Beethoven’s piano sonatas – editorial guidelines


  • Piano teacher Andrei Enoiu-Pânzariu PhD “Octav Băncilă” National Highschool)



This article intends to offer assistance to the musicians who wish to approach the 32
piano sonatas written by Ludwig van Beethoven. We will analyze and remark upon some of
the most important editions, revised by famous musicians who influenced the interpretative
visions of the future generations.
The Urtext editions are regarded as the most accurate and complete editions. Most of
them affirm that they are reproducing the original text, based either on the manuscript or on
the first editions. However, great importance is also attributed to the editors or, more exactly,
to those revising the editions, who add most of the times the fingerings and the footnotes
remarking upon various technical and performance problems.
By comparing the numerous editions, I discovered valuable indications concerning the
interpretation. We can mark down the L. Holle edition, edited by Franz Liszt, the G. Schirmer
edition, edited by Hans von Bülow and Sigmund Lebert and the Curci edition, revised by
Arthur Schnabel.
In 2011, the established editions are the G. Henle edition, revised by B.A. Wallner,
Münich 1975 and the Wiener Urtext Edition, revised by Peter Hauschild, 1999.
By studying these editions in detail, we can understand their views on the
interpretation of Beethoven’s piano sonatas in the central European space. At present, the
editions revised by Franz Liszt, Hans von Bülow and Sigmund Lebert, as well as the edition
revised by Arthur Schnabel are regarded with skepticism by the pianists, because of the small
changes made to the text and because of the dynamics and agogic indications. However, the
study of these editions can offer valuable interpretative clues that reveal the interpretative
view of the pianist-editor.
Due to the variety of information, these editions represent a text to be studied in all the
cases when the musician wishes to approach a new interpretative view.



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