Alexander Scriabin
Three Etudes:

Arranged by Ralph Sauer

Trombone and piano

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Date of Publication: 2012

Score and solo part


These études were written when Scriabin’s musical language was still basically tonal, no quartal harmony nor mystic chord, but highly chromatic harmonies with frequent modulation to remote keys. Interestingly, all use exclusively triple metric units.

Op.2 No.1 Andante was written in 1887 when he was 15 years old and was originally in C-sharp minor. This transcription is in C minor. The melody is characterised by step-wise upward progressions and larger intervallic downwards movement. It has been described as characteristic of Russian Gypsy music. The left hand piano part has many spreads of a 9th, but the upper notes can be played with the right hand. The trombone part tops out at d2.

Op.8 No.11 Andante cantabile comes from 1894, the same year as the Piano Concerto, and was originally in B major. More chromatic than the Op.2 étude, the melodic line has few large intervallic progressions and is characterised by frequent syncopations. The transcription is in D-flat and tops out at a-flat1.

Op.8 No.12 Patetico, also 1894, was originally in D-sharp minor; the transcription is in E minor and tops out at c2. This étude is characterised by the use of triplets. Pianists will be happy to discover that the gift of melody to the trombone eliminates many of the treacherous intervals and large intervallic stretches present in the original piano part.

The trombone parts are quite demanding and require good legato technique. Though drawn from an unlikely source, these transcriptions lie well on the trombone and introduce solo repertoire in a style not previously well represented in our literature.

Reviewer: Keith Davies Jones
Review Published January 31, 2019