Chamber "Reductions"

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camaron wrote:

camaron wrote:

tjh212 wrote:

If Brahms reduced his Piano Concerto #2 for piano only, it might be even less circulatable.

 

 

Not, it wouldn't. The version is not meant to replace the full one but complement it. It reaches a market that the full version couldn't, house consumption as I said before. One belongs in the concert hall the other in the privacy of home. The 19th century saw the rise of the middle class, and as part of their distinguishing upbringing they would get educated to play piano or string instruments, in order to form quartets and such (that's not changed, has it?)

That was a wrong answer to a

That was a wrong answer to a bad example!

Brahms was probably the first composer that composed in the knowledge that he was a living member of the canon. His figure was quickly made into a Great of European Culture (not just German). His works sold well, and were frequently interpreted across Europe, not just by him, but by professional musicians and virtuosos that would -in other times- tour with their own works. He became a living part of the Classical Tradition in that composers across Europe learnt from Brahms and composed in Brahms' tradition. In England he had a great impact.

For what I know Brahms did not participate in this "industry" of the arrangements. He already composed for the future. So he did not come up with a two piano version. What he did was to compose a monumental sonata for two pianos which after a while he decided to convert into a piano concerto (no. 1). So it was a case of one or the other, trying to choose the version that best served the music. Which, by the way, gives us an amazing glance into his creative ways: he composed the abstract music without a necessary link to a specific media.

Frantic reductions

I do not disagree that composers reduced, but I believe there are questions pertaining to how high of a "stack" they are -

If they reduced left and right, what did they really think about their works? The goal of writing for orchestra becomes an issue.

The implication is that the size of the musically capable population back then must be quite large. (It's quite possible it's the contrary). How many reductions could an amateur (possibly) play? I believe Mozart did not have nice words to say about non-pros.

How many reductions by Beethoven of his works actually exist today, let alone et al? If all orchestral works survived, why (seemingly) so little of the reductions from the same pen?

In any case, the actual

In any case, the actual question should be, for whatever reason these "reductions" were created, are they good, great Chamber Music? Because if they were, they would survive the test of time, of "purity", of "authenticity" and so on.

I tend to come to the conclusion that very few were substantive works in this genre and those few were written, in quite a few cases, by other composers with a view to creating something new or different vis a vis the original (Schoenberg's Das Lied von der Erde is one of these few exceptions and Mozart's Four Piano Concertos, to some extent, since they serve a trend of the time and they were not written as individual compositions, like the case of the monumental transcription of the String Quintet in c minor, K.406, which was written and stands almost as a "new work" rather than a "reduction" of the original Wind Octet, K.388).

Parla

Chamber

Yes there were many second-hand reductions.

 

A transcription probably will not be much of a new worth. Variation, perhaps (e.g. Diabelli)

Variations?

Variations are original works, not "reductions" (or expansions) of original ones. They simply create a whole work out of a mere few bars theme (Diabelli, Goldberg etc.). Variations have to do with the form and structure above all, while "reductions" have to deal primarily with the "orchestration".

Parla

A reply

Parla,

 

Perhaps it is worth mentioning with a new post that new worth was mentioned

Well, by chance I found a

Well, by chance I found a transcription of Mozart's Requiem for string quartet yesterday and found it delightful. 

VicJayL wrote:

VicJayL wrote:

Well, by chance I found a transcription of Mozart's Requiem for string quartet yesterday and found it delightful. 

I've seen that floating about, too.......I think there's one by Kuijken.

I'll have a look later today.......

Mozart's Requiem for String Quartet.

Mozart's Requiem for String Quartet was transcribed (in 1802) by a certain Mr. Peter Lichtenthal, a doctor and minor composer, contemporary of Mozart.

It is idiomatic enough for the medium and sounds interesting per se, but, it is such a...reduction of the massive, awe-inspiring and utterly impressive original.

There are at least three recordings I know (I have the first two): a) the world premiere with the Kuijken family, on DHM in a very impressive SACD format, b) the more recent (2009) Quatuor Debussy, on French Decca, and c) more recently (2013) the Quatuor Aglaia, on Stradivarius.

The Kuijken is the most convincing and impressive throughout. The Quatuor Debussy is also very satisfying, more refined and very well recorded too. I do not have the Stradivarius release, but I can say that the probably best Italian label has quite high standards for both the performers they chose and their recordings are of "reference" level, in general.

Parla

 

 

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