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#3182774 01/06/22 08:23 AM
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Can anyone recommend the most accurate, well printed editions of classical music? (IE; Peters, Henle, Schirmer)

Or even by the following Composers (some editors may concentrate on one particular composer):

Bach
Beethoven
Chopin
Debussy

thanks
brdwyguy


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I have always regarded Henle quite highly, and the print and binding quality is top rate, but I can’t speak to its accuracy.

Definitely ask this question in the Pianist Corner though.


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New Bärenreiter Beethoven editions by Jonathan Del Mar are gold standard, highly recommended.

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Funny, I just ordered some sheet music and someone said "wait, before you buy anything else check with me and see if I have it to give" and I had to tell her that I try to only use Henle editions when they're available (if not, I suck it up and get something else). They have great editing, clear notation, and nice paper, and they actually *lay flat* and you don't have to struggle with getting your pages to stay. Once you go Henle it's hard to go back wink

Also, to answer your question: my teachers always said that Henle editions are very accurate.

Last edited by twocats; 01/06/22 04:11 PM.

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Originally Posted by twocats
Funny, I just ordered some sheet music and someone said "wait, before you buy anything else check with me and see if I have it to give" and I had to tell her that I try to only use Henle editions when they're available (if not, I suck it up and get something else). They have great editing, clear notation, and nice paper, and they actually *lay flat* and you don't have to struggle with getting your pages to stay. Once you go Henle it's hard to go back wink

Also, to answer your question: my teachers always said that Henle editions are very accurate.
Agreed! I think Henle has the best overall

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I like Bärenreiter or Wiener Urtext for Bach, Henle for Beethoven, and more recently have been using Paderewski editions for Chopin. But most of my library isn't Henle-level cost. I have a lot of Dover and the stuff that's the next less expensive rung of scores...at this point of my career, I'm going more for quantity of music, perhaps over quality!

On the other hand, for the level of students I teach, my biggest pet-peeves are editions that are:
1. Over-edited (all ornamentation realized, fingerings everywhere, non-original dynamics and articulations added. Typical stuff you'd find in an Alfred edition.
2. Hard to read, because of compressed or careless page layout.

My favorite sheet music provider (PianoWorks Atlanta, yes, the piano store) stocks most of the Henle catalog, so they tend to push that. There are times when Henle isn't the best choice (recently purchased one of the Schumann violin sonatas to replace Xerox copies I used to have from an International edition)...and man, I swear the suggested fingerings and hand distributions, etc. were put in by a person who has never played the piece! Or maybe they had an extra finger or an extremely small hand.


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I wish there were more hardback/clothbound editions besides the Henle's which are too expensive for me. ABRSM used to have some really nice clothbounds but I don't see any new ones. And awhile back, Konemann Budapest had some amazing clothbound sets that were extremely cheap and just as nice as Henle's. I snatched them up everytime I saw it and ended up with multiple sets of Mozart and Beethoven sonatas that I gave away.

My favorite sets I have are:
- ABRSM Clothbound WTC 1 and 2
- ABRSM Clothbound Mozart Sonatas in two volumes
- Konemann Budapest Clothbound Mozart Solo Piano in four volumes
- Konemann Budapest Clothbound Beethoven Sonatas in three volumes
- Henle clothbound Bach 2-Part Inventions and Sinfonias

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Songs like Henle is the top choice
AND
that Composers may have a specific edition/printing that is good.

So. . . .what would be the best for Claude Debussy?

thanks for the responses

brdwyguy


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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
I like Bärenreiter or Wiener Urtext for Bach, Henle for Beethoven, and more recently have been using Paderewski editions for Chopin.

My favorite sheet music provider (PianoWorks Atlanta, yes, the piano store) stocks most of the Henle catalog, so they tend to push that.
I do love Bärenreiter, Wiener and Henle. Nice, big, accurate, beige pages with lots of informative notes in the back! Not familiar with Paderewski, so thanks. Ficks Music has been good to me in the US. The owner personally emailed me after my first order and told me to email him directly if I had trouble finding anything in particular, which was a nice touch.

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Originally Posted by brdwyguy
So. . . .what would be the best for Claude Debussy?
I don't have any Debussy (yet), but do have Ravel scores from Henle, Bärenreiter and Wiener that are all wonderful. From what I can see, Debussy piano works are heavily covered by Henle and to a lesser extent by Bärenreiter and Wiener. Some Ravel works are only covered by Durand (he signed with them at some point for a guaranteed 12,000 francs a year for life in exchange for rights to everything he wrote from then on, and from what I can see French copyright law is for a very long time...although Peters appears to ignore this outside of France). This may be the case for some Debussy works. I have some Durand editions, and, like Peters, they're okay (small, crowded pages, and in Durand's case very little discussion of manuscripts).

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I have several Debussy works in the Henle edition. I can echo what others have said, there is much about Henle that is "user friendly" to the serious pianist:
- good quality paper
- sharp and clear printed music and text
- detailed notes on variants
- good bindings
- easily lies open on the music stand

Other editions may be just as good, but when Henle is available that is what I buy.

Regards,


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Brdwyguy, if you haven’t seen this website , it describes different editions of different composers’ works, and I think it would be of interest. It is clearly the opinion of the guy who operates the website, but he seems informed (certainly more so than I am).
For myself, I’ve been really impressed by the Barry Cooper/ABRSM edition of Beethoven sonatas. It’s got extensive notes and performance commentary and the music is very clearly laid out. I use the Paderewski editions of Chopin, because that was what I used when I was a youth (incidentally, those first Chopin books were purchased at a music store in Mexico City called the Sala Chopin, which was also where I took lessons). I have a mix of Henle and Wiener urtext editions of things by Bach.

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Sgisela,
thank you so much for the link

I did find that link upon searching after I posted my original post.
and yes THAT is just about exactly what I was looking for.

thanks again
brdwyguy


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I like Wiener Urtext for Bach and Beethoven. I find they have thoughtful fingering suggestions and clear printing. In some ways often a little more compressed though than Henle. I will study from both it and Henle.

The most recent Henle WTC has fingering suggestions by Schiff, that I find are helpful.

I used to study from Paderewski Chopin editions, but have switched over to Ekier. I’m a big fan of Ekier with good fingering, clear legibility and instructive performance notes. The Cortot etudes has some interesting practice notes.

Ekier and Henle are expensive, but I think worth it for serious playing over many, many hours. I have bought Dover editions to be frugal and have often been unsatisfied.

For some pieces for me, the more editions, the merrier! I have at least 4 editions of the Goldberg variations, and will regularly refer to 3 of them.

Like someone else above, I have had very good experiences with Fick Music.

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I'd echo most of what spk has said.

In my experience, once you go for one of the big three Urtext labels - Henle, Wiener, Baerenreiter - the trade offs of choosing between them are far smaller than that of stepping up from cheaper labels.

I can't recommend a single label as such but I do think certain editors can be recommended regardless of which label they worked for. E.g. Christa Landon, Paul Badura-Skoda, and Jonathan Del Mar (already mentioned above).

There's a great article by an Oxford scholar comparing the merits of recent Beethoven editions, and he's critical of all three labels. You can read it on Academia.edu for free (once you create a login, which is free), link here:
https://www.academia.edu/39366793/Is_There_Any_Scope_for_Another_Edition_of_Beethovens_Piano_Sonatas

The article will also show you that a lot of the fine-grained detail over which editors (and their reviewers) battle is really so minute that I wonder what use these details are to most of us here. E.g., the reviewer slammed Wiener (600 pages of text) because his personal research on Czerny's metronome indicators disagreed with what a 4-page piece in the Wiener edition said. That's symptomatic of scholarship as much - the debates are so fierce because the stakes are so low/small. Personally, I'll try to hone in on tempi by performers I like (listening to CDs with a metronome and adjusting that as I go along), that I don't personally care for pages upon pages of scholarship on tempi, though I know many fine academic careers and post-doc funding are built out of that. As an amateur hobbyist, I don't care. And the same is true for much else that these editions differ on.

What I do care about is legibility and that the pages turn where it makes sense from a performance perspective. Often, the academically or scholarly most highly regarded editions will let you down there. Some of my most priced editions (hardcover Baerenreiters in the New Schubert edition) hardly ever hit the piano because they're unwieldy. It's really often a toss up between Henle and Wiener, though both have their let-down moments too.

One final criterion that sets editions/labels apart is their fingering. Again, I think some care a great deal to get good fingerings, but personally I don't. Firstly, fingerings are extremely subjective anyhow and best taken as one of many possibilities - only you will find out what works for your hands. Secondly, a lot of fingerings by bravura pianists like Kissin or Schiff (for Haydn and Bach) or Perahia (for Beethoven) are extremely interesting to read, but often less practical to implement. (There's a lot of extra difficulty that e.g. Kissin imposes for extra effect, which is impressive but not the kind of stuff I attempt at home.) Thirdly, I've come to massively enjoy the Henle editions without fingerings - I bought one of these on a whim, and found it tremendously liberating to stare at page that didn't dictate one way or another. That really frees up your mind, and challenges you to come up with your own take, which I enjoy.

Sorry for the long post. There's a lot of objective criteria here, including scholarship, but the older I get the more I care simply whether the score helps me learn and enjoy learning a piece. And that's mostly Wiener and Henle, both of which are legible, stay flat while playing, have page turns where it makes sense performance-wise, and don't give you a shoddy text.

Last edited by Windjammer; 01/07/22 06:03 PM.

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I use Henle and the other urtext edition.I cannot remember the name.I think on the whole you have to differentiate the editions which truly have had some scholarly study to them.Alfreds does not, although it always has something to say about interpretation, and suggestions for articulation and ornamentation.You would have to check the suggested ornamentation and the other interpretations they give.The nice thing is they are cheaper and have bigger print.(I find that important lately.😉) Sometimes editions other than urtext give amateurs some idea of interpretation, but be careful of an abundance of dynamic marks, phrasing especially too many pedal markings.[in Bach(never use is the rule) and the Classical composers like Haydn, Mozart(rarely used) and early Beethoven] Always check the urtext editions, even if you do not play from them.
If you are working for an exam or a performance or competition, I would always rely on the exam and urtext books.or scholarly editions.These other, once popular editions (particularly the older ones) can give a totally incorrect idea of how the music should be played.I quite like the Polish edition for Chopin.(called Scharwenka??)

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Originally Posted by tre corda
I use Henle and the other urtext edition.I cannot remember the name.I think on the whole you have to differentiate the editions which truly have had some scholarly study to them.Alfreds does not, although it always has something to say about interpretation, and suggestions for articulation and ornamentation.You would have to check the suggested ornamentation and the other interpretations they give.The nice thing is they are cheaper and have bigger print.(I find that important lately.😉) Sometimes editions other than urtext give amateurs some idea of interpretation, but be careful of an abundance of dynamic marks, phrasing especially too many pedal markings.[in Bach(never use is the rule) and the Classical composers like Haydn, Mozart(rarely used) and early Beethoven] Always check the urtext editions, even if you do not play from them.
If you are working for an exam or a performance or competition, I would always rely on the exam and urtext books.or scholarly editions.These other, once popular editions (particularly the older ones) can give a totally incorrect idea of how the music should be played.I quite like the Polish edition for Chopin.(called Scharwenka??)


I thought Alfred’s did use scholar’s for editing; I remember Maurice Hinson as the editor for Mozart, masterworks by Jane MacGrath, no, they were not edited by a committee as with Urtext, but to me, that does not mean they are all devoid of scholarly study.


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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by tre corda
I use Henle and the other urtext edition.I cannot remember the name.I think on the whole you have to differentiate the editions which truly have had some scholarly study to them.Alfreds does not, although it always has something to say about interpretation, and suggestions for articulation and ornamentation.You would have to check the suggested ornamentation and the other interpretations they give.The nice thing is they are cheaper and have bigger print.(I find that important lately.😉) Sometimes editions other than urtext give amateurs some idea of interpretation, but be careful of an abundance of dynamic marks, phrasing especially too many pedal markings.[in Bach(never use is the rule) and the Classical composers like Haydn, Mozart(rarely used) and early Beethoven] Always check the urtext editions, even if you do not play from them.
If you are working for an exam or a performance or competition, I would always rely on the exam and urtext books.or scholarly editions.These other, once popular editions (particularly the older ones) can give a totally incorrect idea of how the music should be played.I quite like the Polish edition for Chopin.(called Scharwenka??)


I thought Alfred’s did use scholar’s for editing; I remember Maurice Hinson as the editor for Mozart, masterworks by Jane MacGrath, no, they were not edited by a committee as with Urtext, but to me, that does not mean they are all devoid of scholarly study.
As I said I do sometimes use Alfred's because I need the bigger print lately.I have noticed in the Bach Sinfonias (3prt) they do have Bach's actual table of ornaments which is very good and I often like the ornaments that they provide for Bach.I do not think they are a real scholarly edition but with some composers they are not too bad.I do not own a whole lot.of Urtext books so yes I use quite a few editions even some old Associated Board ones.Of course everyone should avoid old Augener editions.(especially those of Schubert)

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Originally Posted by Windjammer
Sorry for the long post.
Don't be. Very informative and enjoyable to read.

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Originally Posted by tre corda
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by tre corda
I use Henle and the other urtext edition.I cannot remember the name.I think on the whole you have to differentiate the editions which truly have had some scholarly study to them.Alfreds does not, although it always has something to say about interpretation, and suggestions for articulation and ornamentation.You would have to check the suggested ornamentation and the other interpretations they give.The nice thing is they are cheaper and have bigger print.(I find that important lately.😉) Sometimes editions other than urtext give amateurs some idea of interpretation, but be careful of an abundance of dynamic marks, phrasing especially too many pedal markings.[in Bach(never use is the rule) and the Classical composers like Haydn, Mozart(rarely used) and early Beethoven] Always check the urtext editions, even if you do not play from them.
If you are working for an exam or a performance or competition, I would always rely on the exam and urtext books.or scholarly editions.These other, once popular editions (particularly the older ones) can give a totally incorrect idea of how the music should be played.I quite like the Polish edition for Chopin.(called Scharwenka??)


I thought Alfred’s did use scholar’s for editing; I remember Maurice Hinson as the editor for Mozart, masterworks by Jane MacGrath, no, they were not edited by a committee as with Urtext, but to me, that does not mean they are all devoid of scholarly study.
As I said I do sometimes use Alfred's because I need the bigger print lately.I have noticed in the Bach Sinfonias (3prt) they do have Bach's actual table of ornaments which is very good and I often like the ornaments that they provide for Bach.I do not think they are a real scholarly edition but with some composers they are not too bad.I do not own a whole lot.of Urtext books so yes I use quite a few editions even some old Associated Board ones.Of course everyone should avoid old Augener editions.(especially those of Schubert)
I think dogperson is correct. As an example, the Alfred's edition of Bach's French Suites is edited by Jane Schneider. It uses six sources for the material and states reasons for why one was chosen over another for a particular section. On a typical page it will quote at the bottom of the page, in small print, what those other sources have for a particular section. It also has written-out (in gray) ornamentation suggestions for most ornaments. My teacher dislikes the Alfred's French Suites, probably because the Alfred version of some of the pieces is different from what she learned from the version she grew up with, lol.

I have come to disfavor the Alfred editions because of what first made them attractive to me: larger print and a more spread out score. My first choice now is the Henle editions--easy to read--print is not too big, not too small, but a nice Goldilocks just right, and not too cramped or spread out (necessitating a lot of page turns). And they stay open on the music rack.


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