Haydn and Brahms transcriptions
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Alongside the six Quartettini, continuing from them, came these adventures in small-scale composition—relatively rare chez moi earlier, and sometimes seeming to be "against nature" (fundamentally expansive). The two commissions of summer 2007 were both for small forces—vocal sextet, wind quintet—and for ten minutes' duration. I chafed and groaned and—with initial difficulty and final pleasure—obeyed. After the one-and-a-half hours of the uncut Fourth Concerto, size needed its opposite. Since it, some fifteen pieces, none longer than ten minutes, most shorter, have helped actually extend my range while apparently contracting it.

See the Transcriptions page of this website for futher information about the Haydn transcription project.

Also in this gap-year comes fulfilment of a long-held desire to orchestrate the Brahms work that, beginning as an unfinished string quartet, was recast first as his Sonata for Two Pianos, op 34a, then—possibly best of both worlds—the Quintet for piano and strings, op 34b. Possibly not, though. This magnificent masterpiece seems to burst the confines of both its eventual media: the Sonata best realizes the physical power and weight; the Quintet supplies what the 2-piano version can't: sostenuto expressivity for the more lyrical music. This orchestration according to the spirit rather than the letter of Brahms' own practice, aims to embody every aspect of the mighty work to maximum advantage—a symphony in F minor (op 34c?): for the moment it remains uncommissioned and unperformed.

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