Monday, February 28, 2011

2/28 A Turkish March for 16 Hands

Keyboards piled up at the Pearl River Piano factory (BBC)
Marches are good fun, at least musically.  Beethoven hated war of course, and his feelings about Napoleon are no secret, but he still composed quite a few marches, and one of them I covered here before.   While writing about the Liszt piano transcriptions last week, I was reminded of Beethoven's own variations of the Turkish March from his "Ruins of Athens" stage work. 

6 Variations in D major op.76 "Turkish March" (1809)
Sviatoslav Richter (Live 50's)

Sviatoslav Richter plays Beethoven Six Variations, Op. 76

But wait, what if Beethoven had 8 pianists at his house one day, all wanting to show him their performance of the Turkish March, but Ludwig only had 5 minutes?  Maybe it would sound something like this:
Turkish March from "Die Ruinen von Athen" (arr. for 8 pianos, Richard Blackford)
Piano: Gina Bachauer
Piano: Jorge Bolet
Piano: Jeanne-Marie Darré
Piano: Alicia De Larrocha
Piano: John Lill
Piano: Radu Lupu
Piano: Garrick Ohlsson
Piano: Bàlint Vàzsonzyi
Live recording, London - 1974
It gets interesting after the 2:24 mark...(note that I tagged this post with the "avant-garde" label)

Beethoven Turkish March (arranged for eight pianos)

There also happens to be a Turkish March in the finale of the 9th Symphony and probably some other works I can't recall right now... Robert Greenberg claims that "Turkish Marches" had more to do with exotic harmonies and melodies in any form, rather than melodies of a specifically Turkish nature. Frankly I don't know enough about the music of Hungary in the 1800's to agree with Prof. Greenberg or not, but I can see that easily being the case. It doesn't sound anything like Bartok tho...or does it?

Béla Bartók - Allegro Barbaro

No comments:

Post a Comment