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Barry Cooper Edition of Beethoven Sonatas
#2733280 05/01/18 11:49 AM
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Greetings, all. I need to acquire a good edition of the Beethoven sonatas. If money were no object, I'd buy Cooper, Henle, Wiener, and Alfred, but since money is an object, I want to get an appropriate edition right out of the gate.

I am mainly considering the fairly recent ABRSM edition edited by Barry Cooper. To that end, I have a few specific questions about this edition:

  • How well does it sit open on the music desk?
  • How sensible are the fingerings? (I want an edition with sensible fingerings that are widely accepted as workable, even though I will only be using them as a starting point.)
  • Is it clear which markings (say, for dynamics and articulation) are original and which are editorial?
  • Speaking of clarity, how readable is the score? (Compared to, say, Alfred's edition of Bach's Inventions and Sinfonias edited by Palmer, that was so loaded with editorial crap that I found it unplayable and only useful as a reference.)
  • Lastly, are there any websites with sample pages so I can evaluate for myself? Many publishers (such as the aforementioned Aflred) will let you see at least a page or two to get a general feel for the typesetting and what-not. I haven't been able to find such for ABRSM/Cooper.


I don't have my heart set on the ABRSM/Cooper edition, so if anyone can recommend other editions that excel in the areas I've outlined, I'm all ears (as long as they're in print and easily acquirable). Thanks much.


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Barry Cooper Edition of Beethoven Sonatas
Dr. Rogers #2733290 05/01/18 12:08 PM
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I believe you could find most editions at IMSLP and free-scores.com

Even if you do not want to learn from a digital print (though the pages always stay open) it would let you compare how things look on the page.


Peter
1949 Baldwin M
currently working on Brahms op. 10 Ballades, f-minor sonata and 2nd concerto
Mendelssohn Songs Without Words and E minor Prelude and Fugue
whatever strikes my fancy today.
Re: Barry Cooper Edition of Beethoven Sonatas
Dr. Rogers #2733297 05/01/18 12:21 PM
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I am currently using editions printed from IMSLP. Of course, they don't have the newer editions due to copyright issues. I have been using two public domain editions: Universal, edited by Schenker, and Peters, edited by Martienssen. I have printed them out and spiral bound them, so they sit perfectly on the music desk.

But I want to get a nice modern edition that I can take into ABRSM exams (specifically Grade 8 and Diploma) without worries.


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Barry Cooper Edition of Beethoven Sonatas
Dr. Rogers #2733299 05/01/18 12:24 PM
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Unfortunately, IMSLP doesn't have these recent editions which are still under copyright. I would suggest going to a music store (if you have one in your area). I've definitely done this to look at various editions before to decide whether I should invest the money.

I've not looked at the Cooper/ABRSM Beethoven Sonatas, but have heard good things about them. The binding might not be so good but otherwise the editing/clarity is pretty good IMO.

https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/the-35-piano-sonatas-volume-1-sheet-music/18001048

I believe if you click the look inside on the above page you will get a sense of the typsetting.

I personally still like Henle the most overall, but those are pricey.

Re: Barry Cooper Edition of Beethoven Sonatas
Dr. Rogers #2733308 05/01/18 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
Greetings, all. I need to acquire a good edition of the Beethoven sonatas. If money were no object, I'd buy Cooper, Henle, Wiener, and Alfred, but since money is an object, I want to get an appropriate edition right out of the gate.

I am mainly considering the fairly recent ABRSM edition edited by Barry Cooper. To that end, I have a few specific questions about this edition:

  • How well does it sit open on the music desk?
  • How sensible are the fingerings? (I want an edition with sensible fingerings that are widely accepted as workable, even though I will only be using them as a starting point.)
  • Is it clear which markings (say, for dynamics and articulation) are original and which are editorial?
  • Speaking of clarity, how readable is the score? (Compared to, say, Alfred's edition of Bach's Inventions and Sinfonias edited by Palmer, that was so loaded with editorial crap that I found it unplayable and only useful as a reference.)
  • Lastly, are there any websites with sample pages so I can evaluate for myself? Many publishers (such as the aforementioned Aflred) will let you see at least a page or two to get a general feel for the typesetting and what-not. I haven't been able to find such for ABRSM/Cooper.


I don't have my heart set on the ABRSM/Cooper edition, so if anyone can recommend other editions that excel in the areas I've outlined, I'm all ears (as long as they're in print and easily acquirable). Thanks much.


I've got the Cooper edition. which I got back about 10 years ago so it wasn't as expensive as it is today.

The books do not stay open well on the piano, sadly but they are a great reference otherwise.

The notation, fingering, etc. are nice and clear and yes he makes the distinction between editorial stuff and real stuff. The historical footnotes in the addendums - each volume has a pull-out addendum in the back with photographs of early scores, pianos, etc., with lots of excellent information. The discussions on the individual sonatas is fascinating, and he lists out Czerny's metronome markings which are a great reference for the sonatas that he did provide the metronome markings for. Remember Beethoven did not give metronome markings for his sonatas with one exception being his Hammerklavier.

The books are very easy to read with lots of space between the staffs and the music isn't overly edited with lots of black, a la the old Schirmer editions and others.

If you are looking for a much less expensive edition, look for the Schenker edition of the Sonatas. I got mine back in 1974 so I have no idea what they go for today. I paid $7.95 each for the two volumes back then so who knows what they are today. These are my go to books, but the Cooper are an excellent reference and both spend lots of time on my piano as I go between the two as I compare stuff in the sonatas.

Beethoven was an interesting guy as we know, and he was particularly hard on his publishers and copyists. He would make changes on the fly and he would correct errors, send new scores back with nasty notes for these changes to be incorporated into the the scores. Some publishers of course were better than others back then just as they are today. In the end we're left with lots of early scores, but rarely first editions. This process alone is interesting for me because I worked in the printing industry for a number of years.


Current works in progress:

Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.
Re: Barry Cooper Edition of Beethoven Sonatas
Dr. Rogers #2733310 05/01/18 12:57 PM
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T Cord, have you used the paper or cloth bound Henle? How well do the cloth-bound editions sit open on a desk? I don't mind spending a little extra for something that will give me endless hours of enjoyment, but I don't want to pay that kind of coin for endless hours of frustration!


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Barry Cooper Edition of Beethoven Sonatas
John Citron #2733315 05/01/18 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by John Citron

I've got the Cooper edition. which I got back about 10 years ago so it wasn't as expensive as it is today.
...


Thank you, John! I think you pretty well addressed my concerns. I suppose I could get the Cooper and then have it re-bound...


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Barry Cooper Edition of Beethoven Sonatas
Dr. Rogers #2733330 05/01/18 02:46 PM
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My teacher, whom many consider to be a Beethoven scholar, is very admiring of the Cooper edition. He prefers it over Henle for its accuracy.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Barry Cooper Edition of Beethoven Sonatas
Dr. Rogers #2733335 05/01/18 03:45 PM
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FWIW:

My only complete edition of the Beethoven Sonatas is Schnabel's, almost always interesting. I also have Vol. III. of the old ABRSM edited by Tovey.

Whenever I study a given sonata (not very often, however), I always buy the single edition (invariably Henle), and I needn't worry about it not staying open on the music stand, and it's much less cumbersome than transporting a 200-page-plus volume with me. The newer Henle are edited and have fingerings by Murray Perahia.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: Barry Cooper Edition of Beethoven Sonatas
Dr. Rogers #2733366 05/01/18 07:10 PM
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I have the Schnabel edition of Beethoven's complete piano sonatas, published by Simon and Schuster in two volumes. My university piano professor, in the early '80s, had me get those.

They stay open well on the music desk, but then it's going on 40 years that I've been using them, so they are well broken in. smile There may have been some problems with the books staying open for the first several and last several pages early on after I purchased them, but I don't recall them being very problematic, compared to some books I've had that have been utter nuisances their whole lives!

There are extensive notes at the bottom of many pages, especially in Volume II, which you may find helpful in terms of knowing which markings are original and which are editorial. It's a very good reference in many ways.

There are lots of fingering indications given in the score, and numerous dynamics (written in small print for accompanying voices, and big print for the melody). I'm not sure if you would find that distracting.

Print size is reasonable; not as big as I've seen, but not too small, either. Something I didn't think too much about when I was younger, but now, with wearing progressive lenses, I'm keenly aware (and appreciative) of, when the font is readable. smile

Amazon has some sample pages for different editions, which you may find helpful in seeing what some of the music pages look like. It looks like they only carry Volume I of the Simon and Schuster publication I have, though, and not Vol. II. But it looks like Alfred Masterworks now has published the Schnabel edition with some of his original editorial notes. Here are sample pages from Alfred's Volume 2.

Here is a place where you can get both volumes of the Schnabel edition, if you're interested.

Re: Barry Cooper Edition of Beethoven Sonatas
Dr. Rogers #2733632 05/02/18 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
T Cord, have you used the paper or cloth bound Henle? How well do the cloth-bound editions sit open on a desk? I don't mind spending a little extra for something that will give me endless hours of enjoyment, but I don't want to pay that kind of coin for endless hours of frustration!


I've used the paper bound Henle before, not cloth bound. It stays open quite well in my experience.

Re: Barry Cooper Edition of Beethoven Sonatas
Dr. Rogers #2733657 05/02/18 06:13 PM
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I have some Henle paper bound editions that are (probably) older than many members who post here. I've yet to have one show real ravages of time, and some of them are used regularly.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Barry Cooper Edition of Beethoven Sonatas
Dr. Rogers #2733683 05/02/18 07:58 PM
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I have 6 different editions and just ordered the Lamond edition from Breitkopf and Hartel which I have never seen. I use to be a Cooper edition follower and activist but because of this forum I have investigated several others. My current favorite is the 1932 edition by Schnabel by Simon & Schieder? I love Schnabels creativity with fingering he is really innovative and so ergonomic to get a certain sound by using a certain finger in a certain situation it is really always very clever. Look at his Opus 57, third movement, brilliant fingering it really helps to get a sound by the use of a certain finger. Want a heavier more definitive statement use the thumb as much as you can or a very sharp staccato the thumb too. Look through the third movement at his fingering then the first movement. I learned a lot. His Opus 106 the same especially for the left hand. I am told that the Lamond edition from B & H is also very insightful from Liszt's pupil. Plus for the Beethoven concerti B and H is now also my favorite, for presentation and fingering. It too bad that the oldest music house is not so ready entertained in the USA its always Henle then the others. But B &H for Beethoven concerti, Mozart, Brahms is sublime for learning. I ordered the Tchaikovsky PC 1 from them last weekend I hope it will maintain that excellence.


Serge P. Marinkovic, MD


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