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29 February 2020

46. Look ere ye leape

For some ridiculous reason, to which, however, Ive no desire to be disloyal,
Some person in authority, I don't know who, very likely the Astronomer Royal,
Has decided that, although for such a beastly month as February, 
twenty-eight days as a rule are plenty,
One year in every four his days shall be reckoned as nine-and-twenty.

And here we are on that leap day.  Perhaps I ought to be celebrating Rossinis birthday while I have the chance, but this is a post Ive had in mind almost from the beginning of this blog:  What about scores that seem to have one bar too many (or too few)?

An example that many pianists know is the extra bar that shows up in some editions of BWV 846/i, the first prelude of BachWell-Tempered Clavier (Book I). 
SOURCE:  cropped from G. Schirmer (c. 1893) reprint of Czerny edition, from IMSLP #01005
This bar was introduced by Christian Friedrich Gottlieb Schwencke (1767–1822), I suppose as a remedy two faults he perceived in Bachs text.  He seems to have wanted to make the prolonged Dominant pedal begin on a strong bar (the first of a group of 4 bars)—thus he needed that to fall on b. 25 instead of b. 24, and so introduced a new b. 23.  He also took pains to eliminate the two false relations (here shown in color) in the voice-exchange.  The bracketed solid note-heads represent Schwenckes interpolated bar.


(Incidentally, this doubly-chromatic voice-leading troubled analyst Heinrich Schencker too.  He made a big deal about the fact that in an autograph manuscript, Bach wrote stems for the bass F-sharp turned upward.  To Schencker this was conclusive proof that Bach thought of that note as nothing more than a foreground harmonization of the soprano E-flat.  Im not convinced that the stemming was anything more than fortuitous.  Whatever.)  

The retention of Schwenckes extra bar was codified by Czernys edition (reprinted and reissued by a number of publishers, and probably in print continuously to this day.)  Gounod was likely working from Czernys edition when he created his superimposed melodyinitially as an instrumental Méditation, but subsequently texted (and forever after known as) Ave Maria.  Gounod has thus transformed this Schwenckenische Takt into a load-bearing bar:  it is impossible to correct it, as the climax of Gounods melody depends on it.  I am reluctant to claim that it does much damage to the Bach original.  It matters if you know to listen for it; otherwise it passes unnoticed.  And, as Malcolm Boyd has observed,
Schwencke wrote numerous compositionsoratorios, cantatas, concertos, sonatas, and songsbut his most frequently performed piece of work is without doubt bar 23 of the first prelude in Book 1 of BachThe Well-tempered Clavier.... [p. 444]
As it happens, Schwencke is a link to another work for which editions generally seem to have one bar more than the composer intendedalthough in this case the variant stems from the composer's hand.  It is Mozarts celebrated thirteen–instrument serenade, K. 361, a work with a long history of textual problems, and to which I will return in future posts.  (The Schwencke connection:  he devised a charming version for piano quartet plus one woodwind.) The superfluous(?) bar is in the fifth movement, the Romance.  Here is the relevant page of the autograph manuscript:
SOURCE:  Mozart, K. 361, v (Romance) bb. 22-30; p. 54 of Mozart’s autograph; a downloaded digital scan on the Library of Congress website; a scan of the whole manuscript is available.
This movement is in a large ABA structure, but the A section is itself a binary form (aabb).  The page above shows the last three bars of the b and the first six bars of the B.  The return to A is indicated by the instruction da capo senza repliche a few pages later.  So the moment in question here is the third bar on the scan above:  it is to be played as b. 24 twice (as it is repeated); but is it to be played again as b. 111 on the third time throughthe da capo without repeats?  

Mozarts curved bracket above and below this bar was his usual indication of a first ending, but that wouldn't work in this case, as the transition from b. 23 to b. 25 is nonsensical.  Rather these seem to be an indication to skip b. 111 and go straight to the coda.  Butcruciallythese curved brackets were both smudged while the ink was still wet.  Was Mozart changing his mind?  Or was the smudge accidental?  After all, if he made these markings after composing the B section, then all the rest of the ink on this page would have already dried.

Actually, I think this is exactly what happened.  Mozart was presumably impatient to start to work on the coda:  the previous page (folio 27v, numbered 53) of the manuscript shows a tell-tale mark where the still-wet slur near the top of this page (28r, p. 54) would have set-off when the page was put down too soon on top of the other folio.  I have marked the off-set smudge on p. 53 in red, as well as a space at the bottom of the page where we might expect to see a similar offset from the slur below the contrabass line:
So, is it a problem that the lower mark isnt there?  Maybe.  But maybe not.  I speculate that the wet ink of the lower bracket of p. 54 could well have been smudged by the bottom edge of page 53, without leaving much on the page itself.  Here is my effort at representing the pages as they would have lain together to create the offset.  For this image you must imagine you are seeing through p. 54 (and so here its image has been reversed and made partially transparent).  The top brackets coincide when placed at such an anglepossible, as the pages were then unbound nested bi-folios:
The smudged top bracket and the mark on the previous page are uncannily similar.  The most suggestive detail to me is the 1 which, I suggest, explains the blob under the set-off bracket on p. 53.  Heres a detailp. 53 on the top, p. 54 (reversed, to align the offset) below, with the 1 and the set-off blob circled:
As I say, maybe.  I think editors are perfectly justified in omitting this bar on philological evidence (and speculation, it must be said) like that presented above.  One of the editors of the NMA volume including K. 361, Daniel N. Leeson, has written at length about this bar, voicing his regret that he did not fight more with the general editors in order to omit it from the NMA text.  (See, for example, his 2009 summary of his decades of research into this piece.  He seems not to have noticed the off-set on p. 53, however.)  Leeson, with his co-editor Neal Zaslaw, did at least manage to get a footnote in the NMA score to the effect that perhaps Mozart did not want this bar played, and directing the user to the critical report:
SOURCE:  detail of scan of NMA VII/17/2 (1979, ed. Leeson & Zaslaw), p. 191.
In fact, the critical report wasnt issued until 2002, and was the work of a yet another handDietrich Berke.  (See his comment here.)  When the NMA score was issued as a separate Bärenreiter offprint, the Leeson/Zaslaw footnote was modified:
SOURCE:  detail of scan of Bärenreiter TP 312 (otherwise an offprint of the above; this is from the 6th printing, 2006), p. 51.
The Henle edition (2005, ed. Henrik Wiese) at least puts the bar in brackets, with an explanatory footnote:
SOURCE: detail of scan of Henle 9809 (2005, ed. Henrik Wiese), p. 45.  The relevant comment cited here describes the notation and the smudging, remarking It is impossible to determine with absolute certainty whether this volta applies or not, and what it refers to.  Presumably it relates to the transition from the recapitulation to the coda in mm. 111112, so that the chords from M 24 (= M 111) give way to the entrance of the coda [p. 77].
According to Leeson, the only edition yet to completely omit bar 111 is that edited by Roger Hellyer.  After explaining the situation in his Preface, Hellyer comments:  If performers cannot accept my decision that I am here following Mozart's ill-expressed intentions, they are of course free to reinstate what has been played here at least since 1803, as in bar 24.  Exactly so.

Unsurprisingly, performers have been more willing than editors to take a chance on omitting this bar.  Here, for example, is this moment in Christopher Hogwood’s recording with the Amadeus Winds.  The missing bar comesor, rather, doesnt comeat ten seconds into this clip, at the start of the coda:

I find this reading musically compelling, and certainly plausible as Mozarts intention, with the suddenly reduced forces on the beginning of the coda (and the surprise dissonant harmony when we expect the full cadence).  Moreover, I think the textual evidence is suggestive enough to back it up, even if it is not conclusive.

Of course we may be deleting a bar Mozart intended, merely to satisfy our taste.  That seems to be what has sometimes happened near the end of the first movement of Beethovens fourth symphony.  To some ears this ending seems to have one too many bar.  Jonathan Del Mar reports that Schumann (1840) and Czerny (1853) were early advocates of deleting it, and in one early set of manuscript parts the bar has been deletedbut it is impossible to say when this alteration was made, and no other source close to Beethoven supports it.  Other critical editions have brought up this question, but the only one I have seen to delete a bar for the sake of metrical regularity is Peter Hauschild’s 1996 edition for Breitkopf [below on the right].  Hauschilds astoundingly naive justification for relying so heavily on this single source as transmitting Beethovens supposed alterations:  da es wohl ausgeschlossen ist, daß andere an Beethovens Symphonie herumkorrigiert haben! [p. 84; because it is surely out of the question that others would have corrected Beethovens symphony.]  The irony is delicious.
SOURCE:  marked-up page scans of the last page of the first movement of Beethovens Symphony no. 4, op. 60:  (l.) Bäenreiter (1999, ed. Jonathan Del Marhere from 2001 off-print); (r.) Breitkopf & Hartel (1996, ed. Peter Hauschild).
And here is a comparison in performance:  John Eliot Gardiner with the text on the left followed by Daniel Barenboim omitting the bar, as on the right.



I suppose Barenboim and anyone else may do with the text as they see fit.  The composers themselves sometimes take such liberties.  Here is an extract from Saint-Saënss symphonic poem Danse macabre (1875) in the composers own transcription for violin and piano.  He added the bar marked in red when he produced this version; it does not correspond to anything in the orchestral version.
SOURCE:  cropped screen shot of 1877 Durand edition of violin/piano version, p. 11 (from IMSLP #33277); the extract begins at b. 340.
Liszts Mephisto Waltz no. 1 is a similar example, if even more complicated in Liszts piano version both adds and delete bars compared to the orchestral originalso that the two versions do not correspond.  Already in the first 150 bars each version contains a bar that the other lacks, and it is clear from the composers sketches for the piano version that he had second thoughts.
SOURCE:  marked up scan of first edition (Leipzig, c. 1862), bb. 132; b. 25 is new to the piano version.  Scan from IMSLP #13711.
SOURCE:  top, as above, bb. 120136; the orchestral version has an extra bar after b. 134; below, detail of manuscript sketch of this passage, scan from the Morgan Library.

For an example where I believe a new scholarly edition is led by the early sources into an error that an older edition had set right, look at the last aria of BWV 52, Falsche Welt, dir trau ich nicht.  As often elsewhere, Bach did not write out the final ritornello, but indicated it merely with a da Capo instruction:
SOURCE: detail of scan of the autograph (D-B Mus.Ms. Bach P 85, f. 8v) available on Bach Digital.
SOURCE:  the same, f. 7r.
Because the final cadence is (or at least I would argue is) elided with the return of the ritornello, Bach has notated the first bar of the ritornello again before the instruction DC.  Consequently, he surely meant not really a return to the beginning, but rather to the second bar.  And, indeed, at the second bar we find the segno marking we would expect to see [at right].

The BG edition interprets it thus, assuming that Bach’s DC really meant DS.  The NBA, on the other hand, takes the DC literallycorrectly pointing out that the earliest performing parts (which are all the work of copyists) have da Capo, following the autograph faithfully.  In fact, one of these early partsOboe IIIhas a segno at b. 2, which indicates that someone recognized the problem early on.  (The lack of a correction in the other parts does not mean that it wasn't corrected:  the mistake seems so obvious that the musicians could recognize and remember the error.)  Incredibly, there is no comment in the NBA critical report about any of thisnor about the different editorial decision that has been taken.  As it is the policy of the NBA to print in full such passages that Bach has abbreviated, a redundant bar is introduced into the text:
SOURCE:  marked-up composite page scan with detail from pp. 162 and 163 of NBA I/26 (1994, ed. Andreas Glöckner), here scanned from Bärenreiter offprint TP1290 (2007).
In my opinion, this is just wrongand the conclusive proof for it is an overlooked detail of the autograph score.  Where the other parts are given the da capo instruction, the singerwho will have nothing further to singis given exactly fifteen bars of rest (after the bar in which the cadence occurs):
SOURCE detail of scan of the autograph f. 8v again, just further enlarged.
 ...yet the NBA text calls for sixteen bars of rest to reach the end of the aria (as enumerated above).  Significantly, I havent found a single recording that includes this extra bar.  If they are using the NBA, the musicians are deleting it.  Sometimes an extra bar is just too much of a good thing.