Massenet: Meditation from his opera, "Thais"

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by eflatbass, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    Hi Folks

    Does anyone know of an existing arrangement, for band, or solo cornet and band, of Massenet's "Meditation" from the composer's opera, "Thais"?

    I thought I would ask before embarking on my own arrangement.

    Many thanks

  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Darrol Barry wrote one for sop and Goff Richards euph. More here
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011
  3. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    Wow! That was a quick response. Now I know how you achieved those Boffin awards!:clap:

    Seriously; many thanks for the information.

  4. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    A new arrangement seems to appear every few years.
  5. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    In that case, I think I will give it a miss.
  6. themusicalrentboy

    themusicalrentboy Active Member

    there are quite a few around - I know of two for solo Bb cornet and band.
  7. There's an Alan Fernie arrangement for Cornet and Band on Phil McCann's 'The World's Most Beautiful Melodies 5' CD
  8. GeordieSop

    GeordieSop Member

    Didn't Richard Marshall play this on one of his CD's
  9. simonium

    simonium Member

    John Golland did a fantastic arrangement for euphonium which keeps the original melody rather than transposing up an octave when it gets too low for three valve instruments. Malcolm Bennett did an arrangement for James Watson, which like most of his arrangements is sadly neglected.
  10. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    So far, thanks to everyone who has responded, I have identified solos for Bb cornet, Eb soprano cornet, and euphonium. That just leaves, in my opinion, the tenor horn as a possible vehicle for the solo. However; there are already more than enough versions available, so I think it's time to file the orchestral score and move on.
  11. cornet96

    cornet96 New Member

    i agree the John Golland is a fine arrangement, i think arranged for len withinton ? and wingates? many moons ago
  12. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    Having studied the orchestral score, I have to agree that an arrangement for euphonium would be the better option. Transposing up and down the octaves loses some of the music's integrity.

    In an arrangement for tenor horn of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, which I completed last year, it was necessary to change the octaves in certain cases; however, this worked surprisingly well. It's just a pity that the Mozart is such a stamina-exhausting transcription, and that it demands considerable technical ability of the player too.
  13. simonium

    simonium Member

    The Golland version gets around some of the octave issues by having the highest note a top Eb! The lowest I think is a low F so not so bad... I've also got a version where the highest note is a B natural but the low ones are extremely difficult to play in tune with a sonorous sound. Needless to say it's not one I shall be working up ;)
  14. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    If I reproduced the solo, writing the highest note as a top Eb, the lowest note would be a low Eb. That is if I was remaining truthful to the original score (apart from the overall transposition, of course). This means I would have transposed the piece from the original key of D Major (concert) to Ab Major (as written).

    The top Eb would appear once only, and the low Eb twice, so it would not have been too demanding. I think you would "lose" more by lowering the highest note below that high Eb, but, having made that statement, I may have left myself wide open to dispute.
  15. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    A common problem with Clarinet Concerti. I encountered the same problem with the Rondo from Weber's Clarinet Concerto No 1 for a cornet player friend of mine.

    As you say, the technical demands are considerable - though not beyond a quality principal cornet. The main problem was the range, which would have gone from a D (the one impossible on a cornet, an octave below the stave) to an F above the stave.

    The possibility of including 'fake' notes on a three valve instrument is not one I've ever entertained, so some ended up an octave higher than written, and some an octave lower with the option of the top part for an ambitious player. (Generally those notes above a C above the stave.)

    The perennial problem of the arranger. Everything is a compromise.....
  16. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    Absolutely, and the solo parts are probably the easiest to cope with! Transcribing all the orchestral instruments is something quite different. Having said that, I derive more pleasure from gettting to grips with a Mendelssohn score, than I do from writing my own stuff. It's a great learning curve.

    Referring back to the Massenet; I was about to file it away, but am now having second thoughts. I shall deliberately not look at the efforts of others, because I do not wish to be influenced. It will be interesting to see how the finished product compares with some of the versions mentioned on this thread.
  17. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    A problem for Mozart, too! The concerto was written for basset clarinet which has an extended range down to a low written C. Mozart exploited the extended range beautifully and the concerto we usually hear uses lots of octave transpositions (none of which work very well, and some of which are horrible) to keep it in the compass of the ordinary clarinet.

    Once you've heard the original, the compromised version really grates on the ear!
  18. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I would suspect, as my Mozart collection is far from extensive, that I've only heard the transposed version. <Makes hasty mental note to check and if not, look out one in the original pitch.>

    It's true what they say y'know. Every day is a schoolday. Thanks Philip!
  19. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    The illustrious Mr Sparke appears to have missed my post regarding the Mozart arrangement I did for tenor horn.

    There are a number of "authentic" versions of the concerto on Youtube, and you will see that the bassett clarinet is quite an impressive instrument.
  20. wagger-g

    wagger-g Member

    Quite correct and well worth seeking out the vinyl recording. Len was a class act. I think John wrote 'Peace' for Len but he chose not to record it - it would have been wonderful!