The topic of how to split Wagner’s operas on parts was already discussed, for example here, but looking on the current state the operas there were no conclusion. At the moment a mix of various contradictory styles is used:
In some cases works are split on parts according to the composer’s intent, even if parts are relatively large. Example: “Die Walküre” is split on Acts and Scenes, which corresponds to parts indicated by the composer in the score.
In other cases works are split on very fine parts, where a new part is created nearly each time when a different performer sings. Example: “Tristan und Isolde”, Act I, where some parts are as short as 10 seconds.
Finally, sometimes works are split according to recordings of particular releases which does not necessary correspond to anything in the score. In worst case, the same Act may be split on sub-parts in parallel according to several releases. “Rienzi”, Act II looks like at least 3 different splitting schemas were applied simultaneously.
For most composers, the first splitting schema (parts according to the score) is undisputed, but in case of Wagner at least some editors seems to dislike it, probably because parts tends to be pretty large. In most releases recordings are smaller as such parts, and must be marked as “partial recording”.
The second schema (very fine-grained parts) allows to prevent partial recordings, but as a result most recordings will be linked to many very small parts. A typical recording is around 2 to 10 minutes in length, and with a very fine-grained parts a recording may be easily linked to 5 - 10 such works. Besides, even with relatively small parts the splitting is pretty arbitrary.
The last approach, which is even hard to name a “schema”, allows to link each recording to exactly one work “cut out” from the whole opera exactly for this particular recording. A disadvantage is that the number of parts explodes, many parts have intersections, and there is no clear logic behind such approach. In many cases, new works (parts) have to be created each time when a new release is added.
I prefer the first approach (parts according to the score, as indicated by the composer) to be used uniformly. This approach respects composer’s intent, and is not as arbitrary as the 2nd (fine-grained parts) or 3rd (follow recordings).
Before changing anything, I would like to hear your opinion. Does it make sense to uniformly apply one approach to all Wagner’s operas? If yes, which one?
If the decision will be to apply the first approach (parts according to the score as explicitly indicated by the composer), I volunteer to spend a couple of months cleaning things up.
To not be too generic, this question is solely about Wagner’s operas. It does not apply directly to any other composer, where there may be good arguments to apply another partitioning schema.
Edit: added last voting option to keep everything as is.
- Parts according to score as explicitly indicated by the composer
- Fine-grained parts
- Parts follow recordings
- Keep parts as they currently are, that is do not apply any uniform splitting schema