A methodology of rewriting orchestral reductions for piano

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Numerous orchestral reductions for piano are plagued by cumbersome passages that impede pianists from delivering phrases with flow and elegance. The vocal works of George Frideric Handel (1685–1759) and Richard

Numerous orchestral reductions for piano are plagued by cumbersome passages that impede pianists from delivering phrases with flow and elegance. The vocal works of George Frideric Handel (1685–1759) and Richard Wagner (1813–1883) are among the more unwieldy of these. While arrangers of the piano vocal scores by these two composers admirably include as much orchestration as possible, their efforts often result in writing that is not idiomatic for the piano. The frustrating difficulties in the orchestral reductions of Handel’s “Empio, dirò, tu sei” (Giulio Cesare), his Messiah chorus “For unto us a child is born” as well as Wagner’s aria “Du bist der Lenz” (Die Walküre) all plead for a new, fresh arrangement for the working pianist. Concerning itself with the formation of one’s hands, stamina preservation, and the need to give proper support to the singers, this paper makes examples of these three pieces to document and justify the steps and techniques one may take to customize both these and any variety of orchestral reductions. With great emphasis on the methodology of rewriting operatic and choral orchestral reductions, this document presents newly arranged note–for–note piano vocal scores of the above arias and chorus. By customizing and rewriting complex scores, our partners benefit by singing above the identical accompaniment every time. It is the intent that the collaborative pianist can apply these methods to future rewrites, with the result of producing scores that are conducive to proper technique and flow.