With the arrival of 2013, we at Ovation Press took some time to look back at the whirlwind year that was 2012 and see what the top scores of the year were for each instrument.
Voyage à deux, volume 2 (composed by Helmut Lipsky)
Our multi-part interview series with Mr. Lipsky and the Canadian ensemble Duo Philia earlier last year was a huge hit with our readers, and it gave us all an opportunity to take a deeper look at his many compositions. The second volume of Voyage à deux (Trip for Two), continues where the first book leaves off, both in terms of the musical journey and the technical challenge. Exploring playing in higher positions and in double stops, this work is meant for more intermediate and advanced musicians. It also reflects Mr. Lipsky’s more mature musical evolution, incorporating many of his focus points of the last few years: namely jazz, Latin music, tango, the folk music of various cultures, and film music.
Other links you might like:
- Interview with Helmut Lipsky, Part 1
- Interview with Helmut Lipsky, Part 2
- Interview with Duo Philia, Part 1
- Interview with Duo Philia, Part 2
- Take a Trip for Two for Helmut Lipsky
Rodríguez’ La Cumparsita (edited by Ruggiero Ricci)
As one of the most famous tangos of all times, La Cumparsita is a fantastic encore work written in the early 20th century by Uruguayan musician Gerardo Matos Rodríguez. The song was originally a Uruguayan carnival march, composed on an uncertain date between 1915-1916 for the carnival marching band to play during upcoming celebrations. When a local orchestra leader saw it he saw that it could be made into a tango. The first sheet music for the tune was published in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1916 and the following year in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Published for the first time, this virtuosic violin solo was arranged by Vicente Zito in Mendoza, Argentina and edited by Ruggierro Ricci.
Tárrega Recuerdos de la Alhambra (transcribed by Ruggiero Ricci)
Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Memories of the Alhambra) was originally written for classical guitar by Spanish composer and guitarist Francisco Tárrega. Known as the “Sarasate of the guitar,” Tárrega’s repertoire included many original compositions for the guitar during a time when it was still seen as very much “outside” the realm of classical instrumentation. He wrote numerous guitar arrangements of works written for other instruments by composers such as Beethoven, Chopin and Mendelssohn. Ruggierro Ricci’s transcription of Alhambra remains very true to the original composition, including the famous guitar tremolo and use of left hand Pizzicati to bring out the melodic line.
Schumann Fünf Stücke im Volkston (transcribed and edited by Michael Tree)
Michael Tree joined us last year by shining a light into Robert Schumann’s more obscure compositional period. Fünf Stücke im Volkston (Five Pieces in Popular Style) is a rarity among Schumann’s more famous and established compositions. Originally written for cello, Mr. Tree brought an outstanding arrangement of this hidden jewel to viola and piano. It consists of five short pieces in the form of songs without words. While the first is believed by some to have been inspired by Goethe’s poem “Vanitas! Vanitatum Vanitas!” the others are distinguished only by tempo markings. Mr. Tree once remarked on his hope that “this unique, seldom heard work will earn a permanent place in the viola repertoire.” The five pieces are as follows:
- Vanitas vanitatum: Mit Humor (Vanity of Vanities: With Humor)
- Langsam (Slow)
- Nicht schnell, mit viel Ton zu spielen (Not quick, to be played with much feeling)
- Nicht zu rasch (Not too quickly)
- Stark und markirt (Strong and emphatic)
Strauss Don Quixote (edited by Yizhak Schotten)
The legendary Yizhak Schotten, named by Strad Magazine as “one of America’s finest viola players… a leading light of the U.S. viola establishment,” has brought some truly remarkable editions of orchestral parts for viola to our catalog including Richard Strauss’Don Quixote, Op. 35. As the former principal violist of the Cincinnati and Houston Symphony Orchestras, Schotten’s bowings, fingerings and other editorial markings are valuable learning tools for any violist teaching or learning orchestral repertoire.
Sarasate Caprice Basque (transcribed and edited by Viacheslav Dinerchtein)
Mr. Dinerchtein is, as Wikipedia describes, an “avid promoter of both novel and overlooked viola repertoire.” He lives out that philosophy in his work, including his decision to transcribe Sarasate’s Caprice Basque for viola. His breathtaking rendition represents the unrestrained attitude that the viola can musically conceive of the violin’s possibilities and perspectives, and the score’s release has excited performers and listeners alike. Dinerchtein himself has commented that: “this arrangement will best suit an advanced player, prepared to set aside all prejudices of what can or cannot be played on the viola.”
Bach Six Cello Suites (edited by Pablo Casals)
No list of top cello scores would be complete without a mention of the legendary Spanish Catalan cellist and conductor Pablo Casals. Casals is typically regarded as the preeminent cellist of the first half of the 20th century and arguably of all time. One of the most prominent aspects of his enduring legacy are the recordings of the Bach Cello Suites he made from 1936 to 1939. Ovation Press helps carry that legacy on with Casals’ edition of the Bach Suites in sheet music form complete with his own editorial markings! As the cellist himself once said: “Bach is forever – and nobody, nobody will reach the greatness and the profoundness and the diversity of Bach.” These masterpieces, along with the spirit of Casals, live on in our catalog.
Tchaikovsky Suite from Album for the Young(transcribed and edited by Valter Dešpalj)
This past year, cellist and editor Valter Dešpalj brought us many fantastic scores to the instrumental medium that is the cello ensemble. Tchaikovsky’s Suite from Album for the Young, Op. 39 has been one of the more popular gems in our growing body of literature for multiple celli. Instead of a literal translation from the original piano versions, Dešpalj sought to adapt these pieces to the specific colors, possibilities, and sonorities of a cello quartet. As is common in Dešpalj’s arrangements, the first cello part is the most demanding, and the others provide a relatively easy-to-play accompaniment.
Rachmaninoff Vocalise (transcribed and edited by Roland Pidoux)
Roland Pidoux was introduced to Ovation Press fans in 2012 through an exclusive interview here on String Visions in which Mr. Pidoux shared his experiences as a professional musician and thoughts on works he has published. Vocalise is a popular vocal work by Sergei Rachmaninoff, published in 1912 as the last of his Fourteen Songs, Op. 34. It is so popular that a number of different instrumental arrangements have been done, including our very own cello octet version!
I was very enthusiastic about, for instance, the Rachmaninoff Vocalise, which is the first score published by Ovation Press, because it’s a piece that is already very beautiful when you play it with piano. I find that with eight cellos— well what I’m about to say is a bit pretentious, so I say it very objectively— I find that sometimes playing together with several cellos is somehow transcendent. It’s incredible because you find yourself in a unified sound world. This is what really appealed to me for the Vocalise.
Bruch Kol Nidrei (transcribed and edited by Jeff Bradetich)
Originally scored for cello and orchestra with harp, Jeff Bradetich has arranged it for solo bass with piano. The work is a series of variations on two main themes of Jewish origin. In fact, the name Kol Nidrei comes from the Kol Nidrei prayer recited during the evening service on Yom Kippur, also the basis of the first theme in Bruch’s composition. In this setting of this melody, the cello imitates the rhapsodical voice of the hazzan who chants the liturgy in the synagogue. The second theme is a musical quote from the middle section of Isaac Nathan’s arrangement of “O Weep for those that wept on Babel’s stream,” a lyric penned by Byron in a collection called Hebrew Melodies.
Check out an Ovation Press produced video (below) where Bradetich shares his thoughts on this work:
Paganini Caprice No. 9 (transcribed and edited by Anthony Stoops)
Niccolò Paganini’s 24 Caprices is a famous set of solo violin works composed in the early 1800s. The caprices take the form of études, with each number studying individual skills (double stopped trills, extremely fast switching of positions and strings, etc.) Caprice No. 9 bears the nickname “La Chasse (The Hunt)” for the imitation of a pair of hunting horns in the second part of the main melody that opens the work. Stoops’ technical advice for this piece is to be “economical with your bow usage” to help keep all of the technical challenges under control.
Massenet Meditation from Thais (transcribed and edited by DaXun Zhang)
Massenet’s Meditation from Thais is a “symphonic intermezzo” from his opera Thais. Written for solo violin and orchestra, this work is performed between the scenes during Act II of the opera. The Meditation is considered one of the great encore pieces and has been transcribed for many different instrumental arrangements. DaXun Zhang – who has performed extensively as a soloist and with the Silk Road Project, and who has been labeled as “champion” and “headliner” of the double bass – has brought this work to his instrument.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at our top scores of 2012. We’re excited to see what 2013 brings. To join our mailing list and receive exclusive first updates on new and upcoming scores subscribe to Ovation Press.