Joseph Canteloube
Danses Roumaines:

Arranged by Ralph Sauer

for tuba (or bass trombone) and piano

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


If the name Marie-Joseph Canteloube de Malaret (1987-1957) sounds familiar, it is likely due to his most well-known composition, Cinq chants religieux de Haute-Auvergne. If not, then Ralph Sauer’s new arrangements for Cherry Classics Music can act as an introduction to this lesser known French composer and musicologist. Canteloube was a champion of folk music and often sought to give some geographic description of where particular material originated, i.e. Cinq chants religieux de Haute-Auvergne - Five religious songs from Haute-Auvergne.

His Danses Roumaines, composed between 1927 and 1929, is a set of six piano pieces based on popular themes collected by Michel Vulpesco (d’asprès des themes populaires recueillis par Michel Vulpseco). For this arrangement, Mr. Sauer has removed the primary folk melodies from the piano part and assigned them to the soloist. Four of the six movements are predominantly legato while the other two are more aggressive with consistently louder dynamics and forceful articulations. There is a fair amount of repetition of thematic material, which is to be expected in music derived from folk sources, but not so much that the music becomes overworked or dull. Performers can certainly play a few selected movements instead of the entire work if desired. The “folky-ness” of the themes are apparent and it is clear that this music comes out of the tradition of eastern-European folk dancing. The melodic range of the piece, D-e1, is well within the capabilities of most players, and its technically demanding passages can be mastered with a little dedication and focus.

Canteloube’s music is rarely, if ever, featured on trombone or tuba programs. The same could be said for folk themed music, particularly Romanian folk themed music. Brass players could go their whole careers never performing a piece by Joseph Canteloube. That makes this a truly unique contribution to the repertoire.


Reviewer: Eric High
Review Published January 31, 2019