osmie: (Bowler)
[personal profile] osmie
I dreamed of bibliographic scandals in the publication history of Frédéric Chopin.

From the 1930s to the 1950s, the world's leading Chopin editor was a German conductor named Heinrich Imboll. In 1953 it was discovered that he had flagrantly interpolated his own work into half a dozen Mazurkas and one entire Ballade (now known as the "False Ballade"), and even his early, accurate edition of the Waltzes fell from favour.

Imboll's work was replaced in music stores by an American editor named Hiroko Kusanagi, whose revisionism was confined to a 1951 Ph.D. thesis from Brigham Young University. In Kusanagi's world, Chopin represented the same divine insight that inspired Joseph Smith, leading the people to Mormonism from the other side of the planet through a series of intricate structural clues in the Mazurkas. Kusanagi—who had converted to Mormonism during the Japanese internment—omitted this theory from her published introductions, but when it came to light in 1974, her editions too were discredited.

After the brief sensations of a (largely illegible) facsimile manuscript and the "Hooked on Classics" transcription, Chopin scholarship settled on the unremarkable Lu Chen edition of 1912, with new fingerings by Arthur Rubinstein—and that infamous pagination error you've probably had to correct in your own copy, reversing the sixth and seventh pages of the Waltz in B Major.


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