The Path From Idea to Finished Publication
Joseph Ryelandt, Sonate d-minor for Viola und Piano, op. 73 (1919)
Marion Leleu - The project's spark started in Flaine.
Just as in previous years, I taught masterclasses and performed with the artistic director and pianist
Bertrand Giraud. That's how we came up with the new idea to record a CD with the viola sonata by Rebecca Clarke and Paul Hindemith's sonata op.11,4, both composed in 1919. Would we be able to find a third work written in the same year? This would complete our CD. The first two works are stylistically contrasting. How would a third work fit in?
This inquiry sparked a long search for original works for viola and piano, written in 1919. I came across countless undiscovered treasures, including work by Nadja Boulanger, Theodor Akimenko, and Grandville Bantok. On IMSLP, I eventually came across the sonata opus 73 by Belgian composer Joseph Ryelandt (1870–1965): A handwritten print, published by the Centre Belge de Documentation Musicale in 1958. Bertrand and I played the work and were excited about its romantic narrative. We connect especially deeply with the second movement. The sonata reminded us of César Franck. I appreciated the sonata's technically less challenging nature; it would also be a great work for my students and for advanced amateurs.
I fell in love with the work, but could not locate a newer reissue. Perhaps I could publish – together with the CD recording – the work myself? I had no idea how to accomplish this idea. At first, I looked for information about the composer and contacted the royal conservatory in Antwerp. The conservatory shared with me the e-mail address of David Vergauwen, who is Joseph Ryelandt's biographer. Mr. Vergauwen showed interest in my vision and put me in touch with Ryelandt's family to ask for the work editing rights. I was worried that the adventure might end here due to potentially high fees. I was relieved and excited to receive the editing rights from the family! Mr. Vergauwen agreed to write the preface, since he had already published a 350-page book about the composer. He traveled to Brügge to scan and forward me the autograph, located in the city archive. Now I just needed a suitable publisher. For several years, I had been intrigued by the publisher Partitura. The publisher specializes in editions with playing scores: The voices of other instrumental parts are included in smaller size. For example, the viola part of a viola sonata includes the piano part in smaller print, and the piano part includes the partner voice in small print as well. I find it absolutely correct and overdue that both musicians can get an equal overview on the entire work. Furthermore, I also like the note colors and paper quality. That's why I reached out to Stephanie Gurtner, the director of Partitura. She reacted positively, and we quickly agreed on the plans ahead. The adventure continued!
It was exciting to compare the autograph with the Belgian edition. I felt like a researcher, examining an old manuscript to decipher whether entries were made originally. Some entries were colorful and indicated rehearsal entries by the composer or the violist Léon Van Hout. The latter had performed the work several times, together with the composer at the piano. Several bowing entries were also made with a red pen, and I noticed that many ties had been changed. At some locations, it appeared obvious that staccato articulations had been forgotten. As a performer, I would have played these notes short without hesitation, especially passages that looked similar to other passages with staccato articulations. But how certain could we be? A publisher certainly has a responsibility to make more informed decisions than me as a performer. The comprehensive preface also contains an editorial report with single comments that document our decisions. The editorial decision-making was an interesting process, and all involved individuals are satisfied with the result. I am overjoyed to present this work to the world of viola, especially in the edition of a playing score.
The adventure's pinnacle: Our CD with title «1919» has been nominated for the «Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik» in the category chamber music, and has been accepted in the current longlist.
Sonata d-minor, op. 73
for Viola and Piano
Visit and like us on Facebook.
» Music4Viola on Facebook