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Alex Klassen

mus 499a J. Salem


November 6, 2016

Complete Editions
music Britannic and Schnbergian with a turn of Marais

Stevens, John, ed., Music at the Court of Henry VIII. Vol 18 of Musica Britannica: A National
Collection of Music. London: Stainer and Bell Ltd, 1962.

Editor Stevens gives both a preface and introduction to the volume dedicated to his
transcription of Henry VIIIs Manuscript. The preface gives some background to Stevens
musicological pursuits and his interest in the manuscript as a pre-Elizabethan source as
well as giving his acknowledgements to helpful scholars and institutions. The introduction
presents an overview of the history of the book, its place at the court of Henry VIII and
its importance to scholarship. He goes on to describe various aspects of the individual
pieces as well as suggestions for interpretation. A drawback of the book is a lack of
organization beyond position in the original text and an alphabetical index of titles. This
leaves the reader without a solid guide or reference to the forms of the pieces. The
volume includes editorial commentary on each piece, providing personal commentary
and additional manuscript references.

Caldwell, John, ed. The Mulliner Book. Vol. 1 of Musica Britannica: A National Collection of
Music. London: Stainer and Bell, 2011.

This reprint edition of the first volume of the MB collection presents another
reproduction and transcription of a single manuscript. It acts as the first volume and is
self contained in respect to its editorial principles and treatment of historical notation.
The main interest in the volume is the diversity of styles. Works appear from differing

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genres and also in wildly divergent notational styles. From common practice notation to
unmeasured notes to antiquated tablature systems. Unfortunately the volume provides
only a brief section on interpretation.

Schnberg, Arnold. Lieder mit Klavierbegleitung. Reihe A, Band 1 in Arnold Schnberg: Smtliche
Werke. Rufer, Josef et al. eds. Mainz: B Schotts Shne and Wien: Universal Edition AG,
1966

Schnberg, Arnold. Pelleas und Melisande. Reihe A, Band 10 in Arnold Schnberg: Smtliche
Werke. Rufer, Josef et al. eds. Mainz: B Schotts Shne and Wien: Universal Edition AG,
1966

Schnberg, Arnold. Pelleas und Melisande. Reihe B, Band 10 in Arnold Schnberg: Smtliche
Werke. Rufer, Josef et al. eds. Mainz: B Schotts Shne and Wien: Universal Edition AG,
1966

The self portrait adorning the frontispiece of the 1st book of the Schnberg Edition
speaks volumes as to its editorial methodology, the goal of which seems to be to let the
man speak for himself. The volumes are replete with facsimiles and notes; Textual
corrections are presented as springing from myriad sources, the diversity of which are
explained through Schnbergs correspondences with performers and publishers. This
approach leads to the same result as much of the mans music; to the accustomed
traveller it provides a wealth of detail and beauty often astonishing for curious turns,
whereas for the uninitiated it is often dense, intimidating and verges on incomprehensible.
The complex voluming system allows for a multitude of appendices to the works, though
its distribution over multiple volumes makes navigation difficult. The individual references
are (in the case of Pelleas at least) given in piano reductions making their equivocation a

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matter of analysis. Also the prefaces and introductions are presented bilingually while
editorial notes are not. The space saving measures are warranted for the great volume of
detail, however there is no translation of the editorial key, making navigation of the
references unnecessarily difficult.

Further perusal led to the discovery of:

Marais, Marin. Instrumental Works. Hsu, John ed. New York: The Broude Trust, 1986

I found this volume to be a round success. The opening volume provided a biographical
introduction to Marais, his social milieu and the musical cultural culture of his time.
Aside from being a useful resource the text invites the reader to investigate the material.
While guides on baroque practice are not included, a section on interpretation and
realization of the material is given, which brings the pieces to life. Notation throughout
the volumes is uniformly modernized. These editorial decisions are explained and
variation from the manuscript is given by the occasional facsimile. Appendices include
notes on sources as well as textual variants which are succinct and clear.

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