new member seeks copyright advice

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Joined: 01 Feb 2010 03:59

new member seeks copyright advice

Post by georgedentel »

Hi, I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan and have been organizing independent choral/orchestral concerts for about 20 years. My problem is that I conceptualized the work called "Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross" by Joseph Haydn, as something called "A Tenebrae Service". Although I have now performed it five times, this thing is hard to talk about because it is drawn from so many sources: the 1787 keyboard version, the string quartet version (Op. 51), the 1795 oratorio which is itself a revision of Joseph Frieberth's original choral arrangement, etc etc. Not to mention that some of my text is translation, some of it is new words from the Bible, choral and solo parts have been juxtaposed and often eliminated or changed with new partwriting to fit the new text, and various publishers such as Schirmer and Novello have also weighed in with their own versions of the "cantata". I would really like to share this concept, a product of 30 years, with the CPDL family but don't know how many laws I would be breaking in the process. It is frankly a personally biased arrangement of a set of sonatas for a Tenebrae service by an old master, does not pretend to authenticity or anything of the kind, saying only in my defense that the work already exists in at least four versions, the last of which is Haydn's revision of an earlier arrangement (Frieberth's) of his previous orchestral work. Anyway thanks for listening to my sad story, if you'd like to see the arrangement let me know. george
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Re: new member seeks copyright advice

Post by bobnotts »

Hi George

May I suggest that you try to simplify things as much as possible before proceeding? Try to make a list of every work which exists as a part of your work in a not insubstantial way. I believe you have the following copyrights to deal with as a starting point:

Music of "Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross" by Joseph Haydn (d. 1809)
Some of your text that is a translation by ?
New words from the Bible by ?
Your work as arranger (under copyright but may be released by you under a suitable free license)

Once you have done this, refer to this excellent page that will give you a simplified explanation of the likely copyright status of the works you have used in your arrangement. If it is all public domain (excluding your contributions, of course) then we would be delighted to include it in CPDL.

Robert Nottingham
CPDL Administrator and Chair of the Board of Directors
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