Édouard Lalo (1823–1892) Symphonie espagnole Op. 21
Urtext edited by Christian Rudolf Riedel [vl,orch] Duration: 35'
84 pages | 23 x 30,5 cm | 324 g | ISMN: 979-0-004-18275-8 | Softbound
Edition for violin and piano edited and revised by Christian Rudolf Riedel
Édouard Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole was long time inadequately edited: The two first editions (piano reduction and score) differ considerably from one another, since the composer continued to hone his work after the completion of the engraver’s master for the piano reduction, and he even made certain compositional additions. The present Urtext edition eliminates all these inadequacies and inconsistencies. Moreover, the editor was able to base himself for the first time ever on the previously unknown autograph of the solo part. The discovery of this source was nothing less than sensational. Lalo, who was an outstanding violinist in his own right, had meticulously marked up his manuscript with the help of the arrangement by Pablo de Sarasate, to whom Lalo had dedicated the work and entrusted the world premiere. This new source situation allowed for an urtext edition that corresponds throughout to the “author’s final version.“
With Pablo de Sarasate (1844–1908) as soloist, the Symphonie espagnole – actually a violin concerto in spite of its designation as a symphony – was given its triumphant first performance under Jules Pasdeloup (1819–1887) at the Cirque d’hiver in Paris on 7 February 1875, in the cycle of Concerts populaires de musique classique. Lalo had studied the violin with François Antoine Habeneck (1781–1849) and possibly also Pierre Baillot (1771–1842). He not only taught the violin for many years, but also appeared in public as a violinist in the Quatuor Armingaud, where he played the second violin and, occasionally, the viola. Lalo wrote several other concertos for violin and orchestra, also for Sarasate, as well as the equally successful Violoncello Concerto in D minor; however, it was the Symphonie espagnole that brought him by far the greatest recognition as a composer.
The Symphonie espagnole is part of a series of concertos and concertante works that betray the influence of the “national” style of music popular in Lalo’s time, such as Lalo’s own Fantaisie norvégienne (1878, revised the following year as Rapsodie norvégienne) and Concerto russe op. 20 (1879), Joachim’s Violin Concerto in the Hungarian Manner op. 11 (1861), Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy op. 46 (1880) and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Fantasy on Russian Themes op. 33 (1887). Yet at the same time, Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole clearly stands in the French musical tradition honed by Berlioz and inspired by composers such as Mendelssohn and Schumann, a tradition that was extended in the concerto genre by the violin concertos of Saint-Saëns and his Introduction & Rondo capriccioso op. 28, also written for Sarasate. In his Symphonie espagnole, Lalo presented a number of ingenious new ideas for the medium such as the unusual five-movement form, the suite-like structure, and the incorporation of new orchestral colors such as the harp, the snare drum and the triangle. Along with Bruch’s first violin concerto op. 26 (1868) and the violin concertos of Tchaikovsky (1878), Brahms (1878/79) and Dvořák (1879), which were written after Lalo’s work, the Symphonie espagnole ranks among the great romantic violin concertos of the second half of the nineteenth century which have conquered a permanent place of honour in the repertoire of violinists and orchestras the world over.
The genesis of the work is closely linked with its dedicatee, Pablo de Sarasate, who had given the enthusiastically acclaimed premiere of the Violin Concerto in F major op. 20 the previous year. Inspired by this success, Lalo, most likely in spring 1874, began writing a new violin concerto that was intended not only to showcase the soloist’s virtuosity, but also to incorporate his national identity in a musical fashion as well. It is certainly justified to consider the Symphonie espagnole as a musical homage “À Son Ami Pablo de Sarasate” and a tribute to the virtuoso and composer, an artistic personality who commanded the attention of the musical world in the nineteenth century in a manner equaled perhaps only by Liszt and Paganini. The Symphonie espagnole owes its unbroken success certainly in part to the fortunate circumstance that it found in Sarasate an extraordinary interpreter for the premiere performance, who dazzlingly met all the virtuoso demands that were laid in the work; however, it is above all the qualities of the work itself – the wealth of melodic ideas, the rich palette of sounds and the skillful use of folkloristic elements – which have won the work its undying reputation as one of the repertoire’s great violin concertos.
The autograph sources of the Symphonie espagnole, which all belong to the collections of the Éditions Durand, are located today in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris and reflect the rather complex history of the work’s genesis. It is not known whether the manuscript of the piano reduction dated “Houlgate 1874” was preceded by sketches. This manuscript was a short score whose practical use as a piano reduction was no doubt taken into consideration from the very start. Many layers of revisions suggest that it represents the first version of the work. It contains the fundamental compositional layout which the composer must have concluded in the summer of 1874 during his stay at the seaside resort in Normandy. Immediately after completing it, Lalo copied out a separate solo part from this short score so that Sarasate could learn it. In Paris, Lalo then proceeded to work out the orchestration, a process that lasted until mid September. The major outlines of the work were thus laid down by then, but the compositional process was far from over. Even before the parts of the first performance (which are unfortunately lost) were written out, Lalo made a thorough revision of the orchestration and expanded the introduction of the final movement by ten measures. Thus the composer was still working on the final version of the work, and on its interpretative concept in particular, at the same time that the piano reduction was being engraved. It was no longer possible to integrate these changes into the autograph of the piano reduction which Lalo had sent as “Stichvorlage” to the publisher Durand & Schoenewerk in Paris on 20 November 1874. Lalo made further changes in the tempo markings and metronome indications after discussions and rehearsals with Sarasate and following the first performance of the piece, with piano accompaniment, at Lalo’s home on 29 December 1874. By this time, the engraving of the piano reduction was, if not already completed, then certainly nearing completion. The first edition of the piano reduction was released in mid February 1875, thus a few days after the world premiere of the work; its piano part and the solo part printed above it corresponded, however, to the version of mid November 1874. Only the movement headings of the second, third and fifth movements had been corrected in the proofs; otherwise the metronome markings and the shorter introduction were left unchanged. One can assume that the publisher did not wish to make a completely new engraving, which would have been inevitable in view of the many changes that had since been made both in the piano part and, above all, in the solo part. It thus represented a kind of compromise to which the composer seems to have acquiesced, even though it is not clear to what extent he approved of it. Since the printing was urgent, the publisher re-engraved only the solo part, which was included separately with the piano reduction. The “Stichvorlage” was the aforementioned separate solo part, which Lalo had extensively revised for this purpose and which he had supplied throughout with bowings, fingerings, indications of positions and other performance instructions (such as, for example, de la pointe). He probably consulted the copy prepared by Sarasate.6 A footnote referred to the differing lengths of the introduction of the final movement (“A l’orchestre l’introduction a 10 mesures de plus qu’au piano.”). Nevertheless, this part was not brought into alignment with the score, in which Lalo had definitively laid down a number of tempo details that had resulted directly from the performance experience (among them are the musically most advantageous positionings of the tempo markings in the Rondo and the metronome indications for the first, third and fifth movements). The first edition of the score was published in late May 1875; the “Stichvorlage” was the autograph score with the solo part that had been left unrevised there.
The present piano reduction made by the composer was revised in connection with the source-critical performing edition of the score (PB 5520). The piano part was technically simplified at a few passages. The sources used were the autographs of the piano reduction and the score, as well as, for the first time ever, the autograph solo part. In addition to eliminating the errors and inconsistencies of the first editions, we have also attempted to remedy the historical failings concerning the musical text and to transfer the changes subsequently made by Lalo in the score (orchestration, movement headings, tempo and metronome markings) into the piano reduction. Orchestral indications were also supplemented. In order to ensure a correspondence between the score and the orchestral parts, we have added the measures inserted by Lalo in the introduction to the orchestral version, but tagged them with vi-de signs. Since Lalo probably only intended this extension for the orchestral version, they can be left out in a performance with piano. Major differences in the solo part between the first editions of the score and the piano reduction are provided in footnotes and textual notes. We are thus able to offer for the first time an edition that corresponds entirely to the definitive, authorized version and in which the many variances and deficits of the first editions have been eliminated. Further information on the sources and the edition can be found in the “Kritischer Bericht” to the edition of the score (PB 5520), the use of which we strongly recommend.
We wish to thank the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich, for putting copies of the sources of the first editions at our disposal. We also wish to extend our particular thanks to Gérald Hugon, the Directeur artistique of the Éditions Durand-Salabert-Eschig-Amphion for the permission to examine the autographs belonging to Durand and preserved in the Music Department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris; and librarian Marie-Gabrielle Soret for her gracious support and assistance in Paris. Finally, I am profoundly indebted to Antje Weithaas for her valuable advice in the evaluation of matters specific to the violin.
Wiesbaden, Fall 2006
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