Review


Anton Bruckner
Um Mitternatcht [at Midnight]: for five trombones

Arranged by Ralph Sauer


N.p., ,
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2016
URL: http://www.cherryclassics.com

Score and parts.

Genre: TROMBONE ENSEMBLES

A new arrangement of Bruckner’s music is often well received in our community due its pedagogical potential and predictable beauty. Ralph Sauer’s arrangement of Bruckner’s Um Mitternacht for a five-piece trombone choir fulfills both expectations masterfully. It is carefully orchestrated, contains valuable performance instructions, and is true to the original.

The piece was originally composed for an all male vocal ensemble divided in two tenor and two bass voices with occasional divisi sections in the second bass part. Sauer’s orchestration for four tenors and a bass trombone compensates for extra voicings with staggered melodies and added orchestral octaves. Articulation markings are used to adequately match performance practices and lyrics rather than strictly following the original score.

Bracketed suggestions of tempi and interpretation marks are included, which are in agreement with performance traditions of this composition. The piece does not include complex mechanical passages nor does it require extensive high range, however it is better suited to college level players due to its constant modulations, extreme dynamics, and relatively taxing parts.

The arrangement is dedicated to David Weiss, long time former principal oboist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic who passed away in 2014. Mr. Sauer has written several transcriptions and arrangements that have become part of trombone choir repertoire. This work is another meaningful contribution to that literature due to its artistic and pedagogical qualities.

Reviewer: Lucas Borges
Review Published January 31, 2019