The revised edition of Constanze, Mozart's Beloved will be released by Hollitzer Wissenschaftsverlag on September 15, 2013. The e-book...

Publishing Constanze: A Journey of Friendship and Advocacy

The revised edition of Constanze, Mozart's Beloved will be released by Hollitzer Wissenschaftsverlag on September 15, 2013. The e-book will be available via Amazon for Kindle, iTunes/iBooks for Apple, Barnes & Noble, etc., and the print version can be ordered worldwide via ISBN 978-3-99012-115-3.

Constanze, Mozart's Beloved by Agnes Selby. 2013. Hollitzer Wissenschaftsverlag.

From the United States to Prague, Sydney and Vienna, thus our story came to be...for her.

Constanze von Nissen, Witwe Mozart, geboren von Weber.

Through acquiring a copy of Constanze, Mozart's Beloved, I met author Agnes Selby, and she became a friend and mentor. I was inspired by the woman she revealed through her research, a woman who had been buried by two centuries of mythology and prejudice. My authorship of The Chronicles of a Modern-Day Mozartian began shortly afterwards and I published an interview with Agnes.

Turton & Armstrong, a small publishing company located in Sydney, Australia, originally published the book in 1999. Agnes received recognition for her work from Constanze's descendants, the Fitzgerald family, who also resided in Sydney. When I discovered the book several years later, there were few available copies. I began mentioning the idea of re-publication to Agnes. When I created a forum in honor of Constanze's 250th birthday in January 2012, my thoughts returned once again to distribution matters. And this time, I knew who to ask...

A few years ago, I attended Mozart in Prague, a joint conference of the Mozart Society of America, the Czech Mozart Society and the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music. It was the first international conference devoted to Mozart's relationship with Bohemia. I met many wonderful scholars there, including Dr. Michael Hüttler of Vienna. He was a theater scholar with a background in film, media and communication studies, so we had a great deal to discuss, including his latest study of Mozart's Singspiel Bastien und Bastienne. Dr. Hüttler was appointed Director of the publishing company Hollitzer Wissenschaftsverlag in 2011, so when Constanzejahr (Constanze Year) arrived in January 2012, I introduced him to the book, and well, here we are on the eve of the release date!

Mozart conference luncheon at the Kolkovna Olympia Restaurant in Prague. Dr. Tomislav Volek, a renowned Mozart scholar and President of the Czech Mozart Society, is seated at the front left while Dr. Hüttler and I are seated at the far end of the table. I'm holding my book, Mozart and Prague by Harald Salfellner, to mark the conference occasion!

As a result of our collaboration, Agnes decided to recognize us in her acknowledgements: 


In knowing that I would inevitably write about our publishing adventure, I asked Agnes if she would like to make any additional comments. She replied: "I am extremely happy today as a number of copies of  my book have just arrived. I have you, Sherry, to thank for this wonderful event. You have brought my book to the attention of the publishers, Hollitzer in Vienna, who have done a most beautiful presentation of the book. Furthermore, you suggested that the publishers get in touch with me to get a copy of my book which started off the whole process of the publication. I cannot express my sincere thanks to you and my appreciation of our long-standing friendship."

Thank you, Agnes. In response, I'll simply express how sincerely grateful I am to have been given the opportunity to help a friend while advocating a very important chapter of the Mozart history, a chapter whose pages will now be opened to a new and broader readership. As a Mozart Preservationist, I'm so fulfilled to have played a role in creating greater accessibility for this book and Constanze's story. It's truly a beautiful affair when lives converge in such a way that a greater achievement is realized out of sincerity, friendship and passion. The regard in which we held our heroine illuminated the journey.

Posing with the original portrait of Constanze by Hans Hansen in Vienna (1802) at Mozarts Geburtshaus (Mozart's Birthplace) in Salzburg. Widow and guardian, Constanze tenderly, yet authoritatively, holds Mozart's portfolio in her hands. At this point, she had been widowed for 11 years and after rigorous campaigns and battles with publishers, was gaining an unprecedented command of her late husband's estate never before achieved by a woman in music business.

After scoring a web exclusive for the world premiere of Marrying Mozart in December 2012 (See: The World Premiere of Marrying Mozart in New York) and receiving recognition in the Badische Zeitung in January 2013 for my forum (See: Constanze Mozart Forum Recognized in Badische Zeitung), the re-publication bookends a hearty melange of advocacy, indeed! It's clear that through the combined initiatives of Constanzejahr and beyond, a new-found platform for the study and advocacy of Constanze Mozart is being established. On August 5, 2013, European Mozart Ways announced that they would be adding Constanze's native city of Zell im Wiesental to their list of members in 2014.

In closing, I'll leave you with one of my favorite correspondence excerpts from Constanze, Mozart's Beloved. After Mozart's death, Viennese publishers relentlessly tried to take advantage of his widow, including Breitkopf & Härtel, but their attempts were thwarted. In her letter to their offices on June 15, 1799, we encounter Constanze the keen guardian, entrepreneur and preservationist:

"Nobody has the ownership rights of any of my late husband's works that had not been sold; nobody can publish them without my permission; this clause is indisputable. I will publicly protest against any such publication as an infringement on my property...as far as the other music that you have in your possession, I will contest your right to publish it. You say that only the composer can demand a payment for his music and only as long as he has not sold it or has not brought it into the public domain. But the composer can be represented by his heirs; what he left over is their heritage; if he sold it, it is all gone but if he had only played it for some friends, who has the right to publish it? ...even what you buy from me I retain the rights and the freedom to dispose of as I wish."

Sherry


8 comments:

This is wonderful news! I' so very glad of it...
BRAVO!
Kind regards from France,
Emmanuelle Pesqué

Sherry Davis said...

Merci, Emmanuelle!

I posted a message about this republication on a French Mozart discussion board I sometimes haunt. Some of the members read English (one of them is a professional translator) and I thought they'd be interested.
Will there be a printed edition? I don't own a Kindle... (In fact, I prefer my books to be material copies, not e-books...)
Sherry, you can be really proud of yourself. This is a fantastic achievement. I've been talking about this biography for years and people were awfully frustrated because they could not find a copy to buy.
Thank you.
Emmanuelle

Sherry Davis said...

Thank you, Emmanuelle. It is so fulfilling to know that I've played a role in creating greater accessibility to this book and to Constanze's story. Like you, I also prefer the tangibility of real books! I just added the ISBN to the top of the article. You should be able to order it from any bookstore using this number. Please let me know if you have any difficulties. Again, thank you!

You look so happy at the Prague restaurant, Sherry! I am so glad this will be available for the Kindle. I already bought two hard copies and either lent or lost them! So now I have a new chance.

Sherry Davis said...

The conference in Prague was a very happy time, indeed! Thank you, Stephanie!

Monica C said...

Congratulations on this amazing achievement! So proud of you :)

Sherry Davis said...

Thank you, Monica!