Ferdinando Ronchini: Arranger of Great Music

F. Ronchini is a wholly unknown name to me. He is nowhere to be found in Grove’s, Baker’s, or any other source available for free on the vast internet, and that even includes Wikipedia!

You know you have an unknown when a wiki page doesn’t have any information on him. There’s not even a landing page with his name on it, let alone a short bio.

A Short Thought on Arranging

The concept of arranging music for another instrument, thankfully, is not a foreign concept. It is as common as customizing cars or homes. There are quite a number of oft-learned pieces that we cellists play, yet are transcriptions. Aprés un rêve by Fauré, transcribed for cello by Pablo Casals (who popularized the performance of Bach’s Six Suites for cello); Franck’s violin sonata was transcribed, albeit by the composer himself (so I heard); Schumann’s Fantasiestücke were originally for clarinet and piano but are now considered part of the the cello’s repertoire, and every cellist knows Sicilienne also by Fauré originally orchestra with plenty of flute solos. Those are just a few well known examples.

About Ronchini

Ronchini was no outlier in his work of arranging existing works for the cello. He was merely part of a long tradition of the practice. In fact, he arranged some music by Debussy that is still in print today. I know this for sure since I bought a set of three pieces long before downloading a PDF of public domain sheet music was a well-known thing.

As far as the Suite anglaise is concerned there seems to be no in print version. So, I am thankful for IMSLP and other platforms that provide opportunities to play a wide variety of music.

This suite, composed by Henry Purcell, has five movements. I. Saraband; II. Corrente; III. Hornpipe; IV. Air e (V.) Hornpipe

It is a good example of the industrious cellist expanding the repertoire. He does a clever job of making the cello part work well with the accompaniment. It also is quite standard for these arrangements to place the cello in a middle-high register. This is so much, yet the silky cello sound doesn’t get lost in the often grandiose setting of the piano part.

Listen in on some videos and my podcast episode about Ronchini’s selections.

Purcell/Ferdinando Ronchini arr. it for cello and piano. This is an excerpt from the II. Corrente.

Podcast Episode 49. Ronchini and his Arrangements


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