Friday, February 22, 2013

Don't Orchestrate Piano Pieces!

Among the piano works popularized in orchestral versions are Bartok's Roumanian Dances.  That is how I first heard them.  It has taken me years to appreciate the destructive distortion visited upon these masterful gems.

First, the beat.  In order to coordinate an orchestra someone has to give the beat.  A look at the piano score indicates such subtlety in the articulation of beats that it is hard to imagine an orchestra or conductor sensitive enough to make them come alive as the composer has indicated.

Second, the sound.  Drunk on the rich resonance of the piano the "dancer," me, turns into a veritable gypsy.  Everything is motivated by the sonority, not by a genre or a title. 

The difference is so vast that the listeners last night commented on it right off without my having said a word.