Climax, more or less – e flat or e in Islamey?

Mily Balakirev’s showpiece Islamey, already certified, so to speak, as unplayable by the dedicatee Nikolai Rubinstein, is also still today amongst piano virtuosi’s most brilliant warhorses. The two central melodies – sparking around them here is an almost mechanically effective fireworks display with its ever-present note repetitions – derive from the folk music of the Circassians and Crimean Tartars. And so the whole piece makes a relatively ‘exotic’ impression on classically trained ears. Continue reading

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Correction or interpretation? – Johannes and Clara alter Robert’s music

Anyone practicing Robert Schumann’s In der Nacht, the fifth number in the Fantasiestücke, Op. 12, from the Henle edition (HN 91 or the anthology HN 922), will come across footnotes to two passages in the music text that refer to comments in the critical report. Continue reading

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Commenting on a decisecond Bach – B or B flat in the B-flat major ‘Corrente’ BWV 825

A short time ago our attention was drawn to a supposed error in our Urtext edition HN 28 of the ‘Six Partitas’ by Johann Sebastian Bach (BWV 825-830): it was maintained that in the Corrente of the first Partita in B-flat major the last left-hand note in bar 12 erroneously has a ♮. Continue reading

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Totally, seriously – clearing it out is part of it!

Any of you who not only had a hearty laugh at our April Fools’ joke about Henle’s cleaned-up part, but also may even once have already had a go at a Reger sonata, will know that in the case of Max Reger – as with so many other late romantic composers – clearing out or cleaning up is in fact no joke at all. The extravagantly diverse ways that in scores at the start of the 20th century tempo, dynamics, articulation and expression were specified down to the last detail absolutely buried the music at times under the markings and were hardly consistent with any directive that a so-called practical Urtext edition ought then to present a music text more or less easy (and quick!) for the musician to read. Continue reading

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Attention to small details: Elgar’s notation as expression

Preparing a new edition of a work that has been previously published is an exciting task; yet, in many ways, more challenging than working on an edition for which one is reliant entirely upon the composer’s manuscripts and sketches.  As an editor, one must, of course, always have in mind the composer’s true intentions with respect to the work under scrutiny, and the presence of printed copies may carry both an advantage and a disadvantage in deciphering these intentions: Continue reading

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Spring Cleaning – new setup guidelines at the Henle house

You ought to underline today’s date in the calendar in red: this is the day that the G. Henle publishing house is introducing new and trailblazing guidelines for the setup of selected titles in the chamber-music repertoire. In the future, enclosed alongside both single parts contained up to now – provided in the Urtext together with fingerings and bowings – will be a third part, the so-called cleaned-up part. Continue reading

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Wagner, Liszt, and Isolde ‘slurred’– how well do composers proofread their own works?

The current Wagner year is also not going unnoticed at the Henle publishing house, even if music stage works are not part of our offerings. Continue reading

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‘Come sopra’ – clearly ambiguous!

The autograph of Beethoven’s piano sonata, Op. 90, is part of the splendid collection of the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn; since digitalization some years ago, it has been available for contemplation on the Internet. Even if in comparison with many other Beethoven manuscripts it is relatively easy to decipher, upon first glance at various pages the question is whether we are actually dealing here with a ‘finished’ work. Continue reading

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Gratis, but not for nothing – the download of the Lalo cello concerto

Whilst browsing through the Henle publishers’ catalogue you may occasionally come upon the link ‘free download’. Continue reading

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High quality sheet music. What makes a music edition good?

A carnival week blog contribution:

(1) You can tell a good edition of music, dear reader, by its well-planned page turns.

(2) A good edition of music is not a collection of loose sheet music, but is in a binding.

(3) A good edition of music has playable fingering.  

(4) Good musicians have good page turners.

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