... I'm still not completly sure, if a pianist playing this transcription really should take care of the singer and subdue his music just for her sake.
Sometimes Liszt is fairly clear about this, sometimes he isn't! For example, in his Rienzi and Rigoletto paraphrases, he has the melodic notes normal size, but the filigree ornamentation smaller. I'd suggest that here, you note how the music is expressed in parts: in the rh, the soprano is written stem up and the orchestra stem down. Now I will concede that it's much more readable expressed in this way (therefore in theory that could be the reason for it being written in such a way), but the moment music is written in parts, I think that implies that you should give consideration to the voicing of each part. Although the edition I use doesn't have the words of the aria printed in it, I have seen one which does. So - and I am biased, because I've played so many transcriptions - but I would contend that really you must give the vocal line prominence.
Thank you Andrew (And sorry for this much delayed responce - I needed the time to think about this subject
). You observed the score very exactly. I agree to you that one should be careful about the voicing between the various voices throughout the whole piece. But I still don't figure, why one must give a currently absent vocalist the priority, as Liszt completly has left the vocal line out in his transcription and this piece is very often played by an orchestra without a singer. Imagine a conductor performs this piece with a singer at one time and without her at another time. He/she would conduct the orchestra differently. And I think you can play the Liszt-transcription on both ways.
Besides when you admit that you cannot play some parts of this piece on the piano not so promptly as with an orchestra, you must find your own phrasing/dynamics/agogics on the piano. And thereby the considerations about the vocal line would be dropped. I cannot easily imagine a soprano who sings this piece with a pianist.
Although the edition I use doesn't have the words of the aria printed in it, I have seen one which does.
I wrote the German words by Wagner into my score myself. I already said on my initial post to this thread that I understand this music on the base of the closeness between the text and the (orchetral) music. I need the German words in order to know what is the current bars all about. But it doesn't mean necessarily that I must watch out for the vocal line itself. I believe in this piece the orchestral part stands more close to the text than the vocal line does.
BTW I have a question to you, Andrew, since you have many experiences with opera transcriptions. Is this piece the only opera-transcription for the piano where the arranger left the vocal line out?
Ah.. awkward questions! The truth is that for the majority of the first half (approximately up to the point of the triplet octaves in the lh) the soprano part is there
- you just have to identify it within the part writing. There are some omissions, but it is
usually represented. (Liszt's omissions on beats 4 of bars 6 and 8, where the soprano "collides" with the tremolandi, trouble me: before I made the studio recording I had a lengthy discussion with my teachers about this exact point - it didn't clarify much in my mind, especially as my ideas and theirs don't agree!)
Part of the problem arises, I suspect, from the texture being so much denser than typical bel canto. On page 2, for example, there are a multitude of lines and harmonies going on simultaneously, and in some places the soprano part does go missing. (However, observe details like bar 22, beat 3 / 1.51 in the video you quoted - soprano is cunningly hidden within the rh). Where the soprano line is easily followable within the score and where it's clear in the orchestra+singer version that the singer has priority, I think definitely try to prioritise her part over the orchestral transcription. Choices and compromises probably have to be made in some places, just as Liszt has probably made compromises in the arrangement; similarly consideration should also has to be given to the balance between the soprano and the orchestra in the original.In the second half Liszt has clearly given the orchestra priority and I don't think these interpretative questions arise.