Listeners are also only human

Observations on the necessity of body language in piano playing

Wilhelm Busch: "Der Virtuos", 1865 (Source: Wikimedia.org, Licence: PD)

Wilhelm Busch: "Der Virtuos", 1865 (Source: Wikimedia.org, Licence: PD)

For today, an altogether practical subject for those of us who play piano and are pianists: Perhaps it has still not gotten about every­where that piano playing appeals to the eye more than to the ear! Pianists have then a fair chance of winning competitions only if they re­in­force their playing with expressive body movements and facial expressions. A current, reportedly serious study proves it: That is to say, upon merely watching soundless (!) com­pe­tition shots, lay people as well as pro­fes­sio­nals chose the same (!) winners as the expert panel of judges at the same competition. In other words: the eye, not the ear pre­de­ter­mines solid piano playing. Or put another way: The jury, wearing earplugs, would also have nominated the same winner. Now that’s something to really make you think…. Continue reading

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The lord of the low tones – Tobias Glöckler in conversation about Dragonetti’s “Famous Solo”

Tobias Glöckler

Tobias Glöckler

The double bass entered the Henle publishers’ catalogue a few years ago by way of the Dresden double bassist Tobias Glöck­ler. Entirely classically, to begin with, through the concertos by Hoffmeister and Dittersdorf, but soon also joined by some­what exotic titles such as the Twelve Waltzes by Dragonetti for Double Bass or the famous Elephant from Saint-Saëns’ Car­ni­val of the Animals. “The Famous Solo” by Domenico Dra­go­net­ti, most recently published in the version for doub­le bass and string quartet, now even presents a first edition of a doub­le bass work in our publishing-house programme. Here you can read how it came about… Continue reading

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The sounding gardens of the Henleans – a short Urtext saga


n a small valley of Mt. Olympus a musical beauty spot once nestled into the mountain of the gods. No Odysseus, no Heracles ever came on an odyssey or ordeal through this baroque/classical/romantic re­fuge; not even once did the ancient Homer let it ex­tol his muse. Whether, however, Xerob of Copyean was referring to this in his annotation “Ι ωανδερεδ οηχε βυ τηισ ηιδδεη ωαλλεψ.” (In: Ηικινγ, Athens etc., 752 BC, papyrus 7), is much disputed among specialists.
Why is so little known about this valley? – Well, living there was a small race called Henleans that worked tirelessly day-by-day in an almost Sisyphean manner at its destiny: the Urtext. The fa­ther of the gods, Zeus himself, commissioned it and sub­se­quent­ly wrapped the valley in a mantel of silence. Continue reading

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Deluxe for the continuo group

What music do continuo players play from?

This question might at first appear trivial. Presumably every pianist nowadays has al­ready once accompanied baroque chamber music from a basso-continuo part. In the G. Henle Verlag – and not only at our publishing house – this part is basically a stave for the left hand. It contains the bass part, mostly with numbers indicating which chords are to be played by the right hand in each case. Continue reading

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D or C♯? What does Ravel want the violinist to play in “Tzigane”?

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), 1925 (Licence: PD)

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), 1925 (Licence: PD)

Maurice Ravel’s concert rhapsody “Tzigane” is known to exist in three versions: in the original for violin and piano (April/May 1924), in the slightly-later version for violin and or­ches­tra (July 1924) as well as in a version for violin and lu­thé­al, (October 1924); the luthéal, only just developed and then quickly given up again, is a string-instrument device that when installed in the upright or grand piano makes it possible to generate a new sound register that Ravel used here primarily to imitate the sound of the Hungarian cim­ba­lom. Continue reading

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A wrong ‘D’ goes out into the world – Rachmaninoff’s Prélude in c sharp minor under the magnifying glass

The last blog posting on 6 January has already let it be known: we are welcoming Sergei Rachmaninoff as a new composer in the Henle catalogue! With the expiration of copyright on 1 January 2014, works in Germany and many other countries of the EU and worldwide have now come into the public domain, so that there is no longer anything standing in the way of a new critical edition of his compositions. Continue reading

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Corelli, La Folia and Rachmaninoff’s Variations, Op. 42

In May and June 1931 Sergei Rachmaninoff composed his famous and much-played piano ‘Variations on a Theme by Corelli’, Op. 42. Only: The theme is not by Corelli! And what do we now call the child? Better, perhaps, ‘La Folia’ Variations … Continue reading

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Christmas Blog

Dear Reader,

we most warmly thank you today for your interest in the Henle Blog. We also look for­ward to your visits in the coming year and promise interesting postings on musical ques­tions concerning music texts.
Today, you will find here a film that is really something. It is an old production from a full 30 years ago of the Bach Christmas Oratorio with Nikolaus Harnoncourt con­duc­ting. Absolutely worth hearing and seeing! Continue reading

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Why facsimiles, actually?

The blue Urtext editions certainly amount to the lion’s share of our catalogue, but, in­ci­den­tal­ly, we do also still produce a completely different kind of music edition; these are facsimiles, that is, literal reproductions of especially significant manuscripts. Often e­nough we even stock both for a work, so that many people may ask: Why do we actually need the facsimile if, after all, we have a reliable Urtext edition that gives a scholarly e­va­lu­a­ti­on of just this source and hence offers the musician the optimal foundation for per­for­mance? Continue reading

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HN 555 – A printing error in CPE Bach’s sonata for solo flute?

HN 555These days our latest Urtext product comes from the prin­ter, ‘hot off the press’: an edition of the Sonata in A minor for Solo Flute by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
(HN 555). This is no place for detailing the practical cha­rac­te­ris­tics of this edition (fold-out pages for making rea­ding the music easier with fewer page turns; complete re­pro­duc­tion of the first edition for all of you who want to delve into this cru­cial flute work at the source and play if possible from it; performance-practice comments by the master trans­verse flautist Karl Kaiser, who with much ad­vice tended to the edition and traced the im­por­tant ideas back to the following text). The discussion be­low has to do with only a single note in the 2nd movement. Continue reading

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