Taking a large musical work such as an opera, and arranging it into a piece of chamber music, can be quite a daunting task, as you may imagine. But it had been done before, especially in the late 19th century. Taking Sergei Prokofiev’s masterpiece, The Fiery Angel, and recomposing – no, re-imagining – it into a half-hour story that completely conveys the story with just two instruments, that’s a monumental task. A task which Maya Fridman took upon herself in 2015, as part of her Master’s Degree in cello performance (for which she received the highest honors, cum laude).
To be able to create this arrangement, she needed to work out a way to portray all these different roles of the story with just two instruments, cello and piano. The hysterical, erratic Renata, the knight Ruprecht, Madiël, the Fiery Angel himself, and even figures such as the Village Witch and the people at the convent in Trier, all are portrayed wonderfully by Maya’s arrangement for these two instruments. Her famously expressive playing style came in perfectly to suit the various timbres her arrangement requires.