Rachmaninov’s Sonata No.2 in B flat minor Op.36 is one of those gargantuan masterpieces generally only attempted by those with a truly titanic technique. But for anyone interested in playing, studying or getting to know the work, Dominik Rahmer’s brand new edition for Henle Verlag will be of profound interest.
As connoisseurs of the Sonata will probably know, there are two versions: the original 1913 version published in 1914, and the composer’s major revision published in 1931.
For this Henle publication, Rahmer has produced not one but two brand new urtext editions, printed one after the other for comparison. Adding further enticement, fingering is provided by none other than the revered concert pianist Marc-André Hamelin. So let’s have a look…
Ask any classical performer to name which edition of the core repertoire they most highly regard both for daily use and as an authoritative Urtext Edition, and the name G. Henle Verlag will be at or close to the top of their list.
In their own words:
“Musicians need to be able to rely on their sheet music. This should be undistorted, free of errors, practical and durable. This is exactly what we provide. We call it Henle Urtext. Musicians around the world, both amateurs and professionals, know us. Unlike the other music publishers, we have concentrated almost exclusively on producing Urtext editions of the great “classical” compositions ever since Günter Henle founded our company in 1948. As the world’s undisputed leader in this premium class, we have the most know-how about Urtext as well as the most comprehensive Urtext catalogue, comprising 1.000 titles to date.”
To this extensive catagloue, Henle recently added a new series of publications specifically aimed at those “returning to the piano”. That series, ‘At the Piano’ is happily now available in English.
According to the publisher:
Each volume includes original pieces by one composer.
The works are arranged in progressive order of difficulty (from easy to medium level).
The works complement one another conceptually.
The length of the pieces ranges from one to eight pages.
The works contain fingerings and practical tips on technique and interpretation.
There’s even this promotional video:
There are 12 volumes in the series, each focussing on the music of one core composer, and for this review I will be focussing on the Mozart volume in the series.