Monday, November 3, 2008

Oh Handel - why couldn't Solomon be more popular?

One of the greatest challenges of producing a work that isn't done very often is finding scores!

I posted a while back about the difficulty of finding choral scores for Solomon, but that was like the kindergarten of score shopping compared to finding orchestra parts!  I'm very lucky that I'm an old highschool friend of our countertenor soloist who has a world of connections, and suggested I try Clifford Bartlett's little publishing company "King's Music".  When I was searching for the full score, it seemed he has the only edited copy besides what can be found online.  (In actual fact, the full score that Clifford sent me was a hand edited version done by Paul McCreesh for his recording - and all it is is a photocopy of the Chrysander (HGA) score, last printed in ... 1867 with critical commentary, new bar numbers, and cut and pasted in such a way as to save space, and make it BIGGER.  One of the things that has been removed though is any trace of a continuo realization.

Again, luckily enough, King's Music has hand written all the orchestra parts, and they are very well done - great cues, clear bar markings, sensible page turns and etc.  We had the parts shipped here in three packages (blame Canada post for having a restricted package weight for oversea shipping), and they all arrived - although one of the packages took considerably longer than the others, causing a bit of panic.  The only other problem is - there is NO keyboard part!  Most professional early music ensembles in Europe would of course have harpsichord and continuo specialists so there is no need to have a part done for them, as they would probably rather do it themselves anyway.  A bass line and figured bass is all they need - or even a full score is enough.  Unfortunately for me in Edmonton, where we have very talented keyboardists, and skilled harpsichord players - there is no one who really wants to realize the part on the spot, so a keyboard part is needed. 

So, todays job for me was to "make" a keyboard part - and not just one - but two (we have both Harpsichord and Organ on stage, and often they are running concurrently - so we've hired two players).  I found the Chrysander score in pdf form online (this link is a long download, just to warm you)- printed out two full copies (344 pages each) and hole punched them (four holes - which by the way is almost impossible to find anywhere) and put them in a legal sized four ring binder.  After which I marked all 688 pages (344x2) with bar numbers (a smarter person would have done this once, and copied twice) and about six hours later I have two full scores with a keyboard reductions that my two players should be able to make some sense from.

Tomorrow afternoon, all scores will be delivered to the orchestra, and that is out of my hands, and I can continue to put work into memorizing Orfeo for Wednesday's rehearsal....  

All I can say about the memorization aspect of this is:

"Ahi caso acerbo, ahi fat'empio e crudele, ahi stelle ingiuriose, ahi Cielo avaro!"

translate it as you will ....


I'm Still Me said...

I know someone who loves (and actually prefers it) to play an unrealized continuo part!

John Brough said...

I think I know of whom you speak. And likely one of the keyboardists I have would also be OK with that as well - however, I didn't even have a non realized figured bass part.

I've heard back from one of my players and they are going to take the newly made full score I made, and a spare cello part and make her own score anyway - but at least we now have everything in place for this to proceed. I tell ya, this whole "getting scores" has been a real nightmare!

Anonymous said...

you're a great man altogether, and "it'll be fine"