Friday, February 12, 2016

My Sole Excursion Into The Art of Virtuosic Performance -Would the Original Composer Have Smiled (Or Laughed?)

 In my earlier days, I made a point of performing often in public, which I  took considerable enjoyment from. Some of the works were of considerable difficulty - I remember, particularly, playing such compositions as the "Dumka" of Tchaikovsky; or the Liszt "Funerailles;" or the seventh sonata of Prokofiev. I used these three quite often, during my time in Germany.
It was, in fact, during that period when the thought crossed my mind to consider constructing a transcription, which, of course, is a form of music that more often than not 'shows off' the physical technique of the performer; the prime examples in our time are, to be sure, the fabled transcriptions of Vladimir Horowitz.
And so, after a time of consideration, I decided to build a transcription on the popular "Sailor's Dance" from the "Red Poppy " of Gliere.  I dove into the project with a palpable degree of elan, producing all kinds of  'bells and whistles' such as dashes of cross-hand playing and cascading octaves, with the necessary piccolo parts glittering across the landscape above the melody  etc. etc., ending the piece with all of the thunder I could cajole out of simultaneous use of large chords coupled with the correct addendum of the pedal a millisecond after the final chord was administered in, of course, the key of "a" minor; one of the piano's more 'comfortable'  physical locations.
The transcription was well-received, and I found that on certain occasions I would be called upon to perform it in informal situations.
And now you know of my one invasion of the vaunted atmosphere of the Virtuoso.
It WAS fun, even though the entire experience  must have lasted about only a year or so.

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