Symphonie Nr. 2 D-Dur op. 73, hrsg. von Robert Pascall und Michael Struck, München 2001

Die Edition der 2. Symphonie konnte erstmals auf die in Privatbesitz befindliche abschriftliche Stichvorlage des 1. Satzes zurückgreifen. Diese verdeutlicht zusammen mit der autographen Partitur die komplexen Korrekturschichten bei Brahms’ kompositorischer Revision des Werkes.

Die im Rahmen des Kritischen Berichtes dargestellte Quellengeschichte führte zu revidierten Erkenntnissen über die Phasen des Korrekturlesens; aufgrund eingehender philologischer Recherchen ergaben sich in diesem Zusammenhang Umdatierungen und Zuordnungskorrekturen für den Briefwechsel Brahms/Dessoff. Neu bewertet wurde auch ein von Brahms korrigierter Abzug des vierhändigen Klavierarrangements, bei dem es sich im Gegensatz zu den Angaben von McCorkles Brahms-Werkverzeichnis nicht um einen druckrelevanten Korrekturabzug handelt, sondern um dessen Schwesterexemplar, das als Vorabzug beim Komponisten verblieb. Darüber hinaus zeigte sich, dass es sich bei bestimmten Bleistiftkorrekturen, die der Verlagslektor Robert Keller in der abschriftlichen bzw. autographen Stichvorlage der Partitur vornahm, um Rückübertragungen Brahms'scher Änderungen aus dem verschollenen Korrekturabzug der Partitur handeln muss.

Aus der textkritischen Arbeit resultieren zahlreiche Revisionen der Hauptquelle (Partitur-Erstdruck), die neben Notenkorrekturen vor allem Eingriffe in die Dynamik und Artikulation betreffen. Sehr aufschlussreich ist außerdem die Erfassung der teilweise höchst komplexen kompositorischen Korrekturen. So konnten die Herausgeber rekonstruieren, an welcher Stelle des 4. Satzes Brahms sich während der Partiturniederschrift entschied, statt dreier Posaunen vier tiefe Blechbläser zu verwenden. Auch die vom Komponisten nahezu unlesbar gemachten ursprünglichen Streicherpartien in der Coda des 1. Satzes ließen sich rekonstruieren.

Rezensionen:

»The editors of the new edition of the Second Symphony, Op. 73, Robert Pascall and Michael Struck, made clear in an article published in Die Musikforschung in late 2003 that as much as presenting a clean, authoritative score, their goal is „to illuminate as far as possible the often complex genesis of a work and the correspondingly complex transmission of its text, to clarify and make available the results of philological work on basic sources and of artistic practice.“ (Die Musikforschung 56 [2003]: 390; see also [...] „Die neue Brahms Gesamtausgabe,“ in the online journal Die Tonkunst 1 [2003] […]). Following the more recent (and welcome) practice of complete editions, the editors have included the critical notes and commentary in the same volume as the score. (In the case of the Beethoven, Haydn, and Bach editions, the critical reports often follow in separate volumes at the space of several years; in some cases, the reports have never been issued.)

The score of the new edition is based on the first edition of the symphony, published in August 1878 by Simrock, supplemented by information from eleven other extant sources. This is without doubt the most complete set of materials ever consulted or assembled for an edition of the Second. [...]

Conductors and students may not notice many differences from the standard scores of the Second Symphony that many use for performance and analysis. But in the critical notes they will find a wealth of information about precisely the aspects of Brahms’s Second that Struck and Pascall articulate in their articles. In this fifty-page, double-columned „Editionsbericht,“ the editors present what is essentially a detailed narrative of the genesis of the Second Symphony, discussing the variants from the main musical text as found in the sources. (The publishers have been generous with a dozen facsimiles of pages from these sources.)

There is much here that any curious performer or student should consult. As is by now well known, Brahms normally waited until a full season of performances of a new work had passed before allowing the score to be printed. Thus the first edition will often reflect decisions made by Brahms „in the trenches,“ while hearing and/or conducting his composition. An awareness of the changes that Brahms considered or adopted, however small-scale, can help enrich an understanding of the work.

A few small examples: [...]

Perhaps the farthest-reaching revelations in the new edition of the Second Symphony are related to the order of composition of the four movements and the disposition of the low brass instruments. All in all, this amounts to something of a good musicological detective story, elements of which have been adumbrated in previous publications [...], but never fully clarified hitherto. [...]

Another strinking revelation of the new edition is that the solo horn episode that begins the coda of the first movement (mm. 455ff.) originally had a simple homorhythmic string accompaniment in the autograph. Brahms then revisited the autograph to enrich the string parts contrapuntally with references to the main motivic-thematic ideas of the movement. The result was echt Brahms: inner parts become thematically integral. The editors have managed ingeniously to reconstruct the original version, which exists as a kind of palimpsest beneath later layers. [...]

None of the foregoing aspects of Brahms’s Second is readily apparent from the printed score that spreads so handsomely and readably across 216 pages of the new volume. But the performer or student who spends time working through the splendid introduction and the richly detailed critical report will have the privilege – and the thrill – of entering into Brahms’s creative world, and into the compositional evolution of one of the great masterworks of the symphonic repertoire. […]«

Walter Frisch, in: The American Brahms Society, Newsletter 22, Nr. 1, Frühjahr 2004, S. 4–7