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Thread: Favorite piano transcriptions

  1. #1
    Senior Member Stargazer's Avatar
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    Default Favorite piano transcriptions

    I was wondering what everyone's favorite piano transcriptions are! What I mean is, works that were originally written for something other than piano and later transcribed for the instrument. I know there's a ton of them out there, half are probably from Liszt alone too lol.

    My personal favorite is Busoni's transcription of Bach's Chaconne, it sounds absolutely amazing on piano. So, what are some of yours?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member pjang23's Avatar
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    I play quite a few transcriptions myself. It's a great way to bring concert hall music to simpler settings and to learn more about the music, and they're a total joy to play if well done but are a nightmare if poorly put together (especially accompaniments reduced from orchestra).

    The Bach-Busoni Chaconne is one of my favorites too. I enjoy playing transcriptions of Brahms' Symphonies (by Otto Singer--3rd mvt of 3rd symphony + 1st mvt of 4th symphony are very well done though some movements don't work that well on piano), Ein deutsches Requiem (by Theodor Kirchner), and the slow movement of Sextet No.1 (by the composer himself), as well as Liszt's transcription of Schubert's Standchen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer View Post
    My personal favorite is Busoni's transcription of Bach's Chaconne, it sounds absolutely amazing on piano.

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    Senior Member moody's Avatar
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    I have rows and rows of these and I think them all marvellous.
    LISZT TRANSCRIPTIONS

    Berlioz .Symphonie Fantastique.
    Beethoven. Symphony No.9.
    Mosony. Opera "Szep Ilonka" Fantasy.
    Gounod. Opera "La Reine de Saba" Berceuse.
    Rossini. Soirees Musicales".
    Verdi. "Rigoletto" Paraphrase.
    Wagner. "Tannhauser" Overture.
    " Isolde's Liebestod.
    Bellini. Reminiscenses de Norma.
    Halevy. " " "La Juive".
    Schubert lieder: Der Leiermann, Horch,horch, die Lerch,Das Wandern, Der Doppelganger.
    Beethove. Song Cycle. An die ferne Geliebte.
    " Lied. "Adelaide".
    Saint Saens. Danse Macabre.

    OTHER COMPOSERS.

    Rachmaninov. J.S. Bach Prelude, Gavotte and Gigue.
    " Franz Behr.Polka W.A.
    " Mendelssohn. "Midsummer Night's Dream. Scherzo.
    Godowsky. J. Strauss. "Wine, Women and Song".
    " " " Artist's Life".
    Thalberg. Donizetti. "Don Pasquale", Fantasy.
    " Rossini. "Moses" Fantasy.
    " " "Barber of Seville" Fantasy.
    Busoni. Fantasia Contrappuntistca > (Themes of Bach.)
    Egon Petri (Busoni's favourite pupil. Buxtehude. "Now We Thank Thee."
    " Bach. "I Step Before Thy Throne O Lord".
    Nyiregyhazi. Liszt's "Hamlet".
    Leonard Pennario. J.Strauss, "Emperor Waltz",
    " Ravel. "La Valse".
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    Senior Member Ravndal's Avatar
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    I love the transcription for danse macabre, by liszt/horowitz.
    “I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.”
    ― Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Senior Member Taneyev's Avatar
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    Niemann Walter: partial transcription of Tchaikovsky's 6Th. sym.

    Castagnetta Grace: Gershwin's concerto in F for solo piano

    Stravinsky: his trans.of 3 movements of Petruschka.

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    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    I´m not particularly fascinated by the genre, especially as regards the opera stuff. But: Liszt "Ad Nos Fantasia" for organ, transcribed for piano. There´s a great recording by Hamish Milne, perfect for a thunderstorm evening.

    Also: Debussy´s "Prelude a l´Apres Midi ..." and Ravel´s "La Valse" - there are some interesting recordings on you-t (Argerich, Copeland, Gould)
    and Stravinsky´s Sacre du Printemps.

    Busoni "Fantasia Contrappuntistica" is a masterpiece, but I wouldn´t really call it a transcription. His other Bach pieces are fine too, of course.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Aug-20-2012 at 14:28.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joen_cph View Post
    I´m not particularly fascinated by the genre, especially as regards the opera stuff. But: Liszt "Ad Nos Fantasia" for organ, transcribed for piano. There´s a great recording by Hamish Milne, perfect for a thunderstorm evening.

    Also: Debussy´s "Prelude a l´Apres Midi ..." and Ravel´s "La Valse" - there are some interesting recordings on you-t (Argerich, Copeland, Gould)
    and Stravinsky´s Sacre du Printemps.

    Busoni "Fantasia Contrappuntistica" is a masterpiece, but I wouldn´t really call it a transcription. His other Bach pieces are fine too, of course.
    The Busoni certainly is, it comes in five parts: the Prelude to the Chorale Glory To the Lord in the Heaven,and four three-part fugues based on the incomplete final fugue from Contrapunctus No.19 from Art of Fugue. The third of these four figures is built on the name (and on the four notes ) B-A-C-H. Between the third and fourth figures are inserted an intermezzo, three Variations, and a cadenza , all of them using as material the four-themes.
    So it is all from transcribed Bach music.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moody View Post
    The Busoni certainly is, it comes in five parts: the Prelude to the Chorale Glory To the Lord in the Heaven,and four three-part fugues based on the incomplete final fugue from Contrapunctus No.19 from Art of Fugue. The third of these four figures is built on the name (and on the four notes ) B-A-C-H. Between the third and fourth figures are inserted an intermezzo, three Variations, and a cadenza , all of them using as material the four-themes.
    So it is all from transcribed Bach music.
    Thanks for these details, which I didn´t know. However I´m not entirely convinced, since some sources underline the creatitivity showed by Busoni:

    http://www.rodoni.ch/busoni/opere/co...untistica.html
    (I haven´t read all of this long essay, it´s in Italian; but it mentions 4 versions, saying that Version 2 for solo piano is the most important, and that the 4th is the one for two pianos:
    "Sia chiaro che Busoni, accingendosi a quest'opera, non ha preteso fare opera d'integrazione e tanto meno d'imitazione da Bach, ma ha voluto, riesprimere "con espressione del suo tempo" una materia che, per la sua purezza, non teme gli affronti del tempo.
    Il contrappunto di Busoni, perciò, non è quello scolastico o classico che potrebbe aver lasciato un contrappuntista del '700, ma quello ardito, molte volte pluritonale, quasi sempre atonale, che potremmo immaginare composto da un Bach "vissuto ai giorni nostri
    ".

    Another guy has written a small essay on creative piano transcriptions, especially those of Busoni and Sorabji. I haven´t read all of it yet & am not able to judge it in detail, since I am not a musician,
    but it seems to be good reading & I intend to:
    http://www.mus.ulaval.ca/roberge/pdf...ni_network.pdf
    p.7+8+9: the work incorporates Busoni´s Elegie no.3"; "re-invention"/"Nachdichtung" as an often-occuring phenomenon in Busoni´s transcriptions ...
    Last edited by joen_cph; Aug-20-2012 at 16:32.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Norse's Avatar
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    The first thing that springs to mind is Rachmaninov's transcription of Bach's Gavotte en Rondeau from the E Major Violin Partita. He's not trying write it for the keyboard as Bach would have done it, so it's a bit of a 'stylistic hybrid', which could be a little disturbing but in this case is just charming. Rachmaninov's own recording has a nice, nonchalant warmth to it, I think.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Firnn9Cfb3w

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    Senior Member Lisztian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joen_cph View Post
    I´m not particularly fascinated by the genre, especially as regards the opera stuff. But: Liszt "Ad Nos Fantasia" for organ, transcribed for piano. There´s a great recording by Hamish Milne, perfect for a thunderstorm evening.
    It is a tremendous piece, and if you consider it among Liszt's solo piano works I feel it's one of the finest - even though it can be a bit much. Have to be in the mood. Here's a recording that I really like - at the start of the video (there are some other nice pieces afterward).



    As far as piano transcriptions go i'm only really familiar with Liszt's, and even then not as many as i'd like to be - really need the Leslie Howard complete Liszt! But here are some favourites of mine, off the top of my head, that the great knight moody did not list (i'm not sure if we are differentiating between Fantasies and Transcriptions - I will stick with transcriptions).

    Gounod - Hymne à Sainte Cécile
    Schubert - Aufenthalt, Ständchen, Auf dem Wasser zu singen, Erlkönig, Gretchen am Spinnrade.
    Paganini - Etudes 1 and 3
    Mendelssohn - On Wings of Song.

    That's all i've got there. However some of my favourite Liszt transcriptions are transcriptions of his own music. Here are some favourites of mine.

    Drei Stücke aus der heilige Elisabeth: Orchestral introduction.
    La notte.
    Die Loreley.
    O quand je dors.
    Am Rhein im schönen Strome.
    Petrarch Sonnets: 47, 104, 123.
    Liebesträume No. 3.
    Der du von dem Himmel bist.
    La Tombe et la Rose.

    Many of the above links are with Leslie Howard performing, unfortunately. There are hardly any recordings of a few of these pieces.
    Last edited by Lisztian; Aug-21-2012 at 00:10.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Stargazer's Avatar
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    I've been listening to stuff from this thread for the past hour...time flies when you're having fun! Lots of really good stuff posted here so far!

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