Arranging for dummies

I uploaded a new video on YT last week. Excerpts from Prokofiev’s “Chout” arranged for cello and piano by the cellist Roman Sapozhnikov, very well-known in Russia for his Cello publications. The fact is that I decided to add a personal remark about this transcription in the description box in order to open a controversy over the Art of Arranging, especially its aims. I think that sometimes transcriptions are prone to give unsatisfactory results and Sapozhnikov’s attempt is the case to me. Performers’ skill is unquestionable, but that arrangement has always baffled me. It’s seems like Sapozhnikov viewed that transcription just as a tool for showing off cellists virtuoso abilities, while the score itself pales in comparison with the richness of the original orchestral suite. So why downgrading a masterpiece that way? Liszt had the good approach: he transcribed work of others in order to promote music of not very well-known composers but at the same time he reached artistic top in composing paraphrases of many of the works he transcribed. What I’m trying to say is that good chamber music is that one which is born as and meant to be just chamber music. No one answered me till now but the kind ViewerNotes who evenly said that a transcription always debases the quality of the original work. Maybe it’s all in my mind but it’s quite frustrating when you are so used to the original work and run into a completely different version. Probably because “Chout” has a so unbelievably lush orchestration! By the way, I’ve got a piano transcription of Apollon Musagète: fine to play, useful to understand the score but definitely negligible compared to the original string orchestra result… Would it make sense to perform that transcription in a concert? No it would not. Maybe just as an encore. Actually ViewerNotes gets right to say it’s just a matter of exhibitionism or more likely of business… Check out yourself!


About epogdous

I'm an italian student of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology in Sapienza University of Rome. Dispite my scientific interests (which range from structural biology to immunology, etc.) I cultivate a deep passion for classical music and in general for musicology. As a teen I studied the flute but basically I'm a self-taught pianist and composer. I'm well-acquainted with the music of 1850-1950 era. I generally don't like to say I have preferences for some composer in particular but I can't deny that Ralph Vaughan Williams and Charles Ives hold a great fascination to me. I think that the common message of their music is the transcendentalist precept "low living, high thinking".
This entry was posted in classical music, musicians, pubblications, transcriptions and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Arranging for dummies

  1. Driverd says:

    I am looking for a score of this Sapozhnikov arrangement… Have you any idea where I can get hold of a copy?

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