Excess and empty space: Text variants in Dvořák’s Cello Concerto op. 104

Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904)

Antonín Dvořák’s Cello Concerto op. 104 may be a special challenge for cellists, but for the editor of an Urtext edition it is a real nightmare. Not only – as so often with Dvořák – are there numerous differences between the score and first edition that are difficult to resolve. No, also showing up time and again even within the individual sources, especially in the solo part, are discrepancies and ambiguities, be they owing to multiple overwritings in the autograph or small dynamic and articulation variants between the individual printed part and the score or piano reduction. The engraver’s model for the first edition, which Dvořák himself wrote out in the autumn of 1895, would indeed be very helpful – but it is unfortunately lost. Appearing in New York a few years ago was an early copy of a separate solo part, apparently from Dvořák’s immediate milieu, that surprises in some places with precisely counted “blank measures”. Continue reading

Posted in autograph, copy, Dvořák, Antonín, genesis, Monday Postings | Tagged | 1 Comment

Dvořák’s “Gran Partita”? On the presumed model of his Wind Serenade in d minor op. 44

In my last blog post I already reported on our recently published new edition of Antonín Dvořák’s Wind Serenade op. 44 (HN 1234), focussing primarily on interesting information about several scoring details provided by autograph sources and contemporary concert accounts. But why, in the first place, did Dvořák opt for such an unusual ensemble as 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons plus contrabassoon, 3(!) horns as well as cello and double bass?  For in 1878, the year of its composition, the heyday of large-scale wind music was long past, and even though Bohemia, in particular, had made countless contributions to this repertoire through such composers as Krommer, Mysliveček, Vanhal, Družecký, Neubauer, Fiala, Dušek, and many others, it is not likely that Dvořák was acquainted with these works or had ever heard them. Continue reading

Posted in Brahms, Johannes, Dvořák, Antonín, genesis, Monday Postings, Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, Wind Serenade op. 44 (Dvořák), winds | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Ignaz Pleyel – no newcomer to the Henle catalogue

It’s one of the curious twists and turns in music history that the composer Ignaz Pleyel, so extremely famous and popular at the turn of the 19th century, is no longer at home today on concert stages around the world – his music is practically not part of the repertoire anymore. Conversely, we do, though, occasionally hear it in the city centre performed by street musicians, for it seems particularly appealing, sometimes even sprightly, and thus fills the purse as it did back then. Reason enough to deal more intensively with Pleyel in our Urtext series “Easy Repertoire”. Continue reading

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G sharp or G? About a bass trill in Schubert’s A-flat-major Impromptu D 935, No. 2

Franz Schubert‘s piano music is almost an infinitely magical wonderland. As is well known, he can modulate amazingly to the most harmonically remote regions within a minimum amount of space – and back again. So also in the much-played Impromptu in A-flat major D 935, No. 2. Its middle section in D-flat major has always been one of my absolute favourite Schubert passages. A pleasurable shiver runs down my spine every time the gentle triplet section begins with its hidden melody: Continue reading

Posted in harmonics, piano solo, Schubert, Franz, variant reading | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Summer Break

Summer is vacation time and our blog is also taking a short break. Camping with our Henle bus at home in our own country is trendy this year. So, let’s get going! Our authors are already coming up with exciting new topics for future blogposts. Look forward now to the new blogposts starting on 13 September 2021!


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Bach-Busoni – a successful Henle series with sequels

Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924)

Another Bach-Busoni edition recently came on the music market as a Henle Urtext edition: The famous organ toccata in D minor, known to almost every child and congenially transcribed for piano by Busoni. Continue reading

Posted in arrangement, Bach, Johann Sebastian, Busoni, Ferruccio, Toccata D minor BWV 565 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How do fossils behave? On a passage in Saint-Saëns’ Carnaval des animaux

When a composer decides against publishing one of his works during his lifetime, there are usually good reasons: Either it is a youthful or study work that would be too insignificant for publication or it represents a style that has meantime been abandoned. Or it features an occasional work in the truest sense of that word, intended only for private performance. The latter applies also to Camille Saint-Saëns’ probably most popular composition, Le Carnaval des animaux (composed in 1886, posthumously published in 1922). Continue reading

Posted in Monday Postings, Saint-Saëns, Camille, Urtext | Tagged | 1 Comment

The agony of choice – lieder by Richard Strauss

Richard Strauss (1864–1949)

Incredible, but true: unannounced so far in this blog is the entrance last year in the Henle universe of one of the greatest of 20th-century composers – Richard Strauss! This is, of course, owing to a certain composer, “B”, whose 250th birthday we so extensively celebrated here that some things had to stand back. But now, finally, it’s high time to introduce Strauss to this forum. For this modern classic’s edition naturally presented the Henle editorial department with completely new challenges. Whilst my colleagues were dealing with instrumental music and, when editing duo sonatas and solo concertos, were settling questions of transmission and text in close collaboration with performing musicians, I, as lied editor, initially once had, totally banally, the agony of choice: where to start with the more than 200 lieder for voice and piano that Strauss bequeathed to us, each one more beautiful than the other? Continue reading

Posted in Monday Postings, piano + voice, Strauss, Richard | Tagged | Leave a comment

“…probably the best of Dvořák that I’m acquainted with.” What’s worth knowing about the Wind Serenade in d minor op. 44

Even though recently the focus of attention owing to their anniversaries has been on composers like Debussy, Beethoven or currently Saint-Saëns, Antonín Dvořák seems to me to be the secret luminary in the Henle programme. Since 2015, no fewer than eleven new Urtext editions of his works have been published by our publishing house, amongst them, many large and central works of his oeuvre such as the late String Quartets opp. 96, 105 und 106, the Piano Quintet op. 81, the Piano Trio op. 65 and the Humoresques for piano op. 101. Our new edition of the Wind Serenade in d minor op. 44 (HN 1234/HN 7234) will be appearing in the next few days, completing the dozen. And so, of course, it goes on: already in progress for this autumn are Dvořák’s “Slavonic” String Quartet in E-flat major op. 51 and – a special highlight – his legendary Cello Concerto. Continue reading

Posted in autograph, Dvořák, Antonín, first edition, Instrumentation, Monday Postings, Wind Serenade op. 44 (Dvořák) | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy and the challenges of an Urtext edition

In the already more than 70 years since the founding of our publishing house, we have time and again developed wonderful, friendly relationships with first-rate artists, often having a very fruitful effect on our editorial work. Today, I’d like to give a current example of this, which put us on the track of re-evaluating our edition of Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy. Continue reading

Posted in Claudius Tanski, Monday Postings, piano solo, Schubert, Franz, Wanderer Fantasy in C major op. 15 (Schubert) | 1 Comment