The bassoon concerto by Weber ranks second only to that of Mozart in importance. Since first appearing in print in 1823 it has been republished many times; however the version in which it is generally known today is an anonymously edited one dating from some 40 years after the composer's death which differs in many points of detail from the composer's original. The aim of this edition is to restore Weber's text free of any editorial intervention. Weber, then 25 years old, wrote the work in Munich between the 14th & 27th November 1811 at the request of the bassoonist Georg Friedrich Brandt (1773- 1836). The first performance took place in the Court theatre on December 28th, a fair copy of his score being made for the purpose. Having kept his own score by him for 11 years, Weber gave it in 1822 to his Berlin publisher Schlesinger, who issued it the following year in parts. More experienced now, and having heard Brandt play it in Prague, he took the opportunity to carry out a few revisions, expanding the tuttis here and there and rescoring some of the accompaniments; however he made only few minor alterations to the solo part. The 1823 first edition conforms closely to this revised version.
ln the present edition, the solo part is based on the 1822 revision; a few minor errors and inconsistencies have been corrected, and the 1823 first edition has been referred to throughout. The composer's orthography has been retained, including his disposition of beams & flags, which often subtly seems to indicate phrasing. At first sight Weber appears inconsistent with his markings; it is evident however that, while meticulously marking certain passages, elsewhere he has deliberately left his interpreter free to determine matters of articulation and accentuation according to his own preference and technique. Needless to say, the absence of such marks does not mean that the player does not need to supply them! lt is to be hoped that such passages, free of composer's prescription and editor's suggestion alike, will stimulate the performer's initiative and imagination. (William Waterhouse)