Originally Posted by stephen wainman
Yes, over the years I learned to seek out the urtext versions, and be on the watch for all those slurs and crescendos!
One of the sections I enjoyed most on OU AA302 [From Composition to Performance: Musicians at Work], was Block 3 Notation and editing. This has inspired me to get the block text off the shelf again; I'm off to Prague for a week on Sunday, I'll take it with me to read. I remember wondering how one found 'un-edited' music. Clearly from your Telemann my assumption that all the famous composers must have been 'done', was wrong!
For the Telemann I'm using an out-of-copyright, public domain score lodged at IMSLP
. It claims to be an urtext but (a) I've found mistakes in it (b) it was published in 1923 when baroque music scholarship was suspect and (c) the term 'urtext' itself is slippery. Wiki defines it as:
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....
The sources for an urtext edition include the autograph (that is, the manuscript produced in the composer's hand), hand copies made by the composer's students and assistants, the first published edition, and other early editions. Since first editions often include misprints, a particularly valuable source for urtext editions is a copy of the first edition that was hand-corrected by the composer.
I wanted to label this edition 'urtext' but decided to set the bar high and use the definition 'scientifically examined.' As I've not inspected the manuscript or a facsimile (as at 1923 there was no manuscript and only two copies of the original engraved edition were known and they
may have been destroyed by Bomber Command) I decided to stay away from the term. I've stuck ridgedly to the 1923 edition, just correcting the small errors I've found, e.g. dots left off quavers which if left uncorrected make a bar add up wrong.
No 16: now in the Manuscripts Group