Hidden behind the iconic green covers of Edition Peters lies a story
that is fascinating, complex, at times heart-breakingly tragic, but
overwhelmingly inspirational. This year Edition Peters proudly celebrates 150
years of the green cover series and here is a short version of our story.
Edition Peters was founded in 1800 in Leipzig Germany, now known as the
City of Music, due to its close ties with Johann Sebastian Bach, Mendelssohn,
Reger, Schumann, Wagner and of course home to the world famous Gewandhaus
Orchestra. 217 years later Leipzig is a city still bursting with culture and
immensely proud of its crucial place in the history of Western classical music.
In the 19th century Leipzig was the centre of publishing and printing in Germany,
and at the forefront of technological developments in this area, and this fact plays
a crucial role in our story.
During the first 66 years of life, the company had a succession of
owners and for a number of years was based in the ground floor of Mendelssohn’s
house in Leipzig. By 1867 C.F. Peters, was partly owned by Max Abraham -a
remarkable business visionary. Abraham was the first music publisher to adopt
the new revolutionary rotary printing press, which radically reduced printing
The new green Edition Peters series burst onto the market at a fifth of
the price of any other other sheet music, in beautifully engraved and reliably
edited scores. On day one 100 titles were released. This universal library of
music transformed the availability of sheet music to musicians around the
world: it was now affordable. The first
title was of course EP 1, J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier – fittingly
appropriate for the city of J.S. Bach.
The success of Abraham’s vision was breathtaking. The Edition Peters
green series was selling in unprecedented numbers for a music publisher, in
countries all around the globe. Abraham’s motto was Kürze ist Würze – brevity is the essence. And
he certainly was a man to get things done. The releases just kept coming and
coming, and by 1877 we were up to number EP1740a – Mendelssohn’s Songs
Without Words. Over the coming decades all the core areas of
repertoire, from Burgmüller piano studies to Lieder by Hugo Wolf and the major
choral masterpieces from the great composers, were now available in the green
But Max was also a
scrupulously fair and generous man. When Robert Schumann’s works came out of
copyright and he was about to release all his piano music, in 1881 he wrote to
Clara Schumann, the piano virtuoso and composer’s widow, offering her a
substantial financial gift. Abraham felt it unfair that she had not benefited
fairly from her husband’s genius. She gratefully accepted.
And this is just one example
of the philanthropic history of the company’s owners. This generosity of spirit
from Max Abraham was also shared with his staff: he introduced a compulsory savings scheme to
which he contributed generously and started a pension scheme for employees at
the company’s expense and contributed towards his staff’s tax payments. In the
1880s he was one of the first employers in Leipzig to instigate holidays and at
Christmas gave a bonus to any member of staff suffering hardship.
By 1874 Max Abraham and
Edition Peters were based in their grand new home in Talstrasse 10, Leipzig.
Designed by Otto Bruckwald, the architect of Wagner’s Festpielhaus in Bayreuth,
Talstrasse 10 was a cultural landmark in the city and many composers would visit
Max Abraham and his nephew Henri Hinrichsen and his family. Their beautiful
family dining room was home to many fascinating conversations with composers
and evenings of music. This room has now been beautifully restored and is home
to the Grieg museum.
And it is the relationship
between Max Abraham, Henri Hinrichsen and Edvard Grieg which stands out as
totally unique in the history of music publishing. Grieg came to refer to
Abraham as his adoptive father. The warmth of their relationship is chronicled
in over 400 letters between publishers and composer. Abraham ensured Grieg had
financial stability throughout his lifetime, to concentrate fully on his
composing. Grieg would stay with the family at Talstrasse 10 on his frequent
visits to Leipzig and indeed composed sections of Peer Gynt whilst there. Grieg
and his wife Nina holidayed across Europe with Abraham and later with Henri
Hinrichsen and his family. Abraham paid for the land on which Grieg built his
much longed-for home at Troldhaugen, Norway. All of Grieg’s works were
published within the Edition Peters with immense success for both publisher and
Grieg wrote to Abraham on
the 100th anniversary of the company in
1900, although Abraham was not destined to receive the letter, dying peacefully
before it arrived:
… like a total picture from my
inner eye, and this picture shows to me yet again the deep gratitude for the
house of C.F. Peters and its dear proprietor, from which I will be imbued until
my dying breath… In deepest friendship also from my wife,
Your true friend, Edvard Grieg
Henri Hinrichsen (1868-1942)
By 1933 the company was
continuing to thrive under the direction of Abraham’s nephew, Henri Hinrichsen.
The Edition Peters green cover series was continually developing and the company
was the first to issue an Urtext publication with 1stedition of J.S. Bach’s
Two Part Inventions in 1933. Henri boldly assigned the publishing rights for
Arnold Schoenberg’s Five Orchestral Pieces, Mahler’s 5th and 6th
Symphonies and the orchestral tone poems of Richard Strauss.
Henri continued his uncle’s
philanthropic actions, donating considerable sums to charitable and cultural
causes in Leipzig and the rest of Germany. However, tragedy was about to change
things forever. The company was one of the first to be aranyized by the National
Socialists. Henri’s two eldest sons managed to escape – Max to London where he
started Peters Edition Limited in 1938. Walter made it safely to New York
founded C.F. Peters Corporation.
Eleven members of the family
including Henri, perished in the Holocaust, and one surviving Hinrichsen family
member gave a harrowing testimony of her time in five concentrations camps at
the Nuremburg trials.
Leipzig was under Russian
control and C.F Peters became the East German state music publishing house. A
West German company was created in 1951, in Frankfurt. Meanwhile in London and
New York, Max and Walter’s companies were hard at work sustaining their family’s
heritage. Max fought a potentially crippling legal case against Novello &
Co who had challenged his ownership rights due to his father’s death in
Auschwitz. This lead to a landmark ruling in the supreme court in his favour.
By the mid 1950s Walter had made the audacious signings of John Cage and George
Crumb and he was one of the first US publishers to start to market his products
in post war Japan.
And throughout all of this
mayhem and tragedy, the green cover series just kept on being printed,
distributed and developed. In 2010 the Edition Peters Group was founded,
formally bringing together the individual companies, under the shared ownership
of the Hinrichsen Foundation in the UK and the heirs of Walter in the US. In October
2014, the Frankfurt company was closed down and Edition Peters Germany made an
emotional return to its home city and heimat in a beautifully restored
In 2017 we are not only
celebrating the green series but the technological innovation that was behind
it. Edition Peters is innovating again, and just as seriously. Using
Tido's groundbreaking technology, we are releasing the very best of
the series as enriched digital editions – fit for use by the next generation of
musicians. Again we’ve started with piano as featured in Piano Masterworks,
the first collection to appear on the Tido Music app. But this time around
we're not only talking about the notation – we’ve added video tutorials and
performances from world-class artists and specialists, first-class audio,
brilliantly written contextual notes about the composers and their works, and
some really powerful practice tools. And the best thing is that it’s all in one
place. The notation is the connective tissue that links all of these wonderful
elements of music together; elements that have been kept apart until now!
And just like 150 years ago,
we are making this content available at an impressive rate: we’re aiming to
have 100 works in the collection by the end of 2017, and that‘s only the
beginning…. To find out more, visit www.tidomusicapp.com and look out for new content as other
publishers start to come on board.
This article is a very short introduction to the history
of Edition Peters. To find out more there are two books written by Henri
Hinrichsen’s grandaughter, Irene Lawford-Hinrichsen: Music Publishing and Patronage, C.F. Peters 1800 to the Holocaust
and Five Hundred Years to Auschwitz.
Linda Hawken is Managing Director of Edition
Peters, Europe. She trained as a trumpet player and conductor and has worked
for the company for 20 years. Currently she is based in Leipzig and works in
Talstrasse 10, Leipzig, with frequent visits to the Peters office in London.
Avoid travelling on the day of the audition. A night in cheap hotel or B&B is a good investment and easily outweighs the embarrassment and cost of a missed audition due to transport problems. Be careful to pack copies of your music to give to the panel and to read all audition requirements with great care, packing a copy for last-minute reference during your journey. Aim to arrive at least one hour before your allocated time in order to acclimatise and feel relaxed. Avoid excessive caffeine and sugar in the days leading up to the audition and take plenty of long walks or light exercise before the big day.
Make sure that you dress in a way which reflects your professionalism and dedication. Wear smart clothes that you have worn before (new clothes or shoes can often feel uncomfortable and make you a little uncertain). Suits and ties for men always look good and long smart casual for ladies works well too. Low or medium heels are also recommended, as it is common to see high heels undermine efficient posture and breathing strategies on the day of a performance or audition.
Remember that the panel wants to discover what you know, rather than what you don’t know. They will ask you questions which are always intended to relax you and to discover what you are like as a person and as a musician. Try to be open, to smile and to take time to answer questions thoughtfully. Prepare your own questions too, as the panel want to see your enthusiasm and to gain an understanding of your aims and long-term goals.
Audition requirements vary greatly between colleges, with some asking for “set works” and others offering a “free choice” of repertoire. Choose from the “set works”, selecting pieces that you are comfortable with. It is important to offer two pieces which contrast in style and that are of at least Grade 8 standard. You do not necessarily need to choose pieces which are technically demanding. It is best to select repertoire which you can play comfortably and which shows off your musicality.
Remember that the 10-15 minutes of your audition potentially represents the first stage of your College course, therefore the panel generally views the audition as part of the “learning process” and as an opportunity to provide you with constructive feedback and advice. We are looking for “learning people” who respond to advice and constructive criticism, as opposed to a “perfect” performance on the day.
The 'S' words
Scales are the “alphabet” of music. They build brain patterns and physical reflexes that enable us to respond instinctively to the written suggestions of composers. Not all colleges ask for scales in auditions, but a working knowledge of the Grade 8 scale requirements will do you no harm. The confidence that scale preparation gives you will also help to develop a better ability to deal with the other “S” word: sight-reading. When looking at sight-reading, take your time and pay attention to details of tempo (candidates usually play too fast when under pressure) and musical moods. Details of articulation and note-lengths are commonly overlooked, along with dynamics. Try not to focus solely upon “the notes”, but always aim to convey the emotion and moods of the music. My peripatetic teacher at school always said “You are allowed to make mistakes, but you are not allowed to be boring!”
(Grant Jameson, winner of the BBC Young Brass Award 2015)
Although brief, I sincerely hope that this advice will help you to feel more relaxed
on the big day. Remember - we want you to do well and we are here to help,
rather than to judge you.
If you are organised and work hard, you can achieve anything.
The perennial question – which horn should I be playing on?
– and its follow up questions - will it make things easier and/or make things
sound better. OK, I reckon I make a reasonable sound on whichever instrument I
play on but it’s nice to ring the changes sometimes and think outside the box.
I come around to these questions time and time again even
though I’ve been known as a ‘diehard’ Alexander 103 player since college days.
However this perception is not entirely true as I’ve spent long periods of
time on Yamaha horns (models 665G and 667), Conn (nickel silver 8D), a
goldbrass Alexander 403S and dabbled
from time to time with my Paxman (old-style goldbrass model 40L – bought from
Mike Purton many moons ago) usually when there’s something high like Handel’s ‘Julius
More recently I bought a Holton 181 (goldbrass standard
double) in an attempt to have a fuller, richer sound. This went very well for
Ein Heldenleben and Janacek’s opera ‘Jenufa’. But, for the Ring operas of
recent years I played the Alex 403S.
Still the quandary remains. Having done a reasonably decent
job of Britten’s ‘Billy Budd’ at this year’s Aldeburgh Festival (on the Paxman)
I’m now favouring it for general use – for various reasons - full sound, ease,
useful alternative fingerings. Looking back now I wish I’d done the ‘Siegfried’
Horn Call on this instrument for more security and ease (but not necessarily
for the F alto side!).
The quandary continues as a mouthpiece also needs to be
matched to whichever horn one chooses and I have found that this may change
over time depending on one’s physical/mental state and the desired horn sound
for certain repertoire. For instance I’ll probably go back to the Holton 181
for the imminent performances of Janacek’s ‘Osud’ which has great horn parts.
It needs a generous sound (perhaps of a Viennese nature) and I’ll be using a
Klier S3 mouthpiece which suits this horn and repertoire very well. On the Paxman
40 I’m currently on a PHC H23A.
All of this may well be a bit ‘over the top’ as many players
stick with one horn and one mouthpiece (or one mouthpiece for whichever horn
they play) for years for ‘comfort’ and
‘security’ (i.e. familiarity) – which, of course, are ‘must have’ facets to
successful horn playing. However, if you keep an open mind and put in the right
preparation it is certainly possible to play different horns and mouthpieces
and make your horn playing even more interesting and please note I haven’t even
mentioned the natural horn and Vienna horn options……😉 Of course the added
bonus of playing all one’s horns regularly (if you’re lucky to have more than
one) is that it avoids the problem of the valves seizing up out of neglect!
Wishing all horn playing readers fun and
stress-free horn playing!
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of
Clarinet & Saxophone Classics, I am excited to announce that the company
has expanded. To reflect this expansion we have rebranded the company.
Music is now the home for Clarinet & Saxophone Classics CDs downloads and
our publications to which all printed sheet music is now available through our
new collaboration with June Emerson Wind Music.
In addition the company is now offering educational and
musical opportunities. I will be offering lessons and mentoring, lectures and group
coaching, written and spoken educational blogs, master-classes and
Samek Music is now
the ultimate resource for clarinet & saxophone players and all music
Jonathan Vaux - soprano sax Daniel Scott - alto sax Stephanie Frankland - tenor sax Ashley Brand - baritone sax
London based Aesthesia Saxophone Quartet is an award-winning chamber ensemble
from the Royal College of Music, studying under Kyle Horch. Despite having only
recently formed in September 2016, the members (Jonathan Vaux, Daniel Scott, Stephanie
Frankland and Ashley Brand) have developed a strong affinity with one another,
and this is apparent through their communicative approach to performance.At
the 2017 Nordic Saxophone Festival in Aarhus, Denmark, the Aesthesia Quartet
performed in a masterclass with Evgeni Novikov, following which they were asked
to also give an evening recital. Closer to home, they were given the
opportunity to play in a masterclass led by Melanie Henry.Recently,
the group were awarded the June Emerson Launchpad Prize in the Royal College of
Music’s Woodwind Chamber Competition and are supported by Talent Unlimited.
June Emerson Wind Music would like to thank Alice Kelley for organising
the awarding of the Launchpad Prize at the Royal College of Music.
Anna Murphy - flute George Strickland - oboe Jessica Tomlinson - clarinet Joshua Jones - saxophone Eleanor Mills - bassoon
in October 2016, Chameleon is a group of musicians who met at the RNCM in
Manchester. United by their ability to double/triple, they formed a group where
each member performs on multiple instruments, often within the same piece.
is no existing repertoire for Chameleon, we do our own arrangements (though we
would love to collaborate with orchestrators/arrangers/composers for future
projects!). This means we can push the boundaries of typical wind ensembles,
and can experiment with new combinations of wind instruments.
our set-up on a traditional wind quintet, replacing French Horn with Saxophone,
and each member is principally one of the other four instruments - Flute, Oboe,
Clarinet and Bassoon. Our unique range of doubling instruments also means we
can transform from a wind quintet to a sax group during a piece.
a keen interest in performance and outreach, bringing our music to other people
in both the concert hall and in the community.
June Emerson Wind Music would like to thank Suzy Stonefield for organising
the awarding of the Launchpad Prize at the Royal Northern College of Music.