Review


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Dies Irae from Requiem:

Arranged by Randall Malmstrom

7 tenor, 1 bass trombone

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2019
URL: http://www.cherryclassics.com

Score and parts

Genre: TROMBONE ENSEMBLES

One of the most influential pieces in the history of Western music, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had only completed two movements of his Requiem mass—the Requiem aeternam and Kyrie—at the time of his death in 1791. Many of the other movements were more or less sketched, some were entirely unfinished. The version that many of us know today was assembled and completed by Franz Xaver Süssmayr in 1792. Randall Malmstrom arranged one of those sketched movements—the Dies Irae—for trombone ensemble.

Overall, Malmstrom’s arrangement precisely follows the form of the original and contains a good amount of the orchestration as well, although much of it has been simplified and adapted in various ways. It has been effectively scored as a double quartet. This allows for rests to be evenly distributed throughout all the parts, upper register passages to be shared, and angular, lower string passage work divided between the two bass trombone parts. None of the higher parts exceed b-flat¹, and neither of the bass trombone parts contain pitches below AA. However, there are still a great deal of rapid angular passages through all of the parts of this arrangement. This is especially challenging for the bass trombone parts which contain a good deal of passage work written mostly below the staff.

Despite Malmstrom’s skillful adaptations, this arrangement of the Dies Irae is probably best suited to an experienced trombone choir with two accomplished bass trombonists. Nonetheless, it is an effective transcription of one of the masterpieces of Western music. The music is powerful, dramatic, and transformative. Randall Malmstrom’s Dies Irae from Mozart's Requiem will surely find its way onto many trombone choir concert programs.

Reviewer: Greg Strohman
Review Published June 5, 2020