Vitali Chaconne

March 9, 2021, 7:41 PM · Has anyone a recommendation for an edition of the Vitali Chaconne? I've been listening to performances of it on YouTube and many of them are very different.

Replies (9)

March 9, 2021, 10:10 PM · Charlier for regular needs. There are several editors available with said edition. Ferdinand David has an easier version, but for the modern concert stage, the Charlier is "the one", unless it is a HIP performance.

Some players apply several cuts to the Charlier. Practice the whole thing, and play it with verve. It is not a baroque work, but more a romantic piece with "baroque sensibilities." It is a very beautiful and effective recital piece-enjoy!

March 10, 2021, 4:37 AM · IMSLP has the 18th-century manuscript, and some faithful transcriptions.
There a strange passage to sort out.
Charlier and David turned it into a romantico-baroque showpiece.
And why not, as long as the original is available..
March 10, 2021, 6:08 PM · Well I was drooling over Ray Chen's performance on YouTube, and very much enjoying the "romantico" aspects of it, so that's what I wanted.

Other editions that seem to be available are Auer, Francescatti, and Maxim Jacobs.

The SHAR website says that there has been speculation that the entire piece was actually written by Ferdinand David. Sort of like the famous "Grave" by Benda (a Yuri Bashmet staple) that was not actually written by Benda, apparently. Or Handel Sonatas that aren't Handel, Bach Minuets that aren't Bach ... etc.

Edited: March 11, 2021, 5:24 AM · I am not certain anymore, but David was researching old music to publish back then, and that was one of the works that was revived. His version must have his romantic touch, but is certainly much more "toned down" than Charlier's later "concert" rendition.

Grumiaux may have recorded David's version, or his own. But Heifetz and many others recorded/performed the Charlier, cuts or no cuts. Occasionally performed in recitals, and also still sporadically recorded.

I have Auer's edition of the Charlier, but no doubt the Francescatti version is good if it is based on the Charlier (I forgot, but I think it is.) I would suggest for you not to do any cuts, even if some soloists may do so for their recordings or performances.

(Perhaps stating the obvious, but the Charlier is Mr. Chen's recital version.)

March 11, 2021, 11:00 AM · I once met Joseph Fuchs, who was being completely impossible, as I gather was his norm. He let us youngsters know that he had performed (and recorded?) the original version. When I asked him where to find it, who had published it, etc., he just said "It's the original version."

He was feeling the need to be irreplaceable, I suppose.

Edited: March 12, 2021, 6:56 AM · The 1745 manuscript available on IMSLP is from the Dresden Museum.
It seems to be a rather imperfect copy of a lost original.
I have the quasi "urtext" edition from Hortus Musicus (No 100) with a detailed preface concerning the anomalies of the manuscript.
Concerning measures 150 to 157, where Db and Cb appear in the bass line, , and a D#minor key signature in the violin line, "it seems that the copyist notated (the violin part) a tone too low, and then attempted to fit it to the bass by using completely new accidentals, in the process of which several more errors crept in". The two "authentic" transcriptions in IMSLP both differ from the Hortus Musicus attempt...

So Ferdinand David's 1876 version is not a pastiche "à la Kreisler", but a splendid romantic elaboration of a corrupted original.

Edit. Other popular pieces of doubtful origin are Albinoni's Adagio, and Pachelbel's Canon

March 12, 2021, 8:39 AM · Al Binoni wrote that piece in 1954 while he was on the Cubs DL.
Edited: March 12, 2021, 8:08 PM · Quite a lot of early to mid 20th century light music is also of doubtful origin. This is because, I'm told, if you wanted to sell your composition, you sold it to an established light music composer, who would then publish it under his own name (One reason this might have been tolerated is that serious classical musicians around that time might have not been keen to be seen to be associated with light music; as well as the need to get hold of money quickly, and more of it). I have been told, for instance that "How much is that Doggy in the Window", "Sailing by", and the "Dam Busters March" are in reality all by the father of someone I know.
March 12, 2021, 8:09 PM · actually no,
You are confusing it with ‘how much is that muggy in the window’ which was written by my thankfully defunct cat
Cheers
Buri

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