Spirit of 2002? The Paul Revere Awards for Music Manuscript Excellence

Spirit of 2002? The Paul Revere Awards for Music Manuscript Excellence

In this digital age, so much of our work and our art is contained by our hard drives, spit out of printers at the touch of a button onto crisp white paper. Software developments mean that your average composer can now digitally design his or her own scores and deliver a disk to the publisher, as opposed to stacks of ink splattered pages. But what of the art and beauty of excellently produced manuscripts? The Music Publishers Association once again has recognized those publishers who have taken that extra care with 2002 Paul Revere Awards for Graphic Excellence.

A brainchild of Arnold Broido, the elder statesman of the music publishing world, the award was created in 1960s when technology turned from the traditional skill and labor-intensive engraving methods to new tools, such as the music typewriter and stamping notes onto paper. In the ’90s, the technology changed again, moving the industry from manual setting to computer.


“At each if these thresholds there was a real danger of standards slipping and being lost,” explains Paul Sadowski, coordinator of the awards for the MPA. “The Paul Revere awards are an effort to maintain the standard so that the music adheres to the traditional appearance.”

The only award of its kind, the winners are presented with a certificate at the Music Publishers Association annual meeting in June. The MPA, a volunteer organization of member publishing companies, seeks to recognize both the publishing house and those individuals who lent their talents to the music production–from the designers to the printers. A display of winning scores travels to music libraries across the country.

Winning publishing houses this year include Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., Theodore Presser Company, Carl Fischer, Oxford University Press, C. F. Peters Corp., G. Schirmer, Inc., A-R Editions, Inc., Hope Publishing Company, Hal Leonard Corp., Warner Bros. Publications, International Music Company, NDC Editions, Inc., Associated Music Publishers, Inc., Editions Orphée, and Southern Music Company. A complete list of winning scores appears below.

This year’s panel of four judges included Dale Kugel, of Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc. ; Bruce Taub, former head of publishing for C.F. Peters Corporation; John Shepherd, head of Special Music Collections at the NYPL of Performing Arts; and Leo McCarthy, retired Fortune magazine designer.

Lauren Keiser, executive vice president of Carl Fischer, notes that being recognized by an organization of peers is “a real thrill and an honor.” The publisher swept the children’s education field, which Keiser says was “especially significant for us because we really pride ourselves on the work we do in that area.”

A Few Sources for Engraving Tips & Advice

*The MPA also publishes a booklet on standard notation practices for use as a reference handbook

Keiser also notes how much the advances in digital technology have aided in production and distribution, especially when it comes to living concert composers. “Young composers especially will deliver their scores on disk. We can print out perusal scores and they look published. You have to watch for computer glitches, and some purists complain about the graphic elements, but it’s been a real help.”

But with that digital ease and speed does come a certain potential for sub-par music production. One of the main things that stood out to the judges this year was the acceptance of music “as it comes out of the box,” that is to say music produced just using the program defaults without any critical editing. “Understandable in a performance situation but for the most part what we were looking at for the awards is what the publishers feel are their best publications and these should be very finely tuned,” says Sadowski.


Sadowski finds that “people are often quite ignorant of a lot of the rules involved in good note setting.” When the matter is left to the computer program without careful editing, there can be crowding and awkward line breaks and page turns. “The notation should fit the music, the phrasing is evident in the way the line breaks appear, changes of key will be at a major point, that sort of thing,” says Sadowski. Even with all of the computer engraving process, this task ultimately still takes the skill of a trained human eye. “The tools are really very good and we’ve gained a lot in terms of productivity, but what we’ve lost, as in many things that have gone over to computer, is the transfer of knowledge that some of the older engravers have. It’s a compendium of that knowledge that I think is missing from many practitioners. What the Paul Revere awards are really about is acknowledging that fine-tuning.”

Boosey & Hawkes General Manager Jennifer Bilfield agrees, explaining that in the industry the awards effectively “celebrate the achievement of the editors, design teams, and product development staff who work to capture the eye of the music-buying public. In supporting excellence in publishing, the awards reaffirm the value of the printed product and create a repository of fine examples for future generations.”


1st Prize Romance of Hsiao and Ch’in (Chen Yi) — Theodore Presser Company
OCTAVO SHEET MUSIC (Single titles)
1st Prize Panda Chant II (Monk) — Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
2nd Prize Motherless Child —Theodore Presser Company
2nd Prize O Sapo — Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
CHORAL EDITIONS (Collections and Large Works)
1st Prize The Shadow of the Cross — Hope Publishing Company
FOLIO (Popular)
1st Prize Steve Vai the Ultra Zone — Hal Leonard Corp.
2nd Prize Driving Rain (McCartney) — Hal Leonard Corp.
3rd Prize Britney — Warner Bros. Publications
FOLIO (Standard)
1st Prize Classic Songs of Stephen Foster — G. Schirmer, Inc.
2nd Prize Early Piano Music (Hanson) — Carl Fischer
3rd Prize Elliott Carter Harmony Book — Carl Fischer
3rd Prize Vissi d’Arte (Puccini) — C. F. Peters Corp.
FOLIO (Children’s Educational)
1st Prize Meanwhile, Back in the Enchanted Forest — Carl Fischer
2nd Prize The Yamaha Advantage — Carl Fischer
FOLIO (Full Score)
1st Prize El Dorado (Adams) — Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
2nd Prize Il Pianto (Marcello) — A-R Editions, Inc.
2nd Prize Florestan’s Falcon (Welcher) —Theodore Presser Company
FOLIO (Vocal Score)
1st Prize Try Me, Good King (Larsen) — Oxford University Press
2nd Prize Serenades and Songs (Mozart/Schubert) — International Music Company
3rd Prize Ecce Lignum Crucis Crux Fidelis (Willaert) — NDC Editions, Inc.
FOLIO (Solos with Accompaniment)
1st Prize Trombone Alone (Amram) — C. F. Peters Corp.
2nd Prize Tango Song and Dance (Previn) — G. Schirmer, Inc.
3rd Prize Fortuna Desperata (Terzi) — A-R Editions, Inc.
FOLIO (Chamber Ensemble)
1st Prize Rain Waves (Tower) — Associated Music Publishers, Inc.
2nd Prize Fantasia Concertante (Gilardino) — Editions Orphée
2nd Prize Hungarian Dance Suite No. 1 (Brahms) — International Music Company
Collated Music
1st Prize An American Song (Fletcher) — Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
2nd Prize Clowns (Parker) — Southern Music Company

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