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Subject: Re: orchestration and tuning (diapason)
From: Bob Kosovsky <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Kosovsky <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 21 Jun 2017 14:04:37 -0400

text/plain (42 lines)

Jean-Michel Pennetier <[log in to unmask]> asks:

> In other words, are there works, composers, styles that support better
> transposition than others ?

I would strongly suggest you get the late Philip Gossett's fabulous book
"Divas and Scholars" which focuses on bel canto works but with
acknowledgement of what came before and after.  There is an entire chapter
on such alterations. The bottom line is that there is no bottom line and
that it all depends on the circumstances of various matters of performers,
venues, needs, etc.

In a sense, the performance practice (and liberties) of what culminated in
the bel canto period have extended down in history.  The key is finding a
smooth transitional break in the music to find this as most unobtrusive as
possible.  It's easy to transpose "Che gelida manina" because there's
total break right before it;  similarly with "Ho-jo-to-ho" in Act 2 of DIE
WALKURE and any number of arias (a break makes the oncoming aria more
dramatic).  It would be particularly difficult to find a break to
transpose something like "Zu neuen taten" in GOTTERDAMMERUNG where there
is not only no break, but the music itself is so well known in its
orchestra-only version (as "Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey").

Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
blog:   Twitter: @kos2
   Listowner: OPERA-L ; SMT-ANNOUNCE ; SoundForge-users
--- My opinions do not necessarily represent those of my institutions ---

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