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VIRTUOSO PIANO ARRANGEMENTS BASED ON OPERA, SONG AND WALTZ
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Piano arrangement refers to piano music that borrows and reworks from existing music. As a result of its popularity and vast publications, this particular genre was established during the nineteenth century. This performance dissertation concentrates on virtuosic piano pieces that originally based on opera, song or waltz. From the perspective of musical form, this selection of works aims to show the diversification, as the originals of the three types- opera, song and waltz- contrasts drastically in length, format, and the performing force. The operatic arrangements are generally characterized with technical brilliance and luxurious sonority. Among the nine arrangements, Liszt's Reminiscences de Norma stands out as the only fantasy that embodies its unique dramatic view to the entire opera. The other eight pieces took shape from instrumental and vocal music of single operatic scenes by Brahms, Backhaus, Liszt, Moszkowski, Ravel, Saint-Saens, Sgambati and Tausig. The second selection includes ten pieces originated from art songs and arranged by Liszt, Thalberg, Grainger, Godowsky, and Grieg. Liszt's works are emphasized in this selection for the seamless union of poetry, music, and virtuosic technique serves as the aesthetic basis. When transcribing from other composers' songs, a distinct feature of confrontation between two contrasting personalities and alteration of musical styles are often clearly evident. The third selection consists of waltz arrangements by Dohm1nyi, Friedman and Grtinfeld, which perfectly express the gallant and glamorous Viennese spirit. These simple waltz melodies or themes charm through the effectiveness of brilliant piano texture. In retrospect, these piano arrangements reveal tremendous possibilities of the piano, including the piano's capacity to approximate orchestral effects, incorporate different vocal elements, and mimic the style of nineteenth-century improvisations. They suggest challenges beyond virtuosic technique and inspire the performer's sense of drama, poetry, color, and imagination.