Researching and performing transcriptions by composers of their own works

Anna McMichael (Performer), Danie de Borah (Performer)

Research output: Non-textual formMusic PerformanceResearch


My aim in this classical music field was to research and record transcriptions for violin and piano of their own works by
Brahms, Liszt, Schumann and Stravinsky. Written for other purposes and other instruments, these composers reworked
their own pieces later for violin and piano. My four objectives were to highlight this unusual genre of composertranscribed music for violin and piano, apply violinistic techniques to music originally composed for other instruments,
apply historically-informed practice to reflect the context, and add new violin-piano duo repertoire. This involved
researching historical styles and applying violinistic sound qualities and techniques

My innovative research identified a unique collection of transcriptions for violin and piano by Romantic-era composers
and also demonstrated how a violinist might play works originally composed for other instruments. Violin techniques
were applied that emulated the origins of pieces as songs or dance, such as imparting vocal or orchestral colour by
adding mutes and slides. Methods included exploring the story behind the compositions, and studying the original
scores, early recordings, historical documentation and instrumental techniques. Transcription histories included a new
Bärenreiter-Verlag Urtext edition of Brahms E flat sonata transcribed by Brahms for violin and piano in 1895 written
originally for piano and clarinet or viola; Liszt’s wistful Forgotten Romance reflected the end of his relationship with
the Countess d’Agoult, and historically-informed improvisation was added to the neoclassical Stravinsky piece.

This unique program of transcriptions from well-known Romantic-era composers produced invitations from two wellestablished music festivals and sold-out performances: Port Fairy Spring Music Festival in Victoria and Tyalgum Music
Festival (NSW State winner, regional excellence prize 2018). We also gave a recital at the Sydney Conservatorium in
2017. As testament of CD quality, it was published by Australia’s leading independent classical label, Tall Poppies, and
ABC Classic FM radio featured it as CD of the Week in 2017.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNSW Australia
PublisherTall Poppies Records
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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