edition addiction

With manuscripts like these, no wonder there are so many different editions out there. (Manuscript for Beethoven's string quartet Op. 131.)

With manuscripts like these, no wonder there are so many different editions out there. (Manuscript for Beethoven’s string quartet Op. 131.)

One of my top expenses as a music student is, well, music. Buying scores can get so costly, and there are so many different editions out there to choose from! That’s why I asked my good friend Andrew (who is much more knowledgeable than I about these kinds of things) if he would write up an edition guide, to save the rest of us pianists from decision fatigue and undue worry about whether that one note in the third measure should be an A or a G. While he writes from a pianist’s perspective, I have no doubt that these guidelines will help other instrumentalists as well. Without further ado…

Bach Henle or Barenreiter
Beethoven Henle. Referencing the Schnabel for some interpretation ideas/tempo choices might be a nice idea. The Dover edition also has footnotes by Schenker.
Brahms Henle
Chopin Paderewski (otherwise known as the Polish edition) or Henle. They’re actually quite different…I wouldn’t know whose more correct when it comes to some different articulation or even notes. [Elizabeth’s note: I’m starting to prefer Paderewski. There are some rhythmic differences between Paderewski and Henle in the funeral march of Chopin’s second sonata, and I never hear anyone play it with the Henle rhythm.] For the Etudes you can also look for the Cortot edition for practicing advice and ideas.
Debussy, Fauré, Franck, Ravel, and other French composers For French composers like Debussy and Ravel, people often think of Durand as the authority, but I have been told and found myself with SO MUCH mistakes in the Durand edition (to quote from legendary Marguerite Long who was friends with both composers, the publisher was so arrogant so many of the mistakes are now historical!) The newest Henle edition of the Debussy preludes corrected many of the mistakes. I have found a similar situation with Ravel’s Miroirs, that I have to reference the Henle edition to fix so many mistakes in the Durand.

This is one rare case: the old Peters edition of the Franck Prelude, Choral, and Fugue actually split the notes better than the Henle edition (don’t get me wrong Henle is actually quite clean, but this particular piece has so much rolling chords, and polyphonic texture, so if the edition splits the notes to the ‘more suitable’ hand it actually helps the learning process).

Granados Barcelona: Editorial de Música Boileau edited by Alicia de Larrocha, who’s considered the authority of Spanish music.
Mozart “Vienna Urtext” edition by Barenreiter
Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, and other Russian composers Boosey & Hawkes.
Schubert Henle
Schumann Henle

Andrew’s general guideline: I guess my preference usually goes to Henle first, then if there’s no Henle I will see if there’s Boosey & Hawkes or Peters then Dover then Kalmus/Alfred. Except for concertos I rarely get the Schirmer edition.

Further reading:

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