Welcome to the Extreme Transcription dissertation website for Michael Drapkin

Extreme Transcription

Extreme Transcription: Full symphony orchestra works that have been rescored for chamber orchestra

Extreme Transcription calls for expanding the reach of the classical music canon by rescoring some of the great symphony orchestra repertory for chamber orchestra and proves the viability of this process by presenting three masterworks from the German, French, and Russian schools, representing almost 1000 pages of scores and parts.  Extreme Transcription documents the methodologies and modalities developed for achieving this rescoring process.

Dissertation Document: Extreme Transcription – Principles, Best Practices and Techniques: Symphony Orchestra to Chamber Orchestra

The YouTube videos below contain Sibelius renderings of these works using NotePerformer audio. They follow the score along with the rendered video.

Mozart Symphony No. 40, III – Menuetto

Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio Espagnol

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique

Strauss: Salome’s Dance


Transcribed Works

Performances of the Transcribed Works

In December 8-10, 2021, I flew to the Czech Republic to oversee the recording of the full works that I transcribed for chamber orchestra with the Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava.  The orchestra did a fantastic job, and it was led by my dear friend and conductor Mark Laycock, who has conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra and many others.  During those sessions, we recorded 1000 pages of scores and parts.

Subsequently, two record labels vied to release these as recordings, and I chose to go with the Pro Organo label from Zarex Corporation.  Zarex is led by Frederick Hohman, who also engineered the post production on my Ostrava Recordings.  These recordings have been released on Naxos, as well as on Spotify and Apple Music.

Naxos submitted the Strauss recording below to NARAS for Grammy consideration.

Below are videos from those recording sessions, with the final mixed audio, and interspersed with images from the Czech recording sessions.

Richard Strauss:  Salome’s Dance, Op. 54 (1904-1905)

Transcribed for Chamber Orchestra by Michael Drapkin

Nikolai Rimsky Koraskov: Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34 (1887)

Transcribed for Chamber Orchestra by Michael Drapkin

Hector Berlioz:  Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14 (1830)

Transcribed for Chamber Orchestra by Michael Drapkin

Berlioz Movement I: Reveries – Passions

Berlioz Movement II: A Ball

Berlioz Movement III: Scene in the Country

Berlioz Movement IV: March to the Gallows

Berlioz Movement V: Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath

The Aesthetics and Ethics of Restructuring Classical Music

The Aesthetics and Ethics of Restructuring Classical Music: The implications to making changes to classical music masterworks.

Given that there are implications to making changes to classical music masterworks in Extreme Scoring, there are also aesthetic, ethical, and ontological issues discussed in The Aesthetics and Ethics of Restructuring Classical Music.  Some argue against changing something that is already perfect and the composer’s intention.  Others aver that the sharing of the classical music Canon in any form is justifiable if it emotionally moves people.  Who is right?  Only time and the marketplace will tell.

The Brooklyn Model

The Brooklyn Model: A model for orchestras to capture the essence of their communities, combining classical music with their culture and music, and regaining relevance in American society.

The Brooklyn Model didn’t make it into my final dissertation, but it will be published as a book with a major U.S. conductor writing the foreword.

The Brooklyn Model eschews the geographical centralization of orchestras in downtown concert halls, as well as the failed outreach activities used by U.S. orchestras to acquire new patrons.  It instead provides and documents a model that orchestras can use for systematically capturing the essence of their communities by learning the lessons of the brilliant model developed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic in 2011-13 through The Brooklyn Model  By combining classical music with the culture and music of their chosen communities, professional orchestras as well as classical ensembles of any size can regain relevance in American society while preserving the Canon.

Dissertation Document: The Brooklyn Model:  Restructuring Symphony Orchestras through Diversity and Community.