How important is it to stick to authenticity when creating violin and cello duet arrangements – or indeed adapting a book for film or theatre? If you change too much you can lose the whole point of the music. However, if you are altering a piece dramatically anyway – say arranging an operatic work for violin and cello duet – trying to aim for complete accuracy doesn’t always work. In many ways you need to accept that the medium is so different the whole thing needs to be re-imagined to come to life. Simply copying and necessarily leaving a lot out can result in a lack of vitality.
Red Priest create hugely imaginative Baroque arrangements
Copying alone doesn’t work
Adding new ideas true to the spirit and character of a work can hugely increase the energy and excitement of performance. How far you should go with this is a matter of individual taste, but not morally wrong. Shakespeare’s plays will never be diminished no matter how many varied interpretations they are given; and Bach will never be a lesser composer no matter how many styles his music is played in. Performance and interpretation are about re-creating music, not just copying notes – and this also makes the process a lot more fun.
Mel Gibson and Glenn Close’s oedipal interpretation of Hamlet