Brahms strikes a wrong chord for 100 years

April 25, 1997

Musicians have been playing the work of Brahms riddled with errors for a century because the composer and his Leipzig printers did not do their proof-reading carefully enough. Robert Pascall of Nottingham University has completed research uncovering 281 mistakes in the First Symphony alone, and although they are relatively trivial - eight wrong notes, crescendos starting too early or late, wrong staccato and dynamic markings - such changes do make a difference to the way the music sounds. Professor Pascall is now working on a definitive New Complete Edition of Brahms's work, which is expected to reach 65 volumes and take another 30 years to produce.

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