Aspects of Reception History
Chapter 1. State of research
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Chapter 1 State of research
1. Music editing, History and theory
1.1 Music editing as a specific form of scientific editing
In his classic book on the scientific bases of music editing,4 James Grier defined the specificity of that subdiscipline versus literary editing. Highlighting the relatively young history of music editing, whose earliest origins can be sought in the mid-eighteenth-century editions of the works of Handel, but which developed on a larger scale only with the emergence of the complete editions of leading German composers in the mid-nineteenth century, Grier comments on the hidden ideological character that accompanied music editing from the very beginning: “Since the formation of the Bach-Gesellschaft in 1850 … musicologists have produced an enormous quantity of distinguished editions …. But a strong element in the undertaking was the creation of a canon, a central core of repertory, whose texts carried the same philological weight as their rivals in literature and political history.”5 That observation leads Grier to emphasise the historical conditioning of any types of music editions, including those that theoretically embrace objectivism and a transmission of the composer’s intentions free from contaminations:
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