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Thread: Chamber/Piano transcriptions of orchestral works

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    Default Chamber/Piano transcriptions of orchestral works

    Lately, I have discovered Liszt's piano transcriptions of Beethoven's 9 symphonies. Very great stuff! I'm used to hearing the symphonies as they were originally composed (who isn't?), but hearing them played on a piano is much like hearing the something different, while, at the same time, recognizing all of the various parts of the original orchestration It has an interesting effect, almost like watching a film in black and white. You know all of the various parts of the symphony and how they sound, but your mind is more active in making the connection between the sound of the piano and how you are used to hearing it. Just like how your mind works visually while watching a film in black and white.

    There are other re-orchestrations I have heard (i.e. Mahler's re-orchestration of the 9th), among others. But, the effect just isn't there when an orchestra is playing a different version of an originally orchestral piece--there's just not enough difference in sound. The more minute sound of a chamber ensemble or piano seems much more effective.

    I mentioned the Liszt piano transcriptions, are there any others anyone can recommend? Perhaps either solo piano or chamber?

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    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    Well then there are always those pieces that composers have transposed either from orchestra to piano or orchestrated from the piano they wrote it for. Famous example is Ravel's Pavane for a Dead Princess, originally composed for piano. Ravel rewrote it for the orchestra, which is the more commonly-known version, but the piano version is still decently commonly-heard. That's the first one that came to mind for me.
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    Senior Member Rachovsky's Avatar
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    I recently downloaded Hector Berlioz's Requiem and Symphonie Fantastique from IMSLP as a Piano reduction score. I have yet to find any recording of it, but I'd definitely love too.


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    Senior Member opus67's Avatar
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    Naxos has a HUGE set of the transcription of Brahms' works, including the symphonies, concerti, and the German Requiem, for two pianos.

    And, yes, I completely agree with you on Liszt's transcriptions. Apart from a few moments where the thing sounds a bit awkward, it's wonderful.

    And look for a couple of CDs with Gil Shaham and piano accompanist playing many short orchestral works, like the Danse Macabre for instance. One of them is called 'Dance of the Devil.' The other is a CD with opera transcriptions.
    Regards,
    Navneeth

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    Senior Member Mark Harwood's Avatar
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    Just this morning I've been listening to Bach's four Suites for Orchestra, BWV 1066-1069, played by the Brazilian Guitar Quartet. They use two regular Classical guitars and two eight-string guitars. It sounds wonderful to me and I whole-heartedly recommend it.
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    Senior Member ChamberNut's Avatar
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    As Opus67 mentioned, the Brahms' Piano for Four Hands transcriptions of most (at least a lot) of Brahms' chamber and orchestral works are definitely worth checking out. In particular, I really enjoy the Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor in this medium.

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    here's a nice piano rework of an orchestral piece

    title: Nikolay Rimsky Korsakov [Capriccio Espagnol] - Piano Duos
    artists: Artur Pizarro & Vita Panomariovaite

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachovsky View Post
    I recently downloaded Hector Berlioz's Requiem and Symphonie Fantastique from IMSLP as a Piano reduction score. I have yet to find any recording of it, but I'd definitely love too.
    Liszt also transcribed Harold in Italy for the piano.

    Georges Bizet arranged the second piano concerto of Saint-Saens for solo piano.

    The great Tatiana Nikolayeva made her own transcription of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.

    Chopin piano concertos are available in the form of piano quintets.
    Last edited by YsayeOp.27#6; Aug-09-2008 at 01:46.

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    Senior Member opus67's Avatar
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    Something I remembered late last night

    Beethoven symphony No.2, transcribed for piano trio by Mr.B himself.
    Regards,
    Navneeth

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    Quote Originally Posted by opus67 View Post
    Something I remembered late last night

    Beethoven symphony No.2, transcribed for piano trio by Mr.B himself.
    No kidding?! After hearing the second movement of the 2nd on piano, it really sounds as if it were intended for piano. It's a perfect fit. Also, the Adagio from 4, Andante con moto from 5, and Allegretto from 7.
    Last edited by Rondo; Aug-09-2008 at 16:31. Reason: to specify

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    Senior Member ChamberNut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by opus67 View Post
    Something I remembered late last night

    Beethoven symphony No.2, transcribed for piano trio by Mr.B himself.
    Thanks for mentioning this. It reminds me that I haven't listened to the piano trio transcription of this symphony in a long time. I'll have to pull out my Beaux Arts Trio set and give that one a spin!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChamberNut View Post
    Thanks for mentioning this. It reminds me that I haven't listened to the piano trio transcription of this symphony in a long time. I'll have to pull out my Beaux Arts Trio set and give that one a spin!
    The reason I thought of that in the first place is because I had seen their (BAT's) set in ArkivMusic's weekend specials earlier that day.
    Regards,
    Navneeth

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    Senior Member opus67's Avatar
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    Rondo, here's one more for you: Mozart's PC No.12, K. 414, for piano quartet (K. 385p*). It doesn't catch my fancy, but YMMV.



    *The CD I have lists it as such, with K. 414 within parentheses.
    Regards,
    Navneeth

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    In the same "reduction" category, how about Bruckner's 8th symphony transcribed for organ? - I have that CD by Lionel Rogg of Geneva. Quite amazing. Although the transcription is by Lionel Rogg, Bruckner was an organist himself. Listening to the 8th symphony played on an organ is a little like listening to what Bruckner was thinking when he was writing the work.

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    Wagner transcribed Beethoven's ninth symphony for piano, but unlike Liszt, he kept the vocal part.

    On piano duets:
    Debussy transcribed Saint-Saens Introduction et rondo
    Dukas transcribed his own L'apprenti sorcier



    Quote Originally Posted by kiwipolish View Post
    Listening to the 8th symphony played on an organ is a little like listening to what Bruckner was thinking when he was writing the work.
    Why?

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