Monday, March 7, 2011

3/7 A Truckload of Trombones

When I first got my Complete Beethoven CD boxset, I knew I'd be getting symphonies, piano works and string quartets.  But a couple CDs were made up of miscellaneous chamber works.  Some of these less famous pieces included a violin duo, pieces for mechanical clock, a piece using live cannons, and this set of 3 pieces for 4 trombones, 3 Equali, WoO 30 (1812).  The story goes that Beethoven was in the country visiting his brother Johann and the local cathedral director, Franz Gloggl requested B. to write some works for this new instrument, the "trombone".  So he did and the result was the "3 Equali for All Souls' Day".  An "equale" is a piece for "equal instruments" and usually played at solemn occasions.  The 3 Equali were played at Beethoven's own funeral in an arrangement for 4 male singers in fact.

From Allmusic: The first equale has a stately sobriety and hymn-like character, but in the end registers with a funereal quality in its solemnity and quasi-religious sound. The second piece is slower and more ponderous; its glacial pacing and barren sound world relate it more to gray moods than to lugubrious ones. The third entry here is closer in spirit to the second, but the music is less sonorously fluid; it stops, restarts, and stops again, especially in the latter half.

These 3 pieces are very short, as short as the Missa Solemnis is long!  Still, they are interesting as yet another facet of Beethoven's art.

Jaén Low Brass; The Three Equals --- Beethoven

On the theme of brass, here's an interesting arrangement of the Egmont Overture for full "Trombone Ensemble"!
György Gyivicsan's trombone class plays Egmont Overture from Beethoven (Arr: Áron Simon). Trombone: György Gyivicsan, Dávid Lévay, János Angyal, András Pálfy, Péter Vörös, Áron Simon, Zoltán Takács, Ádám Moldován, Timpani: István Szegény. Live recording - Nov. 29, 2010.

Beethoven: Egmont Overture - Szeged Trombone Ensemble

The 5th Symphony gets the all-brass treatment here, by the Brass ensemble of the Mariinsky Theater, Conductor Alexei Repnikov.

Symphony No. 5 (Ludwig van Beethoven) 1 Allegro con brio

Of course if one wants to go extreme, there's this "Piazolla Tango Nuevo" arrangement of Fur Elise:
Tango For Elise - Blechschaden - Brass Ensemble - Beethoven

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