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Thread: Berio's orchestration of Brahms' Clarinet Sonata 1

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    Senior Member Caryatid's Avatar
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    Default Berio's orchestration of Brahms' Clarinet Sonata 1

    I thought I'd make a thread to draw a little attention to Luciano Berio's 1986 orchestration of Brahms's Clarinet Sonata No. 1 in F Minor Op. 120 No. 1. The transcription is apparently prominent enough to have a Wikipedia page in its own right, but it's not a work I have ever seen many people mention. In any case I don't think I'd ever listened to the whole thing before today.

    Berio adds a brief introductory passage of his own devising, but to me the whole is still more tasteful than Schoenberg's orchestration of the first piano quartet, which has always sounded a bit facile to me.



    Any opinions?
    Last edited by Caryatid; Feb-19-2021 at 20:38.

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    Senior Member SONNET CLV's Avatar
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    Brilliant, original thinkers never fail to surprise.

    I think immediately of the J. Strauss II Waltz Arrangements by Schoenberg, Anton Webern and Alban Berg.

    I'm awaiting a Xenakis orchestral arrangement of a Prelude and Fugue from Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier. That should be fun. (Surely among his manuscripts there has to be something of this sort!)
    Last edited by SONNET CLV; Feb-19-2021 at 21:31.

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    Senior Member arpeggio's Avatar
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    Wow. I did not know this existed. Thanks.
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. And I am a very ingenious fellow

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    One of my favorite orchestrations is Bach's BWV 582 by Leibowitz:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uv6sSFGJmbM

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    Moderator Art Rock's Avatar
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    I like it a lot - I only wished he had picked the clarinet quintet for this exercise.

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    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caryatid View Post
    I thought I'd make a thread to draw a little attention to Luciano Berio's 1986 orchestration of Brahms's Clarinet Sonata No. 1 in F Minor Op. 120 No. 1. The transcription is apparently prominent enough to have a Wikipedia page in its own right, but it's not a work I have ever seen many people mention. In any case I don't think I'd ever listened to the whole thing before today.

    Berio adds a brief introductory passage of his own devising, but to me the whole is still more tasteful than Schoenberg's orchestration of the first piano quartet, which has always sounded a bit facile to me.



    Any opinions?
    He took one of Brahms most beautifully conceived and written chamber works, and created an unnecessary orchestral version.

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    Senior Member Caryatid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    He took one of Brahms most beautifully conceived and written chamber works, and created an unnecessary orchestral version.
    Fair enough. Do you object to orchestrations generally?

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    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caryatid View Post
    Fair enough. Do you object to orchestrations generally?
    Not always, the Ravel orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition is okay, but I usually prefer the original works. The reverse however, i.e. piano versions of orchestral works, can often be very interesting: the two piano version of Le Sacre.

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    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    Not always, the Ravel orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition is okay, but I usually prefer the original works. The reverse however, i.e. piano versions of orchestral works, can often be very interesting: the two piano version of Le Sacre.
    Yes, but Stravinsky himself did the arrangement of le Sacre for two pianos, so it shouldn't be surprising it is so good. Mozart arranged a number of his own chamber music works for two violins, and not surprisingly, those are also excellent. And many, like you, prefer Mussorgsky's original Pictures, though few dare try to surpass Ravel's orchestration (though I believe it has been attempted).

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    Is there any piece that's been reworked - be it from orchestral to chamber/piano, or vice versa - where the reworked version is generally considered better than the original? Off the top of my head, I can think of none.

    Does anyone have an opinion on Liszt's orchestration of Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy?

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    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fluteman View Post
    Yes, but Stravinsky himself did the arrangement of le Sacre for two pianos, so it shouldn't be surprising it is so good. Mozart arranged a number of his own chamber music works for two violins, and not surprisingly, those are also excellent. And many, like you, prefer Mussorgsky's original Pictures, though few dare try to surpass Ravel's orchestration (though I believe it has been attempted).
    I also like the Liszt piano version of the Beethoven symphonies, and operas. I am not really interested in orchestral music in any event.

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    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoggyB View Post
    Is there any piece that's been reworked - be it from orchestral to chamber/piano, or vice versa - where the reworked version is generally considered better than the original? Off the top of my head, I can think of none.

    Does anyone have an opinion on Liszt's orchestration of Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy?
    Ravel’s orchestrations of his own works springs to mind. We can debate which is better, but I’ll bet there are more recordings of the orchestral versions at least some of cases.

    Have you ever heard the solo piano version of Bolero. Just doesn’t cut it.

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    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoggyB View Post
    Is there any piece that's been reworked - be it from orchestral to chamber/piano, or vice versa - where the reworked version is generally considered better than the original? Off the top of my head, I can think of none.

    Does anyone have an opinion on Liszt's orchestration of Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy?
    A classic example is Rachmaninoff's 1st piano concerto. First written as a student assignment to write a piano concerto modeled after Grieg's, it was a success originally, though obviously derivative of the Grieg concerto. His revised version, with more original material, is the familiar one, the better one in the opinion of most (including me), and the original has faded into obscurity. Rach also extensively revised his 4th piano concerto, and there again, the revised version is the generally accepted one.

    I would be opening a large can of worms if I claimed it was an improvement, but Ferde Grofe's orchestration of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue has become the standard one for performance, although the original version occasionally is performed as well.

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    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fluteman View Post
    A classic example is Rachmaninoff's 1st piano concerto. First written as a student assignment to write a piano concerto modeled after Grieg's, it was a success originally, though obviously derivative of the Grieg concerto. His revised version, with more original material, is the familiar one, the better one in the opinion of most (including me), and the original has faded into obscurity. Rach also extensively revised his 4th piano concerto, and there again, the revised version is the generally accepted one.

    I would be opening a large can of worms if I claimed it was an improvement, but Ferde Grofe's orchestration of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue has become the standard one for performance, although the original version occasionally is performed as well.
    Grofe's original version was for jazz band; Gershwin only had a sketch with most of the piano part written out. There was a later orchestral version, I guess also by Grofe. The jazz band version is far superior, IMO.
    Last edited by SanAntone; Yesterday at 17:28.

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    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Yes, I agree, the original version is better, though the version for full orchestra is the one most often performed. That's why I made the 'can of worms' comment.

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