The violin virtouso, composer and Royal Saxonian music supply dealer Franz Ries, together with the publisher Hermann Erler, founded the music publishing house Ries & Erler in Berlin on July 1st 1881.
The good understanding between the co-partners already became obvious in the creation of the name of the publishing house, and very evident in the following incidence: In order to determine the sequence of names, Hermann Erler’s daughter, who happened to be present at the moment, was asked to place two identical slips of paper into a hat. The name “Ries” was drawn first, so the name Ries&Erler arose.
The purchase of the opera “Ännchen von Tharau” by Heinrich Hoffmann and the composition “Circus Renz-Gavotte” by Hermann Fliege brought the first publishing success for the firm. Franz Ries who, as the son of the Berlin concertmaster, Hubert Ries, and nephew of Beethoven’s friend and disciple, Ferdinand Ries, came from a family of musicians and made his contributions as a composer with his own works such as “Perpetuum Mobile” and later “La Capricciosa” which still today remain popular pieces for violin.
The programme of the publishing house was expanded considerably through the purchase of the publishers M.Schloß, Cologne, Voigt, Kassel, E.F. Hientzsch, Breslau and later on the take over of R.Sulzer and Jatho, Berlin.
After Hermann Erler’s death, Franz Ries continued the management of the publishing house alone and purchased the rights to the works of Walter Braunfels, S. v. Hausegger, Engelbert Humperdinck, Hugo Kaun (“Sir John Falstaff”), Hans Pfitzner (the music for “Käthchen von Heilbronn”, songs, choral pieces) and E.N. v. Reznicek ( Symphonic Suite). The release of the study opus for violin by Carl Flesch, which is still recognized internationally today, showed the expertise of the publisher Franz Ries.
When Franz Ries retired after 43 years of successful operation in 1924, he transferred management to his son, Dr. phil. Robert Ries. He continued the tradition of the publishing house by releasing the first publications by contemporary composers such as Theodor Berger (string quartet, “Rondino giocoso”), Harald Genzmer (concerto for trautonium and orchestra No.1, first sonata for flute and piano), Walter Jentsch, Mark Lothar (“Kleine Theater Suite” and the opera “Till”), Heinz Schubert, Karl Heinz Taubert, Heinz Tiessen (Hamlet Suite, Blackbird-Septet) and Grete von Zieritz (Japanese songs, Pictures from a fair). Another success in the field of publishing was the acquisition of J.S Bach’s “The Art of Fugue” for string quartet or string orchestra respectively from Richard Klemm und Carl Weymar.
The publishing programme gained a new accent by publishing works from the field of light music in the late 20s.
In addition to his function as a publisher, Dr. Ries volunteered on the board of directors of the GEMA and on the executive committee of the Association of German Music Publishers. The expansion of the provision scheme of the GEMA and the establishment of the Foundation for Provision of the German Music Publishers are some of his noted accomplishments.
When Robert Ries died on the 11th of January 1942 his two daughters, Waltraud and Ingrid, became proprietors of the publishing house. Due to their young age, management lay in the hands of reliable employees of the firm under supervision of the music publisher Edgar Bielefeld, who was amicably associated with the house “Ries&Erler”.
Waltraud Ries gave up her plans to study, and instead, completed vocational training as a music supply dealer to be able to manage the publishing house single-handedly.
Shortly before the end of the war, on May 1st 1945 the home of the publishing house “Ries&Erler” at Kurfürstendamm 22 was completely destroyed in the wake of the battle of Berlin, in which most of the documents about previous operation of the publishing house were lost.
After the license was granted by the military government of Germany in 1948, Waltraud Ries as manager started to rebuild the firm with great personal commitment. During this difficult period, the reprint of sought-after works in the field of tuitional literature, symphonic music as well as instrumental and vocal, music stood in the foreground.
In the aftermath, this direction was continued by publishing new works by Erwin Dressel (Concerto for Clarinet, “Partita”, for saxophone and piano), Werner Eisbrenner, Friedrich Metzler (“Second Symphony”), and Franz Reinl (“Mixtum Compositum for Orchestra”) among others.
In the field of light music, the publishing programme expanded considerably; last but not least, through to the inclusion of the music publishing house Wilke&Co., Berlin. In addition to new publications such as compositions by Hans Bund, Hanns Kallies, Edmund Kötscher and Willi Löffler, already established titles, by Jo Knümann and Josef Rixner for example, were published as new compositions.
After Waltraud Ries’ death, the previous co-partner of the publishing house Ingrid Meurer, maiden name Ries, took over management. Her son, Andreas Meurer entered the firm in 1979, became authorized signatory in 1985, and took over the publishing house in 1997.
Under his direction the contemporary serious music division, Edition Corona, was integrated in 1993 and the well established Berlin music publisher Hermann Löffler was taken over in early 1997.
The focus of today’s production is, among others, the release of contemporary serious music represented through compositions by composers like Dietrich Erdmann, Harald Genzmer, Richard Rudolf Klein, Ruth Zechlin and Grete von Zieritz. As publishing authors of the younger generation, Heribert Breuer, Taras Bujevski, Joachim Giess, Friedemann Graef, Gabriela Moyseowicz, Mark-Andreas Schlingensiepen, Bernd Schultheis and Bernd Wilden among others should be recognized.
Since 1997, another focal point of the publishing house is the publication and analysis of silent-movie music, both original and newly composed, including the original score to the silent movie “Metropolis” by Fritz Lang (UNESCO world cultural heritage) by Gottfried Huppertz.
Since 2002 is the Edition from Bert Hagels “Sinfonik des 19.Jahrhunderts” with handiworks by “Danzi, Fesca, Onslow, Ries, Rott, Spohr und Wranitzkyist” at Ries & Erler successful in selling. (Die CDs von dieser Edition erscheinen überwiegend beim renommierten Label CPO).
The entire string family (Va – Vc – Kb) of Flesch’s scale system for violin has also been published (newly published and expanded by Max Rostal in 1987). Particularly successful are the recently edited tuitional works for violin by Zakhar Bron and Ramin Entezami.
The publishing house Ries&Erler will not only continue to offer a diversified programme also in the future, along with documented awareness of traditions, but also openness towards the new.