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Topic: Prokofiev Toccata in D Minor Op. 11 - Orchestration

  1. #1
    Senior Member sd cisco's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    Southern Ontario, Canada

    Prokofiev Toccata in D Minor Op. 11 - Orchestration

    Prokofiev Toccata in D Minor, Op. 11, is a piano piece. I have referenced many performances of this piece, including listening to Serge play via a piano roll, but those old players could be sped up or down. His version was slower than all the others by at least 20 seconds. Watching the modern concert pianist perform it at "speed", is exhilarating and impressive, with the hands repeatedly crossing over each other and the pace, quite amazing what people can do!
    I used my previously explained method of "decomposing" the piano piece in horizontal layers and assign voices according to the instruments range.
    I have looked but not found where anyone has orchestrated this piece of music, it would be interesting for me to hear. I did not use the full orchestra, just the section strings, Bassoon and Contra Bassoon.

    Prokofiev Toccata - D Minor Op 11

    Best regards,
    sd cisco

  2. #2

    Re: Prokofiev Toccata in D Minor Op. 11 - Orchestration

    Being a pianist, this is a work I know VERY well, having played it in concert multiple times.

    I rather like this extreme fast tempo.

    However, as an orchestration, I can't help but think that there is a layer or two missing.

    When I play it at the piano, I hear brass and percussion punches in my head. I hear screaming woodwind scales ascending and descending. And I hear massive orchestral crescendi in all those "loud" spots.

  3. #3
    Senior Member sd cisco's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    Southern Ontario, Canada

    Re: Prokofiev Toccata in D Minor Op. 11 - Orchestration

    Then you know very well there is a lot going on in the music, depending on which way you look, inside the music. I have never heard you performing the Toccata (but would like to), but from the other renditions I have heard, a variety of themes and ideas emerged, from one performance to the next. Almost as though no one really knew exactly how it was supposed to go.
    And the piano-roll version of Prokofiev playing it; his tempo was so fluid and varied, and as I've said, slower that every other version sampled.
    This is one piece of music that I could easily find the interest and energy to work on some more.
    Thank you for listening and your comment!

    Best regards,
    sd cisco

  4. #4
    Senior Member sd cisco's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    Southern Ontario, Canada

    Re: Prokofiev Toccata in D Minor Op. 11 - Orchestration


  5. #5

    Re: Prokofiev Toccata in D Minor Op. 11 - Orchestration


    Sir, take a step back and breathe through your nose for a minute.

    My comments were anything but insulting.
    I said I liked your tempo.

    As for the orchestration, I gave you an opinion. Period. I'm sorry it wasn't the fuzzy, glowy, lovey-dovey comment you appear to have been expecting.

    Your rant at me, just now, on the other hand WAS quite insulting with your decision to engage in a personal attack on myself:

    insulting my music (most of which, by the way, you praised in previous posts), disparaging my credentials (despite my never having brought them up), calling me a "know it all", (I can only presume your intent was) trying to insult me by posting a definition of Toccata, somehow insinuating that my screen name and my home town are objects of ridicule.

    I was unaware that you already knew everything about orchestration and that it was forbidden to have a different idea about how a particular piece should or could be orchestrated.

    But don't worry, I won't "insult" you with any further comments. Ever.


  6. #6
    Senior Member Eugene's Avatar
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    Jul 2002
    Dublin, Ireland

    Re: Prokofiev Toccata in D Minor Op. 11 - Orchestration

    Hello Sd Cisco - I think you have done a great job transferring this Toccata from piano to orchestral garb. In general orchestrated versions of piano pieces tend to sound different, often smoother, i.e. less percussive, due to the nature of the piano vs. orchestral instruments. However the orchestrated versions can show the music in a different light, which in turn can inspire the pianist to play the original with more colour.
    I don't know of any other orchestrated version of the Toccata - it's surprising that no one tried it before - and I enjoyed hearing it. I think it works very well in your version - thanks for posting.

  7. #7

    Re: Prokofiev Toccata in D Minor Op. 11 - Orchestration

    Sd Cisco,

    I am completely puzzled by your two contiguous posts - firstly you comment on Michel's response with an openness and friendliness and then you come out of left field and completely issue a personal attack that is preposterous.

    I can't help but thinking you must have had a VERY bad night!

    I am sure that if you re-read Michel's original you will realise there is nothing insulting there - just a comment or two on your piece.

    Dear me!, if artists cannot discuss their work openly and with respect, we have sunk back into barbarism; I strongly suggest you rethink your message and I think you owe Michel an apology - you were way out of line.

    This forum is about music. Keep your comments focused on the edification thereof.

    We are here to make the world a better place, not denigrate it.


  8. #8

    Re: Prokofiev Toccata in D Minor Op. 11 - Orchestration

    Relax people. Alan is right.

    I quite like the orchestration. I didn't know the piece, but I like your choice, and this arrangement comes across very naturally to me. It gives a kind of duelling feeling, and it sounds very, well, Russian. I'm more familiar with Shostakovich, and arrangements of his works (for chamber orchestra) have the same feel to them.

    Now, dear sd, if Michel feels otherwise, I think he should be able to say so. I can understand you disagree. But regardless of your feelings on this, his post is not insulting. You've probably invested quite some time in this piece, because I can recognize the work it can take to make fast strings lines sound natural, but he didn't say it was bad or anything. Just that he has always imagined it differently.

    I've got a disk with orchestrations of Bach organ works by pretty famous composers, and some of them are really not like anything I imagined. That doesn't make them bad, just different from my expectations.

    Relax, and accept that people feel differently about music. There are whole hordes out there that don't give a tinker's cuss about even Prokoviev. But here there are people who like your work, are willing to listen to it, and comment on it (something that can be difficult as you know), and some will like it, some won't. A few days ago, I played your Zaderatsky orchestrations again on my iPod, and I found them as charming and refreshing as when I first heard them, but I'm sure they are not everyone's cup of tea.

    You can't please everyone, and publishing something harbours the danger of criticism as well as the reward of praise. Don't make it a source of distress, but learn from it. Sometimes that lears to improving skills, other times it leads to a different perspective on the character of taste and dialog.

    Rest assured, like Alan, I see no harm at all in Michel's reply, and my appreciation of your work is not influenced by it.

    BTW, is there a reason you moved the strings from their "traditional" sitting? It does have a more piano-like layout...

  9. #9

    Re: Prokofiev Toccata in D Minor Op. 11 - Orchestration

    I happen to like this presentation of the toccata. I haven't heard it in a long time and I like the string accents you have put in places where needed. Nicely done!
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong


  10. #10

    Re: Prokofiev Toccata in D Minor Op. 11 - Orchestration


    I really liked your arrangement of the Toccata and appreciate
    your wanting to experiment by scoring it for strings. It came
    out well in my opinion. I can tell that many hours of laborious
    planning and editing went into this piece and I'm sure your
    listening audience will reflect that if that is any satisfaction.


    As others have stated, no reason to take offense at any of
    Michel's comments. His opinions are just that and I, too, can't
    see anything of a derogatorial nature in them.

    Michel is a great composer and his music has won wide acclaim
    in Canada and other countries. I think his music is the product
    of many years of study, natural talent and a strong desire to excel
    in his chosen field. I find his writing "exciting" and "forward."

    So, since we love you both for what you do, why not realize this
    and move forward in a positive direction. After all, when we post
    here, we are on a "World Stage."


    Jack Cannon--MacBook Pro (2015, 13") GPO4/5, JABB3, Auth. STEINWAY, YAMAHA CFX, Gofriller CELLO, Stradivari VIOLIN, COMB2, WORLD, HARPS, PIPE ORGANS, FINALE 25.5, DORICO 1.2.10, Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 9.51, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express, MacBook Pro (2012, 13") 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

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