It was so much of a dream – to get this done. Rachmaninoff Cello Sonata transcription… I was working with the score to figure out the best ways to preserve both cello and piano parts in their entirety. Sometimes it was extremely hard and I had to think as a master builder from the LEGO® Movie, putting a lot of my fantasy, imagination and composing skills in it. I was playing through it over and over, finding new things and new colors. New perspectives, which I hadn’t noticed before, revealed themselves. I was starting to feel an ownership around my discoveries and transcribing solutions. I felt myself in every measure, though I did not add anything Rachmaninoff didn’t write himself… So it was a surprise that once I finished the last line of the transcription and could hold all 51 handwritten pages, tightly filled with notes and phrasing signs, in my hands, I felt it didn’t belong to me anymore. It was just Rachmaninoff. It was if it’s been always that way — so interesting and bizarre at the same time.
Other surprises came with practicing and the first performance of this transcription:
1. It is weird to play from memory something you have known only from the score. For years I would perform this piece with cellists, using the score. Then this process of transcription gave me a deeper connection to the original score. I can’t know the score any better than I do. Yet, it was surprisingly strange to play the piece by heart.
2. It is funny to fight your own muscle memory. This time in the piece there were lots of things and details presenting the same music but located differently on the keyboard. As I prepared for the first performance, my fingers continued to betray me. It was as if they were screaming “Why are you playing the cello part?” My hands and I finally came to an agreement, but it took a lot of work.
3. I thought it would feel awkward to play the first motif by myself – as well as the rest of material which I decided to adopt. I was happy to that it felt very natural. The only awkward moments were at certain places in the First and Third movements where I wish I was born with more hands:)