Preface to Volume 16, 2 A

The present volume of the Complete edition is a repro­duction of the autograph of the Gurre-Lieder taken from the considerably reduced facsimile edition that was pub­lished in a run of 500 copies in November 1912 and marketed by Universal Edition as a study score (cf. source D). Apart from the piano reduction by Alban Berg, which was published in January 1913, this now-scarce original printing remained the only edition of the work until August 1920, when the revised score, engraved in folio format, was published. Before then, performances had re­quired the use either of the autograph itself or of a copy made in the same format.The real significance of the study score for the provenance of the Gurre-Lieder, however, lies not in its rarity value but in the fact that it is the only source that gives the music-text in the form in which Schoenberg recorded it on paper, with many interrup­tions, during the years from 1901 to 1911 – inclusive of the three bars that were added or deleted in the engrav­ed score (bars I/809, I/1091a and III/68a). This matters because it is no longer possible to reconstruct the ‘origin­al version’ from the autograph itself, owing to the many entries in coloured pencil and ink that were later added when the autograph was used as a conductor’s score and engraver’s copy-text. In particular, the changes to the or­chestration that were made so as to give greater prom­inence to the instrumental Hauptstimmen and the vocal parts are often so heavy that costly technical procedures would be necessary for the original music-text to be re-established. Indeed, in the case of the entries that were added in black ink, it would be unfeasible to distinguish most of them from the original ink inscription at all.

The reproduction of the autograph from the facsimile edition of 1912, then, makes it possible to compare the music-text in its original form, before the revisions that followed the performances of 1913 and 1914, with the version of the engraved edition of 1920 that forms the basis of the music-text given in Volume 16,1 of Series A of the Complete edition. In addition, however, it illumin­ates an important aspect of the genesis of the work. The fact that the process of orchestration was so slow, and was subject to some lengthy interruptions, is reflected in the manuscript in the form of changes in Schoenberg’s methods of notation and writing. These changes include, for example, new forms of clef, different designations of instruments, an altered way of bracing staves and even shifts in the use of German and Italian performance markings.The most obvious impact on the autograph was caused by Schoenberg’s return to work on the Gurre-Lieder in the summer of 1910, after the years when instrumentation had stalled at the ‘Lied des Bauern’: he now used his own design of smaller-format manuscript paper with more tightly spaced staves. In the interim he had given up hope of ever finishing the score and used up his remaining supply of 48-stave manuscript paper on other projects.

A further advantage gained from reprinting the study score as a separate volume of the Complete edition is that it relieves the burden on the Critical report while at the same time making readily visible the differences between the original and final versions there listed. Discrepancies between the autograph in its 1912 form and the facsimile version, which were the result of shortcomings in the photographic reproduction process or of inadvertent re­touchings during production of the study score, are de­tailed in a list given with the description of source D (cf. Volume 16,1 of Series B). For ease of use, the present volume includes system-by-system bar numberings, tak­ing into account the discrepant bar numberings in the fac­simile and engraved editions.

Berlin, November 2002
Ulrich Krämer
(Translated by Richard Deveson)