Francis Poulenc
Four Short Prayers of Saint Francis of Assisi :

Arranged by Robert Kalwas

Six trombones

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2017

Score and parts


Francis Poulenc originally set the Quatre petites prières de Saint François d’ Assise for a choir of male voices at the request of his great-nephew Jérôme. Arranged beautifully for six trombones, Robert Kalwas preserved the original key of each of these short pieces and made only minor changes to the orchestration. While not one of Poulenc’s most adventurous works, there are many gorgeous harmonies, a good number of surprising modulations, and an abundance of elegant phrases.

These are each rather slow, mostly legato pieces written in simple meters with a predominantly chorale-like texture. The dynamic range spans from quiet pianissimo to extremely loud fortissimo—sometimes abruptly! Range is quite modest—from E in the lowest part to g-sharp1 in the highest. All the parts are written in bass clef. Aside from all the accidentals and remote harmonies, these pieces will help younger and/or less experienced ensembles develop a better sense of phrasing, intonation, and blend.

As we have come to expect from Cherry Classics Music, the parts and score are each well edited and engraved. Rehearsal and measure numbers are clearly marked, and a good number of performance instructions were added to save rehearsal time. Performance time is approximately eight minutes with only a short break between each of the pieces. The Kalwas arrangement of the Poulenc Four Short Prayers should find itself onto many recital programs.

Reviewer: Greg Strohman
Review Published January 31, 2019