Version of Paganini

July 14, 2020, 7:22 AM · Daughter has been assigned her first Caprice. Recommendations on versions?

Replies (6)

July 14, 2020, 9:21 AM · I like the Henle, which has the usual dual booklet -- one urtext and one edited, plus good commentary about what's in the manuscript, what might be an error, etc. This is what I use now.

International has two different editing versions. One is by Flesch, and the other by Galamian. Both having different philosophies of fingering, and both are interesting. My childhood teacher favored the Flesch (but I own both).

And my teacher, if I recall correctly, prefers the Ricordi urtext.

July 14, 2020, 9:47 AM · Obligatory response: the one your teacher prefers. Any teacher teaching caprices is likely to have a (strong) opinion on the matter.

That said, imslp.org has early editions if you want to get started somewhere before you find out what your teacher prefers. If I were in your shoes, I would start with one of the 19th-century editions from that, and then ask which edition (probably, which modern urtext) your teacher prefers.

There are quite large differences in some parts between editions. Different things are hard for different people, and many editions have altered extremely difficult bits (e.g. the bowings in Caprice 5) in various ways, to make them "playable". There is even an argument that Paganini's original manuscript wasn't error-free - a contemporary claimed that he had dashed it out quickly for a publisher and then not corrected the proofs, resulting in many obvious errors that were actually (the claim is) present in the manuscript itself - negating most of the normal way of handling urtexts. I wonder if the Cap 5 bowing is one of these- the second edition does four notes to a bow, but the manuscript relatively clearly shows three slur and one separate, as does the first edition. THe second edition was also printed during Paganini's lifetime (barely) but I have no idea if he was involved in it (piracy was common). And there's a question as to whether the first version was written with a different kind of _bow_ (Cramer or swan-head) than the later (~modern Tourte style), so it could be that both versions are correct! Of course, many people now do manage to play the original bowing on modern bows.

July 14, 2020, 10:13 AM · Teacher mentioned Flesch, but did not specify.
July 14, 2020, 11:14 AM · We have two but almost exclusively use the Henle Urtext. This, in my opinion, is a must-have because all of the edited versions have numerous mistakes and have been re-bowed in many cases. We also use one of the International ones occasionally as reference for fingerings.
July 14, 2020, 11:55 AM · The Flesch edition is is available (in public domain in the US at least) in imslp at
https://imslp.org/wiki/Special:ImagefromIndex/382305/hfcn
though it is probably also available in published form (possibly the same edition).
July 14, 2020, 8:00 PM · This may be worth reading:

https://www.violinist.com/blog/laurie/201710/22487/


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