I have always admired the smooth sound of the arrangement of William Monk's famous hymn tune played by some of the military bands of the United States. Since it is not often that most of us can put together a complete military band for a Memorial Day service or some other occasion, I sought to develop an arrangement for four-piece brass quartet that would deliver some of that same texture.
This arrangement is unique and should be interesting both to play and for listeners. None of the parts are very difficult, though the first trombone part is quite high in one spot, but a good high school quartet should have no trouble with this piece.
That said, finding a bass trombone can sometimes be problematic for school groups. I have kept the part from going too low, though an F-attachment is absolutely necessary. The part cannot be played on a tuba because it would both radically alter the texture, and the bass trombone part is relatively high in some spots.
This piece could find a place in the regular rotation of any number of brass quartets, both scholastic and professional. It accurately portrays the moving lyric of Henry Lyte, who over 150 years ago penned: "Hold Thou Thy Cross before my closing eyes, Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies, Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee; In life, in death, O Lord! abide with me!"
For friends who have gone on before and are often in my thoughts....
ABIDE WITH ME, William Monk's hymn tune arranged for two trumpets, tenor trombone, and bass trombone by Tom Kirkland, comes in a downloadable PDF file of 805K that contains a seven page score, four two page individual parts, plus a license page, sixteen pages in all. Performance time should be around 3:00, depending upon interpretation.
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Last update: 4 March 2021