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Edition Comparison - Finzi: Five Bagatelles, Op. 23

Comparing the following editions:

Publisher Publication
Boosey & Hawkes 1945 cl part, pn score
Boosey & Hawkes 2012 cl part, pn score, accompaniment audio

Additional Adaptations:

Arranger /
Boosey & Hawkes
score, parts
2013 Christian Alexander clarinet & string quartet
Boosey & Hawkes
Lawrence Ashmore
clarinet & string orchestra
Boosey & Hawkes
Bram Wiggins
clarinet & wind ensemble

The 1945 edition is traditionally engraved by hand (computer-engraved measure numbers have been added at the beginning of each system); it is perfectly readable.  The 2012 edition is completely computer engraved, so the notation markings are thinner and slightly smoother.  While all page turns and the piano part's spacing are identical between editions, the 2012 edition's clarinet part is sometimes slightly more spacious, and many dynamic markings are in more "comfortable" spots, aligned with contemporary expectations.

The two editions are nearly identical.  Although the editor is not credited, what few alterations have been made are signaled with brackets or footnotes.  For example, ending dynamics are marked for the clarinet part's crescendo in m. I/63, and a broken crescendo notation is combined editorially in mm. II/64–65.  A few editorial improvements make the 2012 edition slightly easier to read.  For example, in m. III/8, the piano part's crescendo is originally marked on a tied note, and the new edition clarifies the notation by moving it a beat earlier to a pair of moving eighth notes, where it is actually possible to grow in volume (this is signaled as a new editorial decision with brackets).  The 2012 edition has a few more courtesy accidentals, like the clarinet part's IV/41 beat 1 C natural.  For those interested in playing from the score, the 1945 edition has a transposed clarinet part that can be read directly; the 2012 edition's clarinet part is in concert pitch.

What's Inside
The 2012 edition contains a 3-page biography of the composer, and background information about the work's origins.  In addition, it comes with a unique code for online access to audio of the piano accompaniment and a full performance, recorded by Todd Levy and Jeannie Yu.  Thoughtful accommodations were made to the beginning of accompaniment tracks for movements 2 and 5 in order to avoid count-off clicks (since these lack piano introduction); the first one or two measures are played by the piano as an introduction to maintain a more aesthetically tasteful option.

Summing Up
For only a few dollars more, the 2012 edition offers a more visually comfortable read, audio accompaniment, and helpful background information.  Those who seek a score with a transposed clarinet line, or prefer the "warmth" of the thicker markings from traditional engraving, should consider the original 1945 edition.