Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Selections from Requiem, K.626 :

Arranged by Gunyong Lee

Four trombones

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2013

Score and parts


Mozart’s monumental Requiem in D minor K.626 stands as one of the great works for chorus and orchestra. Begun in 1791, shortly before Mozart’s death, the work was completed in early 1792 by Franz Süssmayr. The completed work contains sections completely of Mozart’s composition, sections where Süssmayr fleshed out Mozart’s sketches, and sections completely, or at least mostly, of Süssmayr’s invention. As in Mozart’s other choral works and those of his contemporaries, a trio of trombones was used to double voices in the choir, resulting in orchestral parts that are more melodic—and sometimes virtuosic—than in symphonic repertoire of the time.

With such extensive, inventive, and melodic writing for the trombones in the original orchestral score, it is hardly surprising to see this arrangement of four of the Requiem’s movements: Kyrie, Dies Irae, Lacrimosa, and Sanctus, set for a trombone quartet of reasonably advanced players. All of the selected movements except the Lacrimosa draw heavily from the choral parts and therefore from the trombone parts, with which many of us are familiar. The Lacrimosa, necessarily, combines elements of the choral parts and of the accompanying orchestral string parts to create its iconic mood. The Kyrie has been transposed to better fit the range of the quartet, while the other movements remain in their original keys.

In some respects, this piece is more playable than the original. The first trombone part is generally not as high in its extremes as the orchestral alto trombone part, apart from an optional 8va section in the Kyrie. The bass trombone part extends into the trigger register and occasionally the pedal range in ways that the orchestral part does not. Dr. Lee’s arrangement is a welcome addition to the quartet repertoire. Players will enjoy the interesting and challenging lines Mozart created while audiences will be able to enjoy this great music in a slightly different format.

Reviewer: Chad Arnow
Review Published April 2, 2019