Versions on Other Instruments

by Jungreis

For my first concert review, even before I saw Nabucco, I saw and then wrote about a classical guitarist.  She played alone.  This meant that when she wanted to play something that was written for a huge orchestra, she had five fingers (four, really, since thumb-fretting is frowned upon by classical musicians) and six strings to make it happen, not scores of instruments.

She pulled it off.

I was not familiar with a lot of what she played, but it all worked.  It didn’t sound like she stripped down an orchestral work and forced it onto her guitar.  It sounded like real classical music, and it was played on a guitar, which is always nice.

What do you all think is lost or gained when a piece is moved from an orchestral setting to just one guitar (or something similar)?  Similarly, what could be lost or gained by an orchestra playing something originally written for a small group?  (A very interesting example of an orchestra playing something that wasn’t written for an orchestra is John Williams – he wrote the famous music in Star Wars and Jurassic Park – conducting the main theme from Chariots of Fire.)

(Her name is Ana Vidović.  I’ve mentioned her a few times.)