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Best classical works not written for piano to play on the piano (Read 753 times)

Offline tannic monster

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I find that many of my favorite pieces to play on the piano are works not written for the piano, or indeed any keyboard.  Since I love Bach, for example, may favorite go to pieces are Arioso, Air on the G String, and Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring (Myra Hess arrangement).  I also enjoy playing many works of Bach written for the keyboard, but my three favorites are the ones I mention above.  I would be very interested in hearing some favorite pieces others love to play that were not written for the keyboard.  Also, since I feel this situation allows for some artistic liberty and interpretation, I generally combine various arrangements and come up with the most interesting and beautiful score that best pleases me.

Offline lelle

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Re: Best classical works not written for piano to play on the piano
«Reply #1 on: March 20, 2021, 08:25:23 PM »
The Chaconne in d minor  by Bach (originally for violin), made into a grandiose, romantic epic for the piano by Busoni, is pretty great (it could be argued that Busoni's arrangement is a piano piece, though).

Though written for keyboard, so maybe not qualified, I would also like to give a honorable mention to the Liszt transcription of the Prelude & Fugue in a minor BWV 543, originally for organ, by Bach, which is one of my favorite pieces to play on the piano.

Online brogers70

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Re: Best classical works not written for piano to play on the piano
«Reply #2 on: March 20, 2021, 08:34:38 PM »
Brahms' transcription of that Bach d minor Chaconne for piano, left hand, is also great. It's a better work out for the left hand than any number of technical exercises, and it stays very close to what Bach actually wrote.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Best classical works not written for piano to play on the piano
«Reply #3 on: March 21, 2021, 12:37:54 AM »
Recuerdos de la Alhambra and Capricho Arabe from Tarrega. There are some nice piano versions of them but they are for guitar.
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Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Best classical works not written for piano to play on the piano
«Reply #4 on: March 21, 2021, 04:23:48 PM »
Recuerdos de la Alhambra and Capricho Arabe from Tarrega. There are some nice piano versions of them but they are for guitar.
I have tried the Recuerdos. If I was a woodpecker, I would have a chance.
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Offline getsiegs

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Re: Best classical works not written for piano to play on the piano
«Reply #5 on: March 21, 2021, 09:36:03 PM »
I came across a video awhile ago of this incredible Russian prodigy playing a piece for harp by Albert Zabel, called The Fountain. There are a few awkward spots if you try to play it on piano but it's nothing that you can't work around and it's a beautiful piece to try on a keyboard.





Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Best classical works not written for piano to play on the piano
«Reply #6 on: March 22, 2021, 04:20:25 AM »
I have tried the Recuerdos. If I was a woodpecker, I would have a chance.
Haha! I've sometimes played the RH with trilled thirds and some other intervals in particular places rather than repeated notes.
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Offline minor9th

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Re: Best classical works not written for piano to play on the piano
«Reply #7 on: March 22, 2021, 09:47:23 PM »
Brahms' transcription of that Bach d minor Chaconne for piano, left hand, is also great. It's a better work out for the left hand than any number of technical exercises, and it stays very close to what Bach actually wrote.
Has anyone arranged it for two hands for those of us who can't manage the left hand version, much less Busoni's? I don't think I have the patience to disentangle the voices and painstakingly input the notes into Finale!

Online brogers70

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Re: Best classical works not written for piano to play on the piano
«Reply #8 on: March 22, 2021, 11:40:30 PM »
Has anyone arranged it for two hands for those of us who can't manage the left hand version, much less Busoni's? I don't think I have the patience to disentangle the voices and painstakingly input the notes into Finale!

Not sure, but why not just take the left hand arrangement and allow yourself to use both hands whenever you want?

Offline minor9th

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Re: Best classical works not written for piano to play on the piano
«Reply #9 on: March 23, 2021, 02:33:13 AM »
Not sure, but why not just take the left hand arrangement and allow yourself to use both hands whenever you want?
I'm not a great reader, so having the notes already separated into the proper hands would make it easier for me to read and learn it.

Offline j_tour

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Re: Best classical works not written for piano to play on the piano
«Reply #10 on: March 23, 2021, 03:42:38 AM »
I'm not a great reader, so having the notes already separated into the proper hands would make it easier for me to read and learn it.
Well, I wouldn't sell yourself short:  IME a great deal of Bach, even nominally composed for the keyboard, requires a good bit of intuitive manipulation of the hands. 

Which hand does what, and so forth.  Sometimes it's obvious, but just as often it takes some decision and experimentation, IME.

Yes, some editions are nicer than others to read, but it depends on individual taste, really.

I don't actually find the Brahms arrangement that difficult:  it's just very long and tiring, and mentally kind of exhausting.

It's been a while since I hacked my way through it, but surely it doesn't need a blueprint to pick up some notes in the RH.  If, say, you have a had time with some of the very wide "chords," you could just pick some of the upper notes with the RH.

If necessary, you could use some simple engraving software or pencil+paper to rewrite the Brahms-Bach, but I wouldn't think that's necessary.

Not a very dense work, after all.  (ETA actually, that might be kind of fun to make a two-handed arrangement of the one-handed arrangement, but I'm not going to do it....I really doubt anyone has, at least in a form one could acquire)


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Added, thanks to above for the idea of the Recuerdos/Tarrega:  never even heard of it, but I think it sounds like fun.
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Offline j_tour

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Re: Best classical works not written for piano to play on the piano
«Reply #11 on: March 23, 2021, 04:15:36 AM »
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My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Best classical works not written for piano to play on the piano
«Reply #12 on: March 23, 2021, 05:04:12 AM »
Added, thanks to above for the idea of the Recuerdos/Tarrega:  never even heard of it, but I think it sounds like fun.
When I was young and up till my late teens a guitar/mandolin group from Germany used to come to Australia every year for music festivals. We had a few of the group members stay at our home every time they visited and they would rehearse in our house. Among the many pieces they played these two really stuck with me and they made me realize Tarrega was something very special. I never will forget the beautiful sound they created and I do occasionally tear up when I play it trying to capture those sounds, it's a very special piece for me and brings back so many memories.

I have old VHS recordings of them playing, but it sounded something like this:

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Offline visitor

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Re: Best classical works not written for piano to play on the piano
«Reply #13 on: March 23, 2021, 01:11:28 PM »
Grainger


Rosenblatt


Few more in mind will post later gotta hunt down. The exact videos I remember
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Offline lelle

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Re: Best classical works not written for piano to play on the piano
«Reply #14 on: March 26, 2021, 05:52:19 PM »
Brahms' transcription of that Bach d minor Chaconne for piano, left hand, is also great. It's a better work out for the left hand than any number of technical exercises, and it stays very close to what Bach actually wrote.

Oh, I forgot about that one when I mentioned Busoni. That one is a really good exercise for the left hand, quite tricky in spots I thought. I started learning it last year and then forgot about it... I should pick it up again :D