Editions

January 26, 2019, 7:10 PM · Hello all.
I have what could be percieved to be as a stupid question. So. Does anyone know why publishers don't always publish composers works in the same edition? The example I can think of is Bruch no. 1. You can buy a Henle edition of it, but there are no Urtext editions of 2, 3 or the Scottish Fantasy. Does anyone know why?
Also, the fact that Baerenreiter haven't publisher an edition of the Beethoven violin sonatas, when they've done Janacek and Mendelssohn, when they're less known?

Apologies. I know there is a lot here. I just like to have the same editions for my composers(kinda OCD aha).

Thanks in advance!

Replies (7)

January 26, 2019, 7:14 PM · For the Beethoven sonatas, get the Henle edition.

I imagine that the urtext folks don't duplicate effort when they feel that there's no commercial reason to do so.

Edited: January 27, 2019, 8:20 AM · Good question. I agree with Lydia that the reasons are probably commercial. But, there could be some other reasons that I don't know. The bottom line is that Barenreiter, Henle, Wiener Urtext, and other publishers who put out urtexts are quite reputable. While you might prefer matching sets, the main thing with an urtext is to get an edition that shows you exactly what the composer wrote, to the extent that is possible (it isn't always, e.g., Bach's Cello Suites where there is no autograph and only a bunch of copies which do not agree on lots of things). I prefer Barenreiter for readability, but, if I need an urtext, I will go with whatever is available.
January 27, 2019, 1:56 PM · That makes sense I guess. Thanks
January 29, 2019, 5:28 AM · I mean no offense, but but all Urtext editions are a business, now more than ever. The sheet music market seems not to be in a good place. There are some that do publish an outlier here and there, and that's good, but for many works, there's only a Kalmus out there, which are themselves reprints of very old editions. Barring personal access to a manuscript's copy, sometimes the player must research thr composer's style and do his/her best with whatever is available. Which means it's often quite OK to not rely on Urtext editions, and not feel "guilty" about "the composer's intentions", as long as you are true to the given work's spirit and context.

Fortunately, even "non-urtext", modern (i.e. recent) editions tend to be urtext-like in spirit as well-despite them not being Barenreiter or Henle.

As far as printing itself, I love Barenreiter's presentation, though most of my urtext editions are Henle. Also, not a fan of older Henle editor work, which seem to me often too academic/theoretical (vs "performance-ready".)

For Scottish Fantasy and others, use the "best" editor you can. To their credit, Henle has been at least putting out some newer editions of more popular works that are somewhat neglected, so many Sarasate, Wieniawski, Vieuxtemps, et.al. have seen an urtext release as of late. Perhaps they will release an Scottish Fantasy one say, as it's not the rarest of works (the Bruch #2, though, may take forever to be released.)

January 29, 2019, 6:32 AM · Adalberto makes a good point. Sometimes you may not necessarily want an urtext. For example, the Brahms violin concerto was written with extensive input from the soloist, Joseph Joachim. I have a version of it edited by him because of the extent to which the concerto reflects his input, and would rather have that than an urtext. If I had had the money at the time, I would have bought the version of Beethoven's violin sonatas edited by Oistrakh because his interpretation is so persuasive to me. And, for the Bach S&Ps, I like having Szeryng's edition put out by Schott because it is not only an urtext, but gives you the benefit of the insight of one of the most important interpreters of those pieces. So, sometimes the urtext may not be what you want.
January 29, 2019, 6:38 AM · I have Szeryng's Bach and the Oistrakh Beethoven Sonatas (the latter on International). Beautiful editions!

Also love Oistrakh's Mozart 3 & 4-they may not be "true-urtext", but may as well be, and are very practical editions. The 3rd has his own cadenza along with Franco's, and the 4th has Ferdinand David's and Joachim's.

January 29, 2019, 8:13 AM · I love Oistrakh's Mozart recordings but was not aware he had edited ## 3 and 4. Interesting. I have #3 edited by my teacher, Rene Benedetti, which is very vocal and I keep it (after 50+ years) because of my fond memories of learning it from him the one year in which I had the good fortune to have him teach me (1965-66).

To add a bit to my previous post, it is worth recalling in this context that not all composers were great violinists, let alone violinists. So, with composers such as Brahms (not a violinist) and Beethoven (not a really good violinist), the fact that an edition faithfully reproduces what they wrote does not necessarily mean that the bowings, for example, reflect the advantage of all of the resources that a really good violinist brings to the piece.

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