Welcome to the July 2022 edition of the Artistic Score Engraving newsletter. I hope you are surviving this scorching summer in the austral hemisphere or enjoying a cool winter in the boreal one! I am having a hard time doing anything when it becomes hot, in general, but this year, starting from the month of May, it has been a true challenge. Furthermore, I cannot recall ever seeing the temperature rise to 35 °C+ already in May, and I live in NW Italy which, in theory, should be cooler. The giant plains that lie at the Alps’ feet create a dampening effect (or should I call it “swampening”?), though, that makes breathing very hard. I can’t wait for next week to come, as we will be moving to Belgrade, Serbia, for almost two months. There, temperatures can be even higher, passing 40 °C sometimes, but the humidity rarely gets over 40%, making it much more manageable. Definitely my August edition will be from there, so stay tuned for updates on this.
So far, I am trying to divide my days in two chunks, working early in the morning up to 11am or so, then sleeping my way to 3-4pm, and then resuming normal activities up to 1-2am. We do not have AC in our apartment, so we need to find alternative solutions to this unbearable heat.
What have I been up to?
On June 10, school ended here, and we all got our well-deserved rest. The musical fairy tale dedicated to Gianni Rodari I mentioned in last month’s newsletter was a great success, and it is possible that repeats will be organised in several Italian cities in the coming months. I assigned summer homework to my students, but I also hope they will take a few weeks of pause before starting again. The only true homework I am adamant about, is that they daily listen to classical music, a personal struggle where I am getting mixed results. I find it hard to make my students (and their families) understand that playing an instrument is much more than just dedicating 30 min or more a day to its practice. We are all incredibly busy, though, so my recommendations are often falling on deaf ears. I have even created a list of all freely available resources on the Italian networks for them to just go and listen, but it seems I can just do so much.
As mentioned last month, I have been doing some “publishing housekeeping”, bringing to the surface two projects that had been lingering in the “to-do one day” box for far too long. More on this below.
I have also been able to enjoy a week-long vacation to Ravenna, Rimini, San Marino, and Pesaro (Rossini’s birthplace). It has been a truly refreshing trip, full of art, a bit of seaside time, and of gorgeous food, from which I came back with fully recharged batteries! I will share with you a picture of what they call “Pizza Rossini”, which has nothing to do with the composer, but it surely was delicious.
Once back, I got in touch with some libraries who seem to have a wealth of resources for my Dotzauer Project, and resumed my engraving work. The work with Donemus Publishing is taking off, with many assignments being thrown at me with a certain regularity. I said “thrown” intentionally because, even after eleven years in this business, I am now learning something new: do your best in 2-3 hours! What does that mean? They give me a project, already typeset by the composer to the best of their skills in either Sibelius or Dorico, and I have 2 to 3 hours to make it comply to their house style, clean up any clear mistakes, and give it a nice enough outlook. I have to confess that, in the first days, I was quite stressed about it, as I dislike to work under tight time constraints. I have certainly done that in the past, but it hinders so much the final result that I am seldom happy with it. Now that I am getting used to it, it is not that bad, and I understand that, if you bake so many editions in a month, you cannot afford to give too much freedom to those who work for you. I am simply worried about where all of this is going, as quality seems to be pushed ever back towards the bottom of the priority checklist.
Other engraving projects are slowly moving in, including a charming challenge with some contemporary scores for oboe duo, and I can’t wait to show you more about it.
Sibelius template released!
Yes, you read that right! I finished it! After close to two years of daily investing half an hour to it, whenever I could make it fit, the Clarinet Fingering Template for Avid Sibelius is ready for its version 1.0! Here is a list of what it includes:
- Total different symbols in the template: 1648.
- A free tier released, containing all basic clarinet fingerings.
- Microtonal & multiphonics fingerings for B-flat soprano (E-flat sopranino, and A soprano), and for B-flat bass clarinet
- Multiphonics Trills and Tremolos
- Mouthpiece-only fingering possibilities
- Smith multiphonics flashcards (these are now only in the Sib file. If I see interest in this, I will create true flashcards)
- Eric Mandat’s Quarter Tone fingerings
- E-flat contrabass clarinet multiphonics
- Altissimo clarinet fingerings
The full template spans 35 pages, and it is possible to use it by either copy-pasting the symbol you need, or by importing the House Style directly into your Sibelius document.
If you are into this, may I ask you to try the free version and let me know what you think about it? This is not a “trial version” that, now and then, will show you a pop-up prompting you to buy the full version. It is FREE, completely, and endlessly. Just use it and enjoy it! If you then feel that you require more, the full version is also available. It is worth noting that there currently is a bug in the Gumroad website—though they call it a feature—where every product offered for free needs to also have the Pay What You Want feature enabled by default. While this is good, this also applies to other versions of the product so that you will also see a
+ sign next to the full price, prompting you to write the price you want to pay. It’s annoying, and even if it is not my fault, I apologise for the inconvenience.
I know this is probably not going to be a viral seller, but it will be immensely useful to my work as a contemporary music engraver. Thus, I am keeping this tradition of sharing what I find useful to me, hoping that others will also find it useful.
Update on the Dotzauer’s Project
Last month I announced the release of the second edition of this massive project, consisting of the Twenty-four Exercises for Two Cellos, Op. 159. Compared to the reception the first edition of Op. 58 had, this has almost completely been ignored, even if the announcement post has gotten well over ten thousand views. After all the work I have been putting into it, this was quite a hit for my spirits, and I started to question whether what I am doing is right. Sure, Op. 159 is more expensive than Op. 58, but it contains double the exercises, and it is not double as expensive. From what I see around, people seem to buy things that are under $/£/€10, and consider anything else only if they truly want it. Talking of Op. 58, few bought the score and parts bundle (a killer deal at €12.95), while many bought either the score or the parts alone for €8.95.
Definitely, I need to work on my vanity and swallow my wounded pride, but I would really like to know what has gone wrong here. That is hard, though, because even if I ask customers to leave a review, few to nobody does that, not even if I send a dedicated email saying “please, let me know what you think”. We are probably all too busy for that.
Concerning Op. 58, as soon as I will get to a good number of sales, showing me there is an interest in it, I will upgrade this edition to contain also a Collector’s version with different bowing and fingering suggestions. Anyone who already purchased it will get this update for free, while newcomers will get to choose.
Op. 159 will soon need a rework in its publishing structure, as I need to consider that the way it currently is offered is not appealing. I have been able to locate the manuscript of the first edition, and while it will take a lot of my time to rework this, I will do this for Mr. Dotzauer at least. The updated edition will offer the Urtext version as an entry-level purchase, exactly as Op. 58 did, while the Collector’s Edition will contain all other versions together. This should greatly simplify both the maintenance side and the purchasing experience. Of course, the edition is already great as is, and if you will purchase it now, you will get the update for free.
On the horizon, I have at least three new editions whose note input has already been completed, but I am waiting for some manuscripts to be delivered to me to be able to offer the best product ever.
I was hit by a semi-depressive wave when I noticed, a few weeks ago, that Schott had been starting their own Dotzauer republishing project, starting from solo études, though. Looking at their digital editions preview I could see that they appeared to have done a good research, but then I noticed that they didn’t base their work neither on the manuscripts, nor on the first edition by Dotzauer himself. They were comparing Klingenberg to Magrini, who both heavily altered the text. Then I looked at the quality of their engravings, and I was shocked: this is not what neither I, nor anyone should expect from Schott, as I know some of their engravers, and they are much better than this! What does this mean, though? Simple, they just didn’t care about this project being anything more than another product to be sold, regardless of quality. And this, I’m sorry, is just sad.
This month, I have been able to focus on three new editions, two of which were 75% done and had been lingering in the “forgot items room” for too long. They are Robert Lindley’s Twelve Capriccios & Exercises for cello solo, Op. 15, Carlo Alfredo Piatti’s Elegia sulla morte di Antonio Rubinstein for two cellos, composed in 1894, and a new piano reduction of Georg Eduard Goltermann’s Cello Concerto n° 4 in G major, Op. 65.
This edition was commissioned to me by a dear cellist friend of mine, Antonino Saladino, many years ago. I kept procrastinating it, until this month I decided I needed to complete my catalogue. To share my approach with you, I can tell you that, when I start working on a new edition, I give it an ascending catalogue number. For example, my latest release of Piatti is ASE 0025 (Artistic Score Engraving 25th edition). There is a gap now in n° 23 because I am still working on it and because it is a longer project, but Lindley’s Capriccios were n° 13, and Goltermann’s piano reduction belongs to n° 7!
After completing the checkup on the notes and dynamics, I added the fingerings, noticing how Lindley used an X to mark the thumb position. Then I cleaned the design and built the book. They are lovely pieces, all but the last one made of two parts, akin to a prelude and dance, if you wish, and I suggest you try them out. Here is a picture of the table of contents, where you can see the degree of difficult you may expect from them.
If you want a longer excerpt, please join my Gumroad community, and you will receive the first capriccio for free. Should you then want to purchase your copy, you can find it here.
Once more, thanks to Antonino Saladino for inspiring me to create this edition.
As you probably already know, 2022 marks Piatti’s 200th birthday, and I have accepted the task given by my dear friend in Bergamo Annalisa Barzanò to publish as much as possible by him. This is only the second edition of the year, but I have already so much in the pipeline that I can only ask you to wait and see!
Piatti wrote this marvellous piece for two cellos at the end of his life, when he learned of the death of his dear friend, the Russian pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein. In the preface to this edition, I also share the story of this composition, so I hope you will want to check it out. Since this is a short piece, a 3-pages score, I needed to reserve the preview to those in my community, I hope you understand. By the way, did I tell you that joining is free and that you are already going to get 6 gifts by just subscribing?
I will share at least the cover with you here, and then, if you want to get the full product, please proceed here.
Goltermann’s Piano Reduction
The fourth cello concerto by Georg E. Goltermann has been one of my first editions, back when I was only publishing on SheetMusicPlus. Since my arrangement for string orchestra of the third movement was my absolute bestseller at the time (you can still find it here if you want), I decided to make an Urtext edition of it starting from the manuscript score. As it seems usual with things, the more you care about something, the less it gives you back, so I hope this newly made piano reduction will help to make it more widespread.
I offer the cello parts as both an Urtext version and an annotated part by my teacher, Marcio Carneiro, who was the one true assistant to André Navarra. The score is available as both an Urtext original and an expanded string orchestra arrangement, which I made. The parts are available as a separate purchase, as it is usually done for this kind of works. Then there is this new piano reduction, realised with my dear friend and colleague Yuriy Leonovich, which greatly expands on what was available before, making the interaction between soloist and keyboard much more engaging! Here you can see an excerpt of it:
Hoping to have drawn your interest, I will let you explore the several purchasing options available for this beautiful piece. You can get started here. If you are part of my community, I can tell you that this will be the next gift to be planned and sent over, starting next week.
The Gift System
I apologise if I have repeated so many times about joining my community, but there is a big announcement I need to make. Starting from this month, I am going to add a new gift every week, until I run out of editions, of course. By subscribing, you will receive three welcome messages in the first week—they’re the most important ones as they contain the discount codes!—and then one message per week. In that message I will describe one of my editions, give you a robust excerpt, and then a dedicated discount code.
I am doing this to celebrate the fact that, on June 18, I passed twenty subscribers! I will now wait until you stop laughing… Now, I wanted to share this with you because for me, every one of you count. Just think of it: I am creating pedagogical editions dedicated to the cello, it’s an incredibly narrow niche, and there are already at least twenty other people who care about it! The only thing I can say is THANK YOU because your support is what helps me go on when I feel down.
Of course, if you don’t already follow me, or if you know someone who could be interested in this, please use this link to get started.
One More Thing!
If you think you would like to support my work, and also earn something back while doing so, please consider becoming an Artistic Score Engraving Affiliate, by filling up this form here (really, it’s two lines and a button to click). Once accepted, you will need to create a Gumroad account, unless you already have one, and get access to a page with all the links to my editions to share with your community. Every purchase made with those links will net you some cash-back.
Thank you for your support, it means the world to me!
My catalogue is always available here, and it will be up-to-date with the latest additions by the time you receive this newsletter.
I didn’t have so much time this month to dedicate to learning new skills, but I have nevertheless tried to do my best. I have studied a bit of Objective-C and Swift development for macOS, realising every day more that it is not something one can do as a hobby. Still, studying programming is such a fundamental skill to develop logical thinking, problem-solving skills, good approach to everyday issues, that I will certainly keep it up. I have been trying to study in-app purchases to implement them in my app on the Apple App Store, but it has proven to be harder than I thought. The idea here is to make the app free with an optional gift system but, again, if I cannot dedicate 2-3 hours per day to it, it seems impossible to do.
On the Apple Teacher learning path side, I have been slowly learning new things about GarageBand, fighting my inner refusal of anything digital in sound management!
I have finally completed the Photoshop Essentials course on LinkedIn Learning—I say finally because it was so hard to follow the instructor, she was talking too fast—. I then started the second-to-final course of the curriculum, Illustrator Essentials, and it is a much better experience!
I am getting to a point where I wish I could spend all my days just learning, practicing cello, researching old manuscripts, instead of having to work for a living. I am quite far from getting there but, at least, there is a goal!
Creating these editions for the Apple Books store taught me a lot about managing file sizes, file formats, and about how the ePub format is an absolute nightmare to manage. I will one day write an article here about it, but, forgive me, I barely could find the time to write this newsletter.
I hope to be able to push out a couple more editions during the month of July, definitely something by Piatti will be coming. Hopefully, something else as well will see the light of day.
I renew here my request to please leave a rating on your Gumroad Library when you make a purchase, or at least, please take the time to drop me an email with a few lines telling me what you think of it. Your opinion truly matters to me!
And that’s it for this month! If you follow me, and received this in your e-mail inbox, you will find below a list of all my products with a 5% discount code already applied. If you don’t, please subscribe here, and you will get your personal codes in a few days.
As always, thank you for reading through this update, and let me know your thoughts, your suggestions, and critiques, as I read and react to all of them.
I wish you all the best