Roland Pidoux Discusses New Scores and More with Ovation Press String Visions
Thanks to the team on our blog String Visions, we've published an exclusive interview with editor Roland Pidoux. Roland Pidoux is currently professor of cello at the Paris Conservatory and was previously the principal cellist of the Orchestre National de France. Mr. Pidoux is also the prolific arranger of the music performed by Les Violoncelles Français which was the genesis of his relationship with Ovation Press. Our conversation with Mr. Pidoux was originally conducted in French and translated to English by one of our contributors Mira Luxion. Mr. Pidoux shares with us some insights into his approach to creating outstanding arrangements for cello ensemble:
String Visions: Your arrangements for cello ensemble are very unique. What are your primary concerns when you arrange?
Roland Pidoux: My main concern is to be accurate to the original manuscript: absolute respect of the harmonies, sometimes of certain doublings, but mostly of the composer’s harmonies. That is, I never transform the original score to make it easier to play... I always start from the original and adapt it to get not a symphonic or pianistic piece, but (when composing for cello octet for example) one interpreted by eight instruments of the same family. It’s identical in the sense that in the end one immediately recognizes the work.
He also shares some insights into the two works he has published with Ovation Press: Rachmaninoff's Vocalise and Fauré's Après un rêve.
About Rachmaninoff's Vocalise for Cello Octet
The Vocalise is a popular vocal work by Sergei Rachmaninoff, published in 1912 as the last of his Fourteen Songs, Op. 34. It contains no words, but rather is sung using any one vowel (of the singer's choosing). It is so popular that a number of different instrumental arrangements have been done, including our very own cello octet version!
I was very enthusiastic about, for instance, the Rachmaninoff Vocalise, which is the first score published by Ovation Press, because it’s a piece that is already very beautiful when you play it with piano. I find that with eight cellos— well what I’m about to say is a bit pretentious, so I say it very objectively— I find that sometimes playing together with several cellos is somehow transcendent. It’s incredible because you find yourself in a unified sound world. This is what really appealed to me for the Vocalise.
About Fauré's Après un rêve for Cello Octet
One of Gabriel Fauré's most popular vocal pieces, Après un rêve is one of the Trois mélodies, a set of melodies for solo voice and piano. The three works were originally conceived separately but found themselves joined together later on by Fauré. Mr. Pidoux approached this work in a similar manner as the above Vocalise when he was arranging it.
It is said that the cello sounds the most like the human voice, so to prove it I arranged this song with a soloist as well. In this case [there is] the solo cello part and the ensemble accompanies. In general, as I said before, I put difficult or interesting parts in each of the voices. But in these two works [the Faure and the Rachmaninoff], the cellists just accompany the soloist.
About the editor - Roland Pidoux
Roland Pidoux is currently a professor at the Paris Conservatory and the artistic director of Rencontres de Violoncelles de Bélaye, a post he has held since 1988. He was previously the principal cellist of the Orchestre National de France. Mr. Pidoux is also the prolific arranger of the music for cello ensemble performed by Les Violoncelles Français.
Be sure to read the complete interview with editor Roland Pidoux. We hope you enjoy it. Be on the lookout for new scores from Mr. Pidoux in the future.