Robert Schumann
Konzertstück, Op.86:

Arranged by Gordon Cherry

Eight trombones and piano

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

Score and parts. Advanced.


Schumann composed this piece for four horns and orchestra in 1849 when he was 39 years old, a year before his third Symphony and ‘cello Concerto. It was written to exploit the possibilities of the new valve horns, showcasing them against two ‘natural’ horns in the orchestra, a distinction obviously lost in any performance on modern instruments. There are three movements, Lebhaft (lively), Romanze - Ziemlich langsam (fairly slow) and Sehr lebhaft (very lively). It is a wonderfully exhilarating piece with soaring melodic lines for the soloists and rich romantic harmonies.

This arrangement is transposed from its original key of F into B-flat. First and second parts are given in tenor clef, third and fourth in bass. The first part is quite taxing, range d-d2, and the other parts only a little less so. Second tops out at c2 and third at b-flat1; bass trombone range is BB-flat (AA-flat optional)-f-sharp1. Out of a total 699 measures, there are 151 full measures in which the trombones do not play, and numerous additional rest measures in individual parts.

In a number of places, each part is marked ‘solo.’ These markings are in the original score and indicate where some prominence should be given to that part. They do not indicate there should anywhere be more than one player per part. The piano part is of moderate difficulty; only one chord spans more than an octave. The score fills 68 pages and the pianist is kept busy throughout. A page-turner will be needed.

There are few other published works for trombone quartet with piano; this has been a niche just waiting to be filled. Konzertstück is an excellent and challenging addition to the repertoire.

Reviewer: Keith Davies Jones
Review Published January 31, 2019