Mihoko Kimura and edition offenburg
Originally from Japan, the publisher Mihoko Kimura is a violinist herself who has been performing worldwide with her baroque violin at the core of numerous baroque orchestras and ensembles such as La Petite Bande (Sigiswald Kuijken), Concerto Vocale (Rene Jacobs) and Les Arts Florissants (William Christie) for nearly forty years till 2010. As a matter of fact, the founding of a music publishing company on her own is a continuation of her activities within the field of Early Music.
When preparing the score for a concert or a recording I often had to hand copy the music myself or do quite some „tinkering“ for hours: photocopying, cutting out the needed lines, rearranging and sticking them on a new sheet of paper, retouching unnecessary markings and copying it again. Sometimes for an entire orchestra!
There are, as of today, still many works of music that have either never been published, or if so, only in a so-called „interpretive edition“ full of markings supplemented by the editor which cannot be distinguished from the original markings, or some works can be found only within comprehensive musicological editions that are too voluminous and unpractical for use on stage. Therefore: copy, cut, stick, retouch, and copy again… Fortunately, progress in digitalisation has been making things much easier recently.
The idea and its implementation of founding an own publishing company for music scores is actually the direct continuation of my forty years of activities in the field of Early Music.
Sheet music in the 17th and 18th century often was published merely in the form of part-books. The full score was then edited out of the combined part-books. If the original part-books are printed in a clean, intelligible and easy to play way, they are published in a practical facsimile-edition, by adding bar numbers and together with a newly edited full score – for the original music sheets being still full of highly valuable musical information.
On the other hand, manuscripts are often full of original markings difficult to read or to interpret. For example slurs placed somewhere vaguely over the notes, leaving it ambiguous where they exactly begin or end – how is it possible to tell exactly the composer’s intent?
In the concept of „edition offenburg“, markings that are genuinely ambiguous in the original should remain the way they had been drawn originally so that their musical reading is left to each interpreter’s discretion. The more so as it is typical for sheet music of the baroque period to leave plenty of freedom to the musician.