Aspects of Reception History
Chapter 1. State of research
17 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 rela- tively 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 hid- den ideological character that accompanied music editing from the very begin- ning: “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 reper- tory, 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: Over the past century and a half, music editions strove to present a neutral edition, one that seemed to preserve objectivity and permitted either a limited scope for editorial intervention, or none at all� Again, a term, this time Urtext, reveals the mode of editorial thinking� An Urtext purports to present the “original” text of the composer, unmedi-...
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