Notes 62.4 (2006) 1076-1077
[Access article in PDF]
This column provides a forum for responses to the contents of this journal, and for information of interest to readers. The editor reserves the right to publish letters in excerpted form and to edit them for conciseness and clarity.
To the Editor:
In regard to the review of various Kurt Weill editions (Notes 62, no. 2 [December 2005]: 481–86), Scott Warfield makes the sweeping generalization that "there is no such thing as a 'full score' for ... any of the dozens of ... classics of American musical theater" (p. 482). In fact, in the years that I was editor for the estate of Leonard Bernstein, the full score of Candide was published by Boosey & Hawkes in 1993 and that of West Side Story in 1994. Each of these scores is available at Hal Leonard online (http://www.halleonard.com/ ([accessed 22 February 2006]) for the truly affordable price of $100.00 (comparing favorably to the Kurt Weill editions). Also available through the hire library at Boosey & Hawkes are full scores for On the Town, Wonderful Town, and Mass. Meanwhile, any work of the musical theater which has been performed in the Encores series has a newly edited full score. All one has to do is ask, when renting the materials from one of the various music-theatre libraries.
The reviewer responds:
I thank Mr. Harmon for bringing to my attention a few items previously unknown to me. Yet while musical theater historians and aficionados might initially be pleased to learn of the availability of full scores to several of Leonard Bernstein's Broadway shows (and of his "theater piece" Mass), a close examination of those scores, specifically their prefatory materials, shows that Mr. Harmon is comparing apples with oranges. Attractive as those Bernstein scores might seem—especially at prices significantly lower than that of a volume in the Kurt Weill Edition—the simple fact is that the Boosey & Hawkes scores of West Side Story and Candide cited by Mr. Harmon are neither critical editions nor are they "authoritative" editions in any way near the same sense as is Joel Galand's edition of Weill's Firebrand of Florence.
As Mr. Harmon's own "Editor's Note" to West Side Story states, the Boosey & Hawkes score was prepared from revisions made by Bernstein for the 1984 Deutsche Grammophon (DGG) recording of that show. Compounding the problems of that edition is Bernstein's death in 1990, which meant that the final score was prepared primarily by Mr. Harmon, presumably from the composer's working materials and other sources. While we may hope and even assume that Mr. Harmon accurately captured Bernstein's latest intentions for West Side Story, the published 1994 score is emphatically not the music of the score that premiered on Broadway in 1957. Moreover, without any critical apparatus appended to the 1994 score, there is no way to determine the relationship between it and the original score.
The 1994 Boosey & Hawkes score might therefore best be considered a "script," in the sense of the term as defined by the editorial board of the Kurt Weill Edition ("The Kurt Weill Edition," Notes 56, no. 2 [December 1999]: 317). That is, Mr. Harmon's 1994 score represents only one particular version of the theoretically authoritative original score (whether that object exists or not) that has been modified for a specific performance, in this case the 1984 DGG recording.
As for Candide, one might ask which of its numerous productions, ranging from the 1956 New York premiere to the 1989 London concert—this latter performance conducted by Bernstein and considered by him to be the "final revised version," which was also used in his subsequent recording of the show (Jon Alan Conrad, "Candide" Grove Music Online [Opera, 1992], http://www.grovemusic.com [accessed [End Page 1076] 22 February 2006]—is represented in the Boosey & Hawkes score. In fact, the publisher's subtitle: "Scottish Opera House Version" explains that it, too, is a score only of one particular earlier version (1988); and again without critical notes, there is no way to determine...