Analisi trascrizione per bandoneon della toccata di Paradisi. Analisi trascrizione per bandoneon della toccata di Paradisi.

Paradisi's Toccata - bandoneon transcription analysis

A classic piano score, finally for the fueye

Paradisi’s toccata is a splendid work for harpsichord by the Italian composer Pietro Domenico Paradisi, sometimes also known as Pier Domenico Paradies. The score is actually the second movement (Allegro con fuoco) from Sonata VI.

It has become a famous piece because it has been played for more than two centuries, on the harpsichord and then on piano. This score has a great pedagogical importance and is very beautiful to listen to. For these reasons I decided to make a transcription for bandoneon of it.

History of Toccata

The cembalistic production of Paradisi is universally considered excellent by critics, in particular the collection of 12 Sonatas for Gravicembalo (London, 1754) which constitute the highest peak reached by this composer among the keyboard works. Sonata VI is part of this publication.

Paradisi's Sonatas title page.
Paradisi's Sonatas title page

These sonatas had a huge spread in the 18th century and were also appreciated by the Mozart family: Wolfgang Amadeus drew some inspiration, while the father Leopold (who had knew Paradisi personally) advised his daughter Nannerl to practice a lot with the sonatas of the Neapolitan author.

The name toccata is recent: it became very popular with this name in the 50s thanks to a famous recording by the pianist Roger Williams.

The scores

I made the transcription using the edition of P. Gourin as original score (Les Éditions Outremountaises, Montréal 2005) and I share it here.

You can download bandoneón version at the "Works" page or with the direct link here.

Download Paradisi's Toccata for bandoneón

I also prepared a version with fingering for bandoneon 144. The transcription can be played either with the bandoneon 142 or with the bandoneon 144, anyway.

Transcription criteria

At first I was reluctant to make this transcription while maintaining the original tonality because of the range of notes: in the original score the accompaniment has a b4 as the highest note (bar 10 in the original score), but this note is absent in the left keyboard of the bandoneon; likewise, the melody reaches notes that are lower than those available on the right keyboard.

At first I thought I to change the pitch to the transcription but then I preferred not to. In this way I could take advantage of the natural "predilection" of the central part of the bandoneon keyboards for the tonality of A major and I could apply the principle of quiet hand.

The application of the quiet hand principle reduces the travel of the hand to distant parts of the keyboard and the execution is concentrated in specific regions, allowing to increase the performing speed.

For the transcription I didn't change the score very much: I "broke" a phrasing with an octave jump (bar 10 in original, bar 13 in the transcription) and I mantained the octave for the ending phrases of the first and the second sections (bars 22-26 and 48-51 in the original).

Honorable mentions

It's my pleasure to publish here what I consider to be the best version for harpsychord of Paradisi's Toccata, masterfully played by Ottavio Dantone.

I share one of my favorites among all versions of the Toccata available on Youtube: an unusual flugelhorn/trombone version played by two excellent musicians, Celio Regoli and Francesco Mazzoleni.


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