Beethoven sonata editions

What sonata editions do you guys have, and which do you really like?

I’ve got:

Liszt (not really an edition)
Cooper (bit shit really)

and a couple of other random 19th century eds like Kohler.

I usually work from the Craxton/Tovey (it’s what I grew up with), though the fingering is often a bit suspect for the trickier passages, and then consult Schnabel and Arrau when I need more guidance. I love the Liszt pupils’ editions (Lamond, d’Albert, Bulow) for the 19th century insight, but their fingering is usually the same as Schnabel or not as good. Arrau’s fingering is, for me, too personal. It’s how he plays, but it’s not how anyone else plays…

Cooper’s is just a money-making scheme by the Associated Board. While undeniably beautifully engraved, the editorial decisions make a mockery of the ‘urtext’ allegation. In an embarrassing volte face, they had to re-issue the Craxton/Tovey editions after the Cooper came out.

I’m not very fond of editions at all, other than when the editor is an interesting pianist who didn’t leave any recordings (==Liszt) in which case I might look to get clues about how he viewed and played the work. But when playing myself I want as little as possible added by others in the text. I did Henle whenever I could, now just whatever is on IMSLP if I don’t have it in book form.

I would turn to Arrau when I was looking for out of left field solutions to problems I may have been having.
I can’t actually remember which edition I would use normally, probably one with all the notes and none of the fingering.

I understand where you’re coming from. And unfortunately the Liszt edition is one of the least interesting: there are some structural annotations for the last three sonatas, but apart from that the plates are straight copies from another edition by the same publisher. Presumably this was just a money-making scheme for Liszt and he didn’t give it much attention.

For me, I love to see how other pianists have fingered pieces because you can get an insight into how they viewed the piece, and what they wanted to emphasise in a way you can’t always get from a recording (or when no recording exists). As far as textual emendations and accuracy, Henle is unquestionably the best, but it’s not one I’m in a rush to buy.

Brew - sounds like the Czerny is right up your street then!

I like to combine several editions but relaying on Urtext. Personally, I don’t have problems with written fingers, actually I like when they are some great ones and those which I don’t like, I just scratch out.

So, my recommendation is Wiener Urtext or Henle, but definitely consulting with Arrau. That man is genius and has some of the most unusual fingerings which seems weird at first, but if you are using them for some time, they can really help you on a stage and they follow composer’s ideas (esp. with separating short phrases). Of course, you don’t have use or like them all, but it’s very useful.

What is also very interesting is Perahia’s new edition of some sonatas with Henle. I bought op. 14 and scanned them before started to play, so I can send you if you want. I’m always very interested with concert pianists have to say abou those things (like Schiff in Bach or Mozart Concertos for Henle as well).

Wiener and Henle cross referenced with manuscripts

Would love to check out that Perahia op14! I’m actually relearning that opus atm

Here it is: … 404/1198c9

I’d like to quote Debussy: “Find your own fingering”.
I’m always surprised that even in some “respectable” Urtext editions, the fingerings are extremely bad sometimes. Best thing to study is the autograph, don’t you think?

It’s really one of the big unsolved mysteries in the world. But that’s a positive thing to say about editions since if done by a famous pianist these can often be quite nifty. I remember Godowsky’s fingerings in particular are always worth taking note of when he writes them out.

Thanks kreso, haven’t had access to a computer yet so I hope I don’t forget to download.

As much as I love Debussy, I really hate that quote. Sure it’s good practice to find your own fingerings, and fingerings are always personal in a way, but I’d buy new editions of any work I’m playing if I know it has good fingering so for one specific passage or whatever.

Wow yesterday I was really like “I gotta reply to this and say this and that and…” now I drank it all away yesterday

I might come back to this :brotha:

Matti Rakellio, Finnish pianist and famous teacher, wrote apparently interesting book about fingerings. I was told for this by my Finnish friend and unfortuantely didn’t find it in English: … edir_esc=y

Friend told me that book has some excellent examples which seems weird at first but can help you a lot.

In his official biography you cam read following:

Raekallio’s doctorate (Dr. Mus.) from the Sibelius Academy focused of the history of piano fingering. Subsequently, Raekallio became a member of an international research team, investigating pianists’ fingering choices from the viewpoint of cognitive psychology.

I expect it’s old news to most of you, but there’s an English book on fingering by Julien Musafia. Hard copies are rare, but there’s a scan circulating:

And there’s also a modern one on Amazon by Rami Bar-Niv:

I have Arrau, Henle, and the ABRSM one by Cooper. Of the three I like the Henle best.

The Arrau edition is really interesting (well, strange might be a better word). I bought it to check out his take on op. 57. I thought that many of his fingering solutions to the first movement were brilliant, and just as many of his fingerings to the third movement were completely unplayable (for me). He also offers some of his own advice regarding interpretation. Definitely a non-standard edition but I don’t mind keeping it around and consulting it for ideas.

I remember this dude getting flamed on 88ztreet for joining just to advertise.
Is it worth investigating

Tough to say. It’s a really good compendium of fingering techniques (and to be fair, he does say at the end that he’s not saying anything new - all the ideas are from the great composers and pianists) and it’s pretty solid advice. A few things I’d take issue with, but that’s like any book on tech really. If you’ve not got a regular teacher or are often stuck it’s probably worth getting, but otherwise just look out for it secondhand or at a library.