Video of the day: Ivan Ilić plays a rare Haydn symphony transcription

Gramophone Wed 9th November 2016

Ilić performs the finale of Haydn's Symphony No 44 in a solo piano transcription by Karl David Stegmann

In January, Ivan Ilić rediscovered a long forgotten 19th-century transcription of Haydn's Symphony No 44 made by Karl David Stegmann (1751-1826). The transcription is distinct from the dozens of similar Haydn transcriptions that were made around the same time in that it is so perfectly tailored for solo piano performance. 

Ilić says of the transcriptions: 'It’s difficult to locate Stegmann’s transcriptions: there are just a few scattered around. So it would appear that they weren’t best-sellers, even though they were published by a major publisher in Bonn, Nikolaus Simrock. Stegmann spent the last 15 years of his life in Bonn, and it is likely that the flurry of transcriptions published from 1811-1826 was the result of his friendship with Simrock. There must have been at least a market for them at the time, given the amount of music Stegmann arranged for Simrock. He certainly did a lot of transcriptions, mostly string quartets and quintets by Mozart and Haydn, all arranged for 4-hand piano, all during the Bonn years, all for Simrock. I have only had access to four Haydn symphony transcriptions (Nos 44, 65, 91, and 97). They are faithful to the original orchestra scores, yet comfortable under the hands. This combination is surprisingly rare. Also, the transcriptions conserve the transparency of the orchestra writing, the lightness of touch, one of Haydn’s hallmark qualities.'

Ilić performs the Presto finale of Symphony No 44 in the video below:

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