Piano Sonata no. 7 op. 64
Editor: Valentina Rubcova
Fingering: Michael Schneidt
Urtext Edition, paperbound
Pages: 31 (V, 26), Size 23,5 x 31,0 cm
Order no. HN 747 · ISMN 979-0-2018-0747-8
Level of difficulty (Piano): difficult (Level 9)
Skrjabin called his seventh sonata “White Mass”, drawing attention to the mystical basis that is stamped on all his late works, including this one. He attempts here to translate into sound his ideal of a “mystery” – a “Gesamtkunstwerk” of artistic, theological and philosophical ideas. Its aim, as stated in his own words, is the raising up of the human spirit. No longer is the formal scaffolding of the work based principally around that of sonata form, but around the idea of “evolutionary development from chaos to ecstasy”. Our edition is the first to be based on the autograph, which is today in a private collection in the USA.
Audio example: Roberto Szidon
Deutsche Grammophon 028947704928GTR3
La casa de Munich Henle ofrece como botón de muestra esta Sonata n° 7 en donde los criterios urtext nunca inundan el plano de la partitura pese a su eficacia.
[Doce Notas, 2005]
Many troublesome details muddied the waters for Valentina Rubcova, Henle’s editor, who undertook the formidable task of reconciling countless stray pedal markings, vagaries of dynamics and so on. We are presented with a satisfyingly coherent score, one that allows Skryabin’s personalised tonal (and expressive) vocabulary to articulate itself straightforwardly …
[Piano Professional, 2005]
Pour la première fois, les éditions Henle ont pu se baser sur l’autographe, en possession aujourd’hui d’un particulier, aux Etats-Unis.
This current edition is a model of scholarly endeavour, being the first to make use of the autograph as well as the first edition (published by Editions Russe de Musique in 1913). Most importantly of all it clarifies, via generous layout, the extraordinary technical demands of the closing pages, including an exemplary layout of the notorious four-stave passage near the climax. It is also good to have a clear table of translations for some of the most outlandish directions marked on the score by this most visionary of composers, including gems such as ‘comme des éclairs’ (like lightening) and ‘avec une volupte radieuse’ (with radiant pleasure). …Full marks to Henle for exemplary presentation and outstanding editorship from Valentina Rubcova.
[Sheet Music, 2005]
De niewe Urtext van Henle, waarbij voor het eerst sinds lange tijd gebruik kon worden gemaakt van het oorspronkelijke handschrift, is een kunststukje in menig opzicht. De ongelooflijke complexiteit van de partituur is zeer overzichtelijk over twee tot vier notenbalken verdeeld, waardoor de structuur van de compositie helder in beeld gebracht wordt.
The levels of difficulty of the
piano music published by G. Henle Publishers
The levels of difficulty of the piano music published by G. Henle Publishers
|1||easy||Bach, Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, nos. 4 and 5|
|2||Bach, Well-Tempered Clavier I, no. 1 Prelude C major|
|3||Beethoven, Piano Sonatas op. 49,1 and 2|
|4||medium||Grieg, Lyric Pieces op. 12, no. 4|
|5||Schumann, Fantasy Pieces op. 12, no. 1|
|6||Chopin, Nocturnes op. 27, nos. 1 and 2|
|7||difficult||Beethoven, Piano Sonata op. 10, no. 3|
|8||Beethoven, Piano Sonata op. 81a|
|9||Schumann, Toccata op. 7|
Guide to the levels of difficulty
"I don't know what 'difficult' means. Either you can play or you can't" – this was the rather terse comment by the great violinist Nathan Milstein, on being asked about the unbelievable difficulty of Niccolo Paganini's Caprice no. 1.
The relativity of the evaluation of difficulty in music immediately becomes clear. Yet I gladly take up this great challenge, presented to me by G. Henle Publishers. For I am aware of how useful a guide like this can be, both from my own experience as well as that of many colleagues. In particular so as to be able to identify "appropriate" works. For example for music teachers, who teach at very different levels, from beginners to those preparing for music conservatories, but also for all those interested amateurs for whom this guide is intended.
After careful deliberation I have settled on nine levels of difficulty, which I have divided into three groups: 1–3 (easy), 4–6 (medium), 7–9 (difficult). A number of parameters have been considered when assessing the level of difficulty. I have not just looked at the number of fast or slow notes to be played, or the chord sequences; of central importance are also the complexity of the piece's composition, its rhythmic complexities, the difficulty of reading the text for the first time, and last but not least, how easy or difficult it is to understand its musical structure. I have defined "piece" as being the musical unit of a sonata, or a single piece in a cycle, which is why Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier" Part I comprises a total of 48 levels of difficulty (each prelude and fugue is considered separately), Schumann's Sonata in f sharp minor op.11 only has a single number. My assessment is measured by the ability to prepare a piece for performance.
While assessing the pieces, it became clear that the medium level of difficulty (4–6) is the trickiest. Now and again this means that a piece is judged as a "3/4", even if it only deserved a "3" as far as piano technique is concerned. An example of such a "borderline" case (easy/medium) is Schumann's "Scenes from Childhood" op. 15 Von fremden Ländern und Menschen or at the other end "6/7" part of Bach's "English Suites". And of course within a main category there are also "from-to" evaluations (e.g. 7/8).
Any evaluation of art or music will always be subjective, even if the aim was to be objective. Despite the fact that I have endeavoured to be as careful as possible, I am all too aware that the results of my work can be called into question, and am therefore grateful for any suggestions you might have.
Prof. Rolf Koenen © 2010