Richard Wagner
Ode to the Evening Star: from the opera Tannhäuser

Arranged by Edward Hayes with the collaboration of Frank Harmantas

4 tenor, 1 bass trombone

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2017

Score and parts


In scene two of act three, the character Wolfram, typically cast as a lyric baritone, is scored to sing a somber aria reflecting the change of scenery as stars appear in the evening sky. Wagner uses several other instruments, such as bassoon, cello, harp, and trombone, in accompanimental and complementary roles. At times to ensure the melody is heard in the trombone choir context, Hayes adjusts the vocal part up an octave. As original harmonies move up and down, octave adjustments are also made in the trombone choir accompaniment, sometimes abruptly. Beginning in measure 20 and attempting to simulate violin section tremolos, pitches are spread out among the first four parts, now in tenor clef, as alternating slurred eighth notes between two pitches. A similar situation occurs later with alternating 16ths in 6/8 meter. Unless this is played incredibly delicately, it will sound laborious. In measures 72 and 96, borrowed rhythms are used which do not occur in the original. For players who can achieve the necessary range (top four parts ascend to either b-flat1 or b1) technique will not be an issue. Bass trombone descends to CC. As with any solo v. ensemble arrangement, the challenge is ensuring the melody is heard in its context.

Consistently from Cherry Classics Music, score and parts are clean and easy to read. The .pdf file name is indicated as “Song to the Evening Star” which is correct; the printed title states “Ode to the Evening Star,” which is confusing. Numerous recordings are available on Youtube in a variety of orchestrations to assist with interpretation. If one is expecting a transcription of the original work, this is not it.

Reviewer: David Stern
Review Published December 19, 2020