Richard Wagner
Liebestod: from “Tristan und Isolde”

Arranged by Randall Malmstrom

eight trombones

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2014


While Richard Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde was premiered in 1865, the first performance of the Prelude and Liebestod was conducted by Richard Wagner in Vienna two years earlier.  Liebestod (Love-Death) is found at the end of the opera as Isolde laments and ultimately dies while holding Tristan’s body in her arms. Wagner’s lush textures and harmonies are found throughout this aria and are well-captured in this arrangement.

Though written as an octet, doubling some or all of the parts is recommended to help with breathing, phrasing, and overall thickness of sound. The upper four parts utilize tenor clef with range extending to c-sharp2. The two bass trombone parts extend down to pedal FF-sharp. While dynamic and articulation markings are found throughout this arrangement, performers should listen to the original orchestral version of this work to help with style and pacing of many of the melodic lines including pizzicato-like figures in the basses and lip trills in the first trombone part. Liebestod is a beautiful and moving piece, which this arrangement successfully captures.

Reviewer: Ben Mcilwain
Review Published January 31, 2019