In 2022 Henle is celebrating the string quartet!

Why? Most musicians think of Henle primarily as being a publisher of piano music or of small chamber music works. But what a lot of people do not know is that over the past few years G. Henle Publishers have gradually been preparing Urtext editions of all the core repertoire of classical and romantic string quartets! And these are now available for purchase as parts (blue Urtext editions) and as pocket scores (study editions).

Henle’s Urtext editions of reference comprise: the complete string quartets by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Schumann. And they also have many other string quartets, including ones by Schubert, Dvořák, Berg, Smetana and others. So what make Henle’s editions so valuable?

You may find an answer in editorial details for example at two of the late string quartets by Schubert. Whereas existing for the “Rosamunde” Quartet D 804 is only a first parts edition, showing numerous differences amongst these four parts, the G-major Quartet D 887 is extant only in the composer’s first transcription of 1826, which was obviously lacking a final editing by the composer.

In the case of the “Rosamunde”, the editorial balancing act consisted of editing a coherent version in the face of obviously inconsistent dynamics or articulation markings; and of indicating to musicians when another decision was conceivable in the music text. With the G-major quartet, on the other hand, the composer’s lack of final redaction forced the editor to make numerous additional markings, for example, in the dynamics, which are often only originally notated above violin I or below the cello. Whether these markings should subsequently always be transferred to all instruments is a matter of considerable debate – based, best of all, on Henle’s Urtext edition, where such decisions, often tacitly made in earlier editions, are now also recognisable owing to their identification within parentheses.

Shop all Henle4Strings urtext string quartets scores today, and make this year, a year of musical friendship with these bespoke editions.

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