Éditions de l'Oiseau-Lyre
|Parent company||Lyrebird Press|
|Country of origin||Monaco|
Éditions de l'Oiseau-Lyre (commonly referred to as L'Oiseau-Lyre) is a music publishing company financed and established in Paris in 1932 by Louise Dyer (later Hanson-Dyer), an Australian pianist and philanthropist.
She had settled in France two years earlier and energetically amassed a collection of manuscripts and printed music, lyrics and dissertations of the Early, Baroque and Classical music periods.
"L'Oiseau-Lyre", the French name for the Australian lyrebird, was chosen by her; the company logo was a representation of the (displaying male) bird's tail.
Her aim was to produce historical editions of European composers of the 15th to 19th Centuries. The first project was an Oeuvres complètes (Complete Works) of François Couperin. No expense was spared in scholarship or printing, and the resulting 12-volume collection was published in 1933, the 200th anniversary of the composer's death. She was appointed chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur in 1934 in recognition of this achievement.
She moved the company to Monaco in 1948 after a hiatus attributable to WWII.
Louise died in 1962, and her (second) husband Jeff Hanson continued publication of fine editions, but moved the company's focus to high-quality long-playing recordings, typically Baroque harpsichord pieces, the technical side being handled by engineers from the Decca Recording Company. In 1970, the recording branch was sold to Decca, which continued the label in much the same vein under the direction of Peter Wadland.
Jeff Hanson died the following year but Margarita M. Hanson, his second wife, continued to run the publishing business until 1996. Under her guidance, the 25-volume Polyphonic Music of the Fourteenth Century was published, followed by the Magnus Liber Organi and Le Grand Clavier series, much with the substantial collaboration and financial assistance of the University of Melbourne. Margarita retired in 1995, and control of the company was passed to Davitt Moroney, a harpsichordist and music scholar who had been with the firm since 1981.
Following Davitt Moroney’s departure in 2001, Kenneth Gilbert became Président délégué, bringing the seven-volume Magnus Liber Organi series to conclusion. A number of new editions were also released, including Louis Couperin’s Organ works and revised reprints of earlier Oiseau-Lyre editions. Éditions de l’Oiseau-Lyre ended its presence in Europe in 2013, reverting to the parent holding, Lyrebird Press, at the University of Melbourne.
The Hanson-Dyer collection is now in the Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library at the University of Melbourne.