William Carragan's 2 Piano Arrangement of the 1874 Bruckner Fourth
This is an mp3 file of an arrangement for two pianos of the Fourth Symphony in its early version of 1874, which I made directly from the Nowak score over the last two months. The string parts are by and large given to Piano 1, on the left, and the winds and brasses to Piano 2, on the right. In this way some idea of the spatial arrangement of the orchestra is retained. It was possible to render almost all of the detail of this amazingly detailed work in the arrangement. At the same time, a flexible but rigorously systematic scheme of tempos is used, based on my own extensive research into the sources of Bruckner's ideas of tempo, and the history of performances since his time. Especially in this version, Bruckner left us few directions, and I made decisions based on a general appreciation of his style, especially as found in the first publications. Thus you will hear many tempo changes which are not in the score, and the performance will remind one of the work of the old-timers. Indeed there can be no doubt that the performance of Bruckner symphonies without flexible tempos is profoundly unhistorical. At the same time we must remember that Bruckner never edited this version and indeed never heard it, and we are lucky to have it at all.
The following principles apply to all the outer movements of the symphonies but the Seventh:
(1) C = A. That is, the tempo of the third theme is the same as that of the first theme.
(2) B is 10 to 20 percent slower than A. That is, the Gesangsperiode is slower than the first and third themes, but not by much. There is often an even slower enclave within the Gesangsperiode.
(3) The codetta is slower than C, but perhaps not as slow as B.
(4) It is usually appropriate to make a ritardando before a theme change or section ending, but not always.
(5) Complex music can be slower, as at letter O of the slow movement of the Fourth, or letter E of the scherzo of the Seventh.
(6) One should not be afraid of strong accelerandos, even temporarily going above the main tempo.
June 28, 2011