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Your Viola News! Issue #009 - Music publishers: which one is best?
September 20, 2010
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VIOLA NEWS! * * * * Issue 09 * * * * 20 September 2010

Hello, music and viola lover!

following the previous issue...

Make sure you don't miss the brand new page about the lovely, jolly, entertaining Telemann viola concerto with a description of the movements and videos to watch and listen to and, with this regard...

There are so many music publishers that one often wonders which one is the best one, how to choose among them? Well, I don't think there is a "number one", they are all different, with their own tradition and specialisation, which one to choose depends on what you are looking for.

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An example of this is the American publisher Schirmer. The history of music in the United States is closely connected to that of Schirmer. Founded in 1866 (from a previously existing publisher), they have the merit of having introduced the music of the great European masters to America, at a time when American music included mainly hymns and folk tunes. Soon they started to encourage and publish the works of American contemporary composers.

Also musical education was very important to Schirmer and they persuaded notable composers to write operatic works for school and community performance. The list of American and other contemporary composers whose works are now published by Schirmer include Elliott Carter, Henry Cowell, Roy Harris, Charles Ives, Walter Piston, William Schuman, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Morton Gould, Gian Carlo Menotti, to name but a few.

Schirmer editions for viola include works by J. S. Bach, Franz Schubert, Henri Vieuxtemps, Ernest Bloch, Dmitri Shostakovich, Aram Khachaturian, Sofia Gubaidulina and many more composers, collections of solos for viola and piano of various genres and difficulty, as well as scales and studies books.

Another interesting characteristic of Schirmer editions is the series "The Great Performer's edition".

These are works edited and sometimes arranged by great performers such as the violinists Nathan Milstein, David Oistrakh, Yehudi Menuhin, Ruggiero Ricci, the cellist Janos Starker, the flute player James Galway, the french horn player Barry Tuckwell, the pianist Arthur Rubinstein and (of interest to us) the violist William Primrose. In these editions, one can see fingerings, perfomance suggestions and even ornamentation by these great players.

Although someone may find these editions a bit dated, I find them very useful for the reason mentioned. For viola, Primrose edited works like Brahms 1st sonata, Bach Suites, Telemann and Stamitz concertos, a collection of his own transcription of virtuoso pieces, "The Virtuoso Violist" and, my favourite one, the Aria (Cantilena) by Heitor Villa-Lobos, from Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5, arranged for viola and piano by William Primrose, from the original version for eight cellos. You can listen to a sample of this charming work, click on the picture on the right side.

Now you can have your Schirmer editions and enjoy beautiful viola music at a 20% discount, until 29 September, hurry up!

Best wishes


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