Sheet music for Viola

Pergolesi/Magatagan/BSG: Stabat Mater Dolorosa quartet

4 parts3 pages04:463 years ago2,262 views
Violin(2), Viola, Cello
Perhaps this is supremely arrogant. Starting from Mike Magatagan's beautiful string quartet arrangement (, I crafted my own, which does not really pretend to be a "correction" of Mike's work, but of Pergolesi's. Going through Mike's arrangement, I found that the majority of details I found I could not abide were not Mike's, but Pergolesi's, in particular, vast passages of no-thought viola "writing" simply doubling the bass, which happens throughout the Stabat Mater ("col basso" often appears in a 1749 score on IMSLP), and occasionally the viola just flops submissively into the bass.

This betrays more than the usual quantum of arrogance, for not only am I "improving" one of the best-loved movements of the Baroque, then and now (Jean-Jacques Rousseau called it "the most perfect and touching duet by any composer" [Wikipedia]), but I am also dealing with a previous attempt to do so by a certain Herr Bach, the cantor of St. Thomas' in Leipzig, who rewrote this masterpiece on the basis of similar objections.

Oddly, this Herr Bach did very, very little to the first movement (BWV 1083), and left it pretty much as Pergolesi had it; in other movements, he slashed away and added all kinds of interest. But not in the iconic first movement. So I have taken the arrogant liberty of "finishing" his work by the wholesale rewrite of the viola part with new thematic and harmonic material.

It is humbling to think that even the greatest Baroque composers other than Bach were all rough approximations to Bach (even if they didn't know it).

In the work as I have left it today (7 May 2015), I have essentially added a third actor to the given screenplay, to the canonic duo of suspension ("dum pendebat"?) chains (first stated in the upper parts in mm. 1-5), and the walking bass, adding a viola dolorosa lamenting in poignant "sighing" figures (sospiri), adding suspended sevenths and fourths and appoggiature to complement Pergolesi's sparse rhythm and harmony. I have exploited (and added) figures in the upper parts, importing them into the viola at other times and intervals, all the tighter to bind the whole.

See what you think.

"Tech notes"

Pergolesi’s original calls for two vocal parts (performances differ on whether they be soli or chori) in addition to the strings; his two violins double the vocal parts when the latter sing; the texture is basically a trio, and the viola is like a third wheel, which he occasionally commits to doubling the bass for measures at a stretch, and other times commits to half-note riffs strewn with questionable doublings and barely hidden fifths (the latter I have left alone). In Mike’s quartet texture, the viola is more exposed and cannot duck responsibility as in Pergolesi’s, and to this end I have written the present active part. Students of canon will realize that the famous chain of 3-2 suspensions and jumps of upward fourths which opens the movement is actually a canon at the second (cf., the “Recordare” from Mozart’s “Requiem”). I have generally left the two violins/soli alone, but for correcting some bad doubling in m. 21, reorganizing 31 and 42 for a better viola part (and eliminating spurious doublings), and, notably, supplying mm. 14-15 with an anticipation and “explaining” appoggiature to remedy what I considered an unacceptable tritone (Bb->E upward) in Pergolesi’s score, meanwhile promoting the canon with parallel dissonance resolutions for a very Bachian effect. I rewrote the double-counterpoint in 19-21 to be correct, restoring Pergolesi's theme and countermelody and adding some gratuitous rhythmic interest.

[5/5/2015 - I restored Pergolesi's bass rhythms, inserted strategic eighth-rests in the viola part to complement the former, borrowed Mike's superlative Bb-Ab trill for m.17, all'8va, and added a bit more. I added complexity to P's half-note viola riffs to mitigate the hidden fifths, and add more opportunities for motivic imitation).

JSB/Mike Magatagan/BSG: Schafe können sicher weiden (BWV 208.9)

4 parts5 pages06:243 years ago1,077 views
Violin(2), Viola, Cello
This is my rewrite of Mike Magatagan's string quartet arrangement of the famous aria of safely grazing sheep from the Hunting Cantata, BWV 208.

Mike has graciously allowed me to correct and enhance his work. My goals here are multiple: to help Mike learn Bachian counterpoint, to enjoy myself, and to post what is now my own work, too; perhaps others can learn.

I followed certain ground rules: I did not look at Bach's original--I fixed up Mike's work, not Bach's work. I kept the bass line and violin 1 as Mike had them; I more or less gutted the second violin and added my own, and rewrote the viola heavily. A few times I left entire measures intact (as it were).

The technical goals of the rewrite were primarily to fix various sorts of large and small contrapuntal errors; the largest ones were Mike simply duplicating Violin 1 or Viola in violin 2 for a half a measure at a time, and there were ubiquitous unison and octave duplicate gestures, which I remedied, often with simple long notes. There were many missed opportunities for vacant contrapuntal space (resulting in overcrowding!) which I exploited, particularly adding classic suspensions and classic resolutions of 6-4-2's, and enhanced awareness of JSB's beloved half-diminished sevenths (6 5 flat).

A second goal was to add interest to the composition over and above what both Bach and Mike had: spicing it with imitations of the recorder head motif, the vocal head motif, and new secondary motifs contributing to measure-by-measure sequences. At one point, mm 12-15, perhaps a bit too ostentatious, where Mike had silence, I was able to supply a canon at the seventh. I even disconnected parallel-sixth head-motif passages from Bach in order to construct a more interesting four-voice texture (Bach's original was basically three-voiced).

I strove to keep as much of Mike's architecture and detail as possible, unless I had something sufficiently better to say. There may still be "bugs" unfixed, or even new ones I introduced. Fortunately, this site facilitates score revisions without corrupting dates/stats, etc.

There is a huge echo of the texture of the eponymous opening aria of BWV 54, "Widerstehe doch der Sünde" hovering about.

Mike and others, enjoy/compare.

Mike's original is .

Bach/Magatagan (continuo by BSG): Ihr Kleingläubigen (BWV 81, #4)

3 parts2 pages01:263 years ago363 views
Viola, Other Woodwinds, Cello
Continuo realization added to Mike Magatigan's (unmodified) viola/cello arrangement of the bass arioso from BWV 81 "Ihr Kleinglåubigen, warum seid ihr so furchtsam?" ( .

With Mike's kind permission and encouragement, I have added Bach's original figures (from the Bachgesellschaft Ausgabe, on IMSLP) and realized them for MS's Panflötenkammerorgel, shifting the mood ever so slightly back from "sonata di camera" to "sonata di chiesa". I have followed Bach's figuring, er, religiously, only occasionally introducing passing-tones. The little dactyl ("BAAMP-dada") figures in the continuo in contrary motion to those in the bass, effectively exchanging voices (e.g., C# and A#), are a standard technique to avoid parallel motions on both sides of their beat, and add a great deal of interest (so I added a couple other than in that context, to promote motivic integrity).

Note that while continuo realizations are required to operate in mutual "credible" counterpoint with their bass, they are not considered "three more voices to the composition increasing its voice-complexity by three", but are freely allowed to double (occasionally), even to highlight, obbligato voices gestures, as do JSB cantata instrumental parts (which can also double continuously). Although Mike's 81/4 works just fine as chamber music, the authentic sound of this type of movement requires a stylistically appropriate continuo as I provide here. Skilled continuo improvisers (e.g., the Man himself) were reputed to play continuo parts that sounded like composed concerti (not de facto ensemblewise appropriate, IMO).

While realizing this continuo, I felt Bach's guiding hand insofar as any "problem" I had ("where will this voice go? where will this voice come from?") was always answered by careful thought about the surrounding figures, evidence that Bach thought about the harmony and counterpoint as a whole, even in a two-voiced movement, further evidence of what all the books tell us, that we must imagine and explain the harmony in our head even when composing in two voices. It figures.

I have analyzed the abundant internal references by imitation at all pitches in this wonderful short composition here
Nocturne (Op. 9 No. 2) in E-Flat Major for Viola & Piano

Nocturne (Op. 9 No. 2) in E-Flat Major for Viola & Piano

2 parts4 pages03:023 years ago16,986 views
Viola, Piano
The Nocturnes, Op. 9 are a set of three nocturnes written by Frédéric Chopin between 1830 and 1832 and dedicated to Madame Camille Pleyel. The work was published in 1833.

Chopin composed this popular Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9, No. 2 when he was about twenty and it is in rounded binary form (A, A, B, A, B, A) with coda, C. The A and B sections become increasingly ornamented with each recurrence. The penultimate bar utilizes considerable rhythmic freedom, indicated by the instruction, senza tempo (without tempo). Nocturne in E-flat major opens with a legato melody, mostly played piano, containing graceful upward leaps which becomes increasingly wide as the line unfolds. This melody is heard again three times during the piece. With each repetition, it is varied by ever more elaborate decorative tones and trills. The nocturne also includes a subordinate melody, which is played with rubato.

A sonorous foundation for the melodic line is provided by the widely spaced notes in the accompaniment, connected by the damper pedal. The waltz like accompaniment gently emphasizes the 12/8 meter, 12 beats to the measure subdivided into four groups of 3 beats each.

The nocturne is reflective in mood until it suddenly becomes passionate near the end. The new concluding melody begins softly but then ascends to a high register and is played forcefully in octaves, eventually reaching the loudest part of the piece, marked fortissimo. After a trill-like passage, the excitement subsides; the nocturne ends calmly.

Although originally composed for solo piano, I created this arrangement for Solo Viola & Acoustic Piano.

Chaconne in F Major (HWV 485) For String Quartet

4 parts8 pages08:4910 months ago16,890 views
Violin(2), Viola, Cello
Georg Friedrich Händel (1685 – 1759) was a true European. He had a German work ethic, Italian passion and a Dutch head for business. And after training in Germany and Italy, from 1711 he went on to win the hearts of the British. He wooed them with his many operas and oratorios, and with instrumental works like his Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks.

Yet during his lifetime, he was renowned not only as an organist, but also as one of the greatest harpsichordists of his day. The public couldn’t get enough of him on the harpsichord, either as a composer or a musician. Evidently times change. However, if we take a closer look at the period during which Handel settled in London, we soon see that people were occupied with the same issues then as they are today.

The signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 finally brought peace after a long period of war, and with it a lasting balance of power in Europe. It was a historic moment, comparable to the foundation of the European Union. Historic, partly because it was the first time a treaty had been signed not on the battle field but at the negotiating table. For Handel it was a fortunate development as it allowed him to move much more freely around Europe. At the same time, England had not done badly out of the peace deal it had struck in Utrecht. Welfare in the country increased, certainly in London.

Handel brought together new and old material, but just what was old and what was new we do not know. Probably some of the work dated from his student days in Germany, some from his years in Italy, and the new material from his time in London. The German folksongs in the Air of the Suite in D Minor and the Passacaille from the Suite in G Major could well have been composed in his German years, as could some of the Fugues. Little is written about this Chaconne & 49 Variations in C Major although they were likely written for Organ or Harpsichord.

According to Grove Music, Handel's keyboard pieces were "all probably for harpsichord and written before 1720, unless otherwise stated"; specifically for HWV 485, Grove says "for 2-manual hpd".

Source: Wikipedia (

Although originally written for Keyboard, I created this Interpretation of the Chaconne in F Major (HWV 485) for String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).
"Imagination" for Viola & Harp
Custom audio

"Imagination" for Viola & Harp

2 parts6 pages02:414 years ago3,174 views
Viola, Harp
The mind is infinite. Its beginnings and its endings are intangible. Thanks to God, our powerful imagination (the "MIND" of mankind) came into being - a new, completely unique mental power that is continuously exploring, discovering, and unraveling the mysteries of nature.

This work is my attempt (albeit amateurish) to portray the mind's insatiable curiosity and its ability to continually adapt and refine itself. To this end, I created this work originally in 2012 for Flute but have re-"imagined" it here today for Viola and Concert (Pedal) Harp.

Sonata in G Minor (HWV 360 Op. 1 No. 2) for Viola & Piano

2 parts8 pages08:452 years ago15,026 views
Viola, Piano
Most music lovers have encountered George Frederick Handel through holiday-time renditions of the Messiah's "Hallelujah" chorus. And many of them know and love that oratorio on Christ's life, death, and resurrection, as well as a few other greatest hits like the orchestral Water Music and Royal Fireworks Music, and perhaps Judas Maccabeus or one of the other English oratorios. Yet his operas, for which he was widely known in his own time, are the province mainly of specialists in Baroque music, and the events of his life, even though they reflected some of the most important musical issues of the day, have never become as familiar as the careers of Bach or Mozart. Perhaps the single word that best describes his life and music is "cosmopolitan": he was a German composer, trained in Italy, who spent most of his life in England.

The Sonata in G minor (HWV 360) was composed by George Frideric Handel for recorder and harpsichord (the autograph manuscript, a fair copy made most likely in 1712, gives this instrumentation in Italian: "flauto e cembalo"). The work is also referred to as Opus 1 No. 2, and was first published in 1732 by Walsh. Other catalogues of Handel's music have referred to the work as HG xxvii,9; and HHA iv/3,16.

Both the Walsh edition and the Chrysander edition indicate that the work is for recorder ("flauto"), and published it as Sonata II.

I created this arrangement for Viola & Piano.
"The Swan" for Viola & Harp

"The Swan" for Viola & Harp

2 parts3 pages02:334 years ago6,225 views
Viola, Harp
Camille Saint-Saëns' Le cygne (1886), or The Swan, was one of his most popular pieces of music during the span of his life, although the general public was not aware that it was actually just a part of a larger suite, at the time. The Swan is actually the 13th movement of a suite called The Carnival of the Animals (1886), or the Grande Fantasie Zoologique, as Saint-Saëns referred to it. It was intended to be a "fun" piece, to satisfy the composer's mischievous wit. Saint-Saëns, throughout his teaching and compositional career, enjoyed writing or improvising parody pieces that made fun of a certain composition or a musical style. At the École Niedermeyer, where he taught some of France's brightest young musicians, he would often escape from the boring lessons by leading the students in parodies of this type. Saint-Saëns did not allow for The Carnival of the Animals to be published during his life, because he feared that it would take precedence over his more serious works. The work was eventually published, though, after the composer's death, by order of his last will and testament.

The Swan was written for the aging cellist Charles-Joseph Lebouc, who was famous for his own playing and for being the son-in-law of the well-known singer Adolphe Nourrit. Saint-Saëns had promised a solo piece for the cellist years previous, but he did not get around to the project until February 1886. By this time, Lebouc was the subject of ridicule in the string-playing community due to a number of bad performance habits that he had acquired in his old age. Once he performed The Swan with its extreme mellowness, he again caused his fellow cellists to take notice of the tenderness in his playing.

The Swan was also used as the basis of a dance piece that was choreographed by Michel Fokine. In 1905, the ballet piece, which was retitled La Mort du Cygne, or The Dying Swan, was performed for the first time by the beloved dancer Anna Pavlova. The Dying Swan has remained in the ballet repertoire, and has been performed by countless ballerinas, including Madame Napierkowska during a recital in 1921 that Saint-Saëns witnessed himself just weeks prior to his death.

I created this this arrangement for Viola & Concert (Pedal) Harp.
"Jesu Joy of Mans Desiring" (BWV 147 No. 10) for Viola & Piano
Custom audio

"Jesu Joy of Mans Desiring" (BWV 147 No. 10) for Viola & Piano

2 parts2 pages02:444 years ago10,593 views
Viola, Piano
Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (Heart and mouth and deed and life), BWV 147, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. It was written originally in Weimar in 1716 (BWV 147a) for Advent and expanded in 1723 for the feast of the Visitation in Leipzig, where it was first performed on 2 July 1723.

Bach composed the cantata in his first year as Thomaskantor in Leipzig for the Marian feast "Mariae Heimsuchung" (Visitation). The prescribed readings for the feast day were Isaiah 11:1--5, the prophecy of the Messiah, and from the Gospel of Luke, Luke 1:39--56, Mary's visit to Elizabeth, including her song of praise, the "Magnificat". He used as a base a cantata in six movements composed in Weimar for the fourth Sunday in Advent. As Leipzig observed tempus clausum (time of silence) from Advent II to Advent IV, Bach could not perform the cantata for that occasion and rewrote it for the feast of the Visitation. The original words were suitable for a feast celebrating Mary in general; more specific recitatives were added, the order of the arias changed, and the closing chorale was replaced and repeated on a different verse to expand the cantata to two parts. The words are verses 6 and 16 of the chorale "Jesu, meiner Seelen Wonne" (1661) by Martin Jahn (de).

The music of the chorale movements is now best known for the piano transcription by Dame Myra Hess of Hugh P. Allen's choral version of Bach's arrangement, and is notable under the title Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring which approximately relates to "Jesus bleibet meine Freude", more closely translated as "Jesus shall remain my gladness".

Although this cantata was scored for four soloists and a four-part choir, a festive trumpet, two oboes (oboe d'amore, oboe da caccia), two violins, viola and basso continuo including bassoon, I created this arrangement for Viola & Acoustic Piano.
Prelude from the Cello Suite in G Major (BWV 1007) for Viola

Prelude from the Cello Suite in G Major (BWV 1007) for Viola

1 part1 page02:204 years ago9,158 views
It is thought that Bach wrote his six suites for unaccompanied cello between 1717 and 1723, while he was in the employ of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen and had two superb solo cellists, Bernard Christian Linigke and Christian Ferdinand Abel, at his disposal. However, the earliest copy of the suites dates from 1726, and no autographs survive. Thus a chronological order is difficult to prove, though one guesses that these suites were composed in numerical order from the way that they gradually evolve and deepen, both technically and musically.

A Baroque suite is typically a collection of dance movements, usually in binary form with each half repeated. Common elements of the suite were the Allemande (German dance), a moderately slow duple-meter dance; the Courante, a faster dance in triple meter; the Sarabande, a Spanish-derived dance in a slow triple meter with emphasis on the second beat; and a Gigue (Jig), which is rapid, jaunty, and energetic. Bach took these typical dance forms and abstracted them, and then added a free-form, almost improvisatory Prelude which sets the tone for each suite, and a galanterie, an additional dance interposed between Sarabande and Gigue. (In the first two suites, Bach uses a pair of Minuets.) With these dances, Bach experimented and created the first, and arguably still the finest, solo works for a relatively new instrument.

The first suite, in G major, gives the feel of innocent simplicity, and serves as a marvelous opening to these extraordinary works. The Prelude recalls the C major Prelude which opens Book One of the Well-Tempered Clavier. Each piece sets a remarkable atmosphere with no melodies, only strong rhythmic patterns, cunningly evolving harmonies, and evocative textures. Bach uses short, arpeggiated phrases to build larger-scale crescendos and decrescendos, and these phrases in turn aggregate into still larger structures, evoking an endlessly more complicated fractal pattern. This quality would become a characteristic of Bach's cello writing, along with a distinctive rhythmic quality far removed from the character of the original dances. Bach's suiite may have been inspired by viol writing in France and cello writing in Italy, but there was nothing like it before the first suite, and little like it after, except for the five suites that followed.

Although this piece was originally written for cello, I transcribed it for Viola.

"Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" (BWV 147 No 10) for String Trio

3 parts2 pages03:124 years ago7,489 views
Violin, Viola, Cello
Johann Sebastian Bach's sacred Cantata No. 147 "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben" (BWV 147) (Heart and Mouth, Deeds and Life), was written for the feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary and first performed in its final definitive form in Leipzig to mark the feast day, July 2, 1723. Much of the work originated during the composer's tenure as Konzertmeister in Weimar, where upon his appointment in 1714 he also assumed responsibility for the provision of a new cantata each month for services held in the Duke's chapel. In its earliest form (BWV 147a), this cantata was intended to be given on the fourth Sunday of Advent, 1716. This version contained four main arias and an opening chorus, but no recitative sections, three of which were added later, along with the great chorale, which brings each of the main sections to its close. The autograph of the Leipzig version survives intact, but all except the opening movement of the first version has perished. Interestingly, the composer's original design for the Advent feasts at Weimar would have been considered entirely unsuitable by the church authorities in Leipzig, who had forbidden the performance of all concert music during this period of the liturgical year. Bach managed to overcome this restriction by incorporating references to the "Magnificat" (Luke 1: 39-56) into the score, thus tailoring the cantata specifically to the Feast of the Visitation.

The final version begins with an elaborate chorus in C major, in which the celebratory tone is established by the fanfare-like opening section for orchestra. Part I concludes with the famous chorale known in English as "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring is the most common English title of the 10th movement of the cantata.

Although it is the 32nd surviving cantata that Bach composed, it was assigned the number BWV 147 in the complete catalogue of his works. Bach wrote a total of 200 cantatas during his time in Leipzig, largely to meet the Leipzig Churches' demand for about 58 different cantatas each year.

Contrary to the common assumption, the violinist and composer Johann Schop, not Bach, composed the movement's underlying chorale melody, Werde munter, mein Gemüthe; Bach's contribution was to harmonize and orchestrate it. The frequent use of arrangements of the piece in modern weddings is in no way related to its scope or Bach's intent for it. Rather, it was one segment of an extended, approximately 20-minute treatment of a traditional Church hymn, as is typical of cantatas of the Baroque period.

Although originally composed as a choral cantata, I created this arrangement for String Trio (Violin, Viola & Cello).

"Fossils" from the "Carnival of the Animals" for Winds & Strings

13 parts7 pages01:212 years ago3,449 views
Piccolo, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, English Horn, French Horn, Bassoon, Percussion, Violin(2), Viola, Cello, Contrabass
"The Carnival of the Animals" is a musical suite of fourteen movements by the French Romantic composer Camille Saint-Saëns.

It was composed in February 1886 while Saint-Saëns was vacationing in a small Austrian village. It was originally scored for a chamber group of flute/piccolo, clarinet (B flat and C), two pianos, glass harmonica, xylophone, two violins, viola, cello and double bass, but is usually performed today with a full orchestra of strings, and with a glockenspiel substituting for the rare glass harmonica. The term for this rare 11-piece musical ensemble is a "hendectet" or an "undectet."

Saint-Saëns, apparently concerned that the piece was too frivolous and likely to harm his reputation as a serious composer, suppressed performances of it and only allowed one movement, Le cygne, to be published in his lifetime. Only small private performances were given for close friends like Franz Liszt.

Saint-Saëns did, however, include a provision which allowed the suite to be published after his death. It was first performed on 26 February 1922, and it has since become one of his most popular works. It is a favorite of music teachers and young children, along with Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf and Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. In fact, it is very common to see any combination of these three works together on modern CD recordings.

Movement 12. Fossiles (Fossils)

Strings, two pianos, clarinet, and xylophone: Here, Saint-Saëns mimics his own composition, the Danse macabre, which makes heavy use of the xylophone to evoke the image of skeletons playing card games, the bones clacking together to the beat. The musical themes from Danse macabre are also quoted; the xylophone and the violin play much of the melody, alternating with the piano and clarinet. The piano part is especially difficult here - octaves that jump in quick thirds. Allusions to "Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman" (better known in the English-speaking world as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star), the French nursery rhymes "Au clair de la lune", and "J'ai du bon tabac" (the piano plays the same melody upside down), the popular anthem Partant pour la Syrie, as well as the aria Una voce poco fa from Rossini's The Barber of Seville can also be heard.

Although originally written for 2 Pianos & Orchestra, I created this arrangement for Winds (Piccolo, Flute, Oboe, Bb Clarinet, English Horn, French Horn & Bassoon) & Strings (2 Violins, Viola, Cello & Bass).

Bourrée in E Minor (BWV 996) for Violin & Viola

2 parts1 page01:524 years ago6,468 views
Violin, Viola
Bourrée in E minor is a popular lute piece, the fifth movement from Suite in E minor for Lute, BWV 996 (BC L166) written by Johann Sebastian Bach. This piece is arguably one of the most famous pieces among guitarists.

A bourrée was a type of dance that originated in France with quick duple meter and an upbeat. Though the bourrée was popular as a social dance and shown in theatrical ballets during the reign of Louis XIV of France, the Bourrée in E minor was not intended for dancing. Nonetheless, some of the elements of the dance are incorporated in the piece. Bach wrote his lute pieces in a traditional score rather than in lute tablature, and some believe that Bach played his lute pieces on the keyboard. No original script of the Suite in E minor for Lute by Bach is known to exist. However, in the collection of one of Bach's pupils, Johann Ludwig Krebs, there is one piece ("Praeludio - con la Suite da Gio: Bast. Bach") that has written "aufs Lauten Werck" ("for the lute-harpsichord") in unidentified handwriting. Some argue that despite this reference, the piece was meant to be played on the lute as demonstrated by the texture. Others argue that since the piece was written in E minor, it would be incompatible with the baroque lute which was tuned to D minor. Nevertheless, it may be played with other string instruments, such as the guitar, mandola or mandocello, and keyboard instruments, and it is especially well-known among guitarists. The tempo of the piece should be fairly quick and smooth, since it was written to be a dance. It also demonstrates counterpoint, as the two voices move independently of one another. Furthermore, the Bourrée in E minor demonstrates binary form.

Although originally written for Lute, I created this arrangement for Violin & Viola.

"Sposa, son Disprezzata" from "Bajazet" (RV 703 No 13) for Viola & Piano

2 parts3 pages03:574 years ago6,140 views
Viola, Piano
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi nicknamed il Prete Rosso ("The Red Priest") because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe. Vivaldi is known mainly for composing instrumental concertos, especially for the violin, as well as sacred choral works and over 40 operas. His best known work is a series of violin concertos known as The Four Seasons.

Bajazet (also called Il Tamerlano) is an Italian opera composed by Antonio Vivaldi in 1735. Its libretto was written by Agostino Piovene. It was premiered in Verona, during the Carnival season of that year. This opera (catalog number RV 703) is presented in 3 acts, with a three-movement sinfonia as an introduction. The story is about the fate of Bajazet (known as Beyazid I) after being captured by Tamerlane (Timur Lenk).

Bajazet is a pasticcio. It was a common practice during Vivaldi's time for composers to borrow and adapt arias from other composers with their own works for an opera. Vivaldi himself composed the arias for the good characters (Bajazet, Asteria and Idaspe) and mostly used existing arias from other composers for the villains (Tamerlano, Irene, Andronico) in this opera. Some of the arias are reused from previous Vivaldi operas. The famous aria, "Sposa son disprezzata" (The Scorned Wife) is from this opera and this arrangement was created for Viola & Acoustic Piano and it is best played using the "GeneralUser GS.sf2" Soundfont by S. Christian Collins Software (

"Je te Veux" for String Quintet

5 parts7 pages04:513 years ago6,030 views
Violin(2), Viola, Cello, Contrabass
"Je te veux" (French for I want you) is a song composed by Erik Satie to a text by Henry Pacory. A sentimental, slow waltz, it was originally written for the singer Paulette Darty, whose accompanist Satie had been for a period of time.

During the 1900's, Erik Satie produced several first rate cafe songs and music hall pieces, which include "Je te veux" - a graceful French waltz and "Le Piccadilly" - with a strong Scott Joplin ragtime flavour.

This song was registered on November 1902, but some argue it had actually been composed in 1897. Satie composed various versions of the Je te veux waltz, including one for piano. I created this arrangement from the Piano version for String Quintet (2 Violins, Viola, Cello & Bass).

"The Flower Duet" from Lakmé for Viola Duet & Cello

3 parts1 page01:214 years ago5,972 views
Viola(2), Cello
The Flower Duet (Sous le dôme épais) is a famous duet for sopranos from Léo Delibes' opera Lakmé, first performed in Paris in 1883. The duet takes place in Act 1 of the three act opera, between characters Lakmé, the daughter of a Brahmin priest, and her servant Mallika, as they go to gather flowers by a river. The Hindus go to perform their rites in a sacred Brahmin temple under the high priest, Nilakantha. Nilakantha's daughter Lakmé (which derives from the Sanskrit Lakshmi) and her servant Mallika are left behind and go down to the river to gather flowers where they sing the famous "Flower Duet."

I created this simplified version of the main theme for Viola Duet & Cello to highlight as well as provide haunting undertones.

"Après un Rêve" (Opus 7 No 1) for Viola & Piano

2 parts3 pages02:444 years ago5,472 views
Viola, Piano
Trois mélodies is a set of mélodies for solo voice and piano, by Gabriel Fauré. It is composed of Après un rêve (Op. 7, No. 1), one of Faure's most popular vocal pieces, Hymne (Op. 7, No. 2), and Barcarolle (Op. 7, No. 3). The songs were written between 1870 and 1878.

Gabriel Fauré's "Après un rêve," Op. 7/1, a setting of an anonymous poem translated by Romain Bussine, is one of the composer's best-known works for voice. The text describes a dream in which the narrator and her beloved come together in an almost otherworldly meeting, followed by a longing to return to this dream state after awakening: "In a sleep which your image charmed, I dreamt of happiness, ardent mirage.... You called me, and I left the earth, to flee with you towards the light.... Return, return, radiant, mysterious night!"

Though light, the piano accompaniment provides an underlying pulse, lending the song a sense of propulsion; at the same time, the vocal line is appropriately dreamy and languid. While the vocal range is not especially demanding, the accompaniment provides little pitch support for the voice's sometimes unusual intervals. When well performed, this richly expressive song is one of the most impressive and moving in the entire repertoire.

Although originally written for Voice & Piano, I created this transcription for Viola & Piano.

"The Elephant" from "Carnival of the Animals" (No. 5) for Viola & Piano

2 parts2 pages01:184 years ago5,227 views
Viola, Piano
The Carnival of the Animals (Le carnaval des animaux) is a musical suite of fourteen movements by the French Romantic composer Camille Saint-Saëns. The work was written for private performance by an ad hoc ensemble of two pianos and other instruments, and lasts around 25 minutes.

Following a disastrous concert tour of Germany in 1885–86, Saint-Saëns withdrew to a small Austrian village, where he composed The Carnival of the Animals in February 1886. It is scored for two pianos, two violins, viola, cello, double bass, flute (and piccolo), clarinet (C and B♭), glass harmonica, and xylophone.

From the beginning, Saint-Saëns regarded the work as a piece of fun. On 9 February 1886 he wrote to his publishers Durand in Paris that he was composing a work for the coming Shrove Tuesday, and confessing that he knew he should be working on his Third Symphony, but that this work was "such fun" ("... mais c'est si amusant!"). He had apparently intended to write the work for his students at the École Niedermeyer, but in the event it was first performed at a private concert given by the cellist Charles Lebouc on Shrove Tuesday, 9 March 1886.

A second (private) performance was given on 2 April at the home of Pauline Viardot with an audience including Franz Liszt, a friend of the composer, who had expressed a wish to hear the work. There were other private performances, typically for the French mid-Lent festival of Mi-Carême, but Saint-Saëns was adamant that the work would not be published in his lifetime, seeing it as detracting from his "serious" composer image. He relented only for the famous cello solo The Swan, which forms the penultimate movement of the work, and which was published in 1887 in an arrangement by the composer for cello and solo piano (the original uses two pianos).

Saint-Saëns did specify in his will that the work should be published posthumously. Following his death in December 1921, the work was published by Durand in Paris in April 1922, and the first public performance was given on 25 February 1922 by Concerts Colonne (the orchestra of Édouard Colonne).

Carnival has since become one of Saint-Saëns's best-known works, played by the original eleven instrumentalists, or more often with the full string section of an orchestra. Normally a glockenspiel substitutes for the rare glass harmonica. Ever popular with music teachers and young children, it is often recorded in combination with Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf or Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.

No. 5 "L'éléphant" (The Elephant) was originally scored for Double bass and piano. In the opening section, it is marked Allegro pomposo, the perfect caricature for an elephant. The piano plays a waltz-like triplet figure while the bass hums the melody beneath it. Like "Tortues," this is also a musical joke—the thematic material is taken from the Scherzo from Mendelssohn's incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream and Berlioz's "Dance of the Sylphs" from The Damnation of Faust. The two themes were both originally written for high, lighter-toned instruments (flute and various other woodwinds, and violin, accordingly); the joke is that Saint-Saëns moves this to the lowest and heaviest-sounding instrument in the orchestra, the double bass.

Although originally scored for double bass and piano, I created this arrangement for Solo Viola & Piano.

Air from the Orchestral Suite No. 3 (BWV 1068) for Viola & Piano

2 parts2 pages04:184 years ago4,913 views
Viola, Piano
The four orchestral suites (called ouvertures by their author), BWV 1066–1069 are four suites by Johann Sebastian Bach. The name ouverture refers only in part to the opening movement in the style of the French overture, in which a majestic opening section in relatively slow dotted-note rhythm in duple meter is followed by a fast fugal section, then rounded off with a short recapitulation in triple meter of the opening music. More broadly, the term was used in Baroque Germany for a suite of dance-pieces in French Baroque style preceded by such an ouverture. This genre was extremely popular in Germany during Bach's day, and he showed far less interest in it than was usual: Robin Stowell writes that "Telemann's 135 surviving examples [represent] only a fraction of those he is known to have written"; Christoph Graupner left 85; and Johann Friedrich Fasch left almost 100. Bach did write several other ouverture (suites) for solo instruments, notably the Cello Suite no. 5, BWV 1011, which also exists in the autograph Lute Suite in G minor, BWV 995, the Keyboard Partita no. 4 in D, BWV 828, and the Overture in the French style, BWV 831 for keyboard. The two keyboard works are among the few Bach published, and he prepared the lute suite for a "Monsieur Schouster," presumably for a fee, so all three may attest to the form's popularity.

Scholars believe that Bach did not conceive of the four Orchestral Suites as a set (in the way he conceived of the Brandenburg Concertos). The Air is one of the most famous pieces of baroque music. An arrangement of the piece by German violinist August Wilhelmj (1845–1908) has come to be known as Air on the G String.

I created this arrangement for Viola and Piano.

"Gigue" from the Partita for Violin No. 2 (BWV 1004 No 4) for Viola

1 part2 pages04:294 years ago4,841 views
The Partita in D minor for solo violin (BWV 1004) by Johann Sebastian Bach was written during 1717--1723.

In the preface to his 1955 transcription, John Cook writes: "The Chaconne is sublimely satisfying in its original form, yet many will agree that a single violin is only able to hint at the vast implications of much of this music ... It is perhaps not unreasonable to suppose that Bach would have chosen the organ, had he transcribed the Chaconne himself, as the instrument best suited to the scale of his ideas ... A good performance on the violin may be taken as the best guide to interpretation on the organ — the two instruments are not without their points in common, and both were beloved of Bach."

The earliest version for organ is by William Thomas Best. Further transcriptions are by John Cook, Wilhelm Middelschulte, Walter Henry Goss-Custard (1915--55), and Henri Messerer (1838--1923).

Since Bach's time, several different transcriptions of the piece have been made for other instruments, particularly for the piano (by Ferruccio Busoni and Joachim Raff), and for the piano left-hand (by Brahms). Johannes Brahms, in a letter to Clara Schumann, said about the ciaccona: On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind. Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann each wrote piano accompaniments for the work.

Although this piece was originally written for Violin, I transcribed it for Solo Viola.