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New Urtext Edition: Beethoven Symphonies 1–9

Jonathan Del Mar began his work of compiling new Urtext Editions of the nine Beethoven Symphonies in 1995. Until now the edition most commonly used by orchestras has been the Breitkopf & Härtel, made as long ago as 1862–4, and the past four years’ research will result in the first complete scholarly edition of the Symphonies since that date. The method of research normally uses as a base the standard Breitkopf score, comparing this in every detail with all surviving sources, primarily from facsimiles and paper copies of microfilms; specific queries are then checked against the original manuscripts, held in repositories all over Europe. This project has been supported throughout the period by small research grants from the British Academy, and the final symphony, No.7, will appear in June 2000. Here Jonathan Del Mar reports on the preparation of Symphony No.5, which was published in November 1999.

• Jonathan Del Mar

The whole article can be downloaded as a PDF file.

Published in Review, July-December 1999.