Vivaldi a minor and what is the point in the different editions?
My girl is playing a different edition of the a minor than the one in the Suzuki book. I forgot to ask the name of the edition she is playing from the teacher, so did some googling. And now, well, what is the point of having different editions? How can one even have different editions, didnt Vivaldi composed it fully? Seems odd to change notes from the composers, is this common practise in violin playing?
So, could someone explain this oddity to me, what is the history of the editions and how do I know what the edition is that my girl plays? It the one Perlman plays on youtube.
Many composers were too buys to put in fingerings and bowings. There is a general feeling also that these are features of a piece that can be individualized without disrupting the composer's musical intent.
Thanks Paul, I get the fingerings and bowings changes, but there are some notes that are different too. The suzuki editon of the first part has some terrible fingerings and bowings thats for sure, the edition my daughter played is much easier. But the different notes? And which is more like Vivaldi wrote it, the Suzuki edition or the other one?
Differences are usually in the articulation, dynamics, ornamentation and other details (including tempo, whether specified or not). Note (pitch) differences should be rare and imply that the editor interpreted it as a mistake in the original (or whatever copies survived and were used in place of the original). Of course that interpretation is in some cases wrong, so another downstream edition might make a different choice, or do so because it's based on a different upstream edition.
For most Violin solos, you can find something close to an unedited, "Urtext" version by looking at the fine print in the Piano part, or, on-line at the Petruci library. I am glad that my first teacher, at the young beginning to intermediate levels, asked me to work out my own bowings and fingerings. It's like working on puzzles. I think that is part of the reason that, as a concertmaster, I have been told that I do a good job at setting orchestra bowings. Most of the published editions are edited by a prominent soloist or teacher. They can have out-of-fashion 19th century technique, or the idiosynchratic opinions of players with exceptional technique, very long fingers and flexible hands.
The Suzuki version of the Vivaldi A minor is by Nachez (early 20th century), and was clearly influenced by 19th century romanticism. Don't forget that in Nachez's time Baroque music was just starting to emerge from obscurity (Vivaldi is an example), and there must have been a lot of confusion about how to play it. Thankfully, this has more or less settled down.
The early edition of the Suzuki Book 4 that I had to teach from had completely ridiculous bowings. The only point I could see in them was to teach the students to be able to do that. That was why I provided them with an alternate edition.
Joel - I too prefer urtext editions because I also like the puzzle-piecing aspect of learning the music. I often find myself making some fingerings needlessly complicated - but they have reduced in number recently.
If you possibly can its often very instructive to get the 'autograph' - that is the version as penned by the composer. Often so much is lost just by transferring it to printed paper. If you look at the Galamian edition of the Bach Sonatas and Partitas there is the conventional sheet music at the front but the Bach autograph is also appended at the back. I hope I am correct in assuming that this really is in his own hand and not a copy at the time, but if so, there is a real dynamism to the way he writes the notes, not just to their values. Its hard to not be influenced by the spirit of the writing.
Remember that a Baroque Urtext is hundreds of years out of copyright (if there was indeed any), and is therefore free. A modern edition may be a revision with a selection from bowings, fingerings, phrasing, dynamics, tempi and layout (but I draw the line at tampering with the music itself, as Nachez seems to have done, perhaps with pedagogical intentions). The point is that a modern revised edition of a Baroque piece means that someone has put in some creative thinking, which automatically generates a period of copyright where there was none.
Elise, Bach really was a great master and an outstanding example of creativity, not only in his compositions themselves, but also by "drawing" dynamics and phrasings in his autographs. When I was working on his Goldberg variations on piano way back time, reading his autographs was some sort of eye-opener, reading them almost felt like watching pantomime... (And they weren't accessible as easily back then, there wasn't any internet, and I was very lucky to have a teacher who was a Bach nerd and had a collection of autographs on microfilm copy, God will know the source...) I'm not sure if other composers had these skills developed to a similar extent, but I'm not an expert on baroque autographs. What I've seen yet looked rather honest and well-behaved in comparison to bach, but probably often we cannot know if it's an original autograph or a mediocre copy.
In 1973 Paganiniana issued an enlarged (~12"x16") publication of the Eduard Herrmann edited Schirmer edition. A facilile of the entire manuscript is included at the back of the book.
"Fast forward - anybody out there who might enjoy reading Beethoven?"
Oh ... the notes. Yes. Very often we do not have what the composer originally wrote. We often have a copy, which might have been made by someone else, or it might have been made by the composer in some state of inebriation. As such there are mistakes. In all such cases -- including the original in the composer's own hand -- there is the possibility of mistakes. A forgotten accidental that was in the composer's ear that didn't make it onto the page. Or there might be smudges or other imperfections in the surviving document. Scholarly editions are supposed to help us with these issues.
Thanks all :)
So maybe its really a question of playing the piece or playing the etude … Etudes are sometimes fingered and bowed in constrained ways and you advance by conquering those restrictions. Perhaps you should do both...
I believe the Suzuki changes to the Nachez are deliberately pedagogical. If a kid is going to learn the work for its pedagogical content, the Suzuki edition is likely to be explicitly desirable if it's being taught by a Suzuki teacher. If a performer is going to learn it for general performance, starting from the urtext would be better.
Nobody has yet pointed out another difference between editions: The technical and graphic quality of the edition: How many errors are in it? Are there measure numbers or at least rehearsal marks? Is the print readable and sight-readable?* Are the page turns manageable or not?**
"* If the notes and/or lines are too crunched together readability suffers and sight readability suffers even more. Plus there are more subtle factors, e.g. the care taken with the spacing of notes of different values (correct spacing makes reading rhythms easier).
Oh yes, I will buy the Barenreiter (first choice), Henle (second choice) over other editions whenever possible - I don't care about the price. For me, it's not just accuracy with regards to the composer's original manuscript (and interpretive freedom re: fingerings/bowings) but the paper quality too. Barenreiter's paper is fantastic - it's not only easy on the eyes but it is also easier for marking and erasing.
I think personal choice of sheet music editions depends on your music history, your current eyesight, and how you use the music.
I agree with Pamela that Barenreiter is the first choice when possible. However, sometimes, I want another edition because I like the interpretations of a particular artist, e.g., Oistrakh's edition of the Beethoven violin sonatas, or for historical reasons, e.g., Joachim's edition of the Brahms violin concerto because Joachim had substantial input into the writing of the piece and has special insight. One thing to remember about Beethoven is that he was not a terrific violinist, and the urtext of his violin pieces tend to have few bowing or ones that do not make a whole lot of sense, IMHO.
"One thing to remember about Beethoven is that he was not a terrific violinist, and the urtext of his violin pieces tend to have few bowing or ones that do not make a whole lot of sense, IMHO."
Thanks for the clarification, Scott. Yes, I meant slurs, and I have never found his slurs all that insightful or helpful.
Tom - I think his slurs are phrasings, as expected for a pianist for whom slurs are a very different beast. I think it helps to look at the music as transposed to violin, rather than written for it..
Vivaldi's Violin concerto in Gminor (a rare key for him) is in Suzuki Book 5. Does anyone know if that Suzuki version has been "edited" by Nachez or another? My recollection is that I was not aware of anything significantly out of the ordinary compared with the Aminor when I worked on the Gminor a few months later, but I may be wrong.
There is a Nachez edition of the G minor. I don't know if that's the version Suzuki uses.
Elise - I think you probably have a valid point. Thanks.
Yes, the Book 5 G minor is Nachez. The orchestral accompaniment is dreadful, although some of Nachez's "improvements" to the harmony can sound more convincing to a classic-trained ear.
Adrian, thank you for that information. It confirms my lingering suspicion that if Suzuki used Nachez for the Aminor then Nachez for the G minor would be a real possibility.
I am a bit surprised by the general agreement that Beethoven was not familiar with the violin. I challenge anyone to go over the op. 18 quartets (or the violin sonatas) and point out genuinely unviolinistic passages. I don't recall any in there and I have Urtext editions (i.e. the slurs as in the originals) of both the quartets and the sonatas.
Slurs are not meant to be helpful. They are groupings with musical meaning. Different slur patterns emphasize different notes due to the bow. It's not quite the same as slurs for a piano or other instrument.
"I am a bit surprised by the general agreement that Beethoven was not familiar with the violin."
Even if he was a terrific violinist (and you are right: one could not write the quartets without quite an impressive understanding), it remains likely that he did not 'think in violinese' (;) ); he was surely primarily a pianist/composer and would, I believe, have written his music as how to be heard and not with regards to the technical demands or even musical ones specific to any instrument. That surely, is what makes his music so interesting to play, you have to discover the musical message.
Late in life, Beethoven referred to even keyboard instruments as being "inadequate" to the requirements of his music.
"it remains likely that he did not 'think in violinese' (;) ); he was surely primarily a pianist/composer..."
I agree but have to add (or rather repeat) that there are two types of slurs: Those that you describe which essentially tell you when to turn your bow. And those larger ones that mean to indicate phrasing and musical context. Those second ones are more common in piano music. But they are by no means absent in many violin parts.
No, you're not getting it.
Scott Cole - I agree that Beethoven did not slur the notes in some random way, and you are perhaps correct that slurs are not meant to be helpful. But, I think a skillful violinist/composer would have a good idea of how the slurs might work against or at cross-purposes with the intent of the composition and the slur itself because of the effect on bowing. I have never found this to be a problem with Mozart, who was an excellent violinist. Beethoven, on the other hand, ....
I don't see the issue with Beethoven. Sometimes you have to split up a slur to make a bowing work out comfortably, but this can easily be done without changing the musical meaning.
What Scott said...!
Scott, I agree with you that a slur has musical meaning, often rhythmic. But nonetheless on the first level of understanding it is about bowing.
Ok, I see. The Bach example is not a slur that leads up to one but a rather startling arrangement where the tw 4-note slurs are heard (almost) as 2 3/8 measures that start on the off beat and a "2.5/8 measure" that makes things "right" again (if one hears it that way depends of course on the player but I agree with you that this is how they should be played.).
I don't see how my last statement is a chicken and egg thing. Bows, by their nature (and especially baroque bows), produce one result up-bow and another down-bow. You don't bow something to just bow it.
The "first level of understanding [slurs] is about bowing." That's just not correct...I think we've found the root our misunderstanding.
Which...hopefully answers Maria's original question about why we have performing editions. Often times the manuscript is unclear, or there are major differences in the score and part, or there are multiple versions floating around, or in the Vivaldi A minor's case, has been transformed into a pedagogical piece by Nanchez/Suzuki.
Scott's C. comments on Bach bowings are, as usual, wise and informed.
Having cut my teeth on the Suzuki version of the a minor, is there a version on IMSLP that you all would recommend over others? Here's the page: https://imslp.org/wiki/Violin_Concerto_in_A_minor%2C_RV_356_(Vivaldi%2C_Antonio)
For example when Schradieck No. 1 is slurred across the entire page, that's just a "musical grouping". You're not supposed to play all those damned notes in one bow ... are you? :)
K T i think there is something missing from the end of the link as it doesnt work?