No, it’s not the Steinway Diet Plan, or a toy piano.
A “Piano Reduction” is a ‘reduction’ of a symphonic piece of music into a part that’s playable on piano. It takes all the music from the whole orchestra and reduces it onto two lines of music that can be played by one pianist – and it’s an important tool for anyone learning a new concerto.
I’m working on the piano reduction for my concerto “Baroque Flamenco” with composer/pianist Tim Maurice as I prepare it for publication and beginning to realize just how important – and fun – a piano reduction can be!
Why create a piano reduction?
The Reduction lets soloists who are learning the piece rehearse with a pianist instead of hiring a whole orchestra to come play in their livingroom. It’s also very important for student musicians because many of the younger harpists who learn the piece to audition for concerto contests need to audition with a pianist – even though they’ll be playing the piece with full orchestra or chamber ensemble if they win.
The music-writing program I use, Finale, will ‘automatically’ create a piano reduction at the push of a button – but you know how those buttons work. It’ll make something a computer could play well, but not likely something that’s truly ‘pianistic.’ So composer/accompanist/music-director Tim Maurice and I have been meeting daily to hammer out a version that’s fun, playable, challenging and that really preserves the spirit of the music.It'll make something a computer could play well, but not likely something that's truly 'pianistic.' Click To Tweet
And of course, since I’m playing the harp part with him, I’m finding things I want to change in the harp part as well, so each night we send off our changes to copyist-harpist Noah Brenner, and he adds them to the music we’ll publish.
The most fun thing about this is that, when we started, I thought of the piano reduction as simply a utilitarian piece of music – it just helps you rehearse and audition. But working on it with Tim, I’ve begun to realize that it’s starting to become a real piece of music itself – something that pianists and harpists could play together in concert and both have fun.I've begun to realize that it's starting to become a real piece of music itself - something that pianists and harpists could play together Click To Tweet
There’s very little music for harp and piano and I never expected I would be adding to that repertoire but it looks like that may be what’s happening. I LOVE it when things like that happens!