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Reviewed by:
  • Serenaden: Nr. 1 D-dur für grosses Orchester Opus 11, Nr. 2 A-dur für kleines Orchester Opus 16
  • Jacquelyn Sholes
Johannes Brahms. Serenaden: Nr. 1 D-dur für grosses Orchester Opus 11, Nr. 2 A-dur für kleines Orchester Opus 16. Herausgegeben von Michael Musgrave. (Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke, Ser. I: Orchesterwerke, Bd. 5.) Munich: G. Henle, 2006. [Frontispiece (3 facsimiles), 1 p.; Vorwort, p. vii; Abkürzungen und Sigel, p. ix–x; Einleitung, p. xi–xxvii; Zur Gestaltung des Notentextes, p. xxviii–xxix; Besetzung, p. xx; score, p. 1–337; Anhang A, p. 338; Anhang B, p. 339; Krit. Bericht, p. 341–406; Verzeichnis der Abbildungen, p. 407. ISMN M-2018-6008-4; pub. no. HN 6008. Cloth. $486.]

The new complete edition of the works of Johannes Brahms addresses several shortcomings of the original Johannes Brahms sämtliche Werke, edited by Hans Gál and Eusebius Mandyczewski, and published in twenty-six volumes by Breitkopf & Härtel in 1926–27. It is perhaps not surprising that there are problems with the original "collected works" edition, given that the entirety of its editing and publication was completed within a period of five years (during which time, furthermore, Mandyczewski's productivity was limited due to illness) and under significant financial constraints (as reported by George Bozarth in his "Editing Brahms' Music," Brahms Studies 2 [Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998], 2). The haste with which the old edition was produced resulted in texts of inconsistent reliability, with numerous errors—particularly involving misplaced or missing dynamic and articulation markings—riddling some of the works (again see Bozarth, this time his "Brahms's Posthumous Compositions and Arrangements: Editorial Problems and Questions of Authenticity," Brahms 2: Biographical, Documentary, and Analytical Studies, ed. Michael Musgrave (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 71 ff.). In compiling their edition, Gál and Mandyczewski consulted only a limited number of sources. With few exceptions, these were restricted to documents available in Vienna or among the holdings of the Breitkopf & Härtel archives. For many works, the sources consulted consisted of one autograph, the original published edition, and the composer's Handexemplar, i.e., his annotated copy of the first edition. Some of the errors in the Sämtliche Werke may be blamed on the editors' heavy reliance on the first editions and on the Handexemplare. Gál and Mandyczewski viewed the latter—and in the absence of corrections therein, the original editions—as definitive. This is problematic, for not only do the original editions in fact contain various inaccuracies that arose during hand-copying or engraving, and were overlooked by proofreaders including the composer himself—a phenomenon reported by Donald and Margit McCorkle, and in various essays by Robert Pascall—but Brahms sometimes made amendments in autograph copies rather than in his Handexemplare. Furthermore, as Pascall has pointed out, the Handexemplare were for Brahms's personal use; thus the annotations they contain may have been experimental rather than reflecting the composer's final wishes, which might be more reasonably ascertained by examining Brahms's correspondence with his publishers, as well as later editions and perhaps transcriptions. Such sources were almost entirely neglected in the compilation of the original Sämtliche Werke. Among the many other important documents not consulted [End Page 180] but now known and available are fair copies, engravers' models, and publishers' proofs, some of which were known to Gál and Mandyczewski but were excluded for purposes of expediency and/or financial feasibility, or were simply unavailable. McCorkle ("Five Fundamental Obstacles in Brahms Source Research," Acta Musicologica 48, no. 2 [July–December 1976]: 263), suggests that publishers Rieter-Biedermann and Simrock deliberately withheld some of the relevant manuscripts in their possession in order to "retain their monopoly as publishers of Brahms in the face of the encroaching Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke."

There are other drawbacks to the original Sämtliche Werke. For instance, the editors unfortunately kept their commentary and annotations extremely brief and limited, indicating neither the nature nor frequency of discrepancies between source texts, declining to explain the methodology they employed in handling those discrepancies, and omitting indications of editorial intervention, thus rendering...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-150X
Print ISSN
0027-4380
Pages
pp. 180-183
Launched on MUSE
2010-09-04
Open Access
No
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