Unthoughtful Editing of Music Seems to be Everywhere. I attended an accelerated high school- Cass Technical High in Detroit. They had some 32 curriculums you could major in. They even kept an airplane in a large room on the 1st floor for an aeronautics technology program. For me, there were two musical courses to choose from: Vocational and Advocational. This remarkable high school was “college prep”. In retrospect, I think many colleges could have been “prep” for Cass Tech High. But alas, things change. Ruins of the high school are pictured below.
Unthoughful Editing of Music- One Typical Example
We had a esprit de corps among the students that was second to none. we discussed countless and varied topics. Nothing was ever off the table for discussion so to say. Music editing was a hot subject. My fellow students, the class of 1969, had a running joke about musical editors. We all concurred on a musical frustration cycle. It went as follows
First you work at becoming a pianist/composer. When that doesn’t quite pan out-
Second you try working at becoming a conductor.
Finally, when the above two fail, you become an editor.
The point is the editor is out for revenge. He thinks: “If can’t make it as a composer, performer or as a conductor, I’ll be sure that no one else can”. This thought may be either conscious or unconscious but the effect is the same either way. If you follow the editors instructions, your efforts will most likely fall in line with his expectations of failure. Many teachers insist on their students following the editor’s marking.That’s a minor to major tragedy!
Unthoughtful Editing: My teacher studied with Emil von Sauer in Vienna in the 1920’s
Emil von Sauer was personally taught by Franz Liszt. Liszt accepted several students at the end of his life. Sauer was one of them. He, in turn, edited all the piano works of Johannes Brahms. However, I believe that even Liszt kept fingering secrets from his select piano students. Sauer in turn taught my teacher, Mischa Kottler. Samples of Mischa’s playing anywhere are extremely rare. Below is one that will show you what good fingering can do. Here’s to reviving another lost art!
Careless Music Editors Point the Wrong Way. I am a proud graduate of Cass Technical High School in Detroit. The school was a four-year university preparatory high school in Midtown Detroit, United States. The school is named in honor of Lewis Cass, an American military officer and politician who served as governor of the Michigan Territory from 1813 until 1831. The school is a part of Detroit Public Schools. In the 1960’s Cass Tech two major musical curriculum. Both were college prep. The school had some 30 college prep courses of study. You could even major in aeronautics. We actually had an airplane in one of the rooms that you could work on for assembly or repair. In the music courses the students were wise to editors. We all spoke of a professional frustration cycle. It went from soloist to conductor to editor. Editors, we half-jokingly said, wanted to get revenge on everyone else. Obviously, they couldn’t be successful at the first two professions. Not bad for high school kids!
J.S. Bach omitted placing tempo, phrasing or dynamics in his works. Over zealous editors quickly stepped in. I quote Edward Hughes from G. Schirmer & Co. I think he is one of the good ones. Edwin Hughes taught at the Ganapol School of Musical Art in Detroit from 1910 to 1912, the Volpe Institute of Music in New York from 1916 to 1917, and the Institute of Musical Art in New York from 1918 to 1923. He lectured at various schools. From 1920 to 1926 he was special editor of piano music for G. Schirmer, Inc. He toured widely in the USA and Europe after the close of World War I; performed duo-recitals with his wife, the pianist Jewel Bethany Hughes, and also gave master-classes. He also had opinions about careless music editors.
Careless Music Editors Over-Edit
I am currently working on the Bach Prelude and Fugue in A minor. It is transcribed for piano by Franz Liszt. Publisher is G. Schirmer Inc. Hughes humbly states about his editing: “The phrasing is to be regarded more as indicative than complete. Of himself he states “There is no desire to appear arbitrary in matters of pedaling, touch and so forth. Also bear in mind: “In the democracy of art there is no final authority on such subjects.” I think these are the words of a great man.
Finally, if anyone is interested I have I have one or two openings for piano students in Sarasota.