Transcribe, Transform With Vikingur Olafsson

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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01Old And New2020101120210307 (R3)Pianist Víkingur Ólafsson approaches music without preconceptions; as he puts it, “Every note we play anywhere, any time, is a reinterpretation, a transcription.” And it’s Víkingur’s love of re-examining music through the prism of a transcription that underpins this series.

Across three episodes, Víkingur will open up a huge spread of music from electronic re-workings of Debussy to transcribed sounds of the natural world. In this first programme of the series, Víkingur focuses on the old and the new: music largely from the baroque and renaissance eras reimagined by composers from the 20th and 21st centuries. There’s Bach rearranged by Ruichi Sakamoto, Luciano Berio’s take on Henry Purcell, John Dowland transformed by Thomas Adès, and plenty more.

A Tandem Production for BBC Radio 3

Pianist V\u00edkingur \u00d3lafsson explores the art of musical transcription.

Pianist Vikingur Olafsson explores the remarkably creative art of musical transcription.

Pianist V\u00edkingur \u00d3lafsson explores the remarkably creative art of musical transcription.

Pianist Vikingur Olafsson explores the art of musical transcription.

02Expand And Contract2020101820210314 (R3)Pianist Víkingur Ólafsson approaches music without preconceptions; as he puts it, “Every note we play anywhere, anytime, is a reinterpretation, a transcription.”

In this second episode, Víkingur finds huge pieces reduced to small forces and vice versa as he explores the maximal and the minimal in arrangements. A grand baroque masterpiece is transformed into something very different by a jazz quartet, while a piano score is given the rock ’n roll treatment. There’ll also be symphonic grandeur by Gustav Mahler transcribed for the organ, plus piano music by Schubert that Víkingur actually prefers in the orchestral transcription made by the violinist Joseph Joachim.

A Tandem Production for BBC Radio 3

Pianist V\u00edkingur \u00d3lafsson explores the art of musical transcription.

Pianist Vikingur Olafsson explores the remarkably creative art of musical transcription.

Pianist V\u00edkingur \u00d3lafsson explores the remarkably creative art of musical transcription.

Pianist Vikingur Olafsson explores the art of musical transcription.

03Limits And Possibilities20201025Pianist Víkingur Ólafsson approaches music without preconceptions; as he puts it, “Every note we play anywhere, anytime, is a reinterpretation, a transcription.”

In the third and final episode of the series, Víkingur explores how composers from George Crumb, Heinrich Biber and Olivier Messiaen were inspired by sounds of the natural world, from tiny birds to huge whales. We’ll also hear music by Steve Reich reimagined for the harpsichord, Mascagni’s famous Intermezzo in the hands of a steel pan orchestra and Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy given a wild reinterpretation by US vocal supergroup Pentatonix.

A Tandem Production for BBC Radio 3

Pianist V\u00edkingur \u00d3lafsson explores the art of musical transcription.

Pianist Vikingur Olafsson explores the remarkably creative art of musical transcription.