Darius, Arthur, Joseph Milhaud, Honegger, Canteloube
Three French Vocalises:

Arranged by Ralph Sauer

Trombone and piano

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2015

Grade 4/5. Score and solo part.


These come from a set of 150 study pieces, commissioned by Amédée-Landély Hettich, a voice professor at the Paris Conservatoire, from composers who also included Messiaen, Nielsen, Villa-Lobos and Ravel. Each one is written to be challenging in a specific aspect of performance.

Milhaud’s etude, Op.105 (1928), is bi-tonal and set in 5/8 meter. It begins with a simple folk-song like melody in D minor against G major in the piano and then gets more complicated. Many left hand chords span a 10th in the piano part. Trombone range is d-flat-b1. The etude (1929) by Honegger combines elements of bi-tonality with free chromaticism. Range is c-g-sharp1. Interestingly, the melody is quite similar to ‘Vocalise’ in Symphony No.10 by Villa-Lobos (1952). In the ‘Vocalise Etude en forme de Bourrée’ by Canteloube (1927), apparent simplicity is deceptive; the accent is subtly displaced, measure by measure. Range is d-b-flat1. In an arrangement for ‘cello and piano by Luigi Silva, this piece is known as ‘Bourée Auvergnate.’ These vocalises will certainly be useful as study material - specifically, for control of dynamics in the Milhaud, especially diminuendo into the high register, for intonation in the Honegger, and for evenness of staccato and an awkward trill in the Canteloube, which may be the most successful as a recital piece.

Reviewer: Keith Davies Jones
Review Published January 31, 2019