As a fervent composer, I am instinctively drawn to the field of orchestration (also
known as orchestral transcription) and the apparent compositional ingenuity required for the translation of musical content from one medium to another. The orchestration of works by other composers is a creative activity that can be driven by various motivations, such as recognising its pedagogical capacity, commenting on or paying homage to a work or a composer, or simply to create a completely independent work that invites comparison to the model from which it is derived.
In this study, I have considered these motivations prudently in my pursuit to
understand and interpret my own process of orchestration. I have chosen to
orchestrate a selection of Preludes from Peter Klatzow’s 24 Preludes – a work that I
greatly admire. The primary objective of this study is to acquire aesthetic and
practical knowledge of orchestration practice through the systematic process of
orchestrating an original work for piano. The lens through which I have chosen to
conduct this study is the exploration of the relationships that might develop between content preservation and artistic freedom. I have adopted an auto-ethnographic, practiced-based method, focused on the critical and reflective analysis of the entire orchestration process. The secondary objective is to produce a fully autonomous, multi-movement orchestral score that adheres to and respects the fundamental expressive content of the original music, while also showcasing my own individuality and compositional signature. After consulting prominent literature in orchestration theory, I compiled a set of orchestration guidelines that provided a theoretical framework as well as a practical scope for the project.
For the final orchestration, I have pursued a delicate balance between conservation of the original content and the relative degree of artistic freedom applied, as solutions to technical problems in the translation. Ultimately, the level of artistic freedom employed is profoundly dependent on my intention, and that of orchestration, to preserve content. However, without departing sufficiently from the original model, the orchestration would renounce its independence as a creative work in its own right and would merely be a direct copy.