Another Transcription

In this post on arranging  back in September, I mentioned two works which I had recently transcribed for horn and piano.

This summer I arranged some music for horn and piano, including  Six Studies in English Folk-Song by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and the “Meditation” from Thaïs, by Jules MassenetThere are some beautiful melodies in these pieces, and I thought they might transfer well to the horn.  The Vaughan Williams is originally for cello, but there are arrangements for tuba, viola, and other instruments (and now horn).  The Massenet is a gorgeous work, and features solo violin.  In both cases I ended up altering the original keys, as well as doing some minor editing to make the parts more horn friendly.

In that post I included a recording and score from a movement of the Vaughan Williams, but it slipped my mind at the time to include the Massenet as well.  I normally wait several months after a recital to listen to the recording (more on that in a future post), and recently as I was going back through some of the pieces on that particular recital – from August, 2011 – I thought it might be nice to share the recording and score from the Massenet.  The original scoring is for solo violin and orchestra, but I worked from a violin and piano version obtained on IMSLP. One of the challenges with arranging or transcribing string music for horn is finding a suitable key.  The violin part goes pretty high, and in order to make it work I brought the key down an octave and a fifth from the original.  This puts the piano part in a pretty low range, but it seemed to balance out ok with the horn.  There are some octave transpositions in a few places, and many passages really work out the low register.  The piece is a nice closer, or perhaps an encore, which is where I programmed it – and aside from the slightly tired chops, I think it came off pretty well.  Feel free to download the score and perform it, and also feel free to tweak any of the passages if necessary.  The pedal D at the end is optional!  Here’s the recording, with Richard Seiler on piano.

And here’s the piano score and solo horn part.

Meditation_Score **Now published through IHS Online Music Sales

Meditation_Horn **Now published through IHS Online Music Sales

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Recordings, Repertoire


A nice addition to the horn repertoire. I would like give a suggestion of transposing the piece 1/2 tone higher. This would become easier to play (specially on B flat horn fingerings). There wouldn’t be the problematic A’s and D’s for tunning. The highest note would be the heroic Bb instead of the A nightmare 🙂
On most horns the A4 is to high, so that means usually or a missed A or a little bit high. The lowest note would be Eb, also quite easier than D.
Of course, transposing it 1/2 tone higher would change the note color. Instead of the bright D major, we would get a dark Eb major.
So, there’s not a perfect solution for a transcription from different instruments…
Give it a try and see if it works.


Thanks Ricardo – that’s a great suggestion! I suppose one reason I chose that key was because I had planned to use the piece as an encore. The A4 felt plenty high at the end of a recital! Hope all is well with you.


Yes for sure A4 is not good for encore and it depend on the instrument and the player. For me (and my horn) I prefer a Bb that a A on the end of a concert :). And ending a concert with a low D is very challenging also.


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