.81 (sc.) 2003

Very recent issues have different kinds of plates (some of which may be edition signifiers instead). Taking Sallinen works for example, his 4th symphony Op.49 has plate(?) 89 0110 07 , ©1981; his piano trio Op.96 (©2010) has plate(?) NOV 081411; the works listed above, e.g. the 8th symphony, have plates similar to NOV956087.


Sources Consulted

  • The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, edited by Stanley Sadie.
New York and London: Macmillan Publications, 1980.
  • The Macmillan Encyclopedia of Music and Musicians in One Volume, compiled and edited by Albert E. Wier
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1938
  • Humphries, Charles and William C. Smith. Music Publishing in the British Isles from Beginning Until the Middle of the Nineteenth Century. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1970.

Authority control

  • VIAF (Novello & Co.)
  • VIAF (Novello, Ewer & Co.)