There is an edition edited by Darrell Berg (Utrecht) which was published in 1992, and a Breitkopf edition by Hans Zingel, and also an edition by Lucile Lawrence. The latter two are still available from lyramusic.com in the US. I don’t know about the Utrecht edition.
Do you know about the following workshop at the RCM?
05/10/2010Inner Parry Room at 14:00C P E Bach’s Sonata for harp is a standard for most harpists today. Italian harpist and authority on this sonata, Emanuela Degli Esposti gives us an insight into her interpretation of the music.Free, but tickets required.
RCM Box Office 020 7591 4314
Weekdays 10.00am-4.00pm or book online
I don’t think the Zingel edition is expensive, and if you ignore his small-size added notes, you have the melody and the original figured bass. There is another edition I found online that is also “urtext.” The manuscript it comes from, it is worth noting, is a copy of C.P.E. Bach’s original, it is not in his writing, it is from later.
The Weidensaul edition has fully realized ornaments, but I don’t agree with her realizations.
The Lawrence edition is based on the manuscript, and is largely accurate, stylish, and extremely challenging. It sounds magnificent.
I have been preparing my own, and there are some choices that can be made in harmonizing the bass line. But so far, mine seems to be overall harder than Miss Lawrence’s.
It is worth noting that no less than three of the greatest harpists of the 20th century agreed that the amazingly beautiful and moving adagio is most evocatively played as a second slow movement, contrasting the two allegro movements. These are Nicanor Zabaleta, Marcel Grandjany, and Lucile Lawrence. You can sort of transcribe Zabaleta’s edition from his recording. Grandjany’s is really a recomposing of the work in his own style. It varies greatly. I have heard it performed both ways, and it is always much duller to hear it adagio-allegro-allegro, even if that is how the “urtext” is written. Some of Bach’s music follows that pattern, and other music follows the fast-slow-fast pattern. Since this piece much resembles the Italian Concerto by his father, I think it is far best to use that pattern, and give the Adagio full due by positioning it in the middle. Practically speaking, you need a break after playing the first allegro before playing the second. They are quite long movements.
If you want to prepare your own editing, you must study CPE Bach’s very enjoyable Versuch and Neumann’s book on ornamentation. You have to be able to interpret the ornaments correctly. Then you must think about if they need to be adapted to the sound of the modern harp and the flow of the musical line and what fingering will be most expressive as well as felicitous. Do you double the bass line? Must be considered. Double the melody? Perhaps. The more you know about keyboard music and the harpsichord, the better for understanding. It is worth looking at Bach’s other sonatas, such as the Hamburg sonatas, or was it the Wurttenberg? Or the Frankfurters?
I have performed the sonata several times, and that is my advice on the subject.
Great! I’ll have a look at the Lawrence when I get home. I will keep an open mind when comparing, but my own personal predjudice is to have the urtext with figures and to decide upon aesthetic decisions such as timbre, doubling etc. based upon the individual performace (as one would on the organ). I admit to wanting more flexibility, but indeed Lucille Lawrence’s philospohy behind her edition sounds very solid from your desrciption. I shall look forward to getting it!
This is one of my favorite harp pieces in the world, to play and to hear. I use the Lawrence edition, though I did modify some of the ornaments in the slow movement, after playing it for, and conferring with, an expert in performance practices of the period. It is an incredibly rewarding piece, isn’t it?
- The forum ‘Professional Harpists’ is closed to new topics and replies.