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Schumann op. 12 n. 2 orchestral arrangement

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Francesco Bortolussi, Dec 7, 2021.

  1. I have been playing around with the idea of creating an orchestral version of some classical piano work for a long time. Knowing that some great composers famously wrote orchestral versions of piano pieces (see Ravel), and the fact that a good piano piece should be able to be performed by virtually any ensemble, I took up the challenge.

    I decided to create an orchestral arrangement of one of Schumann's Fantasiest├╝cke, namely op. 12 n. 2. Its energy always struck me, and I remember wanting to study this piece when I was studying piano many years ago.

    Anyway here is the result: the orchestration is a final draft, in the sense that it would need more work if it had to be performed by a live group, but it's good enough as it is for the time being.
    I followed the structure of the piece and the dynamics very closely, so there is almost no compositional interpretation on my side. In fact, I was thinking about the fact that the end was a little anti-climactic and that I would've maybe changed it if it were up to me (but you could also argue that it's supposed to be played in conjunction with the other pieces in the collection op. 12, so maybe a big ending would be too much in context).

    Mockup is Noteperformer.

    Score:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/nuqxmjl8lkqbr2c/Schumann op 12 n 2 orchestral - Full Score.pdf?dl=0

     
    Stephen Limbaugh and Paul Poole like this.
  2. Nice job on doing the orchestration.

    Quick comments based on the opening 12 seconds.

    Of course add on "for my taste" at the end of everything. It's just my opinion not an empirical fact.

    I am going to consider measure 2, as measure 1, and the first bar as only a pickup.

    1.) Too many mixed timbres: Example. Opening passage: Two Horns, Two Trombones, and Two Bassoons (Make sure you make your score with a2 so we know)

    Try for yourself: Nix the Bassoons and use 4 horns. The general rule is 2 Horns = 1 trumpet in terms of balance. 4 horns + 2 trumpets = good times.
    So you could even hold off on the trombones until the repetition of the phrase. This way you have a "Varied repetition" and also ( is that sf. my eyes are getting bad) it looks like
    the music is a little more intense at measure 3 so this helps shape the phrase.


    Delete the high violin notes in measure 2: It's not in the original score and it takes away from the melody 3 measures later

    Another spot is the Oboe and Flute doubling the melody. Use the other flute. Or, clarinet is a closer timbre.

    It looks like through the first page to measure 15 we always have three timbres on the melody.

    Personally, I think - if I was going for what you are after with a woodwind string combo - I would have the violins and flutes, delete the oboe and use it for doubling the trumpet part when you have the trombones,
    clarinet double the viola, and the bassoons playing staccatos to help the pizz in the low strings.


    2.). Note durations, and orchestrating the sustain pedal.

    Obviously one area that is hidden in the original work is how to use the percussion section. Another is role of the sustain pedal. I think you are on the right track but have it backwards with dovetailing.

    You can modify to your own taste of course, but when I listened to a piano recording I heard much more resonant and overlapping of notes. This is sort of a delicate area...like how much ranch dressing is in good taste.

    upload_2021-12-17_9-52-17.png

    I would head in this direction. It also helps create the crescendo indicated in the score. You could reduce the duration by a 16th note if less overlap is desired. Now the second part is you can add in an "attack" doubling.
    This is the 5th family of the orchestra - sustain vs attack. Below the sustain is one timbre, and then the short notes are to mimic the attack the piano produces.




    upload_2021-12-17_10-4-18.png

    Anyhow, hope that gives some ideas for pondering, and you can try out to see if you notice any difference. Of course its fine to prefer your original version.
     

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