Critical Notes Series: Bloch's Schelomo

I am starting a new series to give insight about common mistakes found in editions, as well as to point out common performance practice of works for cello. Because there is so much information written on the subject concerning works like Bach's 6 Suites, Beethoven's Sonatas, and Dvorak's Concerto, I will concentrate on works that have not received such extensive treatment. 

Last year I published the solo cello part of Bloch's Schelomo: without fingerings and with fingerings. This edition is fully based on Bloch's autograph, which he corrected in 1920 with vital information never before published in a cello solo part. Some of this information was already present in the orchestral score published by G. Schirmer in 1918, yet, for some reason left out by the copyist from the solo part. Bloch's Schelomo is a staple of most professional cellists and advanced students' repertoire. My hope is that my commentary will help those who are veterans of this work as well as students who are learning this masterpiece for the first time. 

The biggest difference between the autograph (A) and the first edition score (EP) is the language; A uses French extensively, as opposed to the Italian of EP. The opening tempo marking in A is "Assez lent (Très librement, comme une cadence)." The same in EP is "Lento moderato (a bene placito, quasi cadenza)." The solo part (ES) and orchestra parts (OP) only say "Lento moderato," leaving out "(a bene placito, quasi cadenza)." However, the piano reduction (E) has "Lento moderato" and "(Très librement, comme une cadence)," mixing the two languages. These observations are consistent throughout the five sources, i.e. "en mesure/misurato" in m. 2, "Plus animé/Più animato" at reh. 1, "intensément expressif/con somma espressione" at reh. 1, etc. 

Another major difference found between A and the other sources is the presentation of the time signatures. In A, the time signature only lists the numerator (when over 4, i.e. 2 instead of 2/4, 3 instead of 3/4 and so on). This was common practice among French composers of the time. The rest of the sources list both the numerator and denominator. 

The rest of the article will concentrate on the smaller details in the solo part that are missing from ES, which are present in A and other sources. I will be using measure numbers consistent with my edition as well as rehearsal (reh.) numbers. 

m. 24 (3rd measure of reh. 2), note 5 - ES and E missing <>  
m. 28 (reh. 3), note 1 - ES missing forte dynamic 
m. 39 (reh. 4) - A has "Langoureux [languid] (non troppo vivo)" penciled in 
m. 44-45 (1 and 2 measures before reh, 5), note 1 - ES and E missing tenuto mark 
m. 63 (5th measure of reh. 7) - ES missing a clef change to treble clef 
m. 69 (3 measures before reh. 9), note 3 - ES and E spell the C# as a Db 
m. 69 (3 measures before reh. 9), note 4 - ES missing <> 
m. 69-70 (2 and 3 measures before reh. 9), note 5 - A has a staccato dot 
m. 70 (1 measure before reh. 9), between notes 10 and 11, ES and E have a breath mark (comma) 
m. 71 (reh. 9) - ES missing "a tempo" 
m. 85 (2 before reh. 11), after last note - ES missing breath mark 
m. 124 (reh. 16) - ES and E has a piano dynamic 
m. 165 (4th of reh. 21) - ES missing 3/4 time signature change 
m. 172 (5th of reh. 22), note 1 - ES and E missing mezzo forte dynamic 
m. 184 (reh. 24), note 1 - ES has a mezzo forte dynamic 
m. 206 (6th of reh. 27), note 1 - A has <> vs. full hairpins in the other sources 
m. 211 (reh. 28), note 6 - ES has full hairpins, vs. <> in the other sources 
m. 225 (1 before reh. 30) - ES has "col [sic] 8va ad lib." and E has "ad lib. coll'8va bassa" 
m. 266 (5 before reh. 35), note 3 - ES and E have a tenuto mark 
m. 271 (reh. 35), note 1 - A and E have a double-dotted quarter note, vs. tied quarter and dotted eighth notes in EP and ES (same rhythm) 
m. 276 (1 before reh. 36), note 6 - the C# with the marking "1/4 tone higher" has been interpreted in various ways by many cellists. In the 1910s there was not a standard way of notating quarter tone. Because of the descending nature of the melody, this editor interprets this mark as C that is raised by a 1/4 tone as the most logical, not a C# that is raised by a 1/4 tone.  
m. 278 (2nd of reh. 36), note 2 - A and E do not have "poco" above the fermata 
m. 288 (reh. 38), note 1, - ES missing <> 
m. 291 (4th of reh. 38), note 6 - A and E have a double-dotted quarter note, vs. tied quarter and dotted eighth notes in EP and ES (same rhythm) 
m. 302 (3rd after reh. 40), note 2 - ES has a sixteenth note, clear rhythmic error 
m. 317 (4th of reh. 43), notes 2 and 3 A and EP have two thirty-second notes. E has a sixteenth and an eighth note, respectively. 
m. 317 (4th of reh. 43), notes 7 and 8 – ES has two thirty-second notes. E has a sixteenth and an eighth note, respectively.
m. 330 (2 before reh. 45) - ES missing time signature change to 4/4 
m. 333 (2nd of reh. 45) - ES needs to have a single measure rest, not a 2-measure multi-measure rest  
m. 344 (3rd of reh. 47) - A does not have a "mezzo [sic] voce/à demi-voix" 
m. 352 (3rd of reh. 48), note 2 - ES and E have a piano dynamic

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