Click to enlargeValse - Opus 64 No. 2 (brass quintet)

Frederick Chopin is the most famous of Polish composers, having become all the rage in Paris toward the end of his brief life. Despite picking minor keys for many of his most famous compositions, he was said to have been very lively with a brilliant sense of humor.

He is best remembered for his incredibly expressive and sometimes quite difficult piano compositions. It is said that the hand casts of Chopin reveal very deep depressions between the third knuckles, the result of playing his own compositions with hands spread to more than an octave. Even today, the sheer joy of playing Chopin is for many pianists tempered by aching hands.

This waltz, one of a great many written for the piano, is among his most famous compositions. The A section consists of two nearly identical phrases that both end with runs that speed up and then slow down. The B section is where the trumpeters really fly with arpeggios and runs that alternate between the first and second player.

The B section gives way to the C section, a contemplative theme carried by the horn at a slower tempo in the complementary major key. This is followed by a repeat of the B section.

The A section and B sections are then repeated to finish out the piece.

In this arrangement the tuba and trombone parts are relatively easy, though the tuba will need to have good control in the high register. The horn part is somewhat challenging in range specifically in the B section. The two trumpet parts are challenging in fingering, speed, and range.

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



VALSE - OPUS 64 NO. 2 by Frederick Chopin, arranged by Tom Kirkland for brass quintet consisting of two trumpets, F horn, trombone, and tuba, comes in a pdf file of 1049K, with a nine-page score, five three-page parts, and a license page, twenty-five pages in all. Performance time should be just under five minutes.


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Last update: 27 September 2017