I bought three Schirmer soprano aria anthologies and thought they would be a strong starting point for my collection. The past few nights I’ve stayed up much too late to surf for inspirational clips on YouTube and follow along in my music. How exciting to have all these pieces right at my fingertips! Then, yesterday, I saw they cut the second section of “Durch Zärtlichkeit und Schmeicheln.” Not cool, man. This aria is a bit repetitive, but uncut, the whole thing is only five minutes.
Tonight, I was going over Euridice’s “Qual vita è questa mai … Che fiero momento” and realized they cut about 1/2 of the recitative as well as the B section of the aria. Come on, really? Isn’t the contrast between A and B the vehicle for musical and emotional complexity? The uncut version is also less than five munites. Five really emotionally baring minutes… how could you cut any of this?!
The editors claim the cuts are “reasonable.” If a mob boss had me tied up and asked me to pick between being reasonable by cutting some music or getting my knees broken, I would go with being reasonable. But what kind of pressure where these editors under? A page limit? Ink budget? In an audition context there’s a good chance you won’t get through five minutes of a piece (unless you are captivatingly good), but when did these anthologies become audition editions? I wish they’d left the music intact and unobtrusively suggested cuts for singers who felt the need to take them. Now I have to go out and find versions of these two pieces. Thanks, editors.
Unsatisfied Schirmer customer,