What’s the shelf life of Urtext? Revising at Henle publishers

When you look carefully at our recent publications you’ll also repeatedly notice among them works that we once published and are now putting out in new Urtext editions – indicated explicitly as “revised”. But what is actually meant by revision and why is it necessary? Come to think of it, the old edition was and is after all already supposed to contain the Urtext – or do Urtext editions have an expiry date? Continue reading

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Too much access! – Isaac Albéniz revises his Iberia cycle

Editors of sheet music are not alone in suffering from the problem of bringing a project to an end at some point – composers, too, were and are regularly confronted with it. Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, for instance, is notorious for having still continued composing in the galley proofs of the engraving plates during publication of his works. Continue reading

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Scriabin plays Scriabin – Is the finale of the 3rd piano sonata too difficult?

Alexander Scriabin (1872–1915) was not only one of the outstanding composers in Russia around 1900. Time and again he also appeared publicly as pianist – especially as interpreter of his own works. His compositions are at present among the standard items in the concert repertoire, but today we can also still get an idea of his piano playing. Continue reading

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The crux of sharp or flat: Just enough cautionary accidentals? or are extras o.k., too?

Our editorial department is always receiving queries from users requesting information on certain passages in the sources: ‘Is it really that way in the autograph?’ or: ‘Is it actually the same in the first edition?’ Continue reading

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Will versus Caprice. On the the closing measures of Robert Schumann’s C-major Fantasy op. 17

 

What you can see here is the last page of Robert Schumann’s C-major Fantasy op. 17 is in the handwriting of the copyist Carl Brückner of Leipzig. Continue reading

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‘Play it again’ – is a repeat sign missing in Brahms’ Paganini Variations?

Some time ago we received an interesting query from a pianist who had come across something formally odd in Johannes Brahms’ Variationen über ein Thema von Paganini op. 35. As we know, Brahms too was inspired by Nicolò Paganini’s 24 Capricci op. 1 for violin solo, as were already earlier Schumann and Liszt. Continue reading

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“Rock” or “stone”? Schumann’s text changes in “Liederkreis” op. 39 on poems by Joseph von Eichendorff

You know the Lorelei? You know that from the high cliff at St. Goar she peered into the depths of the Rhine (disastrously for many) … But not for Henle in our edition of the Liederkreis op. 39 (HN 550): following a Schumann text revision in Waldesgespräch, Lorelei’s castle is said to be on a “Fels” [rock] – lost, of course, is the Eichendorff “Stein” [stone] rhyming with “Rhein”, but the conciseness of the expression is enormously enhanced. Whether such deviations from a song text model are permissible, rational or as errors to be corrected where possible in a reliable edition, is a much-discussed question that faces any editor of a lieder edition. Continue reading

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‘Fontana’s version’ – genuine Chopin?

A glance at the table of contents in our Urtext edition of Frédéric Chopin’s Waltzes (HN 131, 230, 9131) may already have put a frown on the faces of many Chopin enthusiasts. Such famous pieces as the Waltzes op. posth. 69 & 70, published only after Chopin’s death, are being offered in two versions: first, in a ‘version according to the autograph’, followed by a ‘version according to Fontana’. Continue reading

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Hit and miss? – A purportedly wrong note in Beethoven’s Sonata op. 14 no. 2

For almost ten years now I’ve been working with Murray Perahia as co-editor of a new edition of Ludwig van Beethoven’s piano sonatas. Ten sonatas have appeared meanwhile, and I promise you it won’t take another twenty years to get the other sonatas ready!

Among the already published sonatas is that in G major op. 14 no. 2 (Sonata ‘No. 10’ in case you’d rather count them). Continue reading

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Going down, coming up or on the up and up? – stumbling block in Erik Satie’s ‘2ème Gymnopédie’

At first sight Urtext editions of Satie’s piano music do not seem to pose any great challenge. Continue reading

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