Thanks to everyone who checked out my arrangement of the “Meditation” from Thaïs, by Jules Massenet. Shortly after I posted the files, Ricardo Matosinhos, a frequent reader and supporter of my blog, made an excellent suggestion:
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 tuning. 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.
I agree with his suggestion, though my main reason for choosing the lower key was where I planned to perform the piece on a recital – at the end! I was able to deal with most of the intonation issues through alternate fingerings (T3 for A’s and D’s) and the high A at the end felt pretty good fingered open on my horn. However, I do think Ricardo’s idea is valid, and the transcription would definitely work up a half-step. In light of this insightful comment, here is Version 2 of the horn and piano parts. Try them both, and use the one you like best!