By Alexander Dean

Dr. Andrew Levin’s edition of a viola concerto by a certain Joseph Schubert presented a unique editorial challenge: how to identify and account for the various versions of the piece evident in the surviving performance parts, and how and whether to incorporate the overlapping manuscript markings, especially in the solo viola part. In this case, the additions to the solo part were probably made by the performer, and the performer may have been Schubert himself.

Resolving these questions meant delving into the heart of what makes a critical edition worthwhile. What are the responsibilities of the editor, and what are the opportunities afforded by a source situation such as this? How much can be notated in the score, and what should be relegated to the critical commentary? And for what is in the score, is there a clear way to set off different layers of notation without sacrificing clarity and readability?

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