Vivaldi Four Seasons - best edition?

February 26, 2020, 11:51 AM · I realized, for all the times I've played this piece in an orchestra, and for all the arrangements that I have tracked down for students -- I don't actually have any edition in my library of the original Le quattro stagioni violin concerti, the solo parts!

What is the edition people most often use? What is the best edition?

Replies (11)

February 26, 2020, 12:18 PM · I have a Barenreiter of this which I swear by
Edited: February 26, 2020, 12:53 PM · My favorite publication of Vivaldi's Four Seasons was by CARISCH S.n.A MILANO. It includes the solo violin, orchestra score, orchestra parts and an organ part. I bought this when I was to perform the winter Concerto over 40 years ago. I found it at a music store in Bethesda, MD while on a business trip to D.C.

Previously I had relied on the Eulenburg Educational Series Nr. 412 - 415, violin solo with piano accompaniment edition for playing those concertos.

The reason I favor the CARISCH edition is because it is an exact match to my favorite LP recording of the 4 Seasons (LONDON CS 6044, with Werner Krotzinger, Violin Solo, and Karl M√ľnchinger conducting the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra). It was one of the first LP recordings I ever bought - back in the mid-1950s (I think). It was also the first time I ever heard those concertos. The same (monophonic) recording was re-issued on a CD a few years ago. The bowings in the CARISCH edition appeared to be the same ones I heard on that recording and that I favored for my performance.

So far I have obtained virtually every recording of Vivialdi's 4 Seasons I have come across (CD or DVD - or download) but that first one is still my favorite.

February 26, 2020, 3:47 PM · Another vote for Barenreiter. Beyond the usual Barenreiter quality, one thing I liked about it is how it is divided. Each concerto is a separate folio, so if you are just performing one, you just have one small folio instead of an entire book of all of them. It's a little thing, but it was nice!
February 26, 2020, 5:11 PM · I agree with Susan. Barenreiter.
February 26, 2020, 9:38 PM · Barenreiter. One thing .. the little bits of text that are sprinkled throughout ("the complaint of the villager" and so on) ... this particular feature I cannot vouch for, as I have seen other translations elsewhere that are quite different. Also the Barenreiter piano reductions are reasonable.
February 26, 2020, 11:28 PM · Thank you, this is very helpful!
Edited: February 27, 2020, 4:24 AM · My guess would have been that Baerenreiter offered a good, albeit conservative, tidying up of whatever is in, or would have been available to, IMSLP. Would that have been the best guess?
February 27, 2020, 11:15 AM · Probably yes. But for a piece that I'm going to really study, I don't want to print out from IMSLP. I want to buy a bound edition. I'm just going to enjoy my practicing much more using that.
February 27, 2020, 11:32 AM · I agree with Paul
Edited: February 27, 2020, 12:01 PM · @Paul, I wasn't saying Baerenreiter would merely be a copy of IMSLP.
I was saying I was guessing that Baerenreiter would be the closest to any original MS of Vivaldi that we have. By "good...tidying up" I meant useful work had been done on the imperfections of the originals in IMSLP.
I too prefer to buy established editions (e.g. Schott's Sitt) rather than print them from IMSLP.
February 27, 2020, 3:26 PM · IMSLP is usually copies of ancient, late 19th or early 20th century editions.

Barenreiter or Henle will generally be a scholarly urtext. The part will be clean and free of editing markings (or there will be a separate, edited part). There will be commentary. Where they are conflicts, alternatives and sources will be noted.

So no, I don't think this is like a tidied-up version of IMSLP.

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