Boosey & Hawkes publishes Ginastera harp sonatina

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Boosey & Hawkes has published the 1938 harp sonatina written by Alberto Ginastera. Written when the composer was just 22, the work is approximately 10 minutes long and includes three movements: a prelude, aria, and toccata. A collaboration between Boosey & Hawkes Editorial Senior Director Maggie Heskin and Dr. Felix Meyer at the Sacher Foundation, Heskin shares, “The biggest obstacle was figuring out which manuscript to base the publication on. I had about five different hand–copied scans of the sonatina (one professionally hand engraved), and none of them, except possibly one, looked to be in Alberto Ginastera’s hand, although he was very young when he wrote this piece. Felix decided to use the copy that Alberto apparently referenced when he later annotated the piece.”

“While quite a number of copyist’s copies are circulating,” Meyer says, “Ginastera himself kept only two documents of the sonatina: a manuscript that is probably in a copyist’s hand and a photocopy of another manuscript which he annotated late in his life, probably with the intention of making it ‘officially’ available to performers.”

The piece is clearly intended for the harp, Heskin says. “I tried playing it on the piano, thinking that maybe we could ask a pianist to arrange it for the piano, but I found that it didn’t work at all on the piano. It is truly a harp piece. This reminded me that although he plays none of the instruments he writes for, he is able to write as if he plays them well. When Barbara Nissman and I worked together on his second piano concerto reduction, I remember her telling me that she asked Alberto if he ever played himself because he writes so well for the piano, and he said that he did, ‘one chord per minute.'”

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