Claude Debussy
En Bateau: (de Petite Suite)

Arranged by Ralph Sauer

Bass trombone and piano

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

Score and solo part

Primary Genre: Solo Bass/Contrabass Trombone - with piano

French composer Claude Debussy composed his Petite Suite around 1886. Originally written for four-hand piano duet, it has since been arranged for a number of different instrumentations, including an orchestration by Henri Büsser in 1907. This four-movement suite is more accessible from a technical standpoint than most of Debussy’s other works. Inspired by the poem Fêtes galantes by Paul Verlaine, En Bateau (Sailing) is the first movement of the suite. Ralph Sauer’s arrangement is written for tuba or bass trombone and piano. The melody in the solo part is accompanied by a harp-like ascending arpeggiation giving the piece a dreamy aura. As the title suggests, this accompaniment represents the water while the elegant melody floats effortlessly on top. Written primarily in the middle register, the solo part has a range from C to d1. This piece features polyrhythms, mainly three against two, between the solo and piano part. Accessible to early college level students, this arrangement will serve as a nice contrast on any recital. Additionally, Sauer has arranged this piece for tenor trombone and piano, as well as euphonium and piano, which are also available through Cherry Classics Music. En Bateau and all of Ralph Sauer’s transcription contributions provide brass musicians the opportunity to study and perform music from some of the most renowned composers, in addition to instrument-specific standard repertoire.

Reviewer: Russell Ballenger
Review Published June 13, 2023