The CFEO project began in March 2004 and ended in August 2007. It had four key aims:

  • To create an online resource uniting the original impressions of Chopin’s first editions in an unprecedented virtual collection

  • To provide comparative text-analytical commentary on the multiple first editions in this archive

  • To develop complex textual interlinking of this virtual collection and relevant excerpts of the Annotated Catalogue of Chopin’s First Editions (co-authored by Christophe Grabowski and John Rink, and published by Cambridge University Press in 2010)

  • To devise innovative technical methodologies for complex web delivery of this material, using advanced imaging techniques allied with relevant open standards for metadata and interface design.

An archive comprising c. 5,500 digital images of Chopin’s first editions has been made available online without password restriction, prerequisite subscription or payment. It has been drawn from the holdings of five lead institutions – Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Bodleian Library, British Library, Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina and the University of Chicago Library, which together provided c. 4,550 (83%) of the required images – as well as those of the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (c. 270 images; 5%), New York Public Library (c. 150 images; 3%) and fifteen other institutions (c. 530 images; 9%). The full score of each original impression appears along with excerpts from the Annotated Catalogue and commentary on salient textual characteristics.

The main outcomes of the CFEO project are as follows:

  • An important body of primary source material has been comprehensively assembled for the first time, facilitating philological and style-historical investigation and encouraging new understanding of Chopin’s compositional and publication histories.

  • The Online Collection – totalling some 270 scores – provides direct access to musicians and musicologists to the Chopin first editions.

  • The text-analytical commentary and online catalogue excerpts foreground the major differences between multiple first editions and their chronological and filial relationships.

  • The technical outcomes are generalisable to similar projects of a musical and/or non-musical nature and to other initiatives.