Les Éditions des Robins

Les Éditions des Robins was created in 2011 by the French guitar luthier and restorer Erik Pierre Hofmann to publish his first book Stauffer & Co. with his co-authors Pascal Mougin and Stefan Hackl. In 2014 he published Franz Schubert – 39 Songs with Guitar Accompaniment with Stefan Hackl, and his latest book, The Renewed Guitar – The Instrument’s Evolution Seen Through Period Pictures (1775-1925) was published in 2021 also with Stefan Hackl.

All of his books are large volumes with exemplary production quality. Erik’s attention to detail in his lutherie and restorations is evident also in his publications. The beautiful color-corrected images are printed on heavy high-quality paper, with an artistic sense of layout and design on every page. The combination of organological and musicological research in his books creates a clarity of historical context that is rarely seen in other publications.

Each book published by Les Éditions des Robins becomes an essential reference on its topic. The combination of text and graphics throughout make each book truly a work of art. Please visit Erik’s Les Éditions des Robins website for more information about each book mentioned below.

I met Erik through Stefan Hackl prior to his first publication. The first project Stefan and I worked on together in 2008 was the set of Padovec Premier and Second Concertinos discovered as manuscripts in the Karl Scheit Archive. In 2013 I purchased an 1834/35 Enzensperger guitar from Erik, which he had restored. It is an amazing instrument and still my favorite among all my guitars. Knowing Erik’s level of perfection in his restorations, for any other instrument purchases I would always contact him first. I purchased an 1832 Enzensperger terz in 2015 and an 1850s 9-string in 2021. All were repaired with historical accuracy and adjusted to perfection to make wonderful daily players. Erik is a wonderful friend and colleague who I am happy to support by promoting his books on my Digital Guitar Archive website as well as my DGA Editions online store.

The Renewed Guitar – The Instrument’s Evolution Seen Through Period Pictures (1775-1925)

This volume retraces a high period in the history of the guitar – exclusively through period pictures. A period which starts in the late 18th century with a revolutionary idea: the mere switch from double to single strings, which, incidental as it may appear, renewed the guitar and propelled it into modernity. It ends in the early 20th century, when the appearance of electromagnetic transducers opened completely new possibilities in the making of musical instruments. The renewed guitar had just reached maturity, and a cycle of 150 years come to completion.

More than 550 full-colour illustrations in this book depict this saga – paintings, drawings, engravings, early photographs and others, all reproduced in a quality far superior to current standards on the “world wide web”. While some are quite well-known and unmissable, others have never been published in a book before – and are likely to surprise even the specialist reader.

Franz Schubert – 39 Songs with Guitar Accompaniment

Much has been written already on the topic of Schubert and the guitar – and from the composer’s lifetime up to today, countless editions of his songs featuring guitar accompaniments have been published. So why add yet another one? Because the present versions for guitar originate from the composer’s immediate circle. In the years 1840-1842, Schubert’s friend and provider of lyrics Franz von Schlechta (1796-1875) put down in writing the present collection of songs: some feature previously unknown guitar accompaniments, some are based on versions which had already been printed in Schubert’s lifetime, but have not been republished since, while others are hard-to-find arrangements by the composer’s contemporaries. These 39 songs are reproduced here in facsimile form, enhanced with transcripts of the lyrics as well as reference texts and documents, introduced and commented by Stefan Hackl.

Stauffer & Co. – The Viennese Guitar of the 19th Century

World Capital of Music, Vienna, during the first decades of the 19th century, was also the city of the guitar par excellence. First in a long line of Viennese guitar makers, Georg Stauffer made a unique synthesis of Neapolitan and French influences; he created one of the best models of his time – the renowned “Legnani model” – and instigated lasting innovations such as the terz guitar and early contra guitars. In his wake, a genuine Viennese school of guitar making emerged: his son Anton, their colleague Bernard Enzensperger, but also Franz Feilnreiter, Nikolaus Georg Ries, Johann Gottfried Scherzer, Ludwig Reisinger and many others were its protagonists. Played in concert by the finest virtuosos who have sojourned in Vienna – Mauro Giuliani, Luigi Legnani, J. K. Mertz -, present in the most distinguished salons in town, the guitar was widely propagated by important music publishers like Anton Diabelli and Domenico Artaria. Thanks to the extraordinary success of the Schrammelquartett, it knew a popularity that even outreached the Biedermeier period and ignored all social barriers. The guitar with individual strings as we know it today was indeed created in Italy at the end of the 18th century, but not only did major improvements take place in the capital of Austria: here were laid the foundations for the guitar’s specific repertoire and for its future pre-eminence, in Europe and beyond. Based on documents mostly never been published before, Stauffer & Co. retraces the history of this school, which has been neglected for a long time. A selection of sixty period instruments is displayed in individual portraits and illustrates the rich diversity of the Viennese production. The book also revives the musical and cultural context of the “guitaromanie”, that not only made the instrument an emblem of the romantic era in Vienna, but paved the way for the modern guitar.