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Deorchestrated Classics

This week's episode of the ASCAP Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award winning Between the Keys showcases orchestral classics transcribed for piano. The program's creator, producer and host Jed Distler (who is The Classical Network's Artist-in-Residence) likes to call such transcriptions "deorchestrations."

The show opens with Han Chen playing Liszt’s transcription of Weber’s Overture to Oberon, followed by the famous “surprise” movement from Haydn’s Symphony No. 94 with Cyprien Katsaris. Next, the Scherzo from Mahler’s First Symphony, arranged and performed by Mikhail Kazakevich. Although Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade is first and foremost about orchestration, somehow Paul Gilson’s solo piano transcription makes the music sound thoroughly idiomatic and plausible on 88 keys,, especially in the hands of Simon Trpceski. One can say the same for Debussy’s Rondes de Printemps in Gerard Gasparian’s piano version, performed by his pianist son Jean Paul Gasparian. And last but not least, the concluding fourth movement Passacaglia from Brahms’ Fourth Symphony, arranged and performed by Idil Biret.

Tune in to Between the Keys this Friday at 3:00 PM, with the rebroadcast Saturday at 6:00 PM, exclusively on The Classical Network and WWFM.org.

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Jed Distler is Artist-in-Residence for The Classical Network and program host of Between the Keys, Tuesdays at 10 pm.