Notated music is a message from composer to performer. As in a letter, the composer indicates in his musical text, as precisely as he deems necessary, how his conceived music should sound. This form of communication, like any, varies a lot depending on the composer’s personality and the type of message he wishes to convey as well as particularities of the musical language. The relationship to the addressee also plays a role: a letter written to a close friend contains less information than would a letter to a stranger.
Living in the 21-st century, there is little that connects us with the reality of every day life as experienced by a composer in an earlier epoch, which is why we are obliged to consider with care every notated detail. Our attempt at insight is made particularly difficult by the fact that the, without doubt useful, standardized print from which we play today is already a smoothing of the handwritten source, which in turn is merely a projection of the conceived soundscape of the composer.
Since the autograph is our only remaining authentic connection to the composer, it is my endeavour to communicate the composer’s testament as accurately as possible. As well as aiming for the greatest possible faithfulness to the score and meeting high graphic and aesthetic expectations, I consider it important to impart information that is contained “between the lines”. In the process, the preservation of ambiguity is central: since in music we are not dealing with an absolute, stringent text, and the position and form of a marking can considerably influence its meaning, a handwritten score can often be interpreted in multiple ways.
Contrary to the usual method of creating a clear solution through comparison and correction, I venture to preserve any ambiguity in print. In some cases the appearance of a musical symbol needs to be changed, in other cases additional symbols need to be created in order to remain as faithful as possible to the original handwriting. (Further details regarding this can be found in the sections about individual composers and in the forward to each score.)
As a whole it is my wish that, in contact with the music of these great composers, a player can experience great musical pleasure with the help of these painstakingly produced editions.