On the first version of Verdi’s string quartet – interview with Anselm Gerhard

Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901), photograph by Ferdinand Mulnier, ca. 1875

Our recently published new edition of Giuseppe Verdi’s String Quartet in E minor (study edition HN 7588 as well as Urtext parts edition HN 1588) offers a bit of a sensation. The editor, Verdi scholar Anselm Gerhard, Bern emeritus professor of musicology, discovered not long ago in the composer’s estate a previously unknown first version (included as an appendix in HN 7588 and available as a parts edition in the Henle Library App). We’ve asked Professor Gerhard for an interview about the story of that discovery and its consequences in assessing this quartet, Verdi’s sole major chamber-music work. Continue reading

Posted in autograph, first edition, Monday Postings, string quartet, Verdi, Giuseppe, versions | Tagged | Leave a comment

More platforms, exciting features – news about the Henle Library app!

Almost a year has passed since I last updated you on the Henle Library app. So, it’s now high time to bring you and our over 63,000 other active users up to date. A lot has happened, but I’ll start at the beginning:

Continue reading

Posted in Android, App, Cloud, Digital, Henle Library, iOS, Monday Postings, Tablet | 2 Comments

Happy birthday, Sergei! A fresh look at Rachmaninoff’s Préludes for his 150th birthday

In the Henle blog we have already published several posts on the Sergei Rachmaninoff topic (see here), but posting on him should certainly not be lacking this year. The composer is, after all, celebrating his 150th birthday in 2023, which calls for our special attention. For the anniversary year we shall publish not only several brand-new Rachmaninoff Urtext editions (for example, you can look forward to his Paganini Rhapsody and Third Piano Concerto), but we have also planned an extra surprise…
Continue reading

Posted in Monday Postings, piano solo, Rachmaninoff, Sergei, variant reading | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Gaps in the notation: Liszt’s “Mazeppa” Etude

Our attention was recently drawn to a passage in our edition of Franz Liszt’s Études d’exécution transcendante (HN 717), which has not yet been annotated in any known critical edition. Ben Yin, a piano student of Prof. Claudius Tanski’s at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, noticed while studying the notorious “Mazeppa” Etude (No. 4 of the Études d’exécution transcendante), that the outer voices at the first appearance of the theme (mm. 7 ff.) – unlike the middle voice played alternately by both hands – only incompletely fill in the 4/4-time measures: Continue reading

Posted in Monday Postings | 4 Comments

Labyrinthine paths: in search of Janáček’s Urtext

No, the title is not a typo. The recently published Janáček edition is, of course, called On an Overgrown Path (HN 1505).  But an editor setting out in search of this work’s valid Urtext must truly go down labyrinthine paths. But let’s start at the beginning. Continue reading

Posted in autograph, Janácek, Leos, Monday Postings, piano solo, proof copy, revision | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Christmas blog

War, energy shortages, inflation – alas, no end to the bad news as the year is drawing to a close. At least, though, the Covid pandemic has subsided in large parts of the world, allowing normal musical life with concerts and stage-work performances to resume. Let’s hope that the last restrictions will be lifted next year, downgrading the pandemic everywhere to an endemic that, willy-nilly, we shall have to live with. Continue reading

Posted in Bach, Johann Sebastian, Gounod, Charles, Monday Postings, piano + voice, versions | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“charming and kind”: George Gershwin’s Lullaby

George Gershwin was tragically snatched from life in 1937, far too early at age 38, leaving us merely to guess what masterpieces for the classical music world, not to mention his many musicals, he would have left behind had he lived on into old age. On Broadway he had already achieved everything to be wished for. But with Rhapsody in Blue in 1924 the 26-year-old had only begun his journey into the spheres of Carnegie Hall. He had just 12 years left to write some of the most important orchestral and operatic works in American music history. A few piano works were still to be written and a single chamber work, the string quartet movement Lullaby (HN 1224). Continue reading

Posted in Monday Postings | 3 Comments

Bartók’s String Quartets: from the score to the individual parts

A quintessential feature of the Henle Urtext editions is the parts material optimally arranged for performance. This is particularly important with string quartets, since in concert they are usually played from the music (unlike the situation in solo or duo recitals, where performers often play from memory). For this reason, even in the age of digital music notation, our individual parts are by no means created “by pushing a button”, but quite the opposite: After the original editorial work has been completed and the full score has been typeset, this is where the work really begins in the interaction between music typesetter, editor and musicians Continue reading

Posted in Bartók, Béla, first edition, Monday Postings, string quartet | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

“An expression of his deeply shaken soul” – Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s String Quartet in F minor on the 175th anniversary of his death

Mendelssohn on his deathbed, drawing by Wilhelm Hensel
Bodleian Library MS. M. Deneke Mendelssohn b. 1 (CC-BY-NC 4.0)

Our Henle blog this year has largely dealt with two themes: we’ve focused, first of all, on the string-quartet genre under the motto “Henle4Strings”; then alongside this, we’ve commemorated several anniversaries of great composers or of great works (composers such as Scriabin, Brahms, Franck, Kuhnau, and Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier). As the end of the year approaches, these two strands come together in the best contrapuntal manner: today’s blog post is dedicated to the 175th anniversary of the death of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, who died on 4 November 1847 but was able shortly beforehand to finalise his last significant work – the F-minor string quartet op. post. 80. Continue reading

Posted in autograph, first edition, Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Felix, Monday Postings, proof copy, revision, string quartet, variant reading | Tagged , | Leave a comment

If that’s not reason enough to celebrate: 300 years of WTC I!

Title page of the WTC I autograph (D-B Mus.ms. Bach P 415)

2022 seems to be particularly rich in musical anniversaries: Even if for obvious reasons we let the notable birthdays of a John Williams or Elton John pass uncelebrated in this forum, the palette of our tributes this year already ranges from Kuhnau through Brahms and Franck to Alexander Scriabin. No doubt about it, all these composers have left a legacy of weighty works and occupy central positions in the Henle catalogue. But the jubilarian of today’s blog post puts them all in the shade: Johann Sebastian Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Part I! This collection of 24 preludes and fugues, recorded by Bach in 1722 in an accurate fair copy with an elaborate title page, stating “…for the use and benefit of inquisitive young musicians…and of those already well-versed in this study…”, accompanies practically everyone who has ever approached the piano for 300 years now. And, its history is just as eventful – also in the Henle publishing house, where it has now engaged us for over 70 years. Continue reading

Posted in András Schiff, autograph, Bach, Johann Sebastian, Monday Postings, piano solo, Well-Tempered Clavier (J.S. Bach) | Tagged , , | Leave a comment