Author Topic: The Orca in the Room Nobody Talks About!  (Read 5844 times)

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Offline Bunny

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Re: The Orca in the Room Nobody Talks About!
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2007, 06:10:58 PM »
That's what the topic is for.  No fear, my dear!    0:)

Speaking of Mahler: there is the issue of the unorchestrated movements of the Tenth Symphony.  Which version(s) is/are preferable?



A rhetorical question, I presume. 

The Mad Hatter

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Re: The Orca in the Room Nobody Talks About!
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2007, 11:33:19 PM »
Orchestration is simply the term for setting any music (your own or someone else's) for orchestral instruments. Thus any symphonic composer orchestrated his raw musical ideas by assigning different orchestral instruments to the various lines. More generally, not specific to orchestral music, this is called instrumentation. A transcription is taking a complete, existing piece of music and setting it for a different set of instruments than originally conceived. A transcription can be an orchestration when e.g. a Bach toccata or cantata is transcribed for orchestra. But it doesn't have to be: e.g. Brahms's transcription of the Bach Chaconne in D (originally solo violin) for piano left hand.

I'm not sure if that's true - I think an orchestration is a direct...er...clone of the music, but for orchestra - like Ravel's orchestration of Mussorgsky's Picutres, whereas a transcription is a bit freer - allows for slight adaptation and changing notes, etc.

Quote from: Cato
Heresy?  True or False: Beethoven's Ninth Symphony should be orchestrated to make it sound bigger, a la Schoenberg's Gurrelieder or Mahler's choral symphonies.

Well, it shouldn't be. But if it's done well, I won't mind.

I'll add more thoughts to the thread when I have time.

lukeottevanger

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Re: The Orca in the Room Nobody Talks About!
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2007, 12:07:59 AM »
For a long time it was thought that certain composers, notably Mussorgsky and Bruckner, were geniuses who could not orchestrate well and had to be polished to be appreciated.  But then the music world began to hear the original versions and realized that what passed for incompetence was actually boldness; the originals' "roughnesses" became more attractive than the polished revisions. :)

That's the most important point IMO. And you can add Janacek to your list, touched up by Talich etc.There are glaring, blazing errors of orchestration in Janacek's scores which can be lovingly touched up, but for the most part the strangeness, the rough edges and so on are part and parcel of his and Mussorgsky's music. They may be bad textbook orchestration, but in being so they only reveal the limitations of the textbook, at least when the composer is a genius with something individual to say.

Offline Cato

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Re: The Orca in the Room Nobody Talks About!
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2007, 01:34:58 AM »
That's the most important point IMO. And you can add Janacek to your list, touched up by Talich etc.There are glaring, blazing errors of orchestration in Janacek's scores which can be lovingly touched up, but for the most part the strangeness, the rough edges and so on are part and parcel of his and Mussorgsky's music. They may be bad textbook orchestration, but in being so they only reveal the limitations of the textbook, at least when the composer is a genius with something individual to say.

That was Szell's point with Schumann: he also admitted to fixing a few things here and there himself, for balance, and things like timpani notes.  Otherwise, avoid a wholesale overhaul with the genius' accomplishment.

Rhetorical question on the Mahler Tenth versions? 

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Between 1946 and 1975 Deryck Cooke, Clinton Carpenter and Joseph Wheeler attempted to complete Mahler's "10th Symphony." The Cooke version, with "slight adjustments" by Simon Rattle, was recorded with him conducting the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra on Angel (CDC 54406). The Carpenter edition has been put out by the Philharmonia Hungarica under the direction of Harold Farberman on a hard-to-find Golden String International CD. The Wheeler effort hasn't made it to CD, although it has been performed in concert.

In an article for "The Musical Quarterly" about the different approaches and objectives of these editors, conductor Theodore Bloomfield wrote: "Cooke's aim was simply to enable the musical ideas to be heard from beginning to end, guided by exemplary humility and candor... Wheeler approached the manuscript still more cautiously, adding an absolute minimum of voices and reinforcements, producing a predominantly lean texture... and Carpenter, on the other hand, set out unabashedly to complete the symphony in Mahlerian style, not identifying his own additions, and therefore overstepping the line between editing and composing. Mr. Mazzetti, with these three versions before him, felt that Cooke and Wheeler had not gone far enough, Carpenter too far; the first two versions were too sparse, the other too dense. His own version falls between them but is no mere synthesis of their best."

http://www.compactdiscoveries.com/CompactDiscoveriesArticles/Mahler.html

(My emphasis above.)  Orchestrating like Mahler ain't easy...especially when not all the notes are there!   8)
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greg

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Re: The Orca in the Room Nobody Talks About!
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2007, 05:19:40 AM »
That has already been done:


cool  :o

Offline MishaK

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Re: The Orca in the Room Nobody Talks About!
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2007, 06:24:07 AM »
I'm not sure if that's true - I think an orchestration is a direct...er...clone of the music, but for orchestra - like Ravel's orchestration of Mussorgsky's Picutres, whereas a transcription is a bit freer - allows for slight adaptation and changing notes, etc.

If you follow the Mahler links posted earlier (or read the Berlioz/Strauss treatise I mentioned) you will see that your view is incorrect. Orchestration is quite simply the setting of music for orchestra, whether original or someone else's, the latter being an orchestral transcription. If you are changing notes it is no longer a simple transcription but becomes a paraphrase (e.g. see Liszt's Rigoletto paraphrase).

The Mad Hatter

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Re: The Orca in the Room Nobody Talks About!
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2007, 02:51:05 AM »
If you follow the Mahler links posted earlier (or read the Berlioz/Strauss treatise I mentioned) you will see that your view is incorrect. Orchestration is quite simply the setting of music for orchestra, whether original or someone else's, the latter being an orchestral transcription. If you are changing notes it is no longer a simple transcription but becomes a paraphrase (e.g. see Liszt's Rigoletto paraphrase).

Yeah, I realised this when I was waiting for my train. What I get for posting first thing in the morning.  :-[

Terms I had been looking for were 'transcription' and 'arrangement'. But yeah, 'paraphrase' works too.

Offline jochanaan

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Re: The Orca in the Room Nobody Talks About!
« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2007, 06:44:29 AM »
There's still no satisfactory orchestration of Liszt's famous Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. I can imagine a quite lovely one in my head, have it all mapped out, but with no knowledge of how to write it down I'll have to keep dreaming.
Did Liszt himself ever orchestrate this?  If not, the best thing, if you're going to orchestrate it at all, would be to do so using instruments and instrumental style Liszt would have had available.  Otherwise you'll founder in anachronisms.  (I believe they had valve horns and trumpets then, but I'm not sure whether Liszt would have preferred the old-fashioned natural horns, like Brahms and Wagner.  Maybe he would have done more like Schumann and embraced then-modern technology...)
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