Beethoven Slurs 2

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John Ruggero
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Beethoven Slurs 2

Post by John Ruggero » 04 Jun 2019, 17:31

The following slurring occurs in the first editions of the the first movement of Beethoven's Sonata op. 54:
op 54 slur.jpeg
op 54 slur.jpeg (138.04 KiB) Viewed 119 times
The first edition is the only primary source for this sonata, since the MS for this sonata is not known to exist. Despite this, every edition known to me has concluded that the slurring for the group at the star is incorrect and includes all three eighth notes in the slur as in the following group. This is understandable given Beethoven's somewhat casual beginnings and endings to slurs.

However, Beethoven tends to be quite precise with a slur really counts, which may have been the case here. In playing this piece for many years, I have always felt that the change of slurring was too abrupt at this point. The slurring in the first edition feels exactly right since if provides an intermediate stage between the previous grouping and the one to follow.

If the slurring is Beethoven's, I think that it is yet another example of his ingenuity in transformation of musical ideas. If it is an engraver's error, it is an error of genius and will stand as engraved in my edition!
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