Schirmer music publishers

One of the United States’ most venerable music publishing names, Gustave Schirmer (brother of Rudolf Schirmer (1859-1919)) grew out of the New York-based Kerksieg and Bruesing Company, founded in 1848. Gustav Schirmer, the son of a German immigrant, had managed Kerksieg and Bruesing since 1854 and, along with colleague Bernard Beer, he took it over in 1861.

Driven by the Schirmer family’s desire to boost appreciation of classical music in their adopted country (the site of the future Carnegie Hall was at the time still an apple orchard), Gustave bought out Beer’s interest in 1866 to establish Gustave Schirmer Music Publishers, Importers and Dealers.

By the start of the 20th century, Gustave Schirmer, Inc. was internationally renowned, not just for 18th and 19th century music but as a champion and publisher of contemporary works. In 1964 it acquired Associated Music Publishers (AMP), gaining a significant catalogue of American composers.

The company remained in the Schirmer family for just over a century before it was acquired by publishing giant Macmillan Inc. in 1968. The Music Sales Group then acquired both Schirmer and AMP from Macmillan in 1986 taking the imprint to new heights with the Hal Leonard Corporation acting as sole print distributor.

Gustav Mahler

Mahler’s direct involvement with Bach is documented in his arrangement of the Orchestral Suites (with progressive harmony and concertante keyboard) that he directed from the harpsichord with the New York Philharmonic c. 1910. Mahler received a $500 fee from the G. Schirmer publishers. It is listed as “Suite for string orchestra, harpsichord & organ – re-orchestration and re-arrangement into four movements of six original movements from the Orchestral Suites of J.S. Bach, using (see also Rudolf Schirmer (1859-1919)):

  • Ouverture from Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067.
  • Rondeau & Badinerie from Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067.
  • Air on a G string from Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068.
  • Gavottes Nos. 1 & 2 from Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068.

Orchestration: 1200/0300/timp/pf/str; Duration: 18 min; [G Schirmer Inc].

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