Corelli Opus 5 Embellishments

Edited: April 24, 2019, 1:37 PM · I am looking for an edition of Corelli's Opus 5 that includes the embellishments (i.e. seconda volta) for the twelve sonata.

In for example an article here, Stanley Ritchie indicates he'd been using "the 1713 edition's embellishments, which may or may not have been Corelli's." Although I've stumbled across various publications in JSTOR detailing the pro et contra of various apparently well documented embellishments, nowhere am I finding them in a well organized way in order to play.

Has anyone got an edition they'd recommend? There are a few "+ embellishments" on IMSLP, but in many cases the embellishments are both indistinguishable from the urtext and of unknown origin.

Replies (8)

April 24, 2019, 8:05 PM · Have you checked out the Wiener Urtext edition or the Barenreiter edition? Seems like some of what you're looking for is only otherwise available in articles, dissertations, or facsimiles, which in the case of unpublished ones probably circulate among academics and might be fairly easy to get hold of if you reach out to an interested university professor.
April 25, 2019, 12:54 PM · I have Schott. It has those maybe-by-Corelli embellishments in small print above the "naked" music (i.e. in the first 6 sonatas). I have to admit that I don't like the embellishments at all because too often they seem to go opposite to the phrasing Corelli's original line seems to suggest. Which to me suggests: probably not by Corelli.
April 25, 2019, 5:29 PM · I'm probably not understanding correctly...if you're not satisfied with the Amsterdam edition with "Corelli's ornaments" free on IMLSP, probably the place to spend your money would be the Barenreiter edition, which I would assume if you have gotten to already if you went through the trouble of looking up stuff on JSTOR?

At any rate your end goal might be to try your hand at making your own embellishments? It was what they did and also might be easier in a way than trying to squeeze into someone else's shoes.

April 27, 2019, 5:31 PM · These ornaments are on imslp. The Amsterdam Edition by Estienne Roger (ca.1723) contains them.
The description says: Supposedly as Corelli himself ornamented it on a concert and approved by Corelli before publishing. Scan of a copy of the music made to fit 2 pages on one A4 page. Printing it at 200% to "landscape"-oriented A3 will make the music more readable.

Here is the link:
(it is only for the first six sonatas. And the ornaments are not only in repeats - there are hardly repeats in the first 6 - but generally in the slow movements. If you look at the new Barenreiter edition you'd find more ornamented versions, also sometimes of faster movements with repeats). Have fun!

Edited: April 29, 2019, 9:01 AM · Just to react, Dorian: I bought the Schott edition (where I grew up it was the one generally available in the music stores--that was long before the internet was a thing). It is a good edition, Urtext quality*. That I don't like the embellishments does not mean I don't find them interesting. I just see them so often going against the natural phrasing which makes me think the composer himself could not have done that.

I have to admit that I find the sonatas difficult, not technically primarily (they would count as "easy" on this forum) but musically. I admire them but do not seem to be able to find a way to make them interesting to an audience with the exception of maybe 1, 7 and 12. Listening to recordings makes me think I am not the only one with this problem.

* BTW: The editor of the Schott edition of the Handel sonatas is Erich Doflein and he has his own, convincing suggestions for embellishments.

April 29, 2019, 7:06 PM · Hi Albrecht,

I love Corelli's Apollonian logic, and I think all of this op. 5 sonatas are pretty accessible, but we're just wading the realm of personal taste. As I mentioned before, ultimately this kind of music was designed to let the performer (us) to flesh out the skeleton with our own embellishments...I think we have to keep reminding ourselves The Notation is Not the Music. Even if those ornaments were as Corelli played, it is only one possibility out of an infinite among of choices...whether or not it's by Corelli doesn't change the expectation that we should come up with own.

May 2, 2019, 2:21 PM · "Apollonian logic" is very well put. But how do you play it so that that logic comes across?
May 2, 2019, 4:02 PM · Um, maybe I take Corelli's super clear-cut tonality for granted.

You can look at Stradella, the generation before Corelli (his teacher), and you see tonal passages that we all understand, and then weird stuff where he still has one foot in modal landscape of the earlier 17th century. Around the same time you still have people like Biber writing in the stylus fantasticus. And then you hear Corelli, and his music is so organized. It must had been ground breaking to listen to Corelli then, no wonder his Op. 5 was like the most pirated music of the 18th century.

How do you make the logic of any piece of Baroque music come across? By asking yourself where are the points of repose, arrivals, and what are the rhetorical figures you see. All that will help you find convey the affekt you want (and what key center you're in gives you good clue...)

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