Julius Fučík
Entrance of the Gladiators: Thunder and Blazes March

Arranged by Wes Ballenger

trombone quintet

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


Originally based on the composer’s fascination with Roman gladiators, Julius Fučik’s Entrance of the Gladiators has become widely known as the circus march which introduces clowns. Wes Ballenger’s arrangement of this classic for trombone quintet plays into this tradition. Marked at half note equals 144, this arrangement features fast lip trills, rapid chromatic scale runs, sudden changes in tempo, dynamic extremes, and optional altissimo passages.

The first and second trombone parts are written in alto clef and span up to dand b-flatrespectively (with an optional passage up to gin the first part). Both parts contain prominent lip trills, exposed runs, and alternate melodic material. The third and fourth parts are mostly accompanimental in nature and could probably be handled by slightly less experienced players. The bass trombone part, while never playing below BB-flat, necessitates someone who is reasonably fluent with using two valves to facilitate some of the runs below the staff.

The score and parts are well edited for clarity and legibility. While maybe not well suited to most student or amateur ensembles, many advanced or professional trombonists would surely have a lot of fun performing this arrangement. With all of its comedic moments and opportunities to show off virtuosity, Entrance of the Gladiators is sure to be an audience favorite as well!

Reviewer: Greg Strohman
Review Published January 6, 2019