„Nicht mehr wegzudenken““Doing without is no longer conceivable”

“Doing without is no longer conceivable” – Joachim Veit on the Application of Edirom Tools in the Preparation of the Volumes of the Weber Complete Edition

Even though in 2005 for the first time ever within the sphere of historico-critical music editions, we presented a digital version on the CD enclosed with Weber’s Klarinettenquintett, Op. 34, in Series VI, Vol. 3, the Weber works edition remains, however, published primarily in “traditional” form, that is, as a printed edition. Nevertheless, the collaboration with Edirom Project, that in 2008 could now even present a new version of Weber’s quintet, basically re-engineered technically and executable on various operating systems, has fundamentally transformed the way of working at the Detmold work site of the Weber Edition. That is to say, the Edirom Tools can also be used most profitably for the daily work of preparing the printed volumes.

Initially, this concerned in particular labor intensive collation: Unlike with the reader-printer copies often more than fairly old, available on the screen are not only (as a rule substantially) better digitals (partly in color), but through the cartography of the sources and combination capability in Edirom (as easy to use as child’s play), measures from various scores or parts can be combined at any time in such narrow space that the eye has a very short path for executing the necessary comparative work. All new at the same time is the conflation of parts for a new kind of synthetic score – an auxiliary means I have dreamed of all along! Even the possibility, for instance, of quickly jumping back and forth between exposition and reprise, leads to being able to compare parallel passages more frequently than would presumably be done with the uncomfortable method by way of a stack of paper. That especially benefits editorial work! We ought to quietly concede that earlier, for reasons of time, repeated checking of unclear places often had to be omitted; today, a source constellation can be produced at anytime with the most minimal effort, permitting the re-examination of what is uncertain.

But to emphasize facilitating work as a feature of Edirom would only be narrowing! No, it is very much more important to observe a shift of accent in the working process: This new kind of work with the sources brings with it a very much more intensive coming to terms with the idiosyncrasies of notation, indeed, in many cases leading first to the otherwise hardly feasible direct placement of sources “next to each other” (as, for instance, in the illustration of four authorized handwritings in the Jubel overture) for apprehending the characteristics or making dependencies clear. The “writtenness” of the transmitted records and issues of interpretation in this medium move into focus in a way that now makes the interpretational elbowroom and the problems in the edition of music “insightful” even for the outsider or the practical musician! – though time and again, we must warn against relying on mere “appearance! The editor must articulate in this setting all necessary interpretational references to the “reading” of the sources – thus mentioning things that he otherwise simply suppressed because he did not consider himself accountable to the reader. (But he is often aware of this only while working with digital resources!)

If I view this new kind of transparency as one of the enormous advantages of digital editions, then of course it hurts me as editor when for the printed volume I must again “boil down” the results of my work to a certain extent and make them less transparent in their brevity. But I have the impression that work with this digital resource is also contributing to a gradual modification of our traditional critical reports. On the other hand, I am naturally pleased that at least several important works are in turn augmented by digital supplements. Thus, in 2010 the clarinet concertos will appear [editorial note: work on the clarinet concertos was finished late in 2010, the volume, including a digital supplement, appeared early in 2011] with a DVD supplement, and for the publication of Freischütz in a few years, the digital version might also be published online, in order, on the one hand, to use the advantages of updating – corrections are always necessary in the scholarly field of progressing knowledge, and here they can finally be introduced without incurring great expense – but on the other hand, also to produce a connection to the rest, actually digitally published parts of the Weber Edition (letters, diaries, writings) and thus to relate various kinds of information in new ways.