Piano Concerto no. 5, "Emperor" (orchestra transcribed for second piano), Ludwig van Beethoven

Finlandia, Jean Sibelius

Air on the G string, Johann Sebastian Bach

Pomp and Circumstance March no. 1, Edward Elgar

The Blue Danube, Johann Strauss Jr.

Symphony no. 9 (fourth movement), Ludwig van Beethoven

The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Paul Dukas

Coronation Mass (Kyrie, Gloria), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Les Préludes, Franz Liszt

New World Symphony, Antonín Dvořák

1812 Overture, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Sibelius-Nacar: Finlandia

One of the greatest hymns of freedom ever written. I never really liked Sibelius' own piano arrangement, so I wrote my own. I sat on this for a few years because I couldn't figure out how to fit it into a piano recital, and then ended up recording it at home and posting it on December 6th, 2020, Finland's 103rd Independence Day. (Before you ask, I don't have any Finnish blood in me that I know of, I just think it's a great piece.)

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Bach-Nacar: Air on the G string

Actually, that's not Bach's title. Some dude named August Wilhelmj took the "Air" from Bach's Orchestral Suite no. 3 and rearranged it so that the melody would be played (in a different key and register) entirely on the G string of a solo violin. For whatever reason the name that Wilhelmj gave his arrangement ended up sticking to Bach's original composition, and nowadays most people just refer to the piece in any arrangement as "Air on the G string". I wrote this piano transcription some time before college and used it as an encore on a few occasions.

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Strauss-Nacar: The Blue Danube

This is a (highly embellished) solo piano arrangement of Johann Strauss Jr.'s popular waltz medley "On the Beautiful Blue Danube" which, thanks to the capriciousness of Stanley Kubrick, has become forever associated with gently rotating spaceships and space stations. I wrote this arrangement for the occasion of the 50-year anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and the first manned moon landing (July 20th, 1969), in commemoration of which I gave three piano recitals. Also on the program were Beethoven's "Moonlight" sonata, the F-minor Nocturne and the Barcarolle by Chopin, three different moon-themed pieces by Debussy, the Largo from Dvořák's New World Symphony, and the Sousa/Horowitz Stars and Stripes Forever. This recording was made at Brown's Cogut Institute on July 15th, 2019, the day after the last performance.

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Beethoven-Liszt-Nacar: Symphony no. 9, movement IV

When writing his transcriptions of Beethoven's symphonies, Liszt was highly doubtful whether the choral finale of the Ninth could ever be effectively rendered on the piano, and his publisher had to goad him into finishing it at all. The task of translating the majesty and power of the "Ode to Joy" movement into pianistic terms is not, I think, an intractable problem. However, the arrangement of the Finale of the Ninth that Liszt eventually produced has always seemed to me less convincing than the other movements of the Ninth (or the other eight Beethoven symphonies), which led me to undertake the revision presented here. Many passages I have kept unaltered, to others I have added extra notes, and some I have rewritten entirely, which I rather think is in keeping with Liszt's own take-other-composers'-material-and-run-with-it approach.

This recording was made at Brown's Cogut Institute for the Humanities, following three performances of this movement on December 10th, 2018 (at the Cogut Institute) and December 15th and 16th, 2018 (at the RISD Museum), the last performance falling on Beethoven's 248th birthday. Preceding it on the program were Mozart's Sonata in C major, K. 330, and the Schubert-Liszt Valse-Caprice no. 7 from Soirees de Vienne.

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Dukas-Nacar: The Sorcerer's Apprentice

On October 31st, 2016 I gave a Halloween concert at Brown's Cogut Center for the Humanities. The preceeding day I also gave a semi-Halloween-themed Children's Concert at the Providence Public Library. Both events featured my arrangement of Paul Dukas' tone poem The Sorcerer's Apprentice. This is the live recording from the Cogut performance.

Introductory remarks here

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Mozart-Nacar: Coronation Mass
(Kyrie, Gloria)

In December 2014 I presented a Christmastime program at the RISD Museum and at Brown's Cogut Center for the Humanities, which opened with my transcription of the first two movements of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Coronation Mass. This is a live recording from the last performance at RISD.

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Liszt-Nacar: Les Préludes

In November 2014 I gave a few concerts at the RISD Museum and at Brown's Cogut Center for the Humanities, The program featured Bach's Partita no. 6, Chopin's Ballades nos. 3 and 4, and my transcription of Liszt's Les Préludes. In between performances I made this "studio" recording of the Liszt at the Cogut Center.

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Dvořák-Nacar: Symphony no. 9 in E minor, op. 95, "From the New World"

In June/July 2014 I performed my own transcription of Antonín Dvořák's New World Symphony at the RISD Museum and at Brown's Cogut Center for the Humanities; also on the program was Vladimir Horowitz's transcription of John Philip Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes Forever". Following those concerts I made a "studio" recording of the Dvořák at the Cogut Center.

The score may be found at IMSLP under "Arrangements and Transcriptions".

Playlist with all four movements

I. Adagio; Allegro molto

II. Largo

III. Scherzo: Molto vivace

IV. Allegro con fuoco

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Tchaikovsky-Nacar: 1812 Overture

In July 2013 I gave a few concerts at the RISD Museum and at Brown's Cogut Center for the Humanities, featuring Liszt's transcription of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (all movements) and my own transcription of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Following those concerts I made a "studio" recording of the Tchaikovsky, as well as the first movement of the Beethoven (see Other Videos), at the Cogut Center. For reasons that continue to elude me this has turned out to be my most popular video ever.

The score may be found at IMSLP under "Arrangements and Transcriptions".

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