MUSICAL “TELEPHONE”: POST-PUBLICATION EDITS TO CARLOS SALZEDO’S VARIATIONS SUR UN THÈME DANS LE STYLE ANCIEN
Thomas, Karen Abrahamson
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Carlos Salzedo (1885–1961) created his Variations sur un Thème dans le Style Ancien (Variations on a Theme in Ancient Style, 1911) as a showcase for the modern harp’s capabilities and his still-developing technique. It remains one of his most well-known and widely performed works for the instrument. Salzedo first published Variations in 1911 while he was still in his twenties. In the ensuing years, he developed a complex technique and refined performance style. Fittingly, he changed the Variations to match these developments. Although he never published the changes, they survived him. He memorialized his changes to the Variations in a complete set of markings on January 4, 1954. It is not known whether Salzedo’s original markings survive. But his students have passed down those markings, dutifully copying them like scribes with an ancient text. Salzedo’s markings are widely known by those in Salzedo’s teaching “tree,” but most of the markings have never been formally published. The purpose of this study is to identify and analyze Salzedo’s annotations, with the hope that Salzedo’s revisions to the Variations will finally be published. For the purposes of this study, I have chosen to isolate two branches of Salzedo’s pedagogical “tree”: those of Alice Chalifoux and Lucile Lawrence. I have compared and analyzed their markings—which they copied from Salzedo’s 1954 set of markings—to identify similarities and analyze any discrepancies. Representing the Alice Chalifoux line is Yolanda Kondonassis, head of the harp departments at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and The Cleveland Institute of Music. Representing the Lucile Lawrence branch is Elizabeth Richter, Professor of Harp at Ball State University. I also obtained markings from Heidi Lehwalder, Salzedo’s last student, and an active teacher and performer in Seattle. Having identified what was likely contained in Salzedo’s 1954 penciled annotations, I have also compared his annotations with a 1989 edition published by Lyon and Healy and edited by Clifford Wooldridge. This edition sought to incorporate Salzedo’s annotations in a revised edition of the Variations. But Mr. Wooldridge died before its completion. As my study shows, Wooldridge’s edition is incomplete and does not include all the changes that Salzedo made to the Variations.