Review


Camile Saint-Säens
Finale and Maestoso from Symphony No.3 (Organ):

Arranged by Jeremy Niles Kempton

Six-part trombone choir, optional timpani, and organ

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2015
URL: http://www.cherryclassics.com

Score and parts.

Genre: TROMBONE ENSEMBLES

Arranging a massive orchestral masterpiece for a trombone choir is an ambitious task, especially when the piece has had a successful and popular prior adaptation. When I first saw Mr. Kempton’s arrangements of the final movement of Saint-Säens famous organ symphony, I could not keep myself from thinking of Jay Friedman’s adaption and how incredibly challenging it is. In contrast to Friedman’s rendition, Mr. Kempton’s offers a shorter, tangible yet still challenging version of this beloved piece.

 

The piece is orchestrated here for six trombones, organ and optional timpani. The trombone choir is essentially divided into two groups: (1) parts one through three are in tenor clef and contain most of the melodic material; (2) parts four through six contain mostly orchestral accompaniment, fanfares, and supporting parts. All parts are approachable for a strong group of college-level players, the top parts peak at c2, but they require endurance, making them suitable for doubling or staggering. The bass trombone part does not require an extremely low range, only asking for a few pedal GGs.

 

As described in the title, Mr. Kempton does not attempt to create a full transcription, but rather give a concise version of the movement. He leaves out large repeated sections, orchestral ritornellos, and a few string interludes, which are not idiomatic on trombone. However, all the themes, melodies, and essential counterpoints are preserved, including the challenging fugue section. Mr. Kempton connects the sections seamlessly and organically, therefore keeping the flow of the piece.

 

The edition is clear, well spaced and organized. The arrangement is suitable for a midsize college trombone choir. It is a welcomed addition to the trombone choir repertoire providing a challenging but attainable version of Saint-Saëns’ masterpiece.

Reviewer: Lucas Borges
Review Published January 31, 2019