Henry Purcell

Arranged by Jeremy Niles Kempton

Alto trombone and piano

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2016

Score and solo part


Originally for trumpet, basso continuo and strings, the Sonata Z850 by Henry Purcell is a familiar piece to brass aficionados and other classical music lovers. Niles Kempton appropriately arranged it for alto trombone and piano in the original key of D major. It is a useful pedagogical contribution for the alto trombone repertoire.

The piece is idiomatic and technically accessible for a player familiar with the instrument. Its tessitura is comfortable ranging from a-b1. The D major key is tricky yet common in the alto trombone solo repertoire, making the piece a beautiful introductory solo.  Naturally, the part is in alto clef, which can be a challenge for novice players. However, the reading is relatively simple since most of the work uses diatonic D major material with only a few extra G-sharps in the outer movements.

The score and parts are clean and comfortable to read, although some of the dynamic markings are a bit exaggerated and potentially misleading. Mr. Kempton’s choice to add the melodic line to the alto trombone part in the second movement is controversial. It drastically differs from the original version where the soloist remains silent. However, it is an understandable option since the solo piano may not be as effective carrying the tune in comparison to a small string orchestra. Furthermore, the added solo voice removes the awkwardness of a silent soloist for a whole movement, especially in the context of a student recital.

This arrangement is an excellent recital choice for someone looking to improve alto trombone skills and treat the audience with a familiar melody. It is a valuable contribution due to its pedagogical and programming merits.



Reviewer: Lucas Borges
Review Published June 15, 2019