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The Four Seasons for Flute-Piano duet

How well have I arranged it?  

  1. 1. Which of the complete concertos do you think I did better arranging?

    • Spring
      0
    • Summer
      0
  2. 2. Do I have a good balance between when the flute and piano stand out?

    • Yes
      0
    • No, it is too piano dominant
      0
  3. 3. Will the flutist know what to do when the tempo changes while a note is being held?

    • Yes
      0
    • No
      0


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This is my first ever arrangement of a piece. I'm about halfway through this arrangement. And there is a general template that I sometimes changed. That general template is:

  • Solo violin -> Flute
  • 2nd violins and violas -> Right hand of piano
  • Cellos -> Left hand of piano

Here is the progress of each of the concertos that make up The Four Seasons:

  • Spring -> Complete
  • Summer -> Complete
  • Autumn -> Incomplete first movement
  • Winter -> Haven't gotten a single note down

Now why did I decide to arrange it for a flute-piano duet? Well, I thought over it long and hard, looking at the arrangements that are on IMSLP and I thought this:

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You know what? If it has been arranged for flute and it has been arranged for piano, why not combine them into a duet? I don't see anything like that on IMSLP and I think the flute is a good substitute for the solo violin.

But then I got a lot of feedback saying:

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Where is the flutist going to breathe? At least put in breath marks or something.

So I then asked some flutists about this and they all said:

Quote

Who told you that? Your score is fine. I would put in my own breathing if I were to perform it.

That brought a huge sigh of relief to me that any flutist who would perform this would put in their own breathing and that I don't have to notate it in the score. Speaking of which, here is the score as it is right now and a corresponding MP3. Sound ends at about 17:02 because the arrangement is incomplete. What do you think of it so far?

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Posted (edited)

I applaud your efforts thus far! Arranging is fun, but it's also hard work, as I'm sure you've figured out by now.

While I think following a general template is a good idea, it's also a good idea to bear in mind that the piano has a much different timbre than the string instruments. Some of the accompaniment passages, especially in the first movement of La Primavera, have too wide an interval for a pianist to play. There are other places where the piano plays simple whole or half notes—which on a cello/viola sound fine, but when played by piano quickly peter out, no matter how much pedal you use. And lastly, don't forget that in Vivaldi's day the continuo played figured bass (a kind of guided improv) so that the bass passages weren't so shallow and devoid of sound. You might have to sacrifice strict transliteration for more playable notes in the chord structure of a particular passage.

These are just some bits of advice I have. I think arranging a piece is one of the best ways to understand a composer better, so I hope you keep it up!

Edited by Tónskáld

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On 7/6/2019 at 10:42 AM, Tónskáld said:

I applaud your efforts thus far! Arranging is fun, but it's also hard work, as I'm sure you've figured out by now.

While I think following a general template is a good idea, it's also a good idea to bear in mind that the piano has a much different timbre than the string instruments. Some of the accompaniment passages, especially in the first movement of La Primavera, have too wide an interval for a pianist to play. There are other places where the piano plays simple whole or half notes—which on a cello/viola sound fine, but when played by piano quickly peter out, no matter how much pedal you use. And lastly, don't forget that in Vivaldi's day the continuo played figured bass (a kind of guided improv) so that the bass passages weren't so shallow and devoid of sound. You might have to sacrifice strict transliteration for more playable notes in the chord structure of a particular passage.

These are just some bits of advice I have. I think arranging a piece is one of the best ways to understand a composer better, so I hope you keep it up!

 

Well, I did add octaves to most of the piano accompaniment in the first movement of La Primavera to add richness to an otherwise bare bass line. And there are some movements where octaves are just required such as the third movement of Le Estate

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Cool! Yeah, I printed out La Primavera and played the accompaniment on the piano to see how it felt. Some of the notes from bars 8-13 just aren't playable. I would suggest getting rid of those middle E's and adding some harmonies a sixth below the top notes. I've attached a PDF that might be useful—just added a little spice to the left hand and shortened the intervals in the right hand. The trick is figuring out what chord Vivaldi was writing and adding in those notes when needed. True, it may not be an exact representation of the orchestration, but where's the fun in copying and pasting? 😉 Seriously though, there is an art to this, so have fun with it!

Hope this helps!

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