Any publisher faced with the need to restore to availability a volume such as this has first to resolve a dilemma: whether simply to commission a further print run or to produce a new edition. The additional editorial work involved in the latter can usually only be justified if there is significant new material to draw upon and set before the reader, or if technical advances since publication of the first edition facilitate a substantial improvement in the way the material can be presented. On both criteria, this volume prepresents a significant advance, perhaps less surprising when one realises that it is now over 25 years since the First Edition was published by Novello.
In the intervening period, computerised score setting techniques have become commonplace. In line with Elgar Works’ usual policy, all scores in the Second Edition have been re-originated, with one unexpected consequence: the expansion of the Violin Concerto full score from 99 pages to 201 pages. This was, to us, a cause of some alarm until we realised that in performance it results in a similar number of page turns per minute as the 107-page full score of the Cello Concerto. It highlights Novello’s cramped 1912 engraving in which Elgar was complicit, used in the first Complete Edition volume but now superseded by a score of much greater clarity.
Perhaps our greater achievement lies in the treatment of the wealth of new source material, however. That for the Violin Concerto is comparatively straight-forward: a proof-copy of the solo violin part which Elgar gave to the Belgian violinist Ysa˙e allows the clarification of several points of uncertainty in the part which were highlighted in the First Edition but could not be resolved; and three interlinked final proofs of the full score which have thrown up a handful of final corrections which escaped implementation but which are of wider interest for the picture they give of the frantic late stages of the production process.
Re-editing the Cello Concerto has proved rather more illuminating. Elgar composed four complete scores - the full score, orchestral parts, cello solo part, and a cello and piano arrangement - in parallel under considerable pressure, all deriving from an early short score largely compiled from separate sketches (an early example of cut-and-paste). The four versions were eventually published in reverse order to their presumed completion. A painstaking analysis of variants between the new sources have enabled us to resolve numerous discrepancies between the different versions, enabling us in most cases to distinguish Elgar’s intended changes of heart from errors arising from shortcomings in working practices leading to a failure to copy intended changes to parallel score. Our analysis has resulted in around two hundred corrections to the published score, albeit mainly minor with many inaudible to all but the keenest ears. We nevertheless believe this makes ours the definitive edition of the concerto, and this Second Edition volume an essential purchase for all scholars, even those who already have a copy of the First Edition.
With the retail price still set at £85.00, the volume can be obtained through all good book stores and specialist music shops, or directly from the publisher. For details, visit the How to Purchase page.
Series IV : Orchestral Works
- First published : 1988; Second edition: 28 November 2014
- Publisher : First edition: Novello (Music Sales); Second edition: Elgar Works
- ISBN : 978–1–904856–32-0 (hardback)
- Availability : First Edition out of print in both bindings;
Second Edition to be published in hardback only in late November 2014
- Editors :First Edition: Robert Anderson, Jerrold Northrop Moore;
Second Edition: John Pickard
- Number of pages : First Edition: xxxviii + 206; Second Edition: lxii + 314
- Page size : 350 mm x 250 mm (portrait)
- Binding : First Edition: cloth (hardback) and paper (softback); Second Edition: cloth (hardback only)
- Number of illustrations : First Edition: 4; Second Edition: 6 (monochrome)
- Contents :
- Source description
- Critical commentary
- Violin Concero full score
- Cello Concerto full score