This is a magnificent edition, of amazing beauty (see the comments below).
We don’t have many copies left.
It consists of reprints of the first editions of all Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas. The important point about these first editions – apart from their beauty – is that they differ in very many ways from the modern editions of these sonatas.
The modern editions, without exception as far as I know, make tens of thousands of small changes from Beethoven’s earliest known text.
Why play Beethoven through the lens of a modern editor when you can play what Beethoven wrote? What is the point? I cannot see any point. Why struggle to bring out in sound the subtleties in a modern edition when it is quite possible that the first edition doesn’t contain those same subtleties at all?
These first editions are the closest we can get to what Beethoven actually wrote in the case of most of the 32 sonatas, because very few manuscripts remain. They are in fact the sources to which the modern editors went for their text, yet nevertheless the modern editors made those changes.
So if you buy this edition you will have a magnificent treasure which will also bring you closer to Beethoven. One pianist wrote after playing from this edition: “I feel as if I am hearing the works fresh from the press for the first time.”
The edition presents all the 32 piano sonatas of Beethoven in very high quality facsimile reprints of the fine original first editions of each sonata which are held in the Hoboken Collection of the Austrian National Library. Over 800 large pages providing all 32 of the famous piano sonatas in reprints of the first editions. There are short prefaces by Brian Jeffery. 1989. It comes in three versions: in five volumes clothbound, in five volumes paperbound, and as a boxed set in which the box includes all the sonatas each printed separately.
The complete Introduction to this edition (1989). It sets out the reasons why this edition was made, and especially what practical use it has for performers.
MORE DETAILS ABOUT THIS EDITION:
This is extraordinarily interesting material. As only a few of the original autograph manuscripts for these sonatas have survived, these first editions are the earliest known sources for most of the 32 sonatas. They are, in fact, the sources to which most modern editors went to establish their text. But any responsible player would have to consult these facsimiles in order to make his or her own judgements on many hundreds of points of detail. They are in our opinion essential – indeed, indispensable – for any pianist who wishes to give a historically informed performance, or for any teacher of historical keyboard performance.
They are all extremely clear to read for the performer. The page size is larger than most music nowadays, 13½ x 9½ inches (340 x 244 mm).
For the details of the dates and the publishers of the original editions which are here reproduced in facsimile, see the list of individual sonatas.
DECEMBER 2004 Christoph Thiemann has also kindly written a note on how this Tecla edition can be practically useful to pianists (reproduced here by his kind permission).
This is a fine edition for any pianist to own, or a magnificent gift for any pianist.
“During my years at Clavier, many interesting books and music editions have crossed my desk. Perhaps none has equalled the beauty and quality of these facsimiles. I cannot imagine a pianist or scholar who would not want to read from these pages” (Clavier).
“As visually exciting as any fine graphic work of a major painter” (Notes).
“Magnifique … une édition que tous les professionels devraient posséder” (La Lettre du Musicien).
“I just received the Beethoven editions today. They are absolutely beautiful!! Thank you so much for making these first editions available and for reproducing them so beautifully.” (A pianist, February 2011).
“These volumes arrived yesterday and are simply beautiful; a treasure for any music library.” (Leslie Tung, professor of piano at Kalamazoo, May 2007).
“They are fantastic. I enjoyed your essay. I feel as if I am hearing the works fresh from the press for the first time.” (Hector Garcia-Santana, pianist, Washington D.C., USA, July 2007).
“Worth every penny” (a customer, 2018).
Copyright 2011 by Tecla Editions. Errors and omissions excepted.