Camille Saint-Säens
Tantum ergo:

Arranged by Jean-Louis Couturier

Four trumpets, four trombones, organ

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2016


Saint-Saëns wrote this motet, Op.5, for 8-part choir/organ in 1856 when he was organist at Saint-Merri. It is the earlier of his two settings of this text and has quite confusingly been assigned the same opus number as his later setting for SSA/organ (1860). Tantum Ergo is a prayer associated with celebration of the Eucharist and should be played in a devotional style. One can easily imagine listening to this in the spacious sunlit interior of some old Parisian church.

The transcription is in E-flat and is scored for four trumpets in B-flat and four trombones. The trombone quartet plays for the first 44 measures, the trumpets in measures 45-63, and the full 8-part ensemble in measures 64-85. The organ plays throughout. Its part is given on two staves only and it is not always clear which notes are intended for the pedals. Some notes are in collision and reading may be difficult. No registration is indicated.

Parts are of intermediate difficulty; trombones 1 & 2 are given in tenor clef, parts 3 & 4 in bass clef. Bass trombone is not specified for 4th part. Range for trombone 1 is a-flat-a-flat1 and for trombone 4 is F-a-flat; range for first trumpet is a-flat-f2. Substitute horn parts are included for trumpet 4 and trombone 1. The arranger is a specialist in baroque trumpet and studied composition with Roger Boutry and Jacques Casterède at the Paris Conservatoire.

Reviewer: Keith Davies Jones
Review Published January 31, 2019