Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Russian Easter Festival Overture:

Arranged by Jeremy Niles Kempton

Eight trombones with optional timpani

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2017

Score and parts


Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Festival Overture remains popular today, 130 years after its composition. Filled with music taken from the Russian Orthodox liturgy, it is well-known among trombonists for both its section unison chant melodies and its exposed, beautiful, and haunting second trombone solo. Given its popularity and familiarity among trombonists, it is no surprise that prolific arranger Jeremy Niles Kempton has set it for trombone ensemble; in this case, an ensemble of eight trombones, with optional timpani.

While not a note-by-note transcription of the orchestral score, Kempton has arranged all the major melodies and stylistic sections in the order Rimsky-Korsakov laid them out. The lengthy cadenzas not included. In some sections, Kempton scores for smaller groups - pairs, three or four parts, in alternation for a multi-choir effect. In this arrangement, the solo is placed in the first part. All parts contain courtesy accidentals at expected places and enough rests to keep the performance form being grueling.

Published by Cherry Classics in Vancouver, the score and parts are neatly laid out and will be easily read by the performers, as I have come to expect.  It should be noted that there are cues in the eighth trombone part designed to be played in the absence of timpani. Given the range of the parts—as high as d2 in first trombone and as low as GG in eighth trombone—and the inclusion of tenor clef in the top three voices, this piece is best played by a reasonably advanced trombone choir.

Reviewer: Chad Arnow
Review Published April 2, 2019