from the musical ‘West Side Story’ by Leonard Bernstein
freely arranged for piano by Albert Brussee
This keyboard arrangement of Bernstein’s ‘Maria’ from the well-known musical West Side Story stands midway between a literal transcription and a free fantasy (paraphrase). First you hear the theme based on the sensual rocking rhythm of the habanera, as given by Bernstein. Quasi-improvising, moving a little further away from the original note image, the theme is then spun around with typical pianistic accompaniment figures. Finally – no longer following the structure of the original – one hears the theme a third time, now fortissimo and accompanied by broad arpeggios, in which the head of the theme, the characteristic augmented quarter, is hidden. A fragment of this arrangement can be heard under AB I-06, the third music example.
Difficulty: Grade IX (on a scale of XII grades).
The universally known, but still beautiful Maria by Bernstein starts with a quasi-recitative, which culminates in that passionately longing melody with its characteristic augmented quarter. The accompaniment is in the rhythm of a sensual habanera. After this, the melody is surrounded by arpeggios, creating a great drive, leading to a lyrical climax. The augmented quarter is ingeniously woven into the accompaniment patterns. The final bars are wonderful: the music becoming softer and softer, suddenly the initial recitative turns up again, after which the Maria motif has the final say.
Maarten Boonstra in PianoWereld 2014-5.
An attractive, in pianistic terms beautifully elaborated transcription of the well-known song from Bernstein’s West Side Story. Suitable for advanced students who can handle polyrhythmics, but also suitable for concert use.
Christo Lelie in Piano Bulletin 2014-2.
© 2013, AB Music Productions & Editions, The Hague.
12 pages; with a Preface in Dutch and English.
Available through the usual music channels (distribution by Hal Leonard) or direct from AB Music Productions & Editions.