Liszt's reliance on copyists throughout his career and in every stage of the compositional process aroused controversly only after his death, when published letters impugned his authorship by suggesting others had orchestrated his symphonic works. Thereafter, compelling testimony from three members of the Weimar Hofkapelle during the 1850's——concertmaster Joseph Joachim, prinicipal cellist Bernard Cossmann, and the scribe Joachim Raff——has informed the secondary literature's highly partisan criticism. Suspected scribal influence is constructed as weakness in Liszt's character and music, dismissed as inconsequential, or reluctantly acknowledged as a factor in Liszt's transformation from pianist to symphonist. I propose a more balanced view based on previously univestigated manuscript sources for incidental music to Herder's Der entfesselte Prometheus, produced in 1850. Raff's full scores for an overture and eight choruses, prepared from Liszt's typically detailed short-score, offer unrivaled opportunities to assess scribal influence. An original typology sorts contributions into four categories: minor tasks any competent musician could perform; transcribing unmarked passages in score order; extra doublings; and genuinely autonomus work, including the occasional invention of primary motives. Some of Raff's independent choices reflect astute awareness of Herder's text; others merely betray fascination with orchestral technique. Liszt's revisions eliminated or varied the overwhelming majority of scribal accretions, although Raff deserves credit for several salient features of the choruses. In the overture, however, rejection of Raff's contributions is virtually complete. The revisions also disclose that Liszt adopted more transparent textures, articulated phrases through gradual increases in orchestral density, and exploited instrumental ranges more idiomatically.
- ©© Regents of the University of California