Ludwig van Beethoven
Music for a Mechanical Clock: for trombone and piano

Arranged by Ralph Sauer

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


Music for a Mechanical Clock comes from a set of five pieces written by Beethoven during his early years in Vienna, but they were not discovered until after his death. Researchers believe that they were composed to be played by a musical clock (Spieluhr or Flötenuhr) that would mark the hour by toning a piece of music. These clocks were quite popular among the Viennese aristocracy—the closest they could come to recorded music. Haydn also wrote a few pieces for these musical clocks.

This setting is the third piece of the set, and it is a delightful but challenging musical treat. The arrangement is cast in a simple dance form in D major. Its constant 16th note motion will be challenging for an advanced high school or collegiate player. The real shock comes in the final section when the part leaps up to a lip trill on high d2. Sauer mercifully includes a lower option. The trombone part is in tenor clef.

The entire arrangement lasts around 2:15 and could slip nicely into a recital after a long work or perhaps as the finale. It could also be profitably used as an alternative to an etude—technically challenging yet musically enjoyable. In either case Sauer has added yet another useful transcription to the trombone repertoire.

Reviewer: Paul Overly
Review Published January 31, 2019