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Schumann, Clara: Drei Romanzen, Op. 22

Comparing the following editions:

Publisher
Publication Year
Arranger / Transcriber
Accolade (ACC)
2016
Nikolaus Maler
Max Opferkuch (MO)
2021
Max Opferkuch


Appearance
Both editions are digitally engraved, and are perfectly readable.  The slightest favor is shown towards ACC's clarinet part for its average 35% more space in between the lines compared to MO.  For each movement, ACC spreads the clarinet part's notation over an additional half-page of space compared to MO's spacing.  ACC has page amounts of (I) 1.5, (II) 2, and (III) 2, and MO has page amounts of 1, 1.5, and 1.5.  ACC also employs slightly thinner staff lines which some readers may find pleasantly "recede" into the background of the page, leaving the notes more prominent.

ACC's clarinet part has no page turns during any given movement, and MO's clarinet part has one bad page turn during movement 3, which can be remedied with a single photocopied page.

ACC's piano score is one page longer than MO's (18 versus 17, with the difference occurring in movement 3), although considering the pagination structuring, they ultimately have the same amount of page turns. 

Both editions are printed on 9" x 12", off-white colored, high quality paper (for any customers particularly keen on avoiding bright-white paper for legibility reasons, please contact CAMco to verify paper material appearance, as publishers occasionally change materials over time). 

Editing
ACC editor Maler has no transparency of editing, except for his signalling in the preface that the violin part has occasionally been transposed down one or two octaves (like the additionally included bassoon solo part, the clarinet solo part is transposed down in these spots, listed below). 

MO Editor Opferkuch indicates that he referred to Schumann's autograph manuscript (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin) and first edition (Breitkopf & Härtel), aiming to prioritize the former.  He includes two pages of editorial comments in the back of the piano score, and states that the comments "...are not exhaustive, but they cover the most notable discrepancies between the manuscript and the first edition, and the solutions [he] arrived at for the purposes of this arrangement."  Markings from the first edition or from parallel passages for musical reasons are marked with "[ ]" brackets, and slurs of the same sort are dashed. 

It is important to note that while the first edition's solo instrument part was largely sound in terms of pitch and rhythm as compared to the manuscript, Opferkuch points out several pitch and rhythm discrepancies in the first edition's piano part which he has endeavored to rectify in his own edition.

More editing details for each movement appear below:

Movement I:

  • While MO follows the original violin's pitch range congruently, ACC writes a few portions of this movement one octave lower compared to the manuscript:
         - mm. 28–32 (downbeat)
         - m. 40 (beat 2, C5 sixteenth) to m. 42
         - m. 66 to m. 69 (downbeat)
  • Despite being a three-beat meter, the original manuscript often beams the notes in groups which constitute a dotted-eighth, effectively dividing the measure into what might first appear to be two-beat meter.  For example, this is seen in m. 4 of the manuscript, shown below:



    Music from the Classical and Romantic periods frequently uses this type of beaming, and context clarifies that a constant/default dotted-eighth beat accentuation is not intended.  MO sometimes breaks the beams into individually stemmed notes, which lends clarity in distinguishing the eighth-note beat, as seen in the lower illustration below of mm. 11-14:

    Top: Accolade, Bottom: Opferkuch

    However, some may find that some instances of the "old" style (as seen in Breitkopf's first edition of 1856) of beaming might be easier to discern, at least on initial reading, like the last three notes of m. 48 in ACC:

    Left: Accolade, Right: Opferkuch
     
  • ACC strangely changes the last note of m. 72 from B-flat4 to E-flat5, switching from the fifth to the tonic in harmonic terms.
  • MO dutifully maintains a notational placement from the manuscript in movement I's final dynamic hairpin (m. 71), which starts in between two noteheads.  ACC chose to shift this hairpin's beginning to align with the penultimate notehead's edge.


    Top to bottom: Autograph manuscript, Opferkuch, Accolade


Movement II:

  • ACC writes a few portions of this movement one octave lower compared to the manuscript:
         - arpeggiation in mm. 40–42, 56–58, & 80–82
         - mm. 43–46
  • MO has 2 courtesy natural signs on m. 13's G4 and F4 notes (markings which both comparably appear in the original manuscript), which ACC omits; since they are courtesy markings, ACC's omission is technically acceptable, and arguably reasonable; the last G-sharp and F-sharp modifications occur nine measures prior to this point.  Another courtesy natural sign appears on the D5 in MO's m. 65 (also seen in the manuscript), which ACC also omits.
  • ACC has brackets on the triplets in mm. 38 and 94, which arguably make the rhythm easier to discern compared to MO.



    Left: Accolade, Right: Opferkuch
  • ACC has a pair of grace notes (A-sharp5, B5) preceding m. 33's trill, grace notes which are not seen in the original manuscript. 
  • the last eighth-note beat of m. 69 into the first note of m. 70 features a pair of double stop chords in the violin part; ACC notates the lower notes (G-sharp4, A4) for the clarinet, and MO assigns the higher pitches (B-sharp4, C5).
  • MO starts the final "pizz." (arpeggio) on chalumeau A3 and notates all four notes identically to the original violin line, where ACC compacts the arpeggio by starting on throat tone A4.


Movement III:

  • ACC has unnecessary courtesy natural sign on the B4 in m. 22 (absolutely no B-flat modifications have occurred in any octave up to this point in the movement).
  • MO notates mm. 50-57's pizzicato with the identical pitches seen in the original manuscript, where ACC notates more compact triads which each fit within an octave.  ACC also marks these pizzicato chords as "tacet ad lib," an omission some wind-blown instruments may choose depending on their preferences.  While many double reed players seem to leave it out, perhaps more clarinettists opt to play this pizzicato section due to the clarinet's ability to play them very softly, akin to a violin's plucking. 


For those clarinettists interested in playing from the score, the MO edition has a transposed clarinet part that can be read directly.  Since the ACC edition was edited by a bassoonist, it is understandable why its piano score's solo line is written in bass cleff.

Summing Up
Users of the Accolade edition should be aware that a few portions of the solo part have been transposed an octave lower; this alteration could, however, be more comfortable for some low pitch clarinettists.  A few extra courtesy accidental signs add a tiny bit of visual clutter, but aren't a deal-breaker.  The solo part's more generous line spacing and perfect page turns of ACC give it a slight edge over MO in some terms of practicality.

Max Opferkuch's edition presents a premium, polished arrangement especially appropriate for the clarinet, and also helpfully lists many specific points which require personal decisions from the performer.