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#1961948 - 09/21/12 04:50 AM Question about Editions, and a side note
Franz Beebert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/11
Posts: 357
Hi everyone.

I am going to buy a new edition for the Beethoven Sonatas, since my edition(Dover) is unreliable and is slowly starting to fall apart.. My question is basically, what edition do you consider the best when it comes to the Beethoven Sonatas? Which one do you use, and which one do you recommend me to buy?

A side note: This has not much to do with the first question. I read an interview with Andras Schiff, where he says that he considers Beethoven's Op 90 among the "last SIX sonatas". In other words, instead of considering it being Beethoven's last middle period sonata, he means that Op 90 belongs to the late sonatas. I have always had a hard time placing it.. Where would you place it?

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#1961976 - 09/21/12 08:10 AM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19776
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Franz Beebert
....In other words, instead of considering it being Beethoven's last middle period sonata, he means that Op 90 belongs to the late sonatas. I have always had a hard time placing it.. Where would you place it?

On the border. smile

And I would almost place Op. 78 on the border too. But 90 is 'further toward.'

Some questions just don't have clear answers, including even, "Is Beethoven Classical or Romantic?" Most people would say Classical, but a lot wouldn't, including those who would give the same answer I gave for what you asked about Op. 90: "On the border." IMO he's 'clearly' Classical, but when there's substantial opinion on the other side....it's not as clear as one thinks.


In the first volume of Rubinstein's autobiog he talks about a piano competition where a late Beethoven sonata was required, and he played Op. 90 because he didn't have one of the later ones in his repertoire. He indicated this was probably a disadvantage for him, presumably not just because it's simpler than the later sonatas but also because it's not clearly in that group.


About the 1st question: Anything that says Urtext. smile
(Maybe some people will talk about how some urtexts are more urtext than others, and maybe they're right.)

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#1962115 - 09/21/12 02:35 PM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
slava_richter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/12
Posts: 160
Loc: Providence, RI
I have Henle and can't imagine that there is anything available with better binding or higher quality. For about $110 you can get both volumes and have all 32. I actually think that's a bargain.

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#1962116 - 09/21/12 02:37 PM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: slava_richter]
Auntie Lynn Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 1105
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Second the motion on the Henle (ahem, from time to time, they do go on sale...). Beware of Barenreiter, can be full of errata...

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#1962141 - 09/21/12 03:11 PM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
Jame334 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/11
Posts: 142
I also support the Henle books, they are reliable and have the best bindings. I'd say the perfect bindings for music scores.
I also have a single Peters score, Chopin's Fantasie-Impromptu. The way it is laid out is genius, you only have to turn the page once as it folds to show more of the score. It also comes with a nice preface. Though the Peters collections don't look as good binding wise as the Henle ones do and binding for me is very important, especially in music scores.

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#1962145 - 09/21/12 03:17 PM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: slava_richter]
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18018
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: slava_richter
I have Henle and can't imagine that there is anything available with better binding or higher quality. For about $110 you can get both volumes and have all 32. I actually think that's a bargain.


I presume "all 32" is referring to the Beethoven Sonatas?

I am a great fan of Henle editions. Some claim that their scholarship is not the latest and that they don't always cite every possible source for variants. I, however, am not so much of a scholar that the odd unexplained or undocumented erratum makes much difference.

In the final analysis, it's the "user-friendliness" of the score : binding - in respect both to its longevity and its ability to lie flat on the music desk - paper colour/quality, clarify of engraving, that means the most to me.

I have some well-used Henles - well-used in my careful handling of them - that are approaching the half-century mark and are still standing up extremely well.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#1962155 - 09/21/12 03:38 PM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: BruceD]
slava_richter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/12
Posts: 160
Loc: Providence, RI
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: slava_richter
I have Henle and can't imagine that there is anything available with better binding or higher quality. For about $110 you can get both volumes and have all 32. I actually think that's a bargain.


I presume "all 32" is referring to the Beethoven Sonatas?

In the final analysis, it's the "user-friendliness" of the score : binding - in respect both to its longevity and its ability to lie flat on the music desk - paper colour/quality, clarify of engraving, that means the most to me.


Yes, I was replying to the OP who was asking about the Beethoven sonatas. And I absolutely agree in terms of your 'final analysis', that's really what's most important to most people. In that regard, Henle is the best that I've seen.

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#1962163 - 09/21/12 03:57 PM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3787
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: Franz Beebert
A side note: This has not much to do with the first question. I read an interview with Andras Schiff, where he says that he considers Beethoven's Op 90 among the "last SIX sonatas". In other words, instead of considering it being Beethoven's last middle period sonata, he means that Op 90 belongs to the late sonatas. I have always had a hard time placing it.. Where would you place it?

Well, I think there's no question that op.90 is among the last six sonatas. smile

I've never actually found "the last five sonatas" to be a useful grouping. But I do group the last three sonatas together, and I group op.101 and 106 together.

-J
_________________________
Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#1962169 - 09/21/12 04:14 PM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21518
Loc: Oakland
Op. 90 is not among the last six Beethoven sonatas, but it is among the last six Beethoven piano sonatas.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1962218 - 09/21/12 05:46 PM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: BDB]
Franz Beebert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/11
Posts: 357
Haha well of course it's among his last six piano sonatas, as it is No 27 out of 32... :P

But what I meant is that Schiff considers Op 90 to be "late period" and not "middle period"..

Anyway, thank you all for your answers smile

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#1962254 - 09/21/12 07:31 PM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13789
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Depends on how you define middle and late. People who see Op. 90 as late do so because it's the first sonata to be marked in German (a conscious decision on Beethoven's part.) In terms of style, the piece is also a bit more forward-looking. (The last movement sounds more like Schubert than anything that had come before, and it was also written around the time of Beethoven's only song cycle.)

But, Op. 90 was written before the debacle involving his nephew Karl. The custody battle over Karl was a significant event that profoundly affected Beethoven's psychology. If we see the Heiligenstadt Testament as the pivotal moment that marks the beginning of his 2nd period, then the death of his brother Carl and the ensuing custody battle provide a convenient demarcation point for his late period.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1962285 - 09/21/12 08:36 PM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6101
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I am buying the Cooper edition as a present to myself for Christmas. laugh
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#1962405 - 09/22/12 05:55 AM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: ChopinAddict]
Franz Beebert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/11
Posts: 357
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
I am buying the Cooper edition as a present to myself for Christmas. laugh
That's actually one that I have thought about too... You recommend it over Henle? smile

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#1962407 - 09/22/12 05:56 AM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Kreisler]
Franz Beebert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/11
Posts: 357
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Depends on how you define middle and late. People who see Op. 90 as late do so because it's the first sonata to be marked in German (a conscious decision on Beethoven's part.) In terms of style, the piece is also a bit more forward-looking. (The last movement sounds more like Schubert than anything that had come before, and it was also written around the time of Beethoven's only song cycle.)

But, Op. 90 was written before the debacle involving his nephew Karl. The custody battle over Karl was a significant event that profoundly affected Beethoven's psychology. If we see the Heiligenstadt Testament as the pivotal moment that marks the beginning of his 2nd period, then the death of his brother Carl and the ensuing custody battle provide a convenient demarcation point for his late period.
Thank you so much for the very interesting information! smile

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#1962412 - 09/22/12 06:20 AM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6101
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Originally Posted By: Franz Beebert
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
I am buying the Cooper edition as a present to myself for Christmas. laugh
That's actually one that I have thought about too... You recommend it over Henle? smile


A long time ago I talked about editions with stores in a PM, and he did say his first choice would be the Cooper edition, although he recognized that the Henle edition is good too.

This is a commentary about the Cooper edition (on the ABRSM website):

We are delighted to announce the publication of a new edition of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas, edited by Professor Barry Cooper, a renowned authority on Beethoven, widely known for completing the unfinished Tenth Symphony, and author of several books on the composer.

Barry Cooper has been working for ten years on the edition. His work represents the latest original research into the Piano Sonatas and he has tried to reproduce what Beethoven actually wrote - and what he meant to write - more accurately than has been done in any previous edition.

Notable among the features of the edition is that there are 35 sonatas while all other recent editions have 32. Cooper says: 'The three extra ones are normally omitted as they were very early works written when Beethoven was 12. I feel there is no reason to omit them as they are full scale works.

Key features of the edition:

faithful to the original notation, correcting long-standing errors found in other editions
presents new and important research
general Introduction covering performance practice, including tempo, articulation, pedalling and dynamics
commentary to each sonata, including history,full assessment of the sources and detailed notes on interpretation
introductory CD of commentary and demonstrations included in each volume

Created for today's performers, teachers and scholars, this is the most comprehensive study of these extraordinary works yet undertaken and sets a new standard for scholarly performing editions.


PS: This is my 5000th post! laugh
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#1962413 - 09/22/12 06:35 AM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6101
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
The price of the 3 volumes is high, but at the end of the day it is like the fee for 1 1/2 hours with a good teacher, and you have it for eternity (or the closest to it laugh )...
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#1962471 - 09/22/12 09:31 AM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
Jame334 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/11
Posts: 142
Hmm, seems like I should look into the Cooper editions. However one of the main points for me is still user-friendliness.

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#1962528 - 09/22/12 11:20 AM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
AldenH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/22/11
Posts: 412
Loc: Texas
The Cooper is very scholarly and pleasant to look at on the shelf (big, gold, white letters), but personally I would have trouble working from it for long periods of time. Not sure how well it stays open, but the engraving is very sharp-lined and computer-y looking, and the paper is a unnatural shade of yellow that I find a little off-putting. Henle is just what I'm used to, though, so other may not find the Cooper so odd. There's something about Henle's engraving that is just right: the angle of the noteheads, the shape of the slurs, the subtle cream-white paper... ah, fond reminisces =)

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#1964319 - 09/25/12 03:01 PM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: AldenH]
Scordatura Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/23/12
Posts: 129
Loc: Suffolk, UK
After 35 years using the Henle, I still rank it as the all-round best for textual accuracy, clear print, page-turns and wise fingering suggestions. I'm about to replace my original volumes, and possibly invest in the Wiener Urtext (Universal) Edition as well.

Before purchasing my first Henles, I used the Martienssen edition (from Peters) which is also pretty reliable if a second text is needed. (It's also published in miniature score size in two volumes, which has proven handy at times).

I still haven't encountered the Cooper, nor the Koenemann Edition (Budapest) which is a budget-price Urtext. The online info I've found on the web about the latter isn't adequate to evaluate it - any comments on it, anyone?

P.S.: If you've not checked your PMs recently, S., there should be one waiting for you!

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#1964326 - 09/25/12 03:19 PM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
bouleetbille Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/28/10
Posts: 19
The Henle editions are my favourites. I haven't seen the Beethoven Sonatas but I have some Albinez/ Debussey and Gershwin and they're great quality and really easy to read.

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#1964413 - 09/25/12 06:19 PM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2641
Loc: Netherlands
I use Henle/Peters/Wiener Urt. they all are good, diff. fingerings help a lot. Op. 90 is imo the beginning of the end and not the end of the beginning, it introduces the 3rd period in a most pleasant way, like the Archduke pianotrio.
_________________________
Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!

Mussorgski tableaux d'une exposition/Rachmaninoff etudes tableaux op.39

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#1985862 - 11/12/12 07:47 PM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6101
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I just got my Cooper edition of Beethoven's Sonatas smile laugh (they are my Christmas present to myself). That was super quick. It took less than a week from the UK (economy postage - I paid less than 3 pounds).
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#1985863 - 11/12/12 07:53 PM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6101
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Each of the 3 volumes has a CD and a separate booklet with commentaries. laugh I just had to check everything is fine. smile
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#1985894 - 11/12/12 09:17 PM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
DonaldLee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/14/11
Posts: 168
I have the Henle edition. I like them, but my professor insists, and I agree, that best edition for Beethoven is the ABRSM edition. It's in three volumes.
_________________________
Currently working on:
Brahms Op. 118
Mozart Sonata K. 576
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#1986126 - 11/13/12 11:48 AM Re: Question about Editions, and a side note [Re: Franz Beebert]
im@me Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/21/12
Posts: 68
Hhh hmmm... Wiener, I love the wiener. Incredibly clear print, well spaced, the only thing that I prefer wiener to Henle

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