A Study of Ferruccio Busoni's Transcriptions of Six Organ Chorale Preludes by Johannes Brahms.
Date of Award
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
Ferruccio Busoni's piano arrangements of six of Brahms's Eleven Chorale Preludes, Op. 122, are among the least known of his transcriptions. Published in 1897, they have remained overshadowed by his more popular transcriptions of the organ works of Bach. Maurice Hinson stated that "Busoni arranged some of the most pianistic of the set"; continuing, Hinson observed that problems encountered in the originals, such as bringing out inner voices and achieving a satisfactory legato, are more easily solved on the piano.$\sp1$. Referring to Busoni's own writings on transcribing as found in the appendices to his edition of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, this monograph examines Busoni's transcriptions of six organ chorale preludes by Brahms, focusing on: (1) the adaptation of a work written for two manuals and pedals to the single keyboard of the piano, considering: (a) organ pedals; (b) doubling; (c) dynamics; (2) the pianistic treatment of organ registration, concerning: (a) texture; (b) voicing; (c) use of piano pedals. The study of these arrangements reveals that there are certain devices which Busoni consistently applies to achieve the organ effect while attempting to remedy the problems encountered in the transcription process. The six chorale preludes which Busoni chose to arrange can be divided into two types: Three of the settings have a contrapuntal texture and a constantly moving accompaniment--these are discussed in Chapter Two, following a brief introductory chapter; the remaining three are homophonic in texture and are discussed in Chapter Three. Chapter Four will summarize the observations made in Chapters Two and Three and includes information derived from Busoni's writings about the process of transcribing organ works for the piano. ftn$\sp1$Maurice Hinson, The Pianist's Guide to Transcriptions, Arrangements, and Paraphrases, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), 29.
Scialla, Carmen, "A Study of Ferruccio Busoni's Transcriptions of Six Organ Chorale Preludes by Johannes Brahms." (1992). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 5465.