I feel compelled to take a position against the review of my edition Organ Works by the Düben Family by David Harris1, as it gives the reader a rather inaccurate view of it, and, more seriously, does not seem to grasp the editorial idea behind it. First, while questioning my (tentative) attribution of Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren from Lynar B 1 to Gustav Düben on grounds of the tenderness of his age, he does not mention what led me to do this in the first place, namely the strong inner connections of the source with Stockholm and the Düben family. (Moser's attribution to Drückenmuller, on the other hand, was a complete shot in the dark and should be ignored; incidentally, the composer of Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält is Andreas, not Martin as stated by Harris.) Secondly, while I indeed do not describe the sources in all diplomatic detail, which in my view is not necessary in a composer- (as opposed to source-) oriented edition like this, Harris fails to mention the full discussion of the context of the Düben pieces, which is of much more relevance for the raison d'être of the edition. Thirdly (and most importantly), I disagree with the view that all editorial emendations up to such minor details such as missing dots and rests should be made visible in the text; this produces an unnecessarily cluttered graphical picture, and players on the whole do not want to be bothered with many square brackets, small print etc. when they are actually playing the music. I would like to emphasize in this connection that I do not share Harris's obvious doubts about the user's ability to read the preface and the critical commentary (where naturally all such decisions are elucidated); I preferred not to underrate their critical acumen, but instead aimed here and elsewhere to lay out all the material in as elegant and user-friendly way as possible.
First, I regret citing Martin, not Andreas Düben, as the composer of Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält and am grateful to Pieter Dirksen for correcting this.
Nowhere does my review convey doubt concerning "the users' ability to read the preface and the critical commentary." Rather, it is a question of whether a critical report alone suffices for an edition where so much reconstruction has taken place, reconstruction not just of the "minor details such as rests and dots" that Dirksen mentions, but apparently and more importantly of pitches and of rhythms beyond dotted notes. I am certain that many potential users of the edition, performers as well as scholars, would very much like to see, looking at the music itself, exactly which readings lack authority. That such substantive emendations are not identified on the page with the music, though other editorial initiatives like additional ornaments are clearly marked, remains my chief reservation. And it still seems to me that readers deserve an indication, with the music, that two movements in a "suite," itself an editorial compilation, lack the attribution present in the other two movements and are therefore open to question, as, indeed, is the "suite" itself.
* Pieter Dirksen (firstname.lastname@example.org) performs widely as a harpsichordist and organist and is the author of The Keyboard Music of Jan P. Sweelinck — Its Style, Significance and Influence (Utrecht, 1997).
** David Harris (email@example.com) is the Levitt Professor of Music History and Harpsichord at Drake University; his critical edition of the collected keyboard works of Johann Kuhnau is to be published shortly by The Broude Trust, and he is preparing a new edition of D'Anglebert's keyboard works, also for The Broude Trust.
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