Accompanied Partsongs, Unaccompanied Partsongs

Schubert: Accompanied partsongs (Partiturbibliothek): Der Gondelfahrer D809; Nachthelle D892; Geburtstaghymne D763; Gebet D815; Im Gegenwärtigen Vergangenes n710. Breitkopf

Unaccompanied partsongs (Chorbibliothek): Wehmut D825/1; Ewige Liebe D825/2; Mondenschein D875; Frühlingsgesang D709; Ruhe, schönstes Glück D657; Wein und Liebe D901; Der Entfernten n331; Vorüber die stöhnende Klage D53; Trinklied D847; Der Geistertanz D494. Breitkopf


Breitkopf seem to be in two minds. Both their series strike me as out of date and out of touch (e.g. with each other). The Partiturbibliothek size and costs are so inflated as to risk going bust. Why pay extra for an old vignette, an irrelevant catalogue, and four sides of blank paper? At least the Chorbibliothek's postcard format of 21 x 15 cm without title­page or preliminaries shows how massive economies can be achieved without commensurate sacrifice of clarity or elegance. There, however, the congratulations end. “Mit der Freude zieht der Schmerz” is all too apt a title for this a cappella series, which is far from being an unalloyed pleasure. Six of the ten samples omit or misquote the Deutsch number; none gives a date of composition. The public is solemnly admonished not to reproduce or copy the text. But why can't Breitkopf take their own advice, and spare us the errors and inadequacies of the old Gesamtausgabe that they are still tirelessly trading on after nearly a century? For instance, the first word in bar 6 of D331 must be “falben”, not “fallen”, on the clear evidence of the solo setting D350, the needed rhyme, and the poetic source. In many other respects (e.g. the dynamics of D53, the poet of D331, the title of D847) this series is in obvious and urgent need of competent care and attention.


The Musical Times, Jul. 1979 (p. 586) © the estate of eric sams