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'Saint-Saëns: Allegro Appassionato for Cello and Piano, Op. 43'

'Saint-Saëns: Allegro appassionato for cello and piano, Op. 43.' Urtext edited by Christine Baur. Bärenreiter Kassel, $14.95

Saint_Saens

Camille Saint-Saëns composed a number of works for cello in the 1870s, including the Allegro appassionato for cello and piano, Op. 43 (1873), later reworked for cello and orchestra in 1876. Durand first published the cello/piano version in 1875, (available at International Music Score Library Project’s website, imslp.org) but it wasn’t until 1902 that the orchestral version appeared in print. The cello parts of the two versions are remarkably similar, with a few variations in bowings and articulations. Bärenreiter recently issued a new urtext edition of Allegro appassionato for cello and piano, edited by Christine Baur. Compared to the early prints of both versions, Baur has produced an edition that can be used for either form of the work, with annotations and notes explaining the differences between the two.Camille Saint-Saëns composed a number of works for cello in the 1870s, including the Allegro appassionato for cello and piano, Op. 43 (1873), later reworked for cello and orchestra in 1876. Durand first published the cello/piano version in 1875, (available at International Music Score Library Project’s website, imslp.org) but it wasn’t until 1902 that the orchestral version appeared in print. The cello parts of the two versions are remarkably similar, with a few variations in bowings and articulations. Bärenreiter recently issued a new urtext edition of Allegro appassionato for cello and piano, edited by Christine Baur. Compared to the early prints of both versions, Baur has produced an edition that can be used for either form of the work, with annotations and notes explaining the differences between the two.

The excellent introduction, which puts the piece in historical perspective, includes a description of Saint-Saëns as a performer. Apparently, he wasn’t visibly emotive when he played, and according to the composer, he used vibrato sparingly.

The Bärenreiter edition offers two cello parts—one with the original slur markings taken from the earliest prints of the piece, and the other with bowings and fingerings by Margaret Edmondson.

Both cello parts are user-friendly; they are clear, easy to read, open out to three pages, and have frequent measure numbers—which are welcome improvements to the old Leonard Rose/International edition, which has an inconvenient page turn and no rehearsal letters or numbers at all. However, the crowded International piano part has only two page turns compared to four page turns of the easier-to-read Bärenreiter piano score. The Edmondson fingerings and bowings are not all that different from Leonard Rose’s, and they work well.

My only complaint is that the Edmondson version does not include the original slurs so a performer must consult either the piano score or the other cello part to see the editorial changes. When editors alter slur marks that are too long to play comfortably, I like to view the composer’s intent, so that I can try to make smooth bow changes that mirror the original markings.


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