John Frith
Ludwig's Cortège:
Eight part trombone ensemble. Some parts may be played on euphonium and/or tuba.

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2018

Score and parts


Ludwig’s Cortège was composed for alto trombone, four tenor trombones, bass trombone, euphonium, and tuba. However, the euphonium part is also marked as optional trombone and the tuba as optional bass trombone. As noted by the composer in the score, “It is well documented that at Beethoven’s funeral on March 26th 1827 a chord of trombones and male voices made appropriate music. This is not that music but rather an attempt to recreate something of the sombre mood of that historic occasion.”

Despite the reference to Ludwig van Beethoven in the title, the compositional style of Ludwig’s Cortège is unique to John Frith and not at all evocative of Beethoven. Nonetheless, this work could be primarily described as a piece of tonal music with a fair degree of chromaticism. The texture is primarily homophonic throughout. Thematic material alternates between higher and lower voices.

While the alto trombone part plays up to d-flat2, it mostly stays in the staff and could probably be played by a tenor trombonist with a good high register who is also proficient with reading alto clef. The tuba part only plays down to FF, on the last note, and otherwise hangs in a range conducive to the bass trombone. The actual bass trombone part plays down to BB-flat, and except for one short passage, can easily be played on tenor trombone with F-attachment. John Frith’s Ludwig’s Cortège is an accessible work that falls well within the capabilities and instrumentation of many intermediate to advanced trombone or low brass choirs.

Reviewer: Greg Strohman
Review Published January 31, 2019