The Coming of The Messiah
October 2, 2019

As Messiah Season quickly approaches, we thought it might be useful to our customers to clarify what makes each edition of Handel’s masterpiece special.  We currently stock seven different editions of the Messiah and each one offers something of value to singers both professional and amateur.

Bärenreiter Urtext

Based on the latest scholarly edition produced by Max Schneider and Georg Friedrich Handel-Gesellschaft, this is the closest edition to an “authentic” or “historically informed” edition of the work available.  The vocal score we keep in stock does not contain the critical commentary published separately by Bärenreiter but does provide a clear and transparent text that conforms to the Urtext criteria: no editorial dynamics are shown, the continuo realization is shown in small notes, and textual variances are indicated. Bärenreiter has produced a beautiful engraving of the Messiah that uses high-quality paper.

This edition is also surprisingly affordable.  The publisher offers a special price for North America that is about half what Europeans would pay.

We recommend this edition to those who are very appreciative of the latest scholarship and interested in historical performance. It is a very clean and beautifully looking score and is becoming more popular every year.

(Read more…)

Product Review: Choral Folders from Small World
October 1, 2019

For years, The Leading Note has stocked a variety of choral folders, including inexpensive models suitable for children’s choirs, folders from Marlo Plastics that are perfectly sized for a standard octavo, and the classic Black Folder Deluxe from Vancouver’s Small World Music Folder company.

To fill the gap between this top-of-the-line folder and the smaller, less-expensive options, we now stock two other folders from Small World. The Choralex and Ringbinder each offer unique features that complement what the Black Folder Deluxe offers, rather than replace it.


The Black Folder Deluxe

The Black Folder Deluxe

The classic Black Folder Deluxe is a durable, lightweight, ergonomic folder with options available to suit a wide range of requirements. This is one of the best folders available for both professional and amateur singers; an elegant lightweight folder at a good value that has by far been our most popular seller over the years.

One of the more important features of this folder is the bottom strap, which is attached at the outside base of the folder. It also has a comfortable hand strap at the back for you to hold it securely.  It can carry many scores and will stand up to the abuse that daily rehearsals inevitably inflict on overworked choral folders.  It is a large folder which makes it great for large scores, but this same quality means it can sometimes be too bulky for a crowded stage.
(Read more…)

Bach’s Six Sonatas & Partitas
December 9, 2013

J.S. Bach’s “Six Sonatas and Partitas” are a staple in any violinist’s repertoire and a must have for almost every audition. This collection, like many of Bach’s popular repertoire, has a story (or legend) behind it; such as the story of Bach’s first wife passing away while he was on a trip with the Prince of Kothen and writing the famously heart-wrenching Chaconne (or ciaccona) in D minor in remembrance of his wife.

When it comes to purchasing a score for these pieces there are many choices and each with their own strengths and weaknesses. This post reviews the features of those editions The Leading Note keeps in stock. (Read more…)

What Is an Urtext Edition?
May 1, 2013


Not all print music is the same. Not all publishers are the same.

Some publishers make a business of selling inexpensive reprints of old edition; some publishers produce practical editions for the student market or another specific purpose.

A handful of publishers, however, create scores called “urtext editions” that are highly regarded by professional musicians, teachers and students. What is an Urtext and how is it different from other musical scores? Read on to find out!

(Read more…)

Urtext Facsimiles of Masterworks from Henle Verlag
May 31, 2012

Thanks to our partnership with the University of Ottawa Music Library, we presently have a collection of interesting books on display at The Leading Note.  Because the Library is currently renovating part of their facility, we are holding onto some new aquisitions that we sourced for them until the Fall.  We are usually unable to keep rare books like these in stock so a special thank you to the Library for allowing us to put them on display for our customers.

The collection includes numerous facsimiles of manuscripts and original publications of masterworks from Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Chopin, Debussy, and other composers.

These facsimiles are published by Henle Verlag and are reproductions of the sources used to make their famous “urtext” editions. The facsimiles are beautifully bound with sewn spines and cloth covers.

Although we cannot stock these facsimiles regularly in our store, they are always available for special order. Come by our shop soon to view the books. They make great gifts for music lovers! You are welcome to purchase any of the facsimiles on the shelf (don’t worry, we will order another copy for the Library).