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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A difficult case: Chopin’s b-minor sonata op. 58 in Urtext

Frédéric Chopin (1810–1849)

Frédéric Chopin’s final piano sonata op. 58 is full of delightful musical moments. Strict music analysts sometimes find fault with its somewhat sprawling form, but for me personally, the b-minor sonata is truly great piano music. Very difficult piano music, too, unfortunately: the technical demands are immense, and hobby pianists quickly reach their limits (so, here is a recording by Dinu Lipatti). The sonata is, though, also not easy from the editorial perspective, an insight that rather unexpectedly hit me as editor of the new Urtext edition (HN 871). Continue reading

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“Gabriellas sång” by Brahms?

For Stefan Nilsson (died 25 May 2023)

Whilst preparing for a lecture on the Johannes Brahms piano trios, given on 28 January 2023 in Schloss Elmau (here is the complete recording), I also dealt for the first time more intensively with the A-major piano trio sometimes attributed to Johannes Brahms. As the trio is unquestionably a musically impressive piece of music, it is astonishing that its gifted composer has remained unknown to this day. The Trio E.T.A., having kindly played several live music examples during my lecture in Elmau, is firmly convinced that for stylistic reasons this four-movement piano trio can only be a work by the young Brahms. Therefore, towards the end of my lecture, we improvised a friendly debate about this “work without author”, from which the Trio E.T.A. also played some of its excerpts (see video from: 1:03:35 ff.). Continue reading

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Rachmaninoff’s Paganini Rhapsody and the treasures in the Library of Congress

Source folders in the publisher’s archive

Since one of my great privileges as Urtext publisher and editor is that I occasionally get to travel to the sources, my visits to the Library of Congress’s Performing Arts Reading Room have always been highlights of my working life. Amongst the elusive treasures in Washington, D.C., is the autograph of Rachmaninoff’s Paganini Rhapsody.
Continue reading

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No end to Rachmaninoff in sight: several annotations to opp. 3 and 16

Perhaps – despite the anniversary year – I’m rather overdoing it with my blog posts on the Rachmaninoff topic😊 However, the sales figures and almost daily email requests for further editions show us how enormously great the interest in Rachmaninoff’s music is, worldwide. Our catalogue is at least well stocked: published recently were the two piano cycles Morceaux de fantaisie op. 3 (HN 1491) and Six Moments musicaux op. 16 (HN 1492). And although Rachmaninoff very thoroughly proofread his first editions, to be found again whilst preparing these editions were some interesting details and errors still remaining to date in reprints. Continue reading

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Something new from the low register: At long last, Koussevitzky’s Double Bass Concerto op. 3 in Urtext

Serge Koussevitzky (1874-1951)

Henle catalogue readers in the know are already aware that Dresden double bassist Tobias Glöckler regularly comes out with excellent new editions for his instrument. After classical solo concertos (Dittersdorf, Vanhal, Hoffmeister) and solo pieces from the 19th century (Dragonetti, Rossini, Saint-Saëns), he has now tackled one of the great Romantic concertos: Serge Koussevitzky’s Double Bass Concerto in F-sharp minor, premièred in Moscow in 1905 – one of the most important of all works in the bassist’s repertoire. The piano reduction and study edition of the full score were published a few weeks ago; the conductor’s score and orchestral material will soon be available from the Leipzig Hofmeister publishing house. With these editions, double bassists worldwide will now have a reliable basis for dealing with this central work. Editor Tobias Glöckler describes in an interview how much this has so far been missed. Continue reading

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