Arrangements of other instruments concertos

September 15, 2016 at 11:31 PM · Hello! I recently found this on IMSLP

It is the Schumann Cello Concerto in A-Minor for Violin instead of cello.

Here is a recording

This brought me some interest in arrangements of concertos. There are videos of Flutists playing Sibelius, Beethoven, and the Mendelssohn violin concertos. I find it interesting to see these arraignments of the solo parts.

This piqued a question:

What else could be arranged for Violin?

Some pieces I thought of:

Dvorak Cello Concerto

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1

Haydn Cello Concertos

This could go to other instruments as well I suppose. Are there any other arrangements for violin of other substantial pieces on IMSLP or floating around the internet?

Replies (16)

September 16, 2016 at 02:47 AM · One which comes to mind is Bach's BWV 1052, which is thought by some to be a transcription of an original violin concerto which was lost, and has been reconstructed as such, then referred to as BWV 1052R.

I've enjoyed listening to the early recording of it on Telefunken by Concentus Musicus Wien led by the late Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

September 16, 2016 at 05:39 PM · There's also a transcription of a triple keyboard concerto (Bach again) for violin, flute and oboe with quite a challenging violin part. I had an LP of it decades ago. It somehow escaped from my collection, so no BWV number..... I'm more familiar with transcriptions in the opposite direction (violin concertos to something else).

September 16, 2016 at 05:59 PM · Marcello's famous Oboe concerto in D minor has a violin+piano transcription attributed to Vivaldi. It's on IMSLP.

September 16, 2016 at 08:02 PM · I transcribed the Glazunov Saxophone Concerto for's really a wonderful work. :)

September 17, 2016 at 01:17 AM · Tertis's arrangement of the Elgar Cello Concerto for viola (made when the work had been brushed into limbo after a performance given without adequate rehearsal; and, unlike when a similar thing happened to the Beethoven Violin, the lack of rehearsal time was not the composer's fault) is surely well known.

Bach's violin and oboe concerto also exists as a harpsichord concerto. My father thought the harpsichord version came first.

September 17, 2016 at 03:06 AM · Anything for cello can be transposed for violin. Musescore can do it with a few mouse clicks. A few minutes more to adjust fingerings. Arranging the accompaniment requires actual skill.

September 17, 2016 at 01:17 PM · There is a modern cello version (in Schirmer) of one of Mozart's flute concertos - he never did get round to writing a cello concerto :( - with the slow movement taken from an oboe quartet. It works quite well.

Although most cello music can be transcribed to the violin (or viola, witness Elgar's viola version of his cello concerto) there are some aspects of cello technique at the virtuoso level that would be difficult to transcribe "as is" onto the violin. There are obvious examples in Kodaly's Op 8 for solo cello involving the use of the thumb position high up the fingerboard. Whether cello-to-violin transcriptions necessarily always work musically is another matter, mainly because the cello can naturally take advantage of resonances that just don't exist on the violin - Kodaly Op 8 again comes to mind in this respect.

What is useful is flute (oboe, recorder) to violin transcription, which was done frequently in the 17th and 18th centuries by composers of the time, and is generally successful.

One unexpected transcription, which imo doesn't come off particularly well compared with the original, was Beethoven's own arrangement of his violin concerto as a piano concerto, Op 61a. Several recordings are in the Naxos Catalog.

A couple of years ago the conductor of a small chamber ensemble I play in placed in front of us at a rehearsal his own transcription for strings of Beethoven's "Diabelli" Variations for piano. It worked, although technically not easy - several sections are on a par with the later string quartets. This conductor, btw, is a composer and an inveterate arranger for strings of almost anything, from the 14th century to Stravinsky, which we are liable to find in front of us at no notice whatsoever! Good for sight-reading.

September 17, 2016 at 03:45 PM · One such notable concerto is Saint-Saens 3 ~ it was originally a cello concerto, and now it's one of the big romantic concerti in the solo violin repertoire.

September 17, 2016 at 09:40 PM · I'd like to hear Haydn's C Major cello concerto on viola.

September 17, 2016 at 10:48 PM · Trevor, I agree that stuff written for the cello with a lot of crazy thumb position heroics is going to be hard on the violin.

Conductors often rearranged their stuff for different instrumentation just to make an extra buck.

September 18, 2016 at 12:20 AM · Lily, I'm not sure what you're thinking of, but it's not Saint-Saens No. 3, which was originally a violin concerto -- it was written for Sarasate.

September 18, 2016 at 01:00 AM · That comment cand nfused me as well. Now I want to know what she is talking about.

September 18, 2016 at 01:15 AM · It's entirely possible that I'm mistaken as to the origins of the piece, but my edition of Saint-Saens 3 contains a footnote on the first page: "originally for cello and orchestra". I can easily imagine the beginning being played on a cello, too.

September 18, 2016 at 02:00 AM · Isn't the Saint Saens IRC originally written for flute, and then arranged for violin?

September 18, 2016 at 02:13 AM · Nope. The I&RC was also written for Sarasate. It was transcribed for flute later (in modern times, I think). And Debussy transcribed a two-piano version of it.

Le Cygne (the Swan) from Carnival of the Animals was written for cello, but later transcribed for violin.

Which edition of Saint-Saens 3 do you have, Lily?

September 18, 2016 at 03:40 AM · Lydia - I have the International edition.

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