The Henle Library app is five years old!

It was in February 2016 that our Henle Library app for iPad was born, after a gestation period of around two years, followed by a version for Android in June that same year. Five years have since passed, five years of a wonderful and lasting success story! But what’s been happening since my last blog entry about the app in May 2019? I’d like to have a quick look back and then forwards at the future …

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Carnival 2021: The zoo is attracting a lot of attention in the animal and music world

The animal world is also affected by Covid-19 and the resulting measures to contain the virus. Owing to the lockdown, zoos are closed to visitors. And what about the animals? They are simply bored. Continue reading

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“Bozen this pigsty”. Why there’s no “Bozen string quartet” by Mozart.

When for the third and last time at the end of October 1772 the Mozart father and son came through the South Tyrolean city of Bozen [Bolzano] on their way to their Milan destination, Wolfgang was hungry and in a foul mood. How else to explain his coarse rhyme about this beautiful city: ‘Bozen this pigsty. || A poem by someone who was foxily-devilishly wild and enraged by Bozen.[:] If I should come to Bozen again, I’d rather beat myself in the private parts.’

From: Mozart, Briefausgabe [Letter Edition] Online, Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg. (letter of 28 October 1772)

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A fresh look at Bach’s piano partitas

Johann Sebastian bach (1685–1750)

Many readers (and pianists!) will already have noticed that we are gradually revising our Urtext editions of the Johann Sebastian Bach piano works. Valid here, too, as with all the editorial department’s more recent revisions, is that the original Urtext available up to now is by no means either wrong or bad. The music text is revised only if research on the respective composer has brought to light new knowledge (for example, if new sources have emerged) or if the edition’s commentary needs updating to the latest scholarly state. A few years ago my colleague Annette Oppermann posted on the blog on the subject of “Revision”, to which I would implicitly like to refer. Continue reading

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Camille Saint-Saëns – a portrait for the 100th anniversary of his death

Whereas in 2020 the music world’s focus was on Beethoven’s 250th birthday, we can salute another anniversary celebrant at the start of this new year: Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921), although as with that of his precursor, his actual anniversary date falls only in December. ‘But just a moment now,’ you, dear blog reader, will say: ‘Beethoven and Saint-Saëns – they’re not to be compared with each other!’ No, of course not, in terms of the substance of their works and its importance for posterity, Beethoven is, so to speak, in a different league than the Frenchman. It’s certainly undeniable, though, that Saint-Saëns is still one of the most underrated of composers. So, high time to turn the spotlight on him, illuminating a bit more closely his personality as well as his work. Continue reading

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Christmas Blog

Christmas is just around the corner, though nothing this year is otherwise at all as usual. We’re missing Christmas markets, happy get-togethers and, of course, especially singing and making music. COVID-19 has thwarted all our plans for this.

Beyond any doubt – the Beethoven Year was badly hit by the pandemic, and many much-anticipated concerts could not take place.  We hope, nevertheless, that you did not miss out on Beethoven this year, that perhaps our Beethoven blog was able to provide some new and interesting insights. Continue reading

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Beethoven in the “home office” – Composing in the “truly admirable confusion”

Beethoven Year 2020 is coming to an end, and there is no doubt about it: We had certainly imagined it as otherwise…. The COVID-19 pandemic has nixed most of the worldwide celebrations, concerts, congresses and other events devoted to Beethoven. The motto “Seid umschlungen, Millionen” [Be embraced, millions] is disallowed owing to social-distancing, and kissing the entire world is not to be shared at the moment, either. Continue reading

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Beethoven love letters? A contribution to perhaps his oeuvre’s smallest work group

In Beethoven’s just as extensive as impressive chamber music oeuvre, four pieces have for decades been vainly awaiting company in the Henle catalogue under the heading Mandolin and Piano. They occupy a special position in several respects, based, first of all, on their slightly exotic scoring, then, furthermore, in conjunction with the Prague Countess Josephine von Clary-Aldringen, one of the not so few women in Beethoven’s life with whom he was possibly associated, and not merely artistically. At the same time, these pieces, comprising just 16 score pages altogether, also combine a surprising number of interesting questions about matters of their history and editing that make taking a closer look at this fringe repertoire definitely worthwhile.

 

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Abandoned, alas! – Beethoven’s unfinished works

In the run-up to the Beethoven anniversary year, I kept getting enquiries from musicians looking for unknown Beethoven compositions, that is, rejected or fragmentary works to record or programme in concerts. Understandably so, for in 2020 they would want to explore the appeal of the “unknown Beethoven” in addition to the well-known core repertoire. The new Beethoven works’ catalogue has been an indispensable aid in answering such questions – which were often also about scoring and authenticity. Whereas the first volume of the catalogue is devoted to works with opus numbers, the second contains information on all compositions not assigned an opus number either during Beethoven’s lifetime or posthumously. This second volume is divided into works without opus numbers (WoO), unfinished works (Unv) and an appendix (Anh) with spurious or dubious works. Separate sections are furthermore devoted to Beethoven’s numerous plans for operas and oratorios. Continue reading

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Genuine Beethoven – or not quite? Questions of authenticity with Beethoven

The Beethoven Year is slowly coming to a close, almost everything has already been discussed on our editors’ blog, from Beethoven in films to his discovery of the trombone for the symphony. What hasn’t the man created, renewed, inspired…. High time for the question: Is everything attributed to Beethoven really genuinely Beethoven? Or more professionally formulated: Where are there doubts about the authenticity of works handed down under his name and how do we deal with these today? Continue reading

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