Review


Richard Strauss
Themes from Don Juan:

Arranged by Jeremy Niles Kempton

Four-part trombone choir

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2011
URL: http://www.cherryclassics.com

Score and parts

Genre: TROMBONE ENSEMBLES

Themes from Don Juan arranged for four-part trombone choir by Jeremy Niles Kempton. N.p.: Cherry Classics Music, 2011. Playing time 3:30. Score and parts. www.cherryclassics.com.

This arrangement presents three main themes from Richard Strauss' famous tone poem Don Juan. It is labeled as four-part trombone choir, but aside from divisi in the top two parts in the final six measures, it works easily for quartet.

The first and second parts are given in tenor clef, third and fourth parts in bass clef. It uses the simple meters of 4/4 and 3/4. The only particular rhythmic difficulties are a series of quarter note triplets that are tied across the beat. Performers must be careful to subdivide and not drag. The music begins in the key of E major and modulates to C major. As you might expect in the highly chromatic music of Strauss, there are numerous accidentals in all four parts. Ranges  include: first: e-d2, second: G-b1, third: G-g-sharp1, fourth: D-d1. The fourth part requires a valve for one low D, with an optional low C on the last note, and can be easily played on a tenor trombone with an f-attachment.

Technically and musically this arrangement is performable by good high school level students. The range of the first trombone part pushes the difficulty level up a notch to strong high school or college level level performers. It is not particularly musically satisfying to boil an eighteen-minute orchestral work down to four parts and three minutes plus, but it can be enjoyable to play the big melodies that the trombones do not get to play in this work. It might serve best as a recital filler, perhaps a second half opener.

Reviewer: Frank Gazda
Review Published January 31, 2019