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Chopin – National Edition vs Wiener Urtext

Quick Notes for National Edition vs Wiener Urtext

Quick notes on these editions:

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Jan Ekier
  • Both editions were edited by Jan Ekier (The national edition is edited by Pawel Kaminski as well)
  • The Wiener Urtext  for Chopin’s ballades was published in 1986. The National Edition was published eleven years later in 1997.
  • Wiener Urtext has different editors for the entirety of Chopin’s works. For example, Paul Badura-Skoda is the editor for Chopin Etudes for Wiener Urtext. Jan Ekier established the Foundation of the National Edition in 1998, and is the editor for each work by Chopin for this edition.
  • Paul Badura-Skoda (editor for the Wiener Urtext for Chopin) even said that the National Edition is the best edition for Chopin. (Source)

Chopin Ballade 1

The National Edition claims to use “the most scientific method on the basis of all sources” for editing. Let’s see how some of these modern approaches differ from an edition published a little more than ten years prior.

Sources

Wiener Urtext –

  • Autograph fair copy (clean copy of draft that was corrected by Chopin)
  • French first Edition published in July 1836 by Paris: M. Schlesinger (According to notes in this edition, Chopin was known to have carefully proofread the French first edition and made some changes to it.) Click here to see the second French edition.
  • English first edition published in August 1836 by London: Wessel and C.
  • German first edition published in 1836 by Leipzig: Breitkopf and Hartel.  Click here to see this edition.

National Edition –

  • Autograph/fair copy (basis for French first edition)
  • First French Edition. Published by M. Schlesinger publishing company in 1836 (This company also printed the first editions of Beethoven’s last two piano sonatas)
  • Second French edited with corrections by Chopin. (In the critical notes for the Wiener Urtext, it is said that Chopin carefully made corrections for this edition. In the National Edition Source Commentary, it says that he was careless with his corrections.)
  • French Edition owned by Camille Dubois, a student of Chopin. Her scores contained annotations by Chopin, fingerings, performance notes, and corrections from errors made by printing.
  • First German Edition published by Breitkopf and Hartel in 1836.
  • Second, Third, and Fourth German Editions.
  • First English Edition (the source commentary says that the First English Edition was based on the first French edition)

Score

M. 18

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National Edition
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Wiener Urtext

There is a subtle editorial marking added in the national edition. There is a decrescendo marking written on the and of 4 in the National Edition.

M. 44

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national edition
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wiener urtext

Editorial marking – There is a quarter rest written in the left hand part, m 44 beat 6, for the Wiener Urtext.

M 85-86

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national edition
best edition chopin
wiener urtext

There is a difference in the direction of the stems for the right hand. In the national edition, the B flat (M 85 beat 1) is up stemmed, while it is down stemmed in the wiener urtext. Having all the stems going upward shows the musical line in this phrase and to bring out these up stemmed notes.

M. 87 – 88

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national edition
best edition chopin
wiener urtext

Notice the staccato on M 88 beat one in the National Edition. This staccato is not present in the wiener urtext. Also, the phrasing in the National Edition shows M 87 beats 5 and 6 connecting to the first beat of M 88. In the Wiener Urtext, the phrase in M 87 beats 5 and 6 ends on the sixth beat, and a new phrase begins with M 88.

M 161 – 162

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national edition
best edition chopin
wiener urtext

Beats 1 in Measures 161 and Measures 162 have differences. In the national edition, the notes on beat 1 have a staccatissimo placed for the articulation. In the wiener urtext, the articulation is a staccato.

M 171

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national edition
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wiener urtext

This measure is a booger! In the French first edition, there was an error with the placement of the Ab (in the fourth note of the quintuple).

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French first edition

The second French edition features this change to M 171 (made by Chopin’s request):

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second French edition

Notice the D added to the fourth note of the quintuplet.

The Wiener urtext claims to reproduce what is written in the autograph score for this measure. The national edition chooses to make M 171 similar to measure M 170, and then writes what is written in the autograph score above M 171.

The national edition says it is doubtful whether or not Chopin wanted the added D in the fourth note of the quintuplet. It also states other instances in which the first French edition made similar errors.

M 194

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national edition

There are tenuto markings on the and of 4 in Measures 194, 196, and 198. These markings were made by Chopin in Camille DuBois’ score.

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