Metamorphoses, the art of the virtuoso piano transcription

Without any doubt Rian de Waal’s masterpiece. A rich variety of recordings as a living example of the works discussed in the book, written by Rian de Waal in the last ten years of his life. Man can say that the transcription repertoire was part of Rian’s musical life and at the beginning of the 21st century he decided to write a book about it. While recording the repertoire that accompanies the book, his studies on the subject intensified. Being able to do musicological research while playing the pieces he examined, Rian found a symbiosis between absolute knowledge and artistic understanding.

Rian de Waal’s search in the sound world of the transcription repertoire gave him a unique insight in the musicological aspects of the pieces. He stated that a transcription is a new creation by a composer that is inspired in the same way the original composer of the piece was. The transcription is an autonomous composition in that way. Transcribing an orchestral or organ piece for the piano means that the transcribing composer searches for the same musical impact. Same goes for song transcriptions and for instance the transcriptions of the Bach chaconne. This last piece was written for violin solo and the three different transcriptions of this piece in the project illustrate the way a transcription can be made. Busoni wrote an almost orchestral version of this masterwork while both Brahms and Wittgenstein wrote a version for the left hand. In these last two versions man can here the same musical tension that sounds in the original piece. One bow versus one hand on the piano, a perfect illustration of a composer who is inspired in the same way as Bach when he wrote this piece for the violin.

Recording this project was a journey through all different colors of piano transcriptions. You can read more about this by clicking on the picture above. You will also find the complete list of compositions that are published in this project.

One more notice to this inspirational project. In the draft versions the title of the project contained the word Romantic. In retrospect it can still be added since the transcription has an important romantic ideal in itself. Romantic composers and artists where inspired by nature and life. Composers of transcriptions are inspired by their predecessors in music and for that reason a transcription is a true romantic interpretation of music.

Listen to the dutch radio program ‘een goedemorgen met…’ about the project by clicking on this link. I was invited to compose and present the program on june 7 2014.

Recording info

Venue and dates: 2003-2011 Valthermond ‘Onder de Linden’

Recording Producer: Daan van Aalst

Piano Technician: Michel Brandjes

Piano: Steinway D 274 ‘Godowsky’

Design: DT concept en ontwerp – digiTAAL

Daan van Aalst

Author Daan van Aalst

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