It is with very great pleasure I recommend Van Sambeek Editions to you.The re-publication, or even first publication, of scores from times long past is an initiative which is just as valuable as it is meaningful. The publications concern the work of composers whom we often know by name but of whom we know so incredibly little. That is exactly why these publications without doubt fulfil a need. Beyond that, they are of great historical significance.
To my joy I have observed that these publications have been made with great care. They are very well readable and have been lay-outed in an attractive fashion. Of course, creating an Urtext has been the aim, so also at this crucial issue no critical remarks can be made.
That is why I hope these editions get the attention they fully deserve.
Again, recommended wholeheartedly.
Amsterdam, march 2009
Professor at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam (NL)
Visiting professor at the Gnessin Institute, Moscow
Furthermore at various universities in Japan, and in Marktoberdorf, Germany
Bart van Sambeek’s recent editions of little-known and otherwise not available early 19th century piano repertoire is more than a welcome addition of unknown works from that period – it is a model of what an edition of any earlier repertoire should be.
Several reviewers have already remarked on the value of having Thalberg’s Don Juan Fantasy to compare (quite favorably, it turns out) to that of Liszt, and of having access to fine works of Carl Czerny and Johann Baptist Cramer, today mostly represented by their keyboard exercises. To this I most heartily concur. I would like to confine my own remarks, however, to the actual scholarly work and presentation, which I find near ideal.
The layout (presumably done on a computer) is, first of all, simply gorgeous. The choice of the oblong format (A4 cream-coloured paper laid sideways) is perhaps arbitrary, but corresponds to the more or less universal practice of the time and has an extremely generous appearance. The use of a spiral binding makes page-turning easy and assures that the music will lay flat on the desk (yet might easily get damaged when squeezed into a briefcase – that point may need reconsidering).
But it is the editorial practice that is so superior to most other so-called Urtext editions. At the end of each volume we find information about the sources, the character of the edition, and above all careful notes about questionable passages or notational inconsistencies. (The dotted-quaver-semi-quaver alignment with triplets is mentioned, and contrary to most modern editions of repertoire from this period, Schubert most particularly, Van Sambeek lines last beats up as was the editorial practice of the early 19th century.) But several recent scholarly editions have endeavoured to go further than these do, giving ‘performance practice advice’ that is often hardly more than the editor’s own opinions. And the addition of fingerings in most of them (frequently by someone other than the editor who did the scholarly work) are likewise an intrusion into those performance parameters that should normally be the province of the interpreter. Gratefully none of these infringements are present in these publications. Van Sambeek treats the players like grown-ups.
I sincerely hope this enterprise will succeed, for it represents the best kind of editions we can find today.
I would love to see works of Dussek and Clementi, and more Czerny and Cramer, all of which need the kind of fine work being done by Van Sambeek. My heartiest congratulations and genuine gratitude; I will look forward to subsequent installments!
Ithaca, New York April 2008
Prof. Emeritus of Music at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Adjunct Professor of Music at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York
Bart van Oort
The works published by Van Sambeek Edities are important additions to the early romantic repertory. Moreover, the scores of Van Sambeek Edities are made with great care and a keen eye for detail. These publications are important to our understanding of the lesser known composers and enhance our understanding of the period.
Bart van Oort
Doctor of Musical Arts
Fortepiano and Performance Practice
Royal Conservatory, The Hague, The Netherlands