Special Arranging was Not Beethoven’s Cup of Tea! Beethoven loved receiving inspiration. He would stroll in the woods for this purpose. He also created his music of grand sentiment. For example: Symphony No.5 deals with the struggle and the joy of victory. “The Pastoral symphony” represents the expression of the love he held for for nature. However, he refused to make special arrangements for specific instruments once the work was composed. Of course, his editors took up the slack. His publishers hired arrangers through their own publishing houses. The end result was Beethoven sold more copies and made more money. This happens when you increase your potential buyers.
What Exactly is Special Arranging?
I will define arranging by a joke. It circulated in the entertainer’s old haven- the Catskill Mountains. Below is a picture of Oquaga Lake, It is perched high in the Catskills. I was the house pianist at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House for some 17 years. As such, I accompanied many Catskill comedians and professionals. Harry Carlyle often told this story:
“A man walks by a pet shop in the summer. Its windows are open. He hears a canary singing. The man walks in and says to the pet shop owner: “I love the song of this canary. How much does she cost?” The pet shop owner says, “”five dollars”. “That’s all, the man answers, I’ll take her!”. The pet shop owner says,”Wait a minute.” Do you see that ugly, scraggly, looking bird over there? The man answers, “yes”. “The owner says, “When you buy her, you have to buy him. And, he’s $100.00 dollars”. The man looks up in a state of puzzlement: “Why should I buy that ugly, scraggly bird over there for $100.00 when I can have this beautiful songbird for $5.00?” The pet shop own answers: “He’s the arranger!.”
Incidentally, in between jobs I offer piano lessons in Sarasota.