Beethoven Waldstein Sonata Orchestration

As promised, here is the project I’ve been working on the past couple weeks: an arrangement of the first movement of Beethoven’s “Waldstein” sonata for orchestra. This is a rough beta version of the score and parts; depending on how much time I have and whether there’s much of a response, I may go through and correct errors and make everything look nicer later on. I’m new to notation software and learned a lot during the process of creating this score, so there’s a lot I would do differently in terms of process if I were to do it again. Release notes follow.

Introduction

It is often said that Beethoven’s chamber and piano music is symphonic in scope, but I am aware of no arrangements of these works for symphony orchestra. When I set out to orchestrate an excerpt from the “Waldstein” sonata, op.53, for an orchestration course I was taking, I was struck by the extent to which Beethoven’s compositional thinking was oriented in an orchestral direction. The piece essentially arranges itself: to anyone steeped in orchestral music, the outburst at m.14 is obviously tremolo strings, the triplets at m.42 cannot but be a flute solo, and the dialogue beginning at m.95 must be between woodwind soloists. Most of the choices are simple matters of which specific person gets to play a certain line, and how much each line is doubled.

Overall I believe the piece works well for orchestra. The movement detaches easily from context and stands more or less on its own, though perhaps one day I will return to the rest of the piece.

As this is a free Creative Commons release, done more for my benefit than for yours, the standard of quality I have aimed for is “usable but not pretty.” All the parts should have reasonable page turns and the score and parts should be relatively free from errors. If you do have any feedback or questions about the score, I am happy to discuss them with you if you contact me at thomasmingram93@gmail.com.

Terms of release

This arrangement is copyright 2015 by Tom Ingram. This score and set of parts are released under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0 International Public License. This grants the user considerable latitude in the way they may make use of the score, including making and publishing modifications to it, all free of charge. Beyond the terms of the license, I ask but do not require that anyone with an interest in performing this score contact me to inform me, simply out of personal interest.

Performance notes

This piece is aimed at more advanced groups such as university orchestras and professional ensembles. A youth orchestra would likely have a hard time with it, as some of the passagework is quite demanding and there is the occasional use of extreme range.

The dynamics are mostly Beethoven’s. Where I deviate from Beethoven, my goal has been to reproduce orchestrally the dynamic planing that a pianist would do automatically, so that the overall perceived dynamic is what Beethoven wrote. I may have failed or incompletely succeeded in this goal, so in performance the original piano score should serve as the ultimate arbiter of how loud or soft any line should be.

Textual note

The text of this arrangement is based on the Breitkopf critical edition freely available from IMSLP. As I am not aware of any major textual questions related to this work, I have not made any attempt to create a definitive text and have simply used the text that is most readily available. I have tried to include all of Beethoven’s notes wherever possible (allowing for some translation of pianistic figures into orchestral ones), with only the occasional octave displacement or rescoring of chords.

This arrangement is simply aimed at producing the orchestral sounds that seem obvious to me in listening to and playing the piece. It should not be construed as reproducing “what Beethoven might have done,” a concept that is epistemically troubling and in any case irrelevant to modern practise except insofar as Beethoven would have done what any intelligent musician ought to do.

Instrumentation

  • 2 Flutes
  • 2 Oboes
  • 2 Clarinets in B-flat
  • Bass Clarinet in B-flat
  • 2 Bassoons
  • 2 Horns in F
  • 2 Trumpets in C
  • 2 Trombones
  • Bass Trombone
  • Tuba
  • Timpani (3)
  • Violin I
  • Violin II
  • Viola
  • Cello
  • Bass

Download

As WordPress.com does not allow me to upload *.zip files, I have placed the package in a public-facing folder of my Google Drive. The link is below.

Download Beethoven Waldstein Orchestration v1.3.zip

The score and parts are in PDF format, which means you will need a PDF reader such as Foxit PDF or Adobe Reader in order to look at them. The package itself is a ZIP archive, which means you will need an archive program such as 7zip to open it.

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