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Re: Bach Editions

PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:49 am
by deekay
Forgive me for resurrecting a previous topic, but the last post was back in July 2013 and some updated and/or new editions have either been published since then, or were published about then.

Has anybody who purchased the latest editions of Bärenreiter, Breitkopf or Leupold have any (further) comments based on your experience of using them over the past few years? And if you have experience of more than one edition, how do they compare with older editions such as Schirmer, Novello or Peters?

I am possibly considering updating from my old and 'falling-apart' complete editions of Novello - a few of my books the older ones edited by Higgs and Bridge. Of course these do not contain some of the 'additional' pieces now freshly discovered, and also contain the more dubiously attributed pieces such as the Short Preludes and Fugues and 565.

In particular and if I do update, I want a resonably scholarly correct edition - but most importantly, an edition which has the player at the forefront - good page turns, a clear layout that achieves a balance between not too many page-turns, yet not too 'crowded' on the page.

I would be very interested in any comments and views along these lines from those who have actually used them.

Many thanks in anticipation


Re: Bach Editions

PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:15 pm
by voet

While I do not own this edition, I believe that the Barenreiter Urtext editions may meet the requirements you list. Here is a description I found on Sheet Music Plus:

What can I expect from a Barenreiter Urtext edition?

- A reliable musical text based on all available sources
- A description of the sources
- Information on the genesis and history of the work
- Valuable notes on performance practice
- A Critical Commentary explaining all source discrepancies and editorial decisions

- Page-turns, fold-out pages, and cues where you need them
- A well-presented layout and a user-friendly format
- Excellent print quality
- Superior paper and binding

Hopefully other forum readers will be able to speak to this from first hand experience.

I am interested in what others have to say because I would like upgrade from Peters to an edition that reflects current scholarship.


Re: Bach Editions

PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:31 pm
by johnstump_organist
Peters Edition uses C-clefs, in the volumes with the chorale preludes (5, 6, 7) but it is the only one I have complete and what I learned from, having bought in high school and first year of university. My teacher would make me go to the library and double check for note differences with the Breitkopf. I think I found all of four differences over the years. My complaint about the Peters now is that the print is small and the spacing tight, making it harder to read.
I see you are in London, I don't know if they are still around but the Novello edition was easy to read and the volumes are published in graded level by what someone at the time thought was the easier pieces to the more difficult. I don't know about C-clefs though, (I had to learn to read original scores using Soprano, violin, alto tenor and baritone clefs but I was already a pretty fluent transposer so I read them by pretending I'm reading from one of the regular clefs and transposing)
Currently if I'm learning a new work or am reworking an old one, I play it into Finale which allows me to arrange the page turns, font size, hand layout, etc. all to my liking.
The differences in wrong notes incorrect ornaments etc, is relatively small among the different editions.
One nice thing about the Peters are Appendices with the alternate/earlier versions which can be interesting.
There is a nice edition coming out from Wayne Leupold Editions,, easy to read, up -to-date scholarship, I haven't looked to see how much of it is out as of this date, but I have one volume (Orgelbuchlein) and it is well done.
The Dupre fingerings were done for his very romantic ideas about glued together legato for everything and would not be what any teacher would propose in this day and age, so I would think twice about that.
For economical reasons you can't go to wrong with the IMSLP downloads.

Re: Bach Editions

PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:55 pm
by mnailor
I have the complete Barenreiter edition. It is generally easy to read print, not cluttered with footnotes or alternatives, and the binding isn't too stiff to lie flat after breaking it in. I haven't seen a c cleff in any of the volumes I've played through, about half. It is in landscape format, helpful for me with 4 manuals below the music rack.

There are a few unfortunate page turns, and sometimes the beaming and voice placement across staves seems awkward to me, but I'm not familiar with the early editions or manuscripts so that's just me not knowing the history of the choices.

WL editions I've bought of other composers have been portrait (tall) format with a binding that doesn't want to flatten. Good editions, just harder to play from.

Re: Bach Editions

PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:37 am
by deekay
Thank you for the comments so far - particularly about Barenreiter. Mnailor's point about landscape format and more importantly the pages laying flat is quite important. I have other music that doesn't lay flat and I'm always wary about breaking the spine were I to force it.

I hoping to get a comment of two about Breitkopf and also Leupold editions.


Re: Bach Editions

PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:45 pm
by jwb
I own all 10 volumes of the new Breitkopf edition. They are indeed very good and highly recommended. All notes are clearly legible and well spaced. I find the page turns comfortable as well. There is commentary in each volume of the research done and the sources used. They are expensive, especially if you were to acquire them all at once (although you can get a bulk discount if you do that). I acquired mine over a few years as they became available. You can obviously just buy the volumes of the works you are interested in.


Re: Bach Editions

PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:34 pm
by Marc Cerisier
I have the Dupré, the Bärenreiter NBA (not the newly reengraved one), and the most recent Breitkopf. I have perused the newest Bärenreiter, and I'm not fond of it at all. I'm currently playing from the new Breitkopf edition, and I find it much more compact than the NBA, so fewer page turns. Not every volume was engraved to the same standards, though (i.e. some in Score, and some in Finale), but still very nice to play from.

Re: Bach Editions

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:46 am
by voet
As a follow up to my earlier post, I just discovered that Breitkopf lets you look at every page of their 10 Volume set. I looked at the volume that had one of the works I was interested in and was able to read the notes about the piece and see the layout. This was very helpful. As a result of this and the recommendations of jwb and Marc Cerisier I intend to purchase the Breitkopf.

There is a book you may also find helpful, a pedagogical edition of 49 of J.S. Bach's organ works by Hans Fagius. He gives Baroque fingerings and performance suggestions. It is published by Gehrmans in Sweden and is in German and English. I have not found it in the U.S. but the publisher does sell direct to private individuals.

Re: Bach Editions

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2019 4:30 pm
by DrDarin
The Barenreiter Urtext Bach: Complete Organ Works.

Carry on.

Re: Bach Editions

PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 9:19 pm
by gecko
I'm loving the Wayne Leupold edition. It's musicology impeccable, has extremely useful notes and background information, is well laid out and is basically perfect except that there are only a few volumes out so far, 5 I think.

Also check out Quentin Faulker's splendid edition of the Orgelbüchlein plus a few other things: ... er-ed.html which is pedagogically oriented.

About those clefs: My father was a rocket scientist. C clefs aren't rocket science. The way to learn them is to play from them. If you flee in fear, they may grow silently during the night and consume you. (Your fears, I mean, not the clefs.)

Learning to play from them is rewarding because then you can play from easily downloadable facsimiles of Bach's own manuscripts, and a thousand other things besides. They also give you an instinctive feeling for the way the Baroque musicians read their music, which was by interval, not by absolute placement on the staff. That's why all the old sources have custodes (singular: custos) at the end of each line to cue the next note. Once you start playing from the originals, you miss the custodes when they're not there (in modern C clef editions, for example).

So, a double win: you learn a new skill, and you get insight into our musical ancestors.

Barenreither Urtext, Please

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:24 pm
by DrDarin
Oops - just saw that I already responded. I guess the mind really is the first thing to go.

Dr. D-