Richard Wagner
Gathering of the Armies from "Lohengrin":

Arranged by Ralph Sauer

7 tenor, 1 bass trombone, optional timpani

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2020

Score and parts


One of the lesser performed excerpts, “Gathering of the Armies” presents the thematic material from Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin in a climatic fanfare. This adventurous music accompanies the assembly of King Heinrich’s military forces as they prepare for battle. Ralph Sauer’s arrangement for trombone choir preserves all the power and intensity of the original.

While many eight part trombone choir arrangements are structured into two trombone quartets, this arrangement is written for eight independent parts that do not play together as a full ensemble until the end. Instead, Sauer combines the parts in many different ways to both create a variety of textures and also give everyone abundant opportunities to rest. The high point of this music occurs when all eight parts harmonize the main theme in fortissimo rhythmic unison.

Trombone parts 1–4 are written on the tenor clef and tend to play mostly higher passages, while parts 5–8 are written on the bass clef and tend to play mostly lower ones. Although the first trombone part plays c² twice at the beginning, it otherwise hangs below a1¹. While the lowest two parts should probably be played on bass trombone, they both only play down to C and could be performed on F attachment tenor trombones. There is also an optional timpani part. The arrangement functions perfectly without timpani as long as the trombonists play all timpani cues in their parts.

Despite a few tricky passages, Ralph Sauer’s arrangement of Wagner’s Gathering of the Armies could easily be performed by a wide variety of college level trombone choirs. This is powerful dramatic music that rarely lets up—perhaps the perfect opener for any trombone ensemble concert.

Reviewer: Greg Strohman
Review Published November 29, 2020