The Henle Library app – our next big milestone

Our app is six years old, and we can finally announce that all the works in our Urtext catalogue are now available in the Henle Library app! Continue reading

Posted in Android, App, Monday Postings | 2 Comments

Alexander Scriabin (1872–1915) on his 150th birthday, part I

Alexander Scriabin (1872–1915)

I admit that while typing the heading of this blog post, I had to take a quick look to make sure: Scriabin is just 150 years old? But it’s true. Hence, the Russian pianist and composer is only 2 years older than, for example, Arnold Schoenberg. Although I’m fully aware that Scriabin’s later compositions went beyond the boundaries of tonality, I would instinctively have placed him much further back in the 19th century than the founder of the 12-tone method.  But here this post is not supposed to be about a comparison. My astonishment at his late date of birth serves as a good starting point for briefly reviewing the Scriabin editions previously published by G. Henle publishers and the change in style in the Russian composer’s music. Scriabin – a romantic or a “modern”? Continue reading

Posted in Monday Postings, Scriabin, Alexander | 3 Comments

“Latest news about Mozart’s piano sonata in A major, K. 331”

W. A. Mozart (1756–1791)

“All good things come in threes” – this phrase came to mind as I sat down to address the following text, having already posted twice on the Henle blog about Mozart’s famous “Alla Turca” piano sonata in A major: Post number 1 dealt with the sensational Budapest discovery of the Mozart sonata’s part-autograph and its editorial consequences ultimately leading to our new, revised edition. Post number 2 unravelled for the first time the previously misinterpreted “repeat” instructions on Mozart’s last autograph page of the “Rondo Alla Turca”. And now number 3: Turning up in the meantime has been a copyist’s copy from Mozart’s time (!), so far completely unknown.

Continue reading

Posted in copy, Monday Postings, Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, new source, piano solo, Piano Sonata K. 331 (W.A. Mozart), Urtext | Tagged | 1 Comment

A concerto for a “trombone god” – finally, Ferdinand David’s Concertino op. 4 in Henle Urtext

Ferdinand David (1810–1873). Lithograph by J. G. Weinhold, Leipzig, 1846

The trombone is an instrument with a venerable though also chequered history. After its first great heyday in the Renaissance and early Baroque, it long led a niche existence in the late 17th and 18th centuries. We owe to Beethoven its “reintegration” into the symphony orchestra, where it has since become indispensable (see our relevant blog post for the 2020 Beethoven year). As a veritable solo instrument, the trombone really came into its own only in the 20th century – its diverse timbres and playing techniques were prized above all in jazz (here is a small sample of the legendary J. J. Johnson). Continue reading

Posted in David, Ferdinand, Monday Postings, trombone + orchestra | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Christmas Blog Post

The Covid pandemic is, alas, still controlling large portions of the world, which means that the Advent and Christmas season is once again being marred by the many cancelled concerts. We keep our fingers crossed that by spring 2022 we shall be seeing a recovery, especially for those working in the arts and culture. Continue reading

Posted in Monday Postings | Tagged | Leave a comment

Schumann’s metronome markings in his “Kinderszenen”. Opportunity, not nuisance.

“You cannot define tempo. Tempo has no existence of its own, so it can be neither wrong nor right. What the world has not yet understood: tempo has nothing to do with speed […]. There is no singular tempo that you can take from Berlin to London […]. Metronome marking ‘92’. What is 92? […] It is idiocy! Every concert hall, every piece, every movement has its own absolute tempo, defining exactly this situation – and no other.” 

(From Stenographische Umarmung. Sergiu Celibidache beim Wort genommen, Con Brio Verlag 2002). Continue reading

Posted in Monday Postings, piano solo, Schumann, Robert, tempo | Tagged | 3 Comments

An Urtext edition of Elgar’s Violin Chansons: What does an editor do when there is nothing to edit?

The question posed in the title of my blog post today is deliberately paradoxical and provocative. Something must indeed have been edited, for otherwise this wonderful new Urtext edition wouldn’t be in the G. Henle Verlag’s catalogue. But here we are actually dealing with a special philological case that is at first glance unproblematic, yes, I might almost even say: seemingly relieving – but on closer inspection turning out to be rather discomfiting. Continue reading

Posted in dynamics, Elgar, Edward, first edition, Monday Postings, piano + violin | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Refinement or oversight? On two passages in Fauré’s 1st Piano Quartet op. 15

Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924)

Fauré is known for his refined tonal language, with the crucial parameters of melody, rhythm and harmony appearing extremely nuanced in his compositions. Avoided, conversely, are garish effects, and contrasts are variously shaded. This often leads to subtle defamiliarization even culminating in ambivalence, especially in the case of harmony, alternating amongst diatonicism, chromaticism and modal reminiscences. Continue reading

Posted in Fauré, Gabriel, Monday Postings, piano quartet, Urtext | Tagged | 1 Comment

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