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A New Urtext Edition of Franz Liszt's Sonata in B minor by Tibor Szasz & Gerard Carter & Martin Adler (version with endnotes)

  • (now), Philipps University Marburg Germany (in earlier years)

Abstract and Figures

This article is a shortened version of the JALS 2017 article "Towards a New Edition of Liszt's Sonata in B minor". It contains all discussions relating to the proposed New Urtext Edition but omits most of the material relating to historical and symbolic issues. The result is to provide pianists, analysts, editors and musicologists with the opportunity to implement, at this stage, the corrections to be introduced into the new edition. This will correct the many serious errors present in the original edition which the composer did not correct in the reprints issued in his lifetime. It will also correct the many serious errors in the numerous Urtext and non-Urtext editions that have been published over the years. This article will form the basis of a new Critical Commentary (Kritischer Bericht) which will be included as an appendix to the new edition. This will result in the presentation of an authentic text, uncluttered with footnotes, together with a separate, comprehensive explanation for each and every correction. The new edition will be the first and only edition, among other things, to state correctly the motifs on which the Sonata is based. It will enable every pianist to prepare her or his own live performances and recordings from a flawless score. The desired result is that eventually all performances and recordings of the Sonata will be in conformity with the composer's intentions. The word Figure (coded red) is a hyperlink that will automatically move the cursor to the linked music Example. To activate the hyperlink, touch the screen or click the word Figure with the mouse pointer. Be sure, however, to make a note of the original page number, since the hyperlink will not move the cursor back to the original place in the text. Textual revisions suggested by the present authors are found on pages 3 and 42. (This PDF file uses Endnotes; the other one uses Footnotes).
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Franz Liszt completed his Piano Sonata in B minor at Weimar in 1853. It met with a mixed reception from the musical establishment of the day but is now a part of the repertoire of every leading pianist and may even be the most frequently recorded and performed piano work ever written. It is the outstanding example of the compositional process of thematic transformation. The grandeur and lyrical power of its themes, based on three motifs so clearly stated at the outset, place it at the pinnacle of the piano literature. Liszt composed his Sonata in 1852–53, or so we have been led to believe. We now know, however, that by June 1849 Liszt had already composed a precursor Sonata and tested it by performance to his inner circle. This monograph explains in detail the recently discovered and researched facts obtained by the authors on which this entirely novel proposition is based and places these facts in their historical and musicological context. Contents: 1818–1848: Influences of Beethoven, Hummel, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin and Alkan 1849 January (est.): Liszt's Sketch of Motifs A and B 1849: Liszt Sketches the Andante sostenuto 1849 January (est.): Liszt Commences Serious Compositional Work on his Sonata 1849 May 30: Liszt Plays "Some New Compositions" for Bülow and Winterberger 1849 May or June: Liszt Tells Bülow that he has "Begun Bigger Works" 1849 May or June (est.): Liszt Plays his Precursor Sonata to his Inner Weimar Circle 1849 July (est.): Kühmstedt Starts to Compose his Fugue Based on Liszt's Motifs B and C 1850 June (est.): Liszt Performs Kühmstedt's Fugue 1850 September: Bülow Plans to Visit Kühmstedt 1853/54: Liszt's Sonata Completed and Published Liszt's Annotations on the Szendy Copy in Budapest Liszt's Sonata Compared to Kühmstedt's Fugue The appendices include all the original sources with translations, comments by Prof. Dr. Tibor Szász and a facsimile of the whole of Kühmstedt's Fugue. A number of illustrations are included as well as numerous musical examples. Paperback illustrated 144 pages 210 x 148 mm ISBN 978-3-8442-0842-9 RRP EUR 30
Thesis--University of California, Los Angeles, 1978. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 481-509). Photocopy. s
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