Edited: August 25, 2020, 10:01 AM ·
One area I’ve been interested in over the past couple of months is looking at early/original editions of some of the well-known violin Etudes (Fiorillo, Kreutzer, Rode etc). When I studied etudes as a teenager and young adult, I was very much taught using the famous editions of the famous teachers; most of my editions were edited by Galamian. Having the fingerings and the markings of teachers such as Galamian is incredibly valuable to the student violinist; in some respects we are having a ‘lesson’ from the masters of the 20th century. However if we play off these editions as if they are the authoritative way of playing these 18th century studies, are we perhaps losing touch with the composer’s original writing? We as violinists are used to using an Urtext edition of the Bach Sonatas and Partitas, yet will probably not think twice about using a heavily edited edition of Kreutzer, Rode etc.
Luckily many of these early editions are available on IMSLP. I was particularly amazed at Kreutzer 1 (I’ve linked the early edition below). Looking at an early edition compared to the Galamian, the player has much greater rhythmic flexibility in the scalic passages. The notation is completely different, and the end result in ‘performance’ would be very different.
I recorded Fiorillo Etude no.1 from probably the first published edition. There are no dots, accents, dynamics in the score – and I think the result was something completely different to that which I might have produced with one of the better known early 20th century editions. The value of editors’/teachers’ markings such as Galamian are of great important to the violinist. However if we want to produce our own musical interpretation of these miniatures are we better off looking at the older editions with greater attention?
Federigo Fiorillo Etude 1 James Woodrow - Violin Home recording 02/08/2020