Alfred Lengnick founded the music publishing house which bears his name in London in 1893. Having worked an apprenticeship in the music houses of Leipzig and Vienna he decided to set up his own company in England. The musical scene was predominantly one of European musicians and composers. Lengnick established himself in Great Portland Street with, most importantly, the sole agency in this country for N. Simrock of Berlin. With the copyrights of Brahms and Dvorak, in particular, it was not surprising that his business thrived and within three years this growth necessitated a move to much larger premises in nearby Berners Street.
Lengnick often travelled to the continent to secure new copyrights but during a visit to Germany in 1904 he contracted a chill which proved fatal, dying on Christmas Day. His wife continued to run the business for a few months, but then retired and the good will was handed on to the prestigious publishers Schott & Co. Even during his short tenure Lengnick had built up a reputable catalogue of educational music, in particular the piano works of Chopin (Mukuli's edition) and the then famous Eugen d'Albert edition of the Beethoven piano sonatas. These, together with many simpler compositions and the publication of the examination books for the Incorporated Society of Musicians, placed the firm in a strong position. No fewer than two hundred thousand copies of Dvorak's Humoresque were sold in these early years.
During the 1930s the company passed into the hands of Bernard de Nevers who gave sanctuary to members of the Simrock family in the war years and assured the safety of the valuable stock of printers' plates from Germany. With the war over and the royalties from Brahms and Dvorak still supporting him, de Nevers took the opportunity to sign British composers with an enlightened publishing programme. The roster of composers contains many of the great names of twentieth century British music: William Alwyn, Malcolm Arnold, Edmund Rubbra, Elizabeth Maconchy, Robert Simpson, Bernard Stevens, Kenneth Leighton, Franz Reizenstein, Charles Camilleri and Ernö von Dohnányi. With the purchase of the University of Cardiff Press copyrights, there was a further injection of musical luminaries and some rare scholarly editions by Haydn and Handel became incorporated into the catalogue.
In 1991 Complete Music purchased Lengnick. Composers joining the company in more recent years have included David Ellis, Adam Gorb, Alun Hoddinott, George Newson, Ronald Senator, Edward Watson, Stephen Watson and John Veale. With the purchase of Complete by BMG and BMG's subsequent purchase by Universal Music Publishing Group the Lengnick catalogue is now handled by Ricordi London.