Up until about a month ago I had never heard this piece, and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to perform it last week. The piece is very grand in scope. It is about 70 minutes long, features organ, choir, and 3 vocal soloists, and seems to be Mendelssohn’s version of Beethoven 9.
The piece starts with the trombone section playing this theme in unison, and off the top of my head I can’t think of any other piece that begins with SOLO Trombones! When you watch the example video below, you may find yourself experiencing a bit of cognitive dissonance as the Alto trombone uses different slide positions to play the same notes as the tenor and bass. After the grand opening, the bones remain the heroes of the piece, introducing themes, reinforcing the choir, and playing beautiful chorals.
Try to watch the whole thing, but if you are short on time you can find some beautiful chorales at 14:23, the epic entrance of he choir in the 4th Mvt starting at 24:35, another epic movement at 43:50, and the final fugue starting at 56:06.
As you play this sequence, strive to sound clear and confident, like a preacher, spreading their beliefs to anyone who will listen. The style (tone color, note lengths, note shapes) will depend on the hall you play in and the conductor’s wishes, but most recordings showcase clear, pingy articulations and a little bit of lift and space between the notes. Try experimenting with different articulations and tempos to work on your weaknesses.
No matter which style you choose, make sure to make group these notes together into musical sentences and make the 16th notes lead you forward to the to the next long note.
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