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Edition by Schenker of fourteen selected keyboard works of Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach, published by Universal Edition (UE 548) in 1903. It is the first in the series of critical editions by Schenker that constitute a major part of the his output.

The original title-page (OC Scores/1) reads: [in highly decorative engraved frame:] KLAVIERWERKE | VON | PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH. | — | NEUE | KRITISCHE AUSGABE | VON | HEINRICH SCHENKER. | „UNIVERSAL-EDITION“ | ACTIENGESELLSCHAFT | IN WIEN.

Publication History

The edition was first published by Universal Edition as a single volume on February 10, 1903, although in the literature it is conventionally dated "1902" ‒ presumably because the Preface is dated "November, 1902". It was initially published separately in three different languages: 500 copies in German, 250 in French, 250 in English. Only later were the three consolidated into a single tri-lingual edition (probably with the 1910 print-run of 500). A companion volume was published also in 1903 (conventionally dated 1904), Ein Beitrag zur Ornamentik: Als Einführung zu Ph. Em. Bachs Klavierwerken mitumfassend auch die Ornamentik Haydns Mozarts u. Beethovens etc ("A Contribution to the Study of Ornamentation: As an Introduction to the Keyboard Works of C. P. E. Bach, encompassing also the Ornamentation of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, etc."), of which a second edition was published in 1908.

Heavy demand continued for the edition of the keyboard works, and reissues of 500 copies were made in 1923, 1926 (when it was split into two volumes), 1930, 1934, and 1938, and even larger print-runs from 1952 onward, making a total of at least 10,000 copies of the work as a whole by the end of the century (Verlagsdruckbuch UE 548).

Nature of the Edition

In the introduction to her translation of the Beitrag, Hedi Siegel characterizes the edition thus: "It represents Schenker's first 'Urtext' edition; its text is the result of intensive study and insightful interpretation of the sources. It carefully preserves Bach's dynamic markings; the few suggested additional markings are always placed in parentheses. These editorial additions, as well as the presence of fingerings (with footnotes to indicate the original fingerings) point to the fact that Schenker intended this collection as a performing edition. The explanatory footnotes are directed toward the performer; they deal with such items as disputed readings, dynamic markings, and rhythm, but by far the greatest number are concerned with the realization of embellishments." (The Music Forum, iv (1976), 1‒2)

The edition comprises whole sonatas and separate movements selected from C. P. E. Bach's collections of sonatas "für Kenner und Liebhaber" (for connoisseurs and amateurs). Such a publication, which comprises only works dating from the last decade of Bach's life (1779‒87) and excludes sonatas from earlier collections, e.g. the "Prussian" Sonatas of c.1742, and the "Württemberg" Sonatas of 1744, offers only a small, unrepresentative sample of the composer's prodigious keyboard output. In its time, however, it served as an alternative to existing selected editions, notably that of Hans von Bülow (C. P. E. Bach, Sechs Klavier-Sonaten, published by C. F. Peters in 1862), which Schenker was to criticize sharply a year after his own edition had appeared, in the Beitrag zur Ornamentik .

Sources and Further Reading

  • Siegel, Hedi, transl. and ed., "A Contribution to the Study of Ornamentation [by] Heinrich Schenker," The Music Forum, iv (1976), 1‒139
  • Bent, Ian, "'That Bright New Light': Schenker, Universal Edition, and the Origins of the Erläuterung Series, 1901‒1910," Journal of the American Musicological Society, 58/1 (2005), esp. 71‒81
  • Felix Salzer, "Über die Bedeutung der Ornamente in Philipp Emanuel Bachs Klavierwerken," Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft, 12/7 (April 1930), 398–418; Eng. transl. by Mark Stevens as "The Significance of the Ornaments in Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's Keyboard Works," Theory and Practice, 11 (1986), 15–42.
  • Ernst Oster, "Vom Sinn des langen Vorschlags," Der Dreiklang, 6 (September 1937), 148‒57; Eng. transl. by Robert Kosovsky as "On the meaning of the Long Appoggiatura," Theory and Practice, 7/1 (August 1982), 20–37.


  • Ian Bent with William Drabkin and Hedi Siegel

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