Arrangements and Transcriptions-(Introduction)
The practice of re-setting music originally intended for other instruments (voices) or venues is a controversial one at best.
Brass players in the so-called “classical” music field have always had to deal with the fact there exists, with the exception of a handful of works for or involving the (french) horn, a dearth of solo or chamber music for their instruments from the 18th and particularly the 19th Century, arguably the most important productive and developmental period of the classical music art form. A published comment by composer/conductor/educator Paul Hindemith regarding this subject, unabashedly taken out of context here to further illustrate the point, asserts that "during the nineteenth century, it was the horn players who gained in technique and musical reputation, leaving the trumpeters and trombonists almost in a state of musical illiteracy."
One means of addressing the shortage of repertoire has been the creation of transcriptions or arrangements of the music of the great masters, from as far back as J.S. Bach to certain early 20th Century composers, for instrumental combinations of various and sundry types, including the aforementioned underprivileged brass instruments.
The practice of re-setting music originally intended for other instruments (voices) or venues is a controversial one at best, and there are many diverse views on the subject ranging from the strict constructionist opinion that such activities represent a violation of intellectual property and therefore can never be justified, to the moderate, middle-of-the-road view they are acceptable if the music is improved, or, in the least, not degraded in any way, to those who believe such undertakings render the music more accessible to a wider audience than would otherwise be the case in addition to providing additional repertoire for performing musicians.
The following entries include comments regarding musical transcriptions and arrangements drawn from a variety of sources, including two of the most celebrated composers of the twentieth century.