Musical Arrangements

Nicholas Keyworth takes a closer look at the art of musical arranging such as with many of the pieces included in the forthcoming concert by Chapter Five.

The idea of arranging a pre-existing piece goes back centuries. Composers usually write for a specific group of instruments or voices but arranging the music for different forces can widen its appeal, enable a better fit for the instruments or voices available or
shine a new light on the actual music.

For example, Franz liszt’s piano arrangements – he called them transcriptions – of J.S. Bach’s organ works in the C19 were hugely popular.

Liszt transcriptions of JS Bach

In popular music and jazz today, it is commonplace. When arranging more popular music an arranger might include alterations to the key, the tempo, meter, key and instrumentation. Chapter Five have a terrific arrangement of Paul McCartney’s 1964 Beatles hit, Money can’t buy me love. Originally sung by the Kings Singers this arrangement is more akin to a Balletta from the English Rennaissance.

Can’t buy me love

Many of the works in the concert are actually Chapter Five’s own arrangements including Eric Clapton’s classic rock number from 1977 Wonderful Tonight

Wonderful Tonight

One of the most popular pieces to be performed will be Goodnight Sweetheart. a hit during the mid-1950s. It was written by Calvin Carter and James “Pookie” Hudson in 1953 and originally recorded by the R&B doo-wop group The Spaniels in 1954

Goodnight Sweetheart

We hope to see you on Saturday 24 September to hear some of these wonderful arrangements and much more at the atmospheric Old Theatre Royal.