Concerto for Harmonica and Orchestra, Op. 86 by Alexander Tcherepnin: An arrangement for marimba with a performance guide
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Paul Creston’s Concertino for Marimba and Orchestra, the first marimba concerto written in 1940, along with Ney Rosauro’s Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra written in 1986, are considered two of the most performed marimba concertos to date. While these two pieces are both great works in the repertoire of the marimba concerto, the question is raised as to why these early pieces have not been surpassed by recent compositions? It is because of this question that the author feels there is a need for further depth in the repertoire of the marimba concerto. The goal of this study is to shed new light on an underperformed work written for an even more obscure instrument than the marimba and to add another quality work to the marimba concerto repertoire. The first chapter will discuss the status of the marimba concerto repertoire and the reasons behind this project, including limitations, justification, and a review of related literature. The second chapter is a look at the people involved in the original work, including a biographical sketch of the composer, Alexander Tcherepnin, along with brief remarks about the piece’s premiere performer, John Sebastian Sr., and the details surrounding the premiere. Chapter three will discuss the history and manufacturing of the instruments involved; the harmonica and the marimba. The last two chapters focus on the work itself, with the fourth chapter providing a somewhat formal description of the work, Concerto for Harmonica and Orchestra, Op. 86 by Alexander Tcherepnin, and the last chapter providing an examination of the arranging process and, through specific examples, the arrangement itself. Due to the perceived undervalued view of the composer, and the “novelty” status of both instruments involved in this project, the author hopes that this arrangement project will elevate awareness about the composer and the work itself. The scope of this study is to examine the life of Tcherepnin, understand the basics of the instruments involved including their history and manufacturing, and formally describe and arrange the work in question. Limitations of literature and/or other materials on the composer, premiere performer, and the work itself have hindered the finding of any related literature. However, there are a few sources discussing the life of Tcherepnin that the author has found very helpful. The author was unable to find any related literature in the area of the work itself, with the exception of a scan of the program from the premeire performance.