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Knowing the score

Pauline McLean | 09:53 UK time, Thursday, 27 August 2009

Stéphane Denève, music director of the Royal Scottish National Opera (RSNO) has been doing his homework ahead of Friday's concert of Berlioz's Romèo et Juliette at Edinburgh's Usher Hall.

The orchestra's last performance at this year's festival also mark's the French conductor's first performance of his fellow countryman's dramatic symphony.

So on Tuesday, he was off to the National Library of Scotland to see a rare early presentation of the score.

The score - part of the Hopkinson Berlioz Collection, musical and literary works formed by the music bibliographer Cecil Hopkinson (1898-1977) - includes the composer's hand-penned markings and comments.

I'm told Mr Deneve found at least one deviation from his own modern score, which he was eager to correct.

Cecil Hopkinson - whose Berlioz bibliography, published by the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society in 1951, remains a standard work of reference - presented his extensive Berlioz collection to the National Library in 1952, but continued to add items to it after this date.

It includes editions of Berlioz's music, proof copies, and presentation copies with inscriptions by Berlioz.

It's described as the third greatest collection of Berlioz's legacy - and for one Frenchman far from home, it looks like being a very useful source.


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