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Ludwig van Beethoven » Violin Concerto » Baillot, Pierre - Richault

The title page of this edition connects it with Baillot's performance in Paris on the first anniversary of the death of Beethoven. Markings are somewhat erratic, which suggests that it may have been prepared from Baillot's own copy (which would not have been marked as it might have been for a performing edition). Pierre Baillot (1771-1842), only a year younger than Beethoven, had briefly encountered him in Vienna in 1805 and remained an admirer of his works throughout his career. The bowing and fingering for the Violin Concerto that occurs in the Richault edition of 1828 are almost certainly his. Baillot’s pupil and son-in-law, Eugène Sauzay, recalled in his memoirs that Baillot took great trouble over preparing the solo part ‘so different from that of Viotti’s concertos.’ Although Baillot’s editorial role is not credited on the title page, his name, as performer at the Société des concerts du Conservatoire (on 23 March and 11 May 1828), appears there in letters as large as Beethoven’s. The violino principale part in the Richault edition largely reproduces the text of the Vienna edition, from which it was evidently engraved, and while a substantial number of fingerings are provided, there are few supplementary bowings of a kind that would be typical of the Paris School. In view of Baillot’s concern for fidelity to the spirit and style of a musical work, which was exceptional at that time, the paucity of additional bowings in the Paris edition may reflect his unwarranted presumption that, as was the case in the editions of his own concertos and those of his colleagues Pierre Rode and Rudolph Kreutzer, the bowing in the original edition represented the composer’s specific wishes. On the other hand there are a number of passages where Baillot made substantial changes (most notably mvt. I, bb. 218-22/492-5), and it may be questioned whether, in his own performances, he executed all the bowings as they appear in the Richault edition. It is entirely possible that there was no deliberate intention to publish the concerto with an editor’s bowing and fingering (such editions were scarcely conceived of at that time) and that the engraver, supplied with the part from which Baillot had performed the concerto, simply engraved what he found in it. In that case, the markings may have been merely an aide-mémoire for Baillot himself rather than a carefully annotated performing version. It is important to remember that a more improvisatory approach to performance, in contrast with modern practice, was typical of the period. Some of the passages in which the unslurred notes of the original edition are retained seem unlikely to have been intended to be performed with separate bows; the broken arpeggios at bb. 154 and 428 of the first movement, which reflect similar slurred figures in Clement’s D major Violin Concerto of 1805, for instance, were supplied with slurs by all later nineteenth-century editors of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. But, as indicated by Baillot’s 1835 L’art du violon, in which he included several examples from Beethoven’s concerto, he may indeed have performed such passages with separate bows. [C. B.]

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven
Work Violin Concerto
Title Concerto
Publisher Richault
City Paris
Date 1828 [Source: Text]
Publication Number
Instrumentation Solo Violin – 1 Violin
Partly Recomposed No

Parts

Part Plate No. Medium Annotations Musical Text(s)
Title page 1985 Printed
Violin 1985 Printed Printed