My Cart


Edition Comparison - Stravinsky: 3 Pieces for Clarinet Alone

Comparing the following editions:

Publication Year
Ben Armato
Nicholas Hare
Frank E Warren

The Chester edition is digitally engraved, and the other three are traditionally engraved by hand.  The Carl Fischer edition suffers from a few instances of bleed in the beams and time signatures; however, it does have generous, comfortable spacing, comparable to the Chester edition.  The FEW edition is a modified photographic copy of the International edition, reproduced on a slightly smaller sheet size; both have frequently cramped notation, especially in movements 2 and 3.  While the International/FEW version crams the third movement onto a single page+2 lines, the other editions spread it over two full pages, resulting in a far easier read.  All editions have acceptable page turns.

The Chester and Carl Fischer editions' staff is more than 15% wider than that of the International/FEW edition, resulting in bigger noteheads and clearer readability.  Overall, the Chester edition is the easiest to discern.

Only the Chester edition provides context on the editing process.  Editor Nicholas Hare indicates that his editing referred to the first edition as well as the autograph (composer's handwritten manuscript), and his goal was to produce a practical performance score.  Although it cannot be known for sure whether Stravinsky personally approved of the 1920 first edition upon which the modern Chester edition is based, Hare's editing does highlight seven of the "more interesting" discrepancies via footnotes.

Given the Chester edition's editorial transparency, it stands to reason that other editions should be compared against this standard.  Therefore, differences were noted between each edition as compared against the Chester edition; the complete list of discrepancies can be viewed here.

The Carl Fischer edition omits many dynamic and articulation markings which are found in the Chester edition.  The International edition has the least amount of discrepancies compared to the Chester, but there are still several articulation and dynamic markings omitted in the third movement.  In addition to carrying over the International edition's changes, the FEW edition omits many more breath marks, particularly in the second movement, and also removes more dynamic markings.

Interestingly, all editions besides the Chester add a secondary parenthetical time signature in m. I/21 (demonstrated in the Carl Fischer edition below).
Stravinsky 3 Pieces for Clarinet Movement 1 Time signature

It is well known that Stravinsky was very specific about his musical notation.  He believed that music "...should be transmitted and not interpreted, because interpretation reveals the personality of the interpreter rather than that of the author..." (Igor Stravinsky, An Autobiography, 1936)  In this clarinet work, the following instructions adorned the very first 1920 edition: "The breath marks, accents and metronome marks indicated in the 3 pieces should be strictly adhered to."  Therefore, any later changes made by editors should be held with a healthy dose of skepticism.

However, slight ambiguities remain, chiefly whether or not the breath marks (denoted as commas) should—if it all—break the rhythmic pulse.  Additionally, in his liner notes from a 2013 recording, Sean Osborn raises an intriguing argument for the rhythm execution of a fragment in the second movement; in accordance with Stravinsky's instruction that "3 sixteenth-notes=1 eighth-note," the following rhythm could be played as [two 5/16 measures+one 7/16 measure], instead of the vastly more common [two 2/8 measures+one 3/8 measure]:
Stravinsky 3 Pieces Movement 2 meter interpretation difference

Summing Up
Considering the wishes of the composer and the declared intentions of the editor, the Chester edition aligns most closely to Stravinsky's original writing.  Moreover, it presents the work in the most visually clear, spacious fashion.