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Symphonie Fantastique for Trombone Octet

Digital Sheet Music

By Hector Berlioz

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Trombone, Brass Choir or Ensemble, alto trombone, bass trombone - Advanced - Digital Download
Composed by Hector Berlioz (1803-1869). Arranged by Phil Thrift. Romantic Period, Classical Period. Score, Set of Parts. 56 pages. Published by Phil Thrift (S0.740647).

Item Number: S0.740647

This, the trombone octet adaptation of my trombone quartet arrangement of Hector Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique, again features all the well-known themes of the full orchestral symphony. The beginning is identical with the original, but then proceeds immediately to the March to the Scaffold of the fourth movement. The famous idée fixe of the symphony is first heard at measure 72, and this is followed by other themes from the first movement. The adagio at measure 164 re-creates the pastoral duet of the symphony’s third movement. As indicated on the charts, the first trombone (alto) should play this section offstage (as for the oboist in the original), while the others remain on stage. If this is not possible, then the first trombone should play this section muted. This very reflective interlude is followed by my personal favorite, the wondrously jolly waltz from the symphony’s second movement. The Witches’ Round Dance, a sort of fugue, comes next, and leads to the dies irae – played in four octaves here, but in this octet version heard together with the Witches’ Round Dance. The idée fixe is stated once again before the arrangement concludes in the same way as the original symphony.
This is a light-hearted arrangement that is not intended to re-create exactly the grandeur of the original with its huge orchestral forces. Lasting nearly 9 min, depending on how fast you take some sections, this piece will require some stamina, but with many sections arranged for two, three or four trombones, every player does get a break. The first part requires a very capable alto trombonist with a good high register.
Player 1 plays alto throughout, player 2 switches between alto and tenor, and parts 7 and 8 are for bass trombone.
Sensible page turns were impossible to incorporate in some of the parts while at the same time not exceeding four pages. So in those parts the players are instructed – during longer breaks – to fetch the next page in good time, which is easily possible if the parts are printed out on separate sheets. Players using tablets won’t have any problems, of course.

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