Review


Richard Wagner
Two Album Leaves: arranged for trombone and piano

N.p., ,
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2013

For advanced players

Genre: SOLO MATERIALS

Composed for piano, these two album leaves originated at quite different times in Wagner’s life. The first dates from 1875 and was dedicated to Frau Betty Schott, possibly the wife of the publisher. The second dates from 1840 and was entitled Album Leaf for Ernst Benedikt Kietz, and subtitled Song Without Words. Kietz was a painter friend of Wagner’s.

The first album leaf is in E-flat major, 3/4 meter at a moderate tempo, and nicely melodic throughout. Sauer’s tempo indication is Moderato; the original is “Moderato animoso,” meaning courageous. The main motive follows an initial eighth note with a turn in 32nd notes. In most places this fast moving turn is not a problem since it is short and can usually be handled by using alternate positions; alternatively, the 32nds can be slowed down slightly. The only places where the movement becomes a technical challenge are in measures 75 and 76 where the solo line breaks up into arpeggios in 16th note triplets and 32nd notes. This part will take considerable adjustment of tempo and much slow practice to be able to perform in a reasonable manner. The most challenging aspect of performing this work does not lie in the notes themselves, but in playing the entire piece with a relaxed and warm style.

Obviously the second album leaf is in an earlier style. Mr. Sauer indicates a tempo of Allegro espressivo; in the original the tempo is simply Espressivo. The melodic line is fairly square, with a martial repeating rhythm of dotted eighth/sixteenth/quarter notes. Combined with the mostly constant triplet eighth notes, the overall impression is melodic and flowing. The conclusion builds up dynamically and becomes almost march-like, ending in a two-octave descending arpeggio in eighth-note triplets outlining the C major chord.

Reviewer: Philip Brink
Review Published January 31, 2019