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#2075021 - 05/01/13 01:22 PM Piano reductions
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 956
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
For so many classical operas, symphonies, and chamber works there are now piano reductions easily available on IMSLP.

Being able to actually play these works is (at least for me) a good way to get to know these works much better than by just listening or listening along with a score. In addition to the learning experience I also just found it lots of fun! laugh

Note that I'm not exclusively talking about concert transcriptions here (though I don't want to exclude such reductions as the Beethoven-Liszt symphonies from a discussion); I'm quite interested also in reductions not specifically made for the concert hall.

So far, I have played from (but not yet through the whole work) the following Mozart works (all on IMSLP):
Figaro (Cramer), Così fan tutte (Metzdorff), g minor Symphony (Stradal), Eine kleine Nachtmusik (Cameron; not on IMSLP).

So, are there any other people out there playing piano reductions of operas, symphonies, or chamber works?

And if so, which ones? Anything to recommend which was fun to play? Often there are several reductions for a single work available which differ quite notably, so it's not obvious which one to pick. Also, I guess many more things will be lost in reductions of Wagner operas than, say, a Mozart symphony...

P.S. A crazy idea... crazy
Wouldn't it be a nice collaborative PW project to record a reduction of a whole work? Not sure though if enough people interested in this could be found...
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#2075029 - 05/01/13 01:37 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: pianovirus]
Thracozaag Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1980
Loc: Salt Lake City
I've got a whole bunch that will be downloadable by the end of the month, hopefully.
These include:

Lieder/Opera
Claude Debussy: "Beau Soir"
Gabriel Faure: "Les Berceaux", Op. 23 #1
W. A. Mozart: Introduzione e Scena XIV from "Don Giovanni"
Robert Schumann: "Berg' und Bergen", Op.24, #7 ,"Das ist ein Floten und Geigen", Op. 48 #9 ,"Der Nussbaum", Op. 25 #3,"Hör' ich das Liedchen Klingen", Op. 48 #10, "Ich will meine Seele tauchen", Op. 48 #5, "In der Fremde", Op. 39 #1, and "Mondnacht", Op. 39 #5
Hugo Wolf: "Die Bekehrte" and"Verschwiegene Liebe"

Chamber Music
Johannes Brahms: Quartet, Op. 51 #3, 3rd movement and Sextet, Op. 18 #1, 1st movement
Claude Debussy: Quartet, Op. 10, 2nd movement
W.A. Mozart: Quartet, K. 421
Franz Schubert: Quartet, D. 810


Orchestral
Gustav Holst: From "The Planets", op. 32 "Mars" and "Mercury"
Pytor Tchaikovsky: Symphony #4, Op. 36


Miscellaneous
Ástor Piazolla: "Libertango"
Sergei Rachmaninoff: "Barcarolle", Op. 11 #1, from 6 Morceaux
Francisco Tárrega: "Recuerdos de la Alhambra", "Capricho Arabe" and Estudio en mi menor
_________________________
"I'm a concert pianist--that's a pretentious way of saying I'm unemployed at the moment."--Oscar Levant

http://www.youtube.com/kojiattwood
https://www.giftedmusicschool.org/

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#2075034 - 05/01/13 01:44 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: Thracozaag]
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 956
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
That's really great, Koji (and I'm also one of the supporters of this fantastic project)!

To clarify, in this thread I'm interested in piano reductions (not necessarily meant for the concert hall, but possibly so) of complete opera, symphony or chamber works. Thus, your Schubert "Death and The Maiden" would be a perfect example. I was not aware you also made a complete Mozart quartet and the Tchaikovsky 4th Symphony!
_________________________
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#2075037 - 05/01/13 01:51 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: pianovirus]
Thracozaag Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1980
Loc: Salt Lake City
There was another Liszt pupil, I believe Karl Klindworth? He did some reductions of complete Wagner operas, if memory serves.
_________________________
"I'm a concert pianist--that's a pretentious way of saying I'm unemployed at the moment."--Oscar Levant

http://www.youtube.com/kojiattwood
https://www.giftedmusicschool.org/

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#2075055 - 05/01/13 02:25 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: pianovirus]
Ian_G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/10
Posts: 168
Loc: Germany
August Stradal really went to town with this stuff. Faust and Dante Symphonies of Liszt, plus the tone poems, Bruckner Symphonies and I think the (heavenly!) Quintet, etc.

Aside from that, there's that fellow Singer who made all those reductions you find in Schirmer editions.

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#2075065 - 05/01/13 02:38 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: pianovirus]
Vid Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 888
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
Is there a distinction between 'reduction' and 'arrangement'? I find a lot of orchestral reductions impossible to play well without doing some arrangement of your own on the fly.
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#2075075 - 05/01/13 03:03 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: Vid]
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 956
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
Thanks for the comments so far! Ian, did you play any of the Stradal or Singer arrangements? Koji, yes I think Klindworth is quite prominent for Wagner operas - I would be very curious if people have played from these for fun or study purposes.

I'm also a bit curious if anyone here has looked at the piano reductions of Beethoven string quartets by Winkler and Rosler on IMSLP...

Vid, "reduction" and "arrangements" are quite overlapping terms; however, arrangement would also cover transcriptions with more liberties relative to the original. And of course the terms "paraphase" or "fantasy" would be reserved for works that are quite loosely based on one (or more) original(s).

In this thread I'm mainly asking about people's experiences with arrangements/reductions of whole works that are very faithful in spirit to the original, with the main purpose to be able to experience these works also "hands-on". Of course, that doesn't exclude that some of these might at the same time also be very effective concert works (as are the Beethoven-Liszt symphonies).
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#2075077 - 05/01/13 03:05 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: pianovirus]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
The best piano reductions are made by adding the pianos to the pan after removing the meat, leaving the drippings and adding wine or stock if needed. Deglaze and simmer gently until the sauce is approximately half its original volume, season to taste, and serve.

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#2075085 - 05/01/13 03:19 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: pianovirus]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5547
I love playing piano reductions/transcriptions of orchestral music.

Apart from Liszt's transcriptions of Beethoven symphonies and Schubert and Schumann Lieder, I also have a volume of Tchaikovsky's last three symphonies in Carl Fischer's "Great Symphonies transcribed for piano solo" series, of which this is Volume 1. It's not clear who the transcriber is, but the music sounds pretty good on the piano, not too difficult to sight-read, and I love especially the finale of Symphony No.5 - you can really go to town on that Big Tune in the coda....... grin
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2075107 - 05/01/13 04:05 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: bennevis]
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 956
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
Originally Posted By: bennevis
I love playing piano reductions/transcriptions of orchestral music.

Apart from Liszt's transcriptions of Beethoven symphonies and Schubert and Schumann Lieder, I also have a volume of Tchaikovsky's last three symphonies in Carl Fischer's "Great Symphonies transcribed for piano solo" series, of which this is Volume 1. It's not clear who the transcriber is, but the music sounds pretty good on the piano, not too difficult to sight-read, and I love especially the finale of Symphony No.5 - you can really go to town on that Big Tune in the coda....... grin


Thanks, bennevis, that's exactly the kind of experiences I'm interested to hear! I didn't know that series "Great Symphonies transcribed for piano solo". On SheetMusicPlus I just saw a preview page from the 2nd volume (Haydn, Schumann, Dvorak, Franck) and it looks like those transcriptions are very nicely done! And the price is very reasonable; consider these books ordered! smile
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#2075114 - 05/01/13 04:16 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: pianovirus]
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 956
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
This might be a nice one for the Brahms symphonies. Unfortunately, it doesn't say who did the reduction. On IMSLP there is one by Otto Singer again.

http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/Symphonies-for-Solo-Piano/3187535
_________________________
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#2075125 - 05/01/13 04:25 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: pianovirus]
mermilylumpkin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 121
I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're talking about, but I was planning on playing the transcription of Prince Igor by Borodin and Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev.

I heard a really nice transcription of Prokofiev's Classical Symphony for four hands with Martha Argerich and someone I can't remember playing it. It was wonderful.

I love the way orchestral transcriptions open up the tonal possibilities of the piano. I was listening to a version of Romeo and Juliet that I loved for how the pianist made a certain voice imitate the bassoon(!)

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#2075126 - 05/01/13 04:27 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: pianovirus]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18292
Loc: Victoria, BC
I once had to play on a smaller-than-spinet piano with only 66 keys; another example of "piano reduction!"

Cheers!
_________________________
BruceD
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Estonia 190

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#2075133 - 05/01/13 04:34 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: pianovirus]
Ian_G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/10
Posts: 168
Loc: Germany
N'abend pianovirus -- I read through a bit of Stradal's take on the Faust Symphony. Straightforward and unsympathetic, but there are some decent solutions here and there. Singer seemed to be a reduction mill, so I'm sure everyone here played something that came from his desk at one point or another. Someone mentioned taking a reduction and then altering it as needed -- if we're not talking about playing proper transcriptions, that's what I do.

Sometimes you'll get this business of composer's transcribing some popular orchestral numbers of theirs. The Classical Symphony came up here, Prok did a 2-hand version of that. I played it, very un-ironically, as a young man. It's effective I think. Another one is Ravel - aside from La Valse there's excerpts from Daphnis that he did.

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#2075139 - 05/01/13 04:41 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: BruceD]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7777
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: BruceD
I once had to play on a smaller-than-spinet piano with only 66 keys; another example of "piano reduction!"

Cheers!

Would that be missing the top octave or the bottom?
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Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2075142 - 05/01/13 04:45 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: Polyphonist]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18292
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: BruceD
I once had to play on a smaller-than-spinet piano with only 66 keys; another example of "piano reduction!"

Cheers!

Would that be missing the top octave or the bottom?


Both!
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2075146 - 05/01/13 04:46 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: BruceD]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7777
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: BruceD
I once had to play on a smaller-than-spinet piano with only 66 keys; another example of "piano reduction!"

Cheers!

Would that be missing the top octave or the bottom?


Both!

Sorry, I screwed up the math. ha

Wait, so what are the lowest and the highest keys? If it's missing both the top and bottom octaves, it would only have 64 keys, no? (Or am I doing bad math again? grin)
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2075167 - 05/01/13 05:24 PM Re: Piano reductions [Re: Ian_G]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5547
Originally Posted By: Ian_G


Sometimes you'll get this business of composer's transcribing some popular orchestral numbers of theirs. The Classical Symphony came up here, Prok did a 2-hand version of that. I played it, very un-ironically, as a young man. It's effective I think. Another one is Ravel - aside from La Valse there's excerpts from Daphnis that he did.


Composers often transcribe their popular works for solo piano. In my music collection, I have Grieg's Peer Gynt Suites No.1 & 2 (Schirmer) and Sibelius's Finlandia (Breitkopf & Härtel), and probably the most well-known, Prokofiev's 10 movements from Romeo & Juliet (which has also been recorded by virtuosi like Andrei Gavrilov on CD).

There are also various transcriptions of selected scenes from Tchaikovsky ballets, apart from Mikhail Pletnev's virtuosic ones of The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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