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Best music editions?

Posted By: JDRPiano

Best music editions? - 10/24/17 03:29 AM

Hello everyone!

I looked into a website which listed the best publishing editions for music: http://bestsheetmusiceditions.com/. I have also seen the Belwin-Mills Publishing and the Kalmus Edition (it says on the website that the Kalmus Editions aren't exactly the best). Which is the better between the two of the previous statement. Also, isn't Belwin-Mills Publishing owned by Alfred? Thanks you all in advance!
Posted By: BDB

Re: Best music editions? - 10/24/17 04:03 AM

Check out the FAQs, just above the opening window in this area.
Posted By: WhoDwaldi

Re: Best music editions? - 10/24/17 03:00 PM

Aren’t some Kalmus scores reprints of Peters, or the other way around? 😀
Posted By: wr

Re: Best music editions? - 10/25/17 03:57 AM

Originally Posted by JDRPiano
Hello everyone!

I looked into a website which listed the best publishing editions for music: http://bestsheetmusiceditions.com/. I have also seen the Belwin-Mills Publishing and the Kalmus Edition (it says on the website that the Kalmus Editions aren't exactly the best). Which is the better between the two of the previous statement. Also, isn't Belwin-Mills Publishing owned by Alfred? Thanks you all in advance!


That is a very odd site - you click on the "About" and there's is absolutely nothing about who is responsible for it, or what their credentials might be, or why we should have any confidence in their opinions. There's an email in the "Contact", but again, not a word about the actual person(s). Strange.

I didn't realize that Alfred had taken over Belwin-Mills. Or maybe only part of it - after a bit of investigation of a couple of scores at Sheet Music Plus, it isn't clear to me what has happened.

I have an old Belwin-Mills Rachmaninoff collection, and now, at Sheet Music Plus, it shows up with the Alfred logo at the bottom of the front cover.

But, I also have a Belwin-Mills Chaminade collection (which, interestingly enough, says "Kalmus Piano Series" at the top of the cover), and if I look it up at Sheet Music Plus, it now has a Kalmus logo where Belwin-Mills used to appear, not Alfred. So, who knows....

In terms of quality, I'd place them around the same level. The actual physical production is pretty basic, to put it kindly, but the print is clear enough, and the editions seem based on fairly decent sources. The cheap, glued binding of the Rachmaninoff collection I mentioned is completely falling apart, but to be fair, it has seen a lot of use, and was inexpensive, so I didn't necessarily expect it to hold up. I should go get it spiral bound, I guess.

-----------------

Off on a tangent - last time I checked, there is no complete collection of Rachmaninoff's transcriptions and arrangements, which seems inexplicable, considering his popularity. The closest thing to it I found was this old - former Belwin-Mills, now Alfred - collection. Maybe now that the copyrights have run out (I think), that will change and some smart publisher will publish them all in one volume.
Posted By: Lakeviewsteve

Re: Best music editions? - 10/25/17 05:54 AM

Hi there,

Have you ever heard or urtext additions? Henle Verlag, Barenreiter and Wiener Urtext are examples of publishers who specialize in urtext editions. Scholars research each and every notation and trace it back to the original composition.

Here is a more formal definition:

An urtext edition of a work of classical music is a printed version intended to reproduce the original intention of the composer as exactly as possible, without any added or changed material. Other kinds of editions distinct from urtext are facsimile and interpretive editions.

My preference is urtext because I don't really care for editions that change anything from the original. My favorite is Henle Verlag.

All the best to you / Steve


Posted By: AZNpiano

Re: Best music editions? - 10/25/17 08:24 AM

Every edition has it's pro's and con's. And books of the same publisher can have various levels of quality. My preferences are, in order:

1) Newly engraved editions, please! Computer generated. None of that photocopy of photocopy junk. Everything has to be neat, clean, and clearly legible.

2) Pagination done with consideration for wide spacing and logical page turns. I don't like the older editions that try to cram 1,000,000 notes onto one page to save paper. Large font is a plus.

3) Solid binding that allows the book to lie flat on the rack. Paper quality is important, too.

4) Nothing overly edited. If edited, I'd like to know exactly what was edited in/out and why (footnotes or endnotes). Some editors are so bad, I stopped buying their music.

5) Don't give fingering unless it is actually helpful.

--------------------------------------------------

One word on urtext editions: They are not always good. In fact, I'm starting to think that publishers use the word "urtext" as a marketing ploy. I mean, any edition can call itself urtext, but which "original" are they reproducing? Sometimes the composer's manuscript varies drastically from the first edition. And then there might be corrections done by the composer over the first edition.
Posted By: SonatainfSharp

Re: Best music editions? - 10/25/17 12:56 PM

Originally Posted by AZNpiano

2) Pagination done with consideration for wide spacing and logical page turns. I don't like the older editions that try to cram 1,000,000 notes onto one page to save paper. Large font is a plus.


5) Don't give fingering unless it is actually helpful.

One word on urtext editions: They are not always good. In fact, I'm starting to think that publishers use the word "urtext" as a marketing ploy. I mean, any edition can call itself urtext, but which "original" are they reproducing? Sometimes the composer's manuscript varies drastically from the first edition. And then there might be corrections done by the composer over the first edition.


2 - You mean like International's edition of the Rach Preludes, especially 23/10? If you've seen this, you'll know what I mean! They squeeze it into two pages and could easily be four...

5 - My students always ask why I cross out most fingering. A college professor once told me that fingering editors have never played piano; they just get paid by the amount of numbers they arbitrarily insert. smile Half-joking, of course, maybe...

Urtext - I found out as a young student that urtext may, in fact, just be a marketing ploy as there are so many bad urtext editions out there. So many urtext editions of the same music, yet vast differences and wordy footnotes to justify them. If "urtext" leads us to believe they are closest to the composer's original manuscript, how can they all be "right", yet so different and contradictory? Sort of like religions... wink
Posted By: wr

Re: Best music editions? - 10/25/17 01:32 PM

Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp


Urtext - I found out as a young student that urtext may, in fact, just be a marketing ploy as there are so many bad urtext editions out there. So many urtext editions of the same music, yet vast differences and wordy footnotes to justify them. If "urtext" leads us to believe they are closest to the composer's original manuscript, how can they all be "right", yet so different and contradictory? Sort of like religions... wink


A good urtext will explain exactly what their sources are, and why they made the choices they made. I don't remember seeing many that claimed to be "right". I am leery of ones that just say they are urtext, but give no information to back it up. But I haven't seen that very often.

If there are choices to be made, and different urtext editors make different choices, the results will be different. That doesn't invalidate the concept, I don't think. It just shows that there are different paths towards reaching the final urtext edition. If you understand what they are doing, there's no reason to expect all urtexts of the same score to be identical.

And publication dates can come into play, too. Sometimes things come to light after one urtext is published, but before another, so the latter one can incorporate information that wasn't available to the earlier one, resulting in differences.
Posted By: JDRPiano

Re: Best music editions? - 10/26/17 02:11 AM

Hello everyone!!

Thank you all so much for your informative responses! In response to Lakeviewsteve, yes, I have heard of "Urtext" editions and I own several Urtext edition scores as well by various publishing companies such as G. Henle (Verlag), Editio Musica Budapest, and Konemann Musica Budapest (this edition is rare but very authoritative and awesome!). I have recently discovered Boosey & Hawkes (actually, the night that I started this thread) and some other editions such as Durand and Berenreiter. Any other editions for Rachmaninoff Sonata No. 1 that I should know about? I really would love to have the best edition possible as I do with all of my other music. On another note, I hear that the new G. Schirmer Performance editions (the ones with dark brownish ends and some kind of portrait in the middle) are very good, anyone have an objection to that so I can keep note of it? Thank you all again for your posts!
Posted By: WhoDwaldi

Re: Best music editions? - 10/26/17 03:10 AM

There is a relatively new selection of Schumann, in an urtext by Dover, which looks pretty good—not discussed much on PW.

Schumann Urtext Dover

Posted By: JDRPiano

Re: Best music editions? - 10/26/17 03:24 AM

Thanks for the link WhoDwaldi! Will definitely purchase the two volumes as I am preparing to learn Schumann's Papillions next quarter!
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Best music editions? - 10/26/17 03:58 AM

Originally Posted by WhoDwaldi
There is a relatively new selection of Schumann, in an urtext by Dover, which looks pretty good—not discussed much on PW.

Schumann Urtext Dover



A user on Amazon commented:

Only thing is... Dover claims the book's binding is "Lay flat." It may be, but it's not flat enough for me. The solution is simple: go to your nearest Staples and rebind the book with a spiral. Then you can really enjoy your Schumann without hassle!

... which has always been one of my primary complaints with Dover.

Regards,
Posted By: wr

Re: Best music editions? - 10/27/17 02:40 AM

Originally Posted by JDRPiano
I have recently discovered Boosey & Hawkes (actually, the night that I started this thread) and some other editions such as Durand and Berenreiter. Any other editions for Rachmaninoff Sonata No. 1 that I should know about? I really would love to have the best edition possible as I do with all of my other music.


A relatively recent edition (2012) of the Rachmaninoff sonata is a Russian edition from P. Jurgenson. I haven't seen it or read anything about it. The San Francisco public library has it, so, since you are in northern California, you may want to check it out, either directly from them or via interlibrary loan.

Other than that, there really aren't all that many editions of that piece among the top tier of publishers. Henle hasn't gotten around to it yet, but I am guessing they will eventually. Personally, if ordering it today, I'd choose either Boosey or International. One of my favorite Rachmaninoff editions in my library is the International edition of the Etudes-Tableaux op. 39, which has a decent sewn binding that seems indestructible and it is easy to read, so I'm a little biased in favor of them.
Posted By: Lakeviewsteve

Re: Best music editions? - 10/27/17 03:58 AM

Hi there JDRPiano. Thank you for your response. G. Henle Verlag, a German company, published several Urtext editions by Rachmaninoff just a few years back after the copyright expired in Germany because their copyright law is life plus 70 years. Since he died in 1943 the first year they were eligible to be published in Germany was 2013. Unfortunately the Sonata no 1 hasn't been published by them yet (as mentioned in WR's post above). I have their volume of 24 Preludes and in my opinion it is excellent!

Here is a link:

http://www.henleusa.com/en/detail/index.html?Title=24+Préludes_1200

All the best / Steve

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