Review


Sergei Rachmaninoff
All-Night Vigil Opus 37:

Arranged by Paul Erion

Four C trumpets, two F horns, two trombones, one bass trombone, one tuba

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2018
URL: http://www.cherryclassics.com

Score and parts

Genre: BRASS ENSEMBLES

This transcription is scored for four trumpets in C, two horns in F, two tenor trombones, bass trombone and tuba, in its original key. Also known as Vespers, it was originally written for divided SATB chorus and two soloists, in four to ten parts. It has 15 movements, 9 of them based on traditional chants. In this imaginative transcription, none of the voice parts are assigned to any specific instrument throughout, and if you have sung the work before, this could be a little confusing. For example: in the first movement, Come let us worship, trombones play tenor and first bass parts. In the second, Praise the Lord, they are on second tenor and bass parts; horns play the mezzo solo; first horn solos on the tenor part in the fourth movement, O Gladsome Light. In Nunc Dimittis, movement five, first trombone plays the tenor solo for the first 16 measures, takes over the second tenor part in m18 and returns to the solo in m29, with second trombone on the bass part until m31. The eighth movement, Praise the Name of the Lord, is possibly the most demanding for the trombones; first begins on a-flat1 and this note occurs again several times. The last movement, O Victorious Leader, ends piano on a C major chord spread over three octaves.

 

For first trombone, overall range is c-b-flat1, given mostly in tenor clef. Second, A-flat-g1 and for bass trombone, BB-flat-f1. Tuba sometimes doubles the bass trombone at the lower octave and goes down to EE-flat. First trumpet tops out at a2.  Upper parts generally have more measures of rest than lower parts. A wide range of dynamics is indicated, from pp to ff. None of the parts are especially taxing in terms of range or technical difficulty, but if the whole work is performed, there will be endurance challenges for everyone. This is a work of exceptional beauty, and must be played in a devotional style. If its challenges can be met, the playing experience will be highly rewarding. Paul Erion, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, is Principal Tuba of the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

Reviewer: Keith Davies Jones
Review Published January 31, 2019