Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Four-Hand is Not Necessarily Easier!

I find myself in the midst of an interesting confrontation with the piano music of Maurice Ravel. My general opinion is that just about everything he wrote for two hands is above my pay grade. However, I play four-hand regularly with a neighbor; and she happened to come across of four-hand arrangement of the "Valses nobles et sentimentales" by Lucien Garban. I thought this would be a get to know some music that I did not think I could tackle on my own, but it has been one of our greater struggles.

The main problem seems to be that Garban was more concerned with transcribing Ravel's notes than he was with worrying about where hands could easily go. As a result, the third waltz has been a major frustration. Not only do the two of us have to worry about keeping out of the way, but also Garban seems to have made some weird decisions as to how to divide what between right and left hands.

At my colleagues suggestion, I decided to check out the original version of the third waltz. It is a bit of a struggle, but it seems more accommodating to both body and mind. I thus plan to prepare for the four-hand version by getting a better handle on the original. Hopefully, that will mean that I can just drop out the notes that no longer matter for my half of the four-hand version!

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