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Ponce: “24 Preludios” Scientific Urtext Edition


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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music

Let’s talk about your recent publication about your work with Manuel María Ponce that came out last year. Can you tell us a bit about it?

I remember how glad I was when I discovered in 1981 a brand-new edition with the first publication of all 24 Preludios by the Mexican guitarist Miguel Alcázar on Tecla. Before, we only had the version by Andrés Segovia with a selection of 12 Preludios. In 2006 — after my first Urtext edition of some important Ponce pieces published on Schott (Sonatina meridional, Sonata clásica, Sonata romántica, Thème varié et Finale) — I received the manuscript of the 24 Preludios. I was very emphasised about reading all these beautiful pieces now in Ponce’s own handwriting. And I could discover so many differences between the editions by Alcázar and Segovia.

What was the reason to let us wait so long time for your publication?

In this period, I was too busy with many other projects, and to be honest, the challenging work on the other Ponce edition made me a bit tired to continue.

But you changed your mind.

Yes. But there was also the copyright problem in 2006 — Schott held the copyright only for selecting 12 Preludios. Everything came out a bit too complicated. But in 2019, there was a new and accurate Urtext publication of the whole set by Stefano Grondona on Guitar Heritage based on the manuscripts. At the same time, my wife, Piera Dadomo, a splendid Italian guitarist, got the request from an Italian editor also to publish an Urtext version because they had been so amazed about her recording of the 24 Preludios she had done some years before.

So it is not your edition?

I was not on the plan, and I recommended she collaborate with the Italian editor because I had many other projects. But things came out very slowly, and another important question could not be resolved: What to create different and new to the very magnificent edition by Grondona?

What was the problem?

Piera Dadomo wanted to add more detailed information to each Preludio, but this meant more space, more pages. The Italian editor was hesitating because of too much economic investment. And then I offered her to start on an edition with no limit of pages.

Do you mean you started to create something really new besides the other existing editions of the Preludios?

Yes. We started to think about a completely different concept. First, Piera went deep into the manuscript and also came into contact with a significant and gentle person from Mexico, Mr Paolo Mello, who sent her some photos of the original because it’s tough to read from the photocopies of the original. I think they will publish a book with the original manuscripts in full colour eventually. It took us more than a year to investigate all this because some things are not easy to recognise. The next point of interest for us was to find new fingerings, which are very complicated. We also tried to create alternate versions, such as changing the key or working with a scordatura. We added this as an Appendix at the end of the edition.
Other new ideas?

Yes. For example, when it is tough to recognise Ponce’s handwriting. When Ponce by himself corrected something, and you are not clear what the first solution was and what the second solution was. Or, very rarely, when a passage is not playable. In all these cases, we offer more than only one option.

How would you describe your part in this edition?

The most important part of the project is done by Piera Dadomo, the main editor of the publication. More than half of the whole project was created under her direction. A certain work she has done besides the 44 pages of the musical text is an analytical supplement in English, Italian and German — all in all, 36 extra pages — in three single booklets. So the complete edition, including the analytical issues, has 80 pages. Finally, you receive a performer’s edition, but with the background behind our choices and decisions. I am pleased about this collaboration even though we had to survive some crises discussing many different opinions, ha, ha!

What has the feedback on your work been so far?

We thought we would have to offer it for a very attractive price, 21 euros, to make it affordable to everybody. I wasn’t expecting much, but it has been a big success, to be honest. In a short time, we saw many copies sell. We plan to publish videos with all the Preludios played by my Academy students, each performing one Preludio. It will be posted on YouTube from here in Darmstadt. We have the videos recorded, but it will still be sometime before all the editing is finished. Hopefully, we will have them ready by the end of the year.

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