Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/194

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178

��TROMBONE.

��instance of it, although itis the only way in which wind instruments can produce perfect harmony free from the errors of temperament. It is obvious from theory that the planting of a fixed or pedal bass, and the building up on it flexible chords, is far more consistent with the harmonic law than the ordinary method. The writer of this article was requested to lead the singing of hymns and chants in the open air some years ago, at the laying of the foundation-stone of a new church ; he used a quartet consisting of Slide Trumpet, Alto and Tenor Trombones, with Euphonium and Contrafagotto in octaves for the positive bass. With good players the result was striking, and is perhaps deserving of imitation. In the older music the Trombones were often thus used; and indeed did much of the work more recently assigned to the French Horn. The effect survives in Mozart's Requiem, and the solemn, peculiar tone-colour of that great work is usually spoiled by transposing the Corni di bassetto parts, and by employing Tenor Trom- bones to the exclusion of the Alto and Bass. Even the fine and characteristic Trombone Solo of the ' Tuba Mirum ' is often handed over to the Bassoon. Of the three Trombones, the Tenor, though the most noisy and self-assertive, is de- cidedly the least musical, and its present pre- dominance is much to be regretted.

It is to be noted that the Trombone is not usually played from transposed parts, as the Clarinet, Horn, and other instruments are, the real notes being written. The Alto clef is generally used for the Trombone of that name, and the Tenor clef for the corresponding instru- ment : but the practice of different writers varies somewhat in this respect.

A band composed exclusively of Trombones has indeed been formed, and is stated to have been extremely fine. It was attached to the elder Wombwell's show of wild beasts.

As regards the musical use of this instrument, there is little more to be added. It flourished un- der Bach and Handel whose trombone parts to ' Israel in Egypt,' not contained in the autograph score at Buckingham Palace, escaped Mendels- sohn's attention and were first printed by Chry- sander in the German Handel-Gesellschaft edition. It then became forgotten, as Dr. Burney records. Perhaps it was pushed aside by the improved French Horn. Gluck however uses it in 'Al- ceste,' and Mozart, who seems to have known the capabilities of every instrument better than any musician that ever lived, fully appreciated it, as the great chords which occur in the over- ture and the opera (between the Priests' March and Sarastro's solo) and form the only direct link between the two, amply show. In 'Don Giovanni ' he reserved them for the statue scene ; but so little is this reticence understood that a favourite modern conductor introduced them even into the overture. In the Requiem he has em- ployed it to represent the Trump of Doom (in 'Tuba Mirum '), and it is a proof of the disuse of the Trombone just mentioned that until re- cently the passage was given to the Bassoon. The

��TROMBONE.

passionate and dramatic genius of Weber did full justice to the instrument.

Beethoven has employed Trombones to per- fection. When at Linz in 1812, he wrote three Equali for four Trombones, two of which were adapted to words from the Miserere by Seyfried, and performed at Beethoven's funeral. The third (still in MS.) was replaced by a com- position of Seyfried's own. As a later instance we may quote the Benedictus in the Mass in D, where the effect of the trombone chords pianissimo is astonishingly beautiful, and so ori- ginal that the eminent modern conductor just mentioned, in the performances by the Sacred Harmonic Society, is said to have indignantly erased them from the score. Another instance of its use by Beethoven is the high D given by the Bass Trombone jf, at the beginning of the Trio in the 9th Symphony. In an interesting letter signed 2, 1 in the 'Harmonicon' for Jan. 1824, Beethoven is described as having seized on a Trombone-player who visited him, and eagerly enquired as to the upward compass of the instru- ment. The day in question was Sept. 23, 1823. At that time he was finishing the 9th Symphony, in the Finale of which Trombones are much used. In vol. ii, p. 331 6 of this Dictionary we have quoted a droll note for Trombones from a letter of the great composer's.

Schubert was attached to the instrument at a very early period. In his j u venile overture to the 'TeufelsLustschloss ' (May 1814) the three Trom- bones are used in a very remarkable way. His early Symphonies all afford interesting examples of their use, and in his great Symphony in C (No. 10) there is not a movement which does not contain some immortal passage for them. His Masses are full of instances of their masterly use. 2 But on the other hand, in the Fugues, they accompany the three lower voices in unison with an effect which is often very monotonous.

Mendelssohn gives the instrument one of the grandest phrases he ever wrote, the opening and closing sentences of the ' Hymn of Praise.' [See QDBISSER, vol. iii. p. 60 &]. Its effect in the over- ture to ' Ruy Bias,' contrasted with the delicate tracery of the strings, lingers in every musician's memory. He had very distinct ideas as to its use. It is too solemn an instrument, he said once, to be used except on very special occasions ; and in a letter written 8 during the composition of ' St. Paul ' he says ' if I proceed slowly it is at least without Trombones.'

Schumann produces a noble effect with the three Trombones in the Finale to his first Symphony, probably suggested by the Intro- duction to Schubert's Symphony in C and an- other, entirely different, in the overture to 'Manfred.' [W.H.S.]

TROMPETTE, LA. A musical institution in Paris, for the performance of chamber music,

l By the late Edward Schulz.

We gladly refer our readeri for these to Mr. Proufs admirable analyses of the Masses in the 'Monthly Musical Record' for 1870. The wind parts are shamefully Inaccurate In the score of the Mass InAb.

  • To Mr. Horsley, ' Goethe and Mendelssohn.' Letter .

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