The Critical Edition of the Complete Works of Sergei Rachmaninoff adheres to the general tendency in present-day publishing practice which favours the maximum reflection of specific details in the musical notation which are characteristic of the manuscript notation.
The composer’s sound recordings of his own compositions are of special importance, unique in its way, in solving certain text-critical problems.
The following fundamental principles of scholarship and publishing have been adhered to in the process of preparing the present Edition:
- inclusion in the Complete Works of all compositions by Rachmaninoff without any restrictions, including his earliest compositional experiments;
- the publication of all arrangements and transcriptions made by Rachmaninoff of works by other composers;
- the complete publication of the composer’s literary heritage;
- the absolute priority of primary sources — autograph MSS, authorized copies, publications issued during Rachmaninoff’s lifetime and proof-read by him — when resolving the problems of establishing the text of each composition;
- the establishment of the basic versions of individual compositions only on the basis of detailed study of the history of their texts;
- the deciphering and publication of initial versions and variants later rejected, for whatever reason, by the composer;
- thorough and detailed justification in the Critical Reports of any decision made by the editor in the case of disputed questions;
- when there are discrepancies between peculiarities of the composer’s musical notation in his manuscripts and the conventions of modern publishing practice, priority lies with the original. In those cases where this priority is thought unsuitable, the composer’s notation is entered as a proviso in the Critical Reports;
- the deciphering and publication in full of preliminary compositional materials: sketches and drafts;
- a differentiated approach to illuminating various details of the sources (variant readings, misprints, moot points etc.) in the Critical Reports.