Alexander Zemlinsky – Critical Editions

Zemlinsky Critical Editions

General Editor: Antony Beaumont

Published by G. Ricordi Berlin in collaboration with the International Alexander Zemlinsky Fonds in Vienna

At the end of his life, Zemlinsky could look back on a creative career that had spanned over half a century. With the exception of a comparatively fallow period during the mid-1920s, he had composed profusely, often at great speed, producing a steady flow of works in almost every genre. Luck had not always been on his side, however. Of his eight operas, only two met during his lifetime with real success, and only four were published. Several other large-scale works were abandoned or simply set aside. 

Where other composers strove incessantly to promote their music, Zemlinsky’s attitude was fatalistic: ‘My time will come after my death’, he would say. Fortunately, he rarely destroyed anything he had put to paper. In 1938, before seeking exile in America, he destroyed his personal correspondence, primarily to protect his friends and colleagues from persecution by the Nazis, but made every effort to preserve his compositions, which were shipped to the US in three large crates. After his death, this collection was sold privately and later bequeathed to The Library of Congress. The ‘Alexander Zemlinsky Collection’ in Washington D.C. houses a wealth of manuscripts, including not only sketches and drafts, but also a large number of completed works, many of which remained unperformed until long after Zemlinsky’s death. Other titles originally presumed lost have come to light elsewhere, sometimes in the most unexpected of locations. A case in point is the Cello Sonata of 1893, of which the manuscript was discovered at a farm-house in North Wales.

Since the early 1990s, G. Ricordi Berlin has striven to publish all of Zemlinsky’s posthumous works. This task is being accomplished in collaboration with General Editor Antony Beaumont and with the support of the International Alexander Zemlinsky Fonds in Vienna. Many a manuscript that appeared at first sight to be fragmentary (notably the opera ‘Der König Kandaules’) has turned out on closer inspection to be complete. Others have proved difficult to decipher. It takes much time and patience to prepare such works for publication, but the results have invariably justified the efforts. Over the years, the repertories of opera, orchestral music, chamber music and lieder has been enriched by a large quantity of finely wrought, eminently performable music. 

The most recent publications include two orchestral works composed in 1894/5, ‘Eine Lustspielouvertüre’ and ‘Orchester-Suite’, neither of which have been performed in our time, as well as a new edition of Zemlinsky’s second opera, ‘Es war einmal…’, first given at the Vienna Hofoper in 1900 under the direction of Gustav Mahler. The original volume of Posthumous Songs will be extended by several further items, and it is not inconceivable that other titles in other genres will also come to light. The process of discovery and publication is on-going.

Critical Editions available

I. Stage Works

Der König Kandaules
Orchestration completed by Antony Beaumont

Der Traumgörge
Edited by Antony Beaumont

Ein Lichtstrahl (mime drama)
Edited by Antony Beaumont and Wulf Konold

Es war einmal... 
Edited by Antony Beaumont

II. Symphonic Works

Edited by Antony Beaumont

Edited by Antony Beaumont

In preparation

Malva, ein Fragment
Edited by Antony Beaumont