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Preface and acknowledgements

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 March 2024

Barry A. R. Cooper
Affiliation:
University of Manchester
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Summary

The starting-point for this book was the series of introductions that I was asked to write for the miniature-score version of Jonathan Del Mar’s magnificent new edition of the nine Beethoven symphonies, published by Bärenreiter around the end of the last century. My brief introductions were bound to pose more questions about the genesis of the nine symphonies than could possibly be answered in such limited space, but they prompted the desire for a much fuller study. Even a full-length book such as the present one cannot hope to cover every detail, but it should provide more than enough material for all but the most assiduous reader. Such a study would have been much more difficult to accomplish at the time I wrote those introductions, but with the digitisation and online availability of most of the manuscript and printed sources in the last twenty years, my task has been greatly facilitated. The symphonies themselves should need no introduction for most readers, but scores are readily available, both online and in print, for those who wish to consult them. Not all the sketches, however, have yet appeared in transcription, and however many I were to include in the present book, some readers would have appreciated more, and I have pointed to many other publications that contain further transcriptions. My own transcriptions provided here have been checked against the manuscript originals, and they show what Beethoven is believed to have intended to write when he made the marks on the paper – by rationalising nonsensical discords, for example, where his quill slipped too high or too low. They follow current conventions, with editorial material being shown in brackets and added only to clarify possible ambiguities, leaving some notational imperfections where his intentions are obvious.

I am enormously indebted to the numerous people who have provided me with useful information or practical help over many years, while I have been studying these symphonies. Without their assistance and contributions this volume could not have been written. They include Theodore Albrecht, Otto Biba, the late Sieghard Brandenburg, Erica Buurman, Jonathan Del Mar, Siân Derry, Raymond Dodd, Mine Doğantan-Dack, William Drabkin, the late Joseph Kerman, William Kinderman, Lewis Lockwood, Nicholas Marston, William Meredith, Marten Noorduin, Matthew Pilcher, Julia Ronge, Christine Siegert, the late Alan Tyson, Jos van der Zanden, David Ward and Douglas Woodfull-Harris.

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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2024

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