Do I not see that here also, where a wrong note or a note held too long or not long enough are grounds for dismissal or re-recording? Do I not read endlessly here phrases such as, "I could not check with the score..." Are there not recordings submitted to this very forum considered very passable by A until such as time as A actually sees the score and states that the recording "just won't do?"
Indeed, but is that wrong? The question of how far one should be allowed to let one's interpretation stray from what is actually written down is ultimately irresolvable, and the dividing line between a liberty and a mistake can be quite fine at times. It's easy to get carried away and to land in a situation in which, to paraphrase RVW, the listener might say "I think I like it, but it's not what the composer meant.".
I must say I am in favour of original editions because I believe Urtext editions are a help to the pianist in that they strip away all annotations by other pianists and editors, allowing any pianist worth his salt to give his own interpretation.
Agreed. On the other hand, what if the pianist is not
"worth his salt"? I don't mean that in a derogatory way. Consider that a learning pianist who has a teacher will be guided by the teacher's advice on how various elements should be interpreted (perhaps giving several options for the pupil to choose from). In a similar way, editors give valuable expert advice to learners who don't have a teacher to guide them.
And then, what is Urtext?
Good question. It's the "original" text, but what does that mean? It can involve going back further than the first published version, namely to the manuscript. The danger here is that the manuscript can be full of abbreviations, and lacking in detail which the publisher was expected to fill in. It's easy to forget that the first editions are editions
too, and thus not completely "original", though one would hope that they would have the composer's approval prior to going into production. But if a letter-day Urtext editor gets hold of an original manuscript, he will often need to use judgement to fill in the missing detail, or resolve ambiguities, or correct "obvious" mistakes, if what is to come out of the project is something that's to be of practical use to play from, and not just suitable for academic study.