Why? His answer may well be “Why not?” After all, piano transcriptions of works written for orchestra or other instruments are very common and are often just about as interesting as the original compositions. Recently I heard a four-hand arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and marvelled at just how much of the original orchestration seemed still present – and how witty the arrangement was.
This however seems very much a technical exercise, of interest maybe to home performers. But while listening, I kept thinking just how much richer the original seems by contrast. There seems little here to sustain attention – what it did do was provoke me to reach for my old but still favourite recording of the original, on period instruments, by Nils-Erik Sparf and the Drottningholm Chamber Ensemble (on the BIS label). Now, there’s a recording. Also included here are arrangements of Vivaldi’s Mandolin Concerto in C major and his Lute Concerto in D major.
They similarly seem more technical exercises than something with wide appeal. There may be huge pleasure to be gained from playing these, but sadly, the recording process can’t cope with that sort of satisfaction.