The German pianist and composer Johannes Brahms (1883-1897) wrote more than 122 works for a wide variety of ensembles and genres. Despite this remarkable productivity, and his widely heralded talent for innovation and technique as a composer, few of his works have been arranged for solo guitar, and these have focused primarily on his simpler, more melodic works. Conventional wisdom is that his music is "too dense" to be played on the guitar. As a result, there are no arrangements of orchestral works by Brahms in the standard repertoire for the guitar. In arranging Brahms's Serenade in D Major, movt. 1 for the guitar, I provide a counter argument that not all of Brahms's orchestral music is too dense all of the time. In Part I, I provide a brief overview of the history of, and sources for, the Serenade. Part II describes a step-by-step guide through the process of arranging orchestral repertoire for the solo guitar. Part III is an examination of the editing process that utilizes examples from the guitar arrangement of the Serenade in order to illustrate the various techniques and considerations that are part of the editing process. Part IV is a performance edition of the arrangement. In summary, the present arrangement of Brahms's Serenade, op.11 is the beginning of a conversation about why the "guitar world" should be incorporating the music of Brahms into the standard repertoire. The lessons learned, and the technical challenges discovered, should help inform future arrangers and guitar performers for additional compositions by Brahms.
- Serenade in D major by Johannes Brahms: aranged for solo guitar