Hector Berlioz (1803–1869)

New Edition of the Complete Works

Edited by the Berlioz Centenary Committee, London, in cooperation with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lissabon | General Editor: Hugh Macdonald

The music of Hector Berlioz has undergone a noteworthy renaissance in the latter half of the 20th century, thanks to the work of British musicians and musicologists. The New Berlioz Edition made a significant contribution to this renaissance; the first complete edition of „Les Troyens“ brought about a thorough re-evaluation of Berlioz as an opera composer. The rediscovery of the Messe solennelle of 1824 again drew international attention to Berlioz's music.

The New Berlioz Edition does full justice to the complex state of the sources surrounding many of the composer's works, incorporating the latest research findings and discoveries. In each volume the works are generally arranged in chronological order. Libretti are presented in their original language. Each volume contains a detailed preface, a critical report and facsimiles. Rejected versions, drafts and other material appear in the appendices.

“A great genius can be given no more worthy testimonial to his honour than an accurate edition of his complete works.” (Ludwig Ritter von Köchel, 1875)

Ludwig von Köchel, the compiler of the famous catalogue of Mozart‘s works, may not have had Hector Berlioz in mind when he made this statement. But the gist of it is fully applicable to Berlioz, and to the New Berlioz Edition. While preparations were underway to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Berlioz‘s death in 1969, the Berlioz Centenary Committee resolved to do justice to Köchel‘s words by raising a lasting monument to the great French composer: a modern scholarly-critical edition of his complete musical works. This edition was to be “new” in two respects. First, the initial “complete” Berlioz edition which was supervised by Charles Malhebe and Felix Weingartner from 1900 to 1907 remained unfinished. But more than that, the Berlioz Edition was also meant to be “new” in its contents: it was to follow the latest scholarly guidelines for editions and to incorporate the most recent findings on the music. However, compared to the complete editions of Bach and Mozart, the New Berlioz Edition was relatively young. Equally young were the musicians and musicologists who prompted its publication and supervised its production, among them John Eliot Gardiner and Hugh Macdonald.

For the first time, the edition also presents unpublished material, rejected versions and preliminary drafts, offering insights into the genesis of each work included. Sketches of unfinished works are made available to scholars for the first time in a new critical edition. Finally, the corpus of finished works has been enriched in a completely unexpected manner with the addition of the „Messe solennelle“, which was rediscovered by Frans Moors in 1991. The high scholarly standards of the New Berlioz Edition have drawn unanimous praise from the international music community, and have achieved enormous success in concert halls. Hugh Macdonald‘s editions of indisputably Berlioz’s main works „Les Troyens“, „Béatrice et Bénédict“ and „Benvenuto Cellini“ have made these masterpieces available to the international opera public for the first time. The New Berlioz Edition presents the authentic texts of the works of Hector Berlioz in a form aimed at satisfying both scholarly and practical performance demands. Issued by the Berlioz Centenary Committee, London, in association with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon with Hugh Macdonald as Editor in chief.

Full performance materials based on the New Berlioz Edition are available to all Berlioz’s works. Piano reductions and study scores to many works are available on sale. Each volume contains a foreword by the editor (in English, French and German), a critical report (in English) discussing all of the sources and divergent readings, instructive facsimiles drawn from the sources used to prepare the edition, and appendices presenting abandoned versions, deleted passages, drafts etc.

Subscription Guidelines

The edition is complete. The following purchasing options are available for this edition:

  • Purchase of individual volumes at retail sales prices
  • Special set price (a price advantage of approx. 30 %)

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