The Beethoven Gesamtausgabe is the first collected edition of the works of Ludwig van Beethoven. Its full title is Ludwig van Beethovens Werke: vollständige kritisch durchgesehene überall berechtige Ausgabe (which roughly translated means Ludwig van Beethoven's Works: complete, critical, thoroughly revised, authorized edition). It was published between 1862 and 1865, with a supplementary volume appearing in 1888.
The edition contained 263 works arranged in twenty four "series". While a groundbreaking achievement, its limitations soon became apparent. Musicologist Friedrich Spiro delivered a paper to the Fourth Congress of the International Music Society in 1911 that advocated a revision of the Gesamtausgabe. Spiro pointed out both numerous inaccuracies in its musical text and various authentic works of Beethoven that were never included (such as Op. 134, Beethoven's own piano duet arrangement of his Große Fuge, Op. 133).
Subsequently, Willy Hess prepared a catalogue of those authentic works of Beethoven not included in the Gesamtausgabe, a catalogue that was published in 1957.
In providing annotation for the celebrated recording of Beethoven's piano concertos by Steven Lubin and Christopher Hogwood, Prof. Robert S. Winter noted that the parts available for the concertos at the time of the recording (1987) were the same ones available when the Gesamtausgabe was completed. He points out both that the original sources which have come down to us of the concertos can be... Read More