Spohr Quartet Opus 82. no. 2 – score finished!
The only previously available edition by Schlesinger has been out of print for a long time – and it contained lots of errors, wrong notes and mistakes in phrasing – some dynamic markings had disappeared altogether. By referring back to Spohrs original manuscript, I’ve been able to re-set, format and print out an edition ready for performance, with the page turns in sensible places to co-incide with rests in the music.
Spohr’s handwriting is nicely legible, but he does have a style of slurring where it’s sometimes unclear whether a slur is meant to end on a particular bar, or be tied over, so I’ve had to use some musical judgement on this. After a while, it also became apparent when he’s writing something different (to add variety) or when a slur or phrase has been added hastily and isn’t quite consistent.
It’s always interesting to look at an original manuscript – and even with highly prolific composers such as Bach and Mozart, mistakes and unclear handwriting do occur. With this work by Spohr, it was probably his ‘neatly written up’ version which he produced to give to his publishers and therefore quite a chore (preventing him from getting on with his next composition perhaps?) that he wanted to get finished as quickly as possible. Although he starts off being very meticulous, towards the finale a few more errors and inconsistencies creep in – and it’s obvious that the process of writing became accelerated towards the end.
It was with a real sigh of relief that I printed off the final page of the last part as it’s been a bit of a marathon to say the least. When I volunteered to re-set the piece, I obviously didn’t realise just quite what a task I was letting myself in for. It’s nice to think though, that this edition is now as faithful to the original as possible and in a performable form, so concert and wedding string quartets can play and enjoy this piece.
Would I do it again? … Well if I’m honest – probably not in a hurry….. but as I’ve sent a copy to Theo Wyatt at Merton Music, he can publish and make the piece cheaply available to other musicians. It’s a really beautiful work and I think it deserves to be ‘out there’ being played again.