Arrangements in concert

February 13, 2019, 4:18 AM · Hello all,
I was wondering. Is it frowned upon to play arrangements of works in concert?(meaning as a viola player). I know that the cello suites are performed transcribed, as with Schubert's Arpeggione sonata. But I haven't seen any other works in a viola recital. Is this something that is deemed "taboo"?

Replies (7)

Edited: February 13, 2019, 5:51 AM · Snobs frown on it. Normal people don't care. If your "arrangement" causes the orchestra to play something in a key that's a fifth lower, however, that can have the effect of turning some of the harmonies into mud unless it's done rather deftly. So if your goal is to play Mozart 3 on the viola with an orchestra, that might not work as well as solo Bach cello suites.
February 13, 2019, 5:52 AM · I was meaning more sonatas and things aha
February 13, 2019, 6:52 AM · Those old rich farts are the reason people think classical music is for uptight old world pricks. Play what you want, as long as it sounds good.
February 13, 2019, 7:27 AM · I have googled a few random viola recital programs which presented both original works and arrangements. I`d say go for it, it is done all the time with al lot of instruments. Heifetz arranged Gershwin for the violin and Handel-Halvorssen for two violins. Violinists play Saint-Saens "The Swan" and Chopin`s "Nocturne" on violin, Bruch`s "Kol Nidre" or Pärt`s "Spiegel im Spiegel" is played by all sorts of instrumentalists, as is Paganini.
And incidentally, one of the most beautiful renditions I have ever heard of Biber's Passacaglia was by a violist.
In other words: What Cotton said, just phrased differently.
February 13, 2019, 4:41 PM · Right okay. Thanks ^_^
February 13, 2019, 6:56 PM · Incidentally, Brahm's two clarinet sonatas are very popular among violists. No reason why you can't play arrangements. All instrumentalists do.
Edited: February 13, 2019, 7:17 PM · I consider the Brahms clarinet sonatas to be a little different from other arrangements because they were arranged by Brahms himself.

But I don't have a problem with arrangements in general. The Bach cello suites and the Schubert Arpeggione Sonata are staples of the viola recital repertoire, of course. Also not uncommon is the Schumann Adagio and Allegro, originally written for horn. The Bach sonatas and partitas for unaccompanied violin, and some of the Paganini caprices, are occasionally transposed for viola. I'm pretty sure I've heard of the Handel/Halvorsen Passacaglia being played on two violas before.

Not a viola transcription here, but the Bruch Double Concerto, originally for clarinet and viola, is actually played more often in transcription for violin and viola than in its original form.

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