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Early Music Review

Clifford Bartlett

May 2009


First, a curiosity appropriate for these straightened times: a Duo economique by Christian Ernst Graaf (1723-1804) for two players on one violin, edited by Christopher Hogwood (HH 243; 7.95). At least if you have to pawn your fiddle, you can find a friend and earn a few coins by busking; with a bit of ingenuity, you can probably embellish it with actions that can make it look quite sexy. The parts are cleverly designed to be of equal interest, and although it will generally be performed as a joke, the music is rather better than it might have been. The edition includes a facsimile (parts on a pair of facing pages) and modern score (helpful for devising how to move arms). Both seem a bit small, and the facsimiles don't need double margins. It's a nice idea, and I suspect it to be popular at summer-school end-of-week concerts/parties. Or try it with the whole violin section of an orchestra as a way of breaking the ice!

More seriously, Keith Pascoe has edited Boccherini's Quintet in C (1779) C 310, op. 28/4 (HH 071). The quintets are most easily accessible from the Janet et Cotelle edition in 16 volumes (in parts), originals of which are fairly accessible and photocopies of which are available from - I was going to say from King's Music, but now The Early Music Company Ltd. These are not authoritative, and I'm interested to see an edition of one (only one among so many!) quintet edited from the main sources. This work also circulates in an arrangement by Lauterbach, which may still circulate among 'modern' players.

Out of curiosity I compared J&C with Pascoe for incidental details. In the opening 4 bars of Violin 1, only two of the nine slurs in J&C are in Pascoe. Cello 1, however, is more accurate, unless you object to the change from treble clef to be played down an octave to tenor clef. At bar 35, Pascoe has an in-tempo cadenza for both violin and cello 1, adding a whole bar, while J&C has two notes with pauses implying that the cello ad libs (without the violin). These are just a couple of examples. The J&C Grave is barred in 2/4 rather than C, but the complex cello part is more accurate than I expected (though some verbal indications and slurs are missing). The title page bears the heading 'featuring the well-known Rondeau for violoncello. It begins with some fiendish leaps, but it's not just a solo cello piece: even the viola has a solo. It's excellent that this edition has appeared: let's hope for more.

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