Happy Holidays from the Slapin-Solomon Duo!
Having arranged more than fifty standard works for viola duo and violin-viola duo (and having written seven albums of string-centered chamber music myself), we thought we'd add our voices to the holiday season.
For anyone attempting their own arrangements, one piece of advice we have is: working the arrangements out on the keyboard isn't enough! Often the voicing of chords that sounds fine on the keyboard doesn't sound that great for strings, and the reverse is even more true. String color is an important factor, and if possible, you should always check out your arrangements on the actual instruments that will be playing them.
I'll add that it has always been our goal not to just remind the listener nostalgically (and perhaps in a thin-sounding version) of the original piece, but rather to create arrangements that sound to the uninitiated listener as if the composer could have originally intended the work for viola duo or violin-viola duo. This means a lot of (occasionally) awkward doublestops, but ultimately a much more satisfying experience for the audience.
And finally, once you have a great arrangement for one ensemble, you can't just simply transpose that up a fifth or down an octave and assume it will sound as good. It won't. Almost always, we've had to redo quite a bit to make it work.
We hope you enjoy excerpts from our Baroque and Klezmer Holiday Concert! We're planning down the road to prepare sheet music as we have for our past arrangements, but for now we hope you'll just enjoy the video:
(Excerpts from Handel's Messiah, Bach's Christmas Oratorio, Corelli's Christmas Concerto, Bach's Third Partita for Solo Violin, as well as great Klezmer tunes by Lev Zhurbin and George Gianopoulos.)
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