The new edition has been made possible thanks to the new-found scholarly access (since the lat 1970’s) to the numerous manuscripts that had once belonged to the Staatsbibliothek Preußischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin but are at present kept in the Biblioteca Jagellonska in Cracow. These manuscripts constitute an important basis for the edition because they conserve and transmit the young composer’s œuvre, which was believed to be lost after World War II.
Now it is also possible to meticulously discern and follow the experimental course that Cherubini tracked from the 1780s onwards. With each composition, he offered a new, often unconventional contribution to the history of the operatic genre. The new ground he broke with his experiments embraced ideas, forms and the realisation of his chosen subjects. It is not surprising that his colleagues such as Méhul, Lesueur, Spontini, Grétry, Beethoven, Donizetti and not least Carl Maria von Weber composed under his influence and aimed to emulate his achievements or compete with him.
The great works, like Lodoïska, Médée, Eliza, etc., point ahead to the grand opera, merging the techniques of symphonic writing with audacious instrumentation and profound depth of characterisation, as well as pursuing the modern currents of ‘romantic’ sentiment which incorporated local colour and nature imagery into the work as ‘acting’ entities, reflecting the most recent philosophical ideas.
In the operas he composed during his adolescence Cherubini experimented with dramatic structure and ensemble treatment, reflecting (as it used to be the custom in that period) his great contemporaries and their works. The French operas show a holistic theatrical spectrum by integrating ballets and unusual scene designs. This involves a singular complexity of the compositional texture, being recharged harmonically and also semantically, with a delicate feeling for tone colours.
Cherubini’s contributions to church music are similarly innovative, on the one hand refining the Chapelle Royale’s tradtion, on the other defining measures for his contemporaries in his representational compositions of the largest scale. This resultet from experiences in the composition of church music in the Italian tradition. Up to the present rarely surveyed are Cherubinis chamber music (highly esteemed at its time) respectively his song writing and his piano works.
The Edition of Cherubini’s Works regards itself as of academic and critical nature, equally prociding performance material. It is supported by the International Cherubini Society (Internationale Cherubini-Gesellschaft e.V.).
Editor in chief:
Prof. Dr. Helen Geyer, Weimar–Jena
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c.mult. Michal Bristiger, Polish Academy of the Sciences, Warsaw
Prof. Dr. Helen Geyer, Institut für Musikwissenschaft Weimar-Jena
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hochstein, Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Hamburg
Prof. Dr. Christine Siegert, Universität der Künste, Berlin
Dr. Reinhold Dusella, Simrock (Anton J. Benjamin / Boosey & Hawkes), Berlin
Elisabeth Brinkmann M.A., Erfurt
Anton J. Benjamin GmbH
Lützowufer 26, 10787 Berlin, Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)30 2500 13-0, Fax: -99
Prof. Dr. Helen Geyer
Gemeinsames Institut für Musikwissenschaft der
Hochschule für Musik Weimar FRANZ LISZT und der Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena
studienzentrum am horn
Postfach 2552, 99406 Weimar, Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)3643 555 164