Summer break

Summer is here and our composers need a short break!

Here, for example, Sergei Rachmaninoff, recovering from his strenuous anniversary year in 2023, is on a boat tour of Lake Lucerne, together with daughters Tatiana and Irina. Continue reading

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Once again, a tight squeeze – the joy and sorrow of the Urtext cover

If you quickly want to describe a Henle edition, one sentence is enough: it is the pigeon-blue music score, showing on the cover merely composer and title without any ornamentation. For where other publishing houses employ a large graphics department and select the most diverse fonts, designs and illustrations for different composers, eras or scorings, or at least vary the colour of the card stock cover, holding sway at Henle are the strict rules of B&B: blue cover stock and Bodoni font. Can a blog post be written about something like that? Of course! For first of all, knowing where this minimalist design originated is of interest, and then we editors can tell you a thing or two about how difficult it sometimes really is, to say everything in the few lines stipulated by our strict layout – or at least enough to make the content instantly recognisable. Continue reading

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Sergei Rachmaninoff’s 3rd piano concerto – extraordinary works involve extraordinary solutions

First edition, A. Gutheil, reprint

Probably no other work in recent years has brought us so many enquiries from musicians, customers and dealers as to when the Henle edition will finally be published…. We are speaking, of course, about one of the greatest ‘warhorses’ in piano history, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s 3rd piano concerto in D minor op. 30.

The monumental concerto’s edition of 1162 bars took quite a while to achieve, but our Urtext piano-score edition (HN 1452) has now been on the market since August 2023 – high time for a short tour of its extraordinary features! Continue reading

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On Mozart’s ‘second naïveté’ (Alfred Einstein)

Alfred Einstein
*1880 München – †1952 El Cerrito
© Smith College Archives

I can’t recall when I first read Alfred Einstein’s Mozart biography.[i] Most probably during my first semester in Munich at Ludwig Maximilian University’s Musicology Institute, in the very same rooms where Alfred Einstein had also studied musicology about 80 years before me. As a Jew, he had to flee Munich with his family at the end of the 1930s and emigrate. I found on the Internet a moving biographical memoir by Einstein’s daughter Eva. The Mozart biography is dedicated to her, as well as to Einstein’s wife Hertha and his sister Bertha: ‘To My Three Ladies’ is the Mozartian title on the frontispiece. Continue reading

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Schönberg’s “Verklärte Nacht” in a special kind of Urtext edition

Arnold Schönberg’s 150th birthday is duly being celebrated by Henle: Promptly scheduled to start the year is one of his most popular works, Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night) for String Sextet (HN 1565), now also finally published in a blue Urtext cover. Assisting me with this edition project has been one of the Schönberg specialists par excellence, Henk Guittart, violist of the former Schönberg Quartet, who has also conducted many performances of Verklärte Nacht. Even before I had begun work on the edition, he had already presented me with long lists of questions and corrections to the score resulting from his decades of familiarity with the work. We then exchanged over the past year countless emails reflecting on the source situation in general and on many score details in particular – because it was precisely in this area of tension between fidelity to the sources and practicability that we had to create a music text not only fulfilling the Urtext criteria but also providing performers with an optimal basis for making music. In the following interview we look back at why this was not so easy. Continue reading

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Elgar’s Serenade for Strings: spring sunshine garbed in Henle Urtext. Interview with Rupert Marshall-Luck

The start of 2024 is a special moment for the G. Henle publishing house, as we have just added to our catalogue a new programme segment: Music for Chamber Orchestra. In our programme we already had orchestral works and sometimes even performance material coming from various contexts, partly via our complete editions, partly pertaining to works performed as chamber and/or ‘choral’ music (such as Mozart’s ‘Kleine Nachtmusik’). Continue reading

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Waiting can be worthwhile – On Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major

Maurice Ravel (1875–1937)

At the outset the piano reduction of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major was on the Henle publishing-house wish list for drawing up a scheduling plan to publish in 2008 new Urtext editions of Ravel’s piano and chamber music works. Why 2008? Abolished in most countries as of 1 January 2008, 70 years after the composer’s death, was copyright protection, though still remaining in effect in France, granted as an extension of 6 years and 152 days for World War I and a further 8 years and 120 days for World War II. This would mean that Ravel’s works published after 31 December 1920 would not be free of protective rights until 1 May 2016, and those published before that date not until 29 September 2022. Continue reading

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Christmas Blog Post

Unlike Johann Sebastian Bach, whose Christmas Oratorio and numerous Advent cantatas are an integral part of December, Joseph Haydn is not exactly known now as a Christmas composer. Nevertheless, in Series XXII, Volume 2/1 (HN 5541), of its Joseph Haydn Complete Edition, the Henle publishing house has brought out a series of small vocal works that Haydn composed for the Esterhazy’s matutinal Advent masses in the years 1765–69 and 1773–76. The Cantilena pro adventu in D major Hob. XXIIId:3 was probably composed in 1768. Continue reading

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‘Every year again’ as a new chance

Not annually like the Christ Child, but every few years each Henle Urtext edition comes back again to the desks of the publishing-house editors: When, that is, the current issue is sold out and we have to plan a new one. We take this opportunity to check carefully through the Urtext edition, correct any typesetting errors perhaps coming to light (yes, errors can occur even at Henle – though not lasting for long!) and possibly still making one or two improvements to the layout. Above all, however, we have the chance to respond to the critical queries that our customers keep sending us, especially those repeatedly relating to repertoire classics – which I find exciting enough to report on here, using Schubert’s String Quintet D 956 (HN 9812) as an example. Continue reading

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‘Free, but lonely’ – an extraordinary sonata and its new edition

Our new Urtext edition HN 1572 introduced in today’s blog post is, in many respects, something very special. Starting with the title: Never before has a Henle score named three composers on the cover – Albert Dietrich, Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms. But since it is well known that a book is not to be judged by its cover, we want to take a closer look at the contents to shed some light on the genesis of this unusual joint composition, the F.A.E. Sonata for violin and piano.

No better expert for this is to be found than the editor of this new edition, Dr Michael Struck, up to 2018 a full-time staff member of the Kiel Johannes Brahms Complete Edition, and since then an honorary volunteer scholar. As Dr Struck also has excellent expertise in the Robert Schumann oeuvre, I had the following interview with him. Continue reading

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