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Edition Comparison - Stravinsky: 3 Pieces for Clarinet Alone

Comparing the following editions:

Publication Year
Ben Armato
Nicholas Hare
Frank E Warren
Kalmus ? ?

The Chester edition is digitally engraved, and the other four 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, Kalmus, and International editions all use the same source file.  This source file frequently has cramped notation, especially in movements 2 and 3; while the third movement is crammed onto a single page+2 lines, the Carl Fischer and Chester editions instead spread it over two full pages, resulting in a far easier read.  The Kalmus edition is an exact duplicate of the International edition, except printed slightly smaller (about 6% smaller, a negligible difference).  The FEW edition is a modified photographic copy of the International edition, reproduced on a slightly smaller sheet size (resulting in notation about 10% smaller than International, a noticeable difference).  

Although the Kalmus edition's notation is exactly the same as International, Kalmus' notation is printed slightly thicker; the source material was scanned with a higher bitonal threshold, thereby capturing more black in the printing file and resulting in "heavier"/thicker lines and notes:

Some readers may find Kalmus' heavier notation slightly easier to read than the International edition, although it comes with a few blemishes resulting from stray debris caught during the image scan; in movement III, there are stray dot blemish markings in m. 3 (after the seventh notehead), m. 14 (after the third notehead), and m. 59 (after the second notehead):

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 due to its consistently generous spacing and crisp notation.

All editions have acceptable page turns.  The International edition is the only version which structures the first two pages as a loose, double-sided sheet of paper - it is not bound to the other pages nor to the outer cover.  As a result, this loose page could be more easily lost or worn over time.  All of the other editions bind all of the pages together as a single booklet.

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 (note that Kalmus is identical to International for the purposes of this editing consideration).

The Carl Fischer edition omits many dynamic and articulation markings which are found in the Chester edition.  The International/Kalmus editions have 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/Kalmus editions' 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

Additional adaptations

Gregory Barret arranged Stravinsky's Three Pieces for three clarinets.

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.