91. Other important original Wagner band compositions

First of all, I believe it is important to acquaint the reader with the fact that Wagner was very familiar with and often heard military band concerts and never had any aesthetic objections in doing so. He did, however, sometimes have musical objections, in particular regarding the tempi. It is worthy of note that on one occasion, during the Winter of 1858–1859 in Venice, he was quite delighted to hear an Austrian band perform transcriptions of his music. He recalled this in his autobiography.

Strangely enough, it was the thoroughly German element of good military music, to which so much attention is paid in the Austrian army, that brought me into touch with public life in Venice. The conductors in the two Austrian regiments quartered there began playing overtures of mine, “Rienzi” and “Tannhänser” for instance, and invited me to attend their rehearsals in their barracks. There I also met the whole staff of officers, and was treated by them with great respect. These bands played on alternate evenings amid brilliant illuminations in the middle of the Piazza San Marco, whose acoustic properties for this class of production were really excellent. I was often suddenly startled towards the end of my meal by the sound of my own overtures; then, as I sat at the restaurant window giving myself up to impressions of the music, I did not know which dazzled me most, the incomparable piazza magnificently illuminated and filled with countless numbers of moving people, or the music that seemed to be borne away in rustling glory to the winds. Only one thing was missing that might certainly have been expected from an Italian audience: the people were gathered around the band in thousands listening most intently, but no two hands ever forgot themselves so far as to applaud, as the least sign of approbation of Austrian military music would have been looked upon as treason to the Italian Fatherland.

A letter Wagner wrote at this time (October 24, 1858) thanking one of these Austrian conductors reveals, more than the passage from his autobiography quoted above, his genuine appreciation.

Honorable Conductor,

I could not find you in the Piazza yesterday to thank you for the wonderful performance of the “Rienzi Overture,” so today I do this in this written form. I appreciated it very much that your musicians had noticed everything, had marked everything so well and brought everything out correctly. From the very beginning it was perfect, with the tempo entirely correct. [My only suggestion is that] four bars before the Allegro there should be more drums and very strong; that place is dull.

Once again, the best thanks and the assurance that you have made it very enjoyable for me.

I have discussed Wagner’s Trauermusik for band in a previous essay. Following are the remaining works he scored for large band.

Huldigungsmarsch (Homage March)

Composed: August, 1864, for large concert band

Sources: Munich-Wittelsbacher Ausgleichsfonds: full score

Publication: Richard Wagner Werke (Leipzig, 1912-1929), xvii; Sämtliche Werke (Mainz, 1970), 18/iii (full score)

First Performance: Munich, October 5, 1864

As is well-known, after a long period of frustration professionally, financially and personally, Wagner was “rescued” by the appearance of Herr Pfistermeister, the secretary to the newly crowned king of Bavaria, Ludwig II, who announced the intent of the new king to guarantee the financial support of Wagner and his music. Wagner first met the king on May 4, 1864 and in gratitude began the composition of the Huldigungsmarch in honor of the king. The first performance, by three combined infantry bands stationed near Munich, was given on the king’s nineteenth birthday, August 25, 1864.

Wagner conducted this work himself on several occasions, including one the following year reported by Hans von Bulow.

Finally last night came the banquet: a big private concert in the Residenztheater with the house brilliantly illuminated, and no audience except His Majesty and between thirty and forty special Wagnerites. Wagner conducted.

First, the Pilgrims’ March from “Tannhäuser,” with a surprise: on the final Eb of the cellos, eighty military band players struck up the “Huldigungs Marsch” behind the scenes. The effect was magnificent, the point of it all being the special relationship between the composer and the King.”

Letter of Hans von Bülow to Karl Klindworth, July 13, 1865

In 1870, Cosima organized a performance of this work as a surprise for Wagner’s birthday.

She had devised all kinds of surprises and retained the regimental band, forty-five men strong … At eight o’clock the children, adorned with garlands of roses, burst into Wagner’s room, the band stuck up the “Huldigungsmarsch,” and Richard sobbed with delight at the surprise.”

Richard Count du Moulin-Eckart (Catherine Alison Phillips, trans.), “Cosima Wagner” (New York: Knopf, 1931), I, 396ff

By far the most important performance of this work was for the cornerstone ceremony of the theater in Bayreuth on May 22, 1872, which, of course, was also the composer’s birthday. In recognition of all this, the King sent a telegram of “Felicity and blessings.”

For the ceremony itself, flags had been set out to mark the outline of the proposed theater. In spite of a rain storm, a crowd gathered to watch the cornerstone being lowered into place as a regimental band played the Huldigungsmarsch. Inside the stone was a poem by Wagner,

O may the secret buried here
Rest undisturbed for many a year;
For while it lies beneath this stone,
The world shall hear its clarion tone.

Wagner then took up the hammer and said, “Bless you, my stone, long may you stand and firm may you hold!”1

This is a very important major work for band by Wagner, one performed a number of times during his lifetime. In my view the lack of popularity with conductor’s today lies in their lack of understanding two performance characteristics. First, the beginning section is slow and not in march style, but is rather moderato, lyrical and very expressive in the Romantic tradition. Wagner apparently did not think it was necessary to mark the beginning slower because there was a very long tradition, going back to the beginning of the sixteenth century in France, of large-scale wind ensemble compositions that began with a slow section followed by an allegro.

The following march style, for this work, is one of Maestoso character. While conducted in alla-breve it should not be so fast as to obscure this quality.

I used to own two original first editions of piano arrangements of this work, one by Hans von Bulow and one by Wagner himself which he arranged the year following its composition. The Wagner arrangement is especially interesting as it reflects how the composer himself might have played the composition on the piano. These versions have some effective improvements compared to the original band version and I have incorporated these into my modern edition for band.

Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral, Lohengrin, act II, scene 4

This music in the opera is virtually a band composition as it stands with only one thirty-two measure doubling of the melody in the first violin preventing it from being exclusively for wind band. Eventually two male choirs join in. Because this work is so wind-oriented, Wagner personally recommended that this passage would make a good band transcription. In a letter to Friedrich Wilhelm Graf von Redern, dated Dresden, June 26, 1846, Wagner wrote,

While I doubt that there are many pieces in my opera that are suitable for production as military music, I permit myself to draw your attention, however, particularly to one number which has gone exceedingly well on parades here in Dresden; I refer to the first section of the fourth scene of the second Act; it is in the style of a March with chorus … that lends itself well to treatment as an effective piece for military band.”

Wagner’s use of the term “military music” simply reflects the large band with woodwinds and brass, as opposed to a brass band and did not suggest a military style. Quite the contrary, we are fortunate to have a letter in which Wagner specifically speaks of the style he had in mind.

You think that my stage arrangement is inadequate to represent Elsa’s bridal procession in the second act in conformity with the length of the music (as well as with the artistic effect I intended), and you suggest a courtly ceremony — as prelude to the actual bridal procession — with which I cannot agree at all. That is much too much ceremonial for the noble, naive simplicity of that time.

The particular atmosphere which my “Lohengrin” should produce is that here we see before us an ancient German kingdom in its finest, most ideal aspect. Here no one does anything out of mere routine and court custom, but in every encounter the participants take a direct and genuinely personal part; here there is no despotic pomp which has its “bodyguards” (oh! oh!) and orders the “people pushed back” to form a “lane” for the high nobility … I beg of you, for God’s sake, take out that awful stuff with the masters of ceremonies, marshals, bodyguards, etc.: they must have no further place here. Let my “Lohengrin” be beautiful, but not ostentatious.

Elsa must — on the high ground before the palace — actually come to a stop. She is moved and affected, as if overcome by bliss. Only after 8 measures does she once more proceed very slowly toward the cathedral, sometimes, pausing, cordially and naively acknowledging greetings. Not only does it take shape this way, but it actually becomes what I intended it to be; namely, no march-like procession, but the infinitely significant advance of Elsa to the altar.

John N. Burk, “Letters of Richard Wagner” (New York: Vienna House, 1972), 333ff

My modern edition of this beautiful music includes some important changes when compared to the old edition which American bands used for so many years. First of all, the old edition left out some of the music, one of the two male choirs, which I cannot explain unless the former arranger was working perhaps from a condensed piano-vocal score. Then, since this music in the opera connects with the stage action this processional for band lacks a final cadence. The older edition created a cadence but unfortunately, for aesthetic reasons, it was one bar too short. I also wrote out the unusual turn which Wagner preferred and which I always found wasted much rehearsal time when it appeared only as a symbol.

Transcriptions from Wagner’s “Ring’

In terms of the history of the concert band, it is very interesting that there is extant one lengthy transcription for band of the Brunhilde’s Awakening scene from Siegfried, one of the four operas which constitute the Ring, in which Wagner himself participated. A note on the score reads, “This composition was transcribed, with the approval and under the supervision [Aufsicht] of Richard Wagner.” The text, which can be dated 1878, continues, “for the band of the 7th Bavarian Infanterie-Regiment, by Anton Seidl and Gottfried Sonntag (“Kg. Rechnungsrat a.D. in Bayreuth”). The new instrumentation [of this published version] was done by Oskar Junger, Kg. Obermusikmeister, 7th Bavarian Infanterie-Regiment `Prinz Leopold’ in Bayreuth.”

The personal association with Wagner is strengthened by the fact that this Anton Seidl was at this time the principal copyist and disciple of Wagner and was actually living with Wagner. The fact that this transcription was done for a local regimental band stationed at Bayreuth adds confirmation to the possibility of participation by Wagner.

The study of this work is complicated by the fact that Oertel published not the Seidl-Sonntag-Wagner version, but a later one revised by Junger. Further, the extant score is only a three-stave condensed score with no list of the complete instrumentation. Therefore whatever set of parts one might find is burdened by the fact that one is never completely sure if everything is complete. I am confident that the set of published parts I found, which is now in the “Whitwell Archiv” in the National Library in Trossingen, is not complete.

The question of the validity of transcriptions of Wagner’s music is not only encouraged by the several extant letters by Wagner praising bands he heard and their conductors but also by the fact that during his lifetime another transcription cycle taken from the Ring was also created. These were made by Arthur Seidel, conductor and composer, who was born April 13, 1849 in Neisse and died March 28, 1910 in Breslau, and were published by Schott during the 1880s.

During the latter part of his life, Wagner accepted monies in advance from Schott with the promise of giving them future works to publish, a fact confirmed in his autobiography, My Life.2 I was told, while visiting the publisher in Mainz in 1977, that the engagement of Seidel to prepare Ring band arrangements was an attempt on the part of the publisher to recoup some of the monies given the composer. The understanding at Schott, in 1977, was that Seidel had done these arrangements from the actual autograph scores, which later disappeared during World War II and have not yet been found.

Arthur Seidel prepared a Fantasie on Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Das Götterdämmerung, each consisting of twenty minutes, or more, each of non-stop music. Seidel had earlier published projects of this nature, but they tended to be traditional “pot-poruri” works consisting of rapidly changing excerpts and melodies. What makes the Ring Fantasies so much more successful is that they consist of much lengthier portions of the music. On the other hand, in my opinion, each of the Fantasies contains about fifteen-minutes of beautiful, inspired transcription, while the remaining five minutes or so suffer from awkward modulations, weak connection points, and some scoring which just doesn’t sound well.

But this is not to detract from Seidel’s accomplishment: he was making band transcriptions of music no one had ever heard and within these vast operatic scores he certainly found the right passages to transcribe. We must also credit Schott, whose aesthetic ideals prompted them to publish these gigantic band scores at a time when German military bands were already traveling full speed on their long decline down to the lowest popular repertoire. Several large band libraries in the United States own copies of the original Seidel transcriptions, including the Marine Band, Eastman School of Music, and the University of Illinois.

I have also made my own transcriptions of music from the four operas of the Ring. My original desire to spend some four months in the Summer of 1988 in making these transcriptions [about 15 minutes each of Walküre and Das Götterdäammerung, and about 7 ½ minutes each of Reingold and Siegfried] was the result of a rehearsal one day of the Trauermusik. In discussion with my ensemble it came to my notice that not a single member of the ensemble had ever heard any music of Wagner! I was quite shocked by this, even taking into consideration the environment of Los Angeles, because this is such beautiful music. While I had in the past rarely performed transcriptions, the history of Wagner’s appreciation in hearing bands perform transactions of his music and his apparent contribution earlier in making a transcription from the Ring allowed me to feel exempt from any debate over the validity of transcriptions in general. In addition, my frustration with the uneven quality of the Seidel/Schott publications had prevented me from performing them more than once and so I elected to make my own. These have proven in performance to be very effective, due again to the great musical quality of the music itself. Some reviews of my transcriptions from the Ring are given below.

Reviews of the Whitwell Ring Excerpt Transcriptions

Received your tape recording of the Ring today. Thanks very much. You have supplied the band world with another fine and practical arrangement. I should like to do it.

Leon Bly, April 18, 1989
Stuttgart, Germany
Stuttgart School of Music

Just a note to thank you for your wonderful Wagner tape. I really enjoyed it and was, as always, impressed by your ensemble and your musicianship. Larry Sutherland just did your edition of “Gotterdammerung” at the Wind Festival last weekend – fine job.

Gregg Hanson, April 18, 1989
Salt Lake City, UT
University of Utah

Just before leaving Chicago I slipped your Wagner Ring tape in my briefcase. I have just finished listening to the entire tape both sides. What a tremendous job you have done. Your band plays the arrangements exceptionally well. There are many sections I have never heard arranged for band. Did you do all the arrangements? Regardless, congratulations on one mighty fine tape.

Ed Gangware, April 28, 1989
Nashville, TN

I played your arrangement of Excerpts from “Siegfried” on our Southeast United States Band Clinic Concert last week. It was truly outstanding in every way. It is a great transcription and without a doubt one of the most beautiful ones that I have ever heard. Dr. Frederick Fennell and Dr. Jay Julian were at the concert and they really did enjoy it as well. There was no question in anyone’s mind that Excerpts of “Siegfried” was truly beautiful.

You are very gifted, extremely talented and your transcriptions are some of the very best I have ever heard. I hope that every effort will be made to have them published so that the really fine collegiate bands will have a chance to play them. These arrangements have been long needed for the college repertoire and it would be unfortunate unless many of the university bands are aware of them. You may be sure that I will do everything possible to make the conductors aware of your marvelous transcriptions and your truly great talent.

John M. Long, Feb. 12, 1990
Troy, AL
Troy State University

Grüss seiner Treuen an Friedrich August den Geliebten bei seiner Zuruckkunft aus England den 9. August 1844

Composed: Summer, 1844, for TTBB, large concert band

Source: BRD-Mbs: full score

Publication: Dresden, C. F. Meser [1844] for voice and piano; Sämtliche Werke, 16, for TTBB only

First Performance: August 9, 1844

Wagner provided a very lengthy and interesting account of the origin and first performance of this composition. It is apparent in his account that Wagner remembered performing some additional music, and it is very interesting that he refers to as “the original version” of the March from Tannhauser. Whatever this was, it is lost.

I was to receive the gratification of another triumph in the summer, which, although it was of no particular moment from the musical point of view, was of great social importance. The King of Saxony, towards whom, as I have already said, I had felt warmly drawn when he was Prince Friedrich, was expected home from a long visit to England. The reports received of his stay there had greatly rejoiced my patriotic soul. While this homely monarch, who shrank from all pomp and noisy demonstration, was in England, it happened that the Tsar Nicholas arrived quite unexpectedly on a visit to the Queen. In his honor great festivities and military reviews were held, in which our King, much against his will, was obliged to participate, and he was consequently compelled to receive the enthusiastic acclamations of the English crowd, who were most demonstrative in show their preference for him, as compared with the unpopular Tsar. This preference was also reflected in the newspapers, so that a flattering incense floated over from England to our little Saxony which filled us all with a peculiar pride in our King. While I was in this mood, which absorbed me completely, I learned that preparations were being made in Leipzig for a special welcome to the King on his return, which was to be further dignified by a musical festival in the directing of which Mendelssohn was to take part. I made inquiries as to what was going to be done in Dresden, and learned that the King did not propose to call there at all, but was going direct to his summer residence at Pillnitz.

A moment’s reflection showed me that this would only further my desire of preparing a pleasant and hearty reception for his Majesty. As I was a servant of the Crown, any attempt on my part to render an act of homage in Dresden might have had the appearance of an official parade which would not be admissible. I seized the idea, therefore, of hurriedly collecting together all who could either play or sing, so that we might perform a Reception song hastily composed in honor of the event. The obstacle to my plan was that my Director Luttichau was away at one of his country seats. To come to an understanding with my colleague Reissiger would, moreover, have involved delay, and given the enterprise the very aspect of an official ovation which I wished to avoid. As no time was to be lost, if anything worthy of the occasion was to be done — as the King was due to arrive in a few days — I availed myself of my position as conductor of the Glee Club, and summoned all its singers and instrumentalists to my aid. In addition to these, I invited the members of our theatrical company, and also those of the orchestra, to join us. This done, I drove quickly to Pillnitz to arrange matters with the Lord Chamberlain, whom I found favorably disposed towards my project. The only leisure I could snatch for composing the verses of my song and setting them to music was during the rapid drive there and back, for by the time I reached home I had to have every thing ready for the copyist and lithographer. The agreeable sensation of rushing through the warm summer air and lovely country, coupled with the sincere affection with which I was inspired for our German Prince, and which had prompted my effort, elated me and worked me up to a high pitch of tension, in which I now formed a clear conception of the lyrical outlines of the “Tannhauser March,” which first saw the light of day on the occasion of this royal welcome. I soon afterwards developed this theme, and thus produced the march which became the most popular of the melodies I had hitherto composed.

On the next day it had to be tried over with a hundred and twenty instrumentalists and three hundred singers. I had taken the liberty of inviting them to meet me on the stage of the Court Theater, where everything went off capitally. Every one was delighted, and I not the least so, when a messenger arrived from the director, who had just returned to town, requesting an immediate interview. Luttichau was enraged beyond measure at my high-handed proceedings in this matter, of which he had been informed by our good friend Reissiger. If his baronial coronet had been on his head during this interview, it would assuredly have tumbled off. The fact that I should have conducted my negotiations in person with the court officials and could report that my endeavors had met with extraordinarily prompt success, aroused his deepest fury, for the chief importance of his own position consisted in always representing everything which had to be obtained by these means as surrounded by the greatest obstacles, and hedged in by the strictest etiquette. I offered to cancel everything, but that only embarrassed him the more. I thereupon asked him what he wanted me to do, if the plan was still to be carried out. On this point he seemed uncertain, but thought I had shown a great lack of fellowship in having not only ignored him, but Reissiger as well. I answered that I was perfectly ready to hand over my composition and the conducting of the piece to Reissiger. But he could not swallow this, as he really had an exceedingly poor opinion of Reissiger, of which I was very well aware. His real grievance was that I had arranged the whole business with the Lord Chamberlain, Herr von Reizenstein, who was his personal enemy, and he added that I could form no conception of the rudeness he had been obliged to endure from the hands of this official. This outburst of confidence made it easier for me to exhibit an almost sincere emotion, to which he responded by a shrug of the shoulders, meaning that he must resign himself to a disagreeable necessity.

But my project was even more seriously threatened by the wretched weather than by this storm with the director; for it rained all day in torrents. If it lasted, which it seemed only too likely to do, I could hardly start on the special boat at five o’clock in the morning, as proposed, with my hundreds of musicians, to give an early morning concert at Pillnitz, two hours away. I anticipated such a disaster with genuine dismay. But Rockel consoled me by saying that I could rely upon it that we should have glorious weather the next day; for I was lucky! This belief in my luck has followed me ever since, even down to my latest days; and amid the great misfortunes which have so often hampered my enterprises, I have felt as if this statement were a wicked insult to fate. But this time, at least, my friend was right; the 12th of August, 1844 was from sunrise till late at night the most perfect summer day that I can remember in my whole life. The sensation of blissful content with which I saw my light-hearted legion of gaily dressed bandsmen and singers gathering through the auspicious morning mists on board our steamer, swelled my breast with a fervent faith in my lucky star.

By my friendly impetuosity I had succeeded in overcoming Reissiger’s smoldering resentment, and had persuaded him to share the honor of our undertaking by conducting the performance of my composition himself. When we arrived at the spot, everything went off splendidly. The King and royal family were visibly touched, and in the evil times that followed the Queen of Saxony spoke of this occasion, I am told, with peculiar emotion, as the fairest day of her life. After Reissiger had wielded his baton with great dignity, and I had sung with the tenors in the choir, we two conductors were summoned to the presence of the royal family. The King warmly expressed his thanks, while the Queen paid us the high compliment of saying that I composed very well and that Reissiger conducted very well. His Majesty asked us to repeat the last three stanzas only, as, owing to a painful ulcerated tooth, he could not remain much longer out of doors. I rapidly devised a combined evolution, the remarkably successful execution of which I am very proud, even to this day. I had the entire song repeated, but, in accordance with the King’s wish, only one verse was sung in our original crescent formation. At the beginning of the second verse I made my four hundred undisciplined bandsmen and singers file off in a march through the garden, which, as they gradually receded, was so arranged that the final notes could only reach the royal ear as an echoing dream song.

Wagner’s Autobiography, “My Life” (New York: Tudor, 1911), 330ff, 358

A leading newspaper in Berlin published a note on this performance and gives, perhaps, a more accurate count of the number of performers.

Under the direction of Reissiger & Rich. Wagner, 106 instrumentalists and 200 vocalists went to Pillnitz to serenade the King with a patriotic song composed by Wagner. The King spoke in the most appreciative terms of the excellent piece.

Berliner Musikalische Zeitung, 1844, Nr. 1

A modern edition of this music was made by the late Dr. Ronald Johnson, of the University of Northern Iowa.

Festgesang, Der Tag erscheint (Weihegruss)

Composed: May, 1843, for TTBB, 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, and tuba

Source: Private Collection: full score, location not available to the public

Publication: Sämtliche Werke (Mainz, 1970), 16

First Performance: June 7, 1843, Dresden

The account which Wagner left of this composition, while rich in some details unfortunately is not clear with regard to the instrumentation used at the first performance. Was it an unaccompanied vocal work or one with brass instruments. Both versions survive in early sources.

On the 7th of June of this year (1843) the statue of King Frederick Augustus by Rietschl was unveiled in the Dresden Zwinger with all due pomp and ceremony. In honor of this event I, in collaboration with Mendelssohn, was commanded to compose a festival song and to conduct the gala performance. I had written a simple song for male voices of modest design, whereas to Mendelssohn had been assigned the more complicated task of interweaving the National Anthem into the male chorus he had to compose. This he had effected by an artistic work in counterpoint, so arranged that from the first eight beats of his original melody the brass instruments simultaneously played the Anglo-Saxon popular air. My simpler song seems to have sounded very well from a distance, whereas I understood that Mendelssohn’s daring combination quite missed its effect, because no one could understand why the vocalists did not sing the same tune that the wind instruments were playing.

Wagner’s “Autobiography,” 312

A letter written at this time to his brother, Albert, Wagner gives essentially the same information.

On the 7th we had a grand festivity here, the unveiling of the monument to Friedrich August. A chant for men’s voices — to be executed in the Zwinger — was ordered of me by the King. Mendelssohn had to compose the second one. My chorus, being simple, uplifting and effective, decidedly bore off the palm; whereas Mendelssohn’s turned out both pompous and flat.

Another letter, of July 13, 1843, which Wagner wrote to his half-sister, Cacilie, gives us the size of the choral forces.

Reissiger went off on holiday in the middle of May, leaving me practically on my own to carry out all the duties, both in church & in the theater, in addition to which I received a commission from the King to write a commemorative hymn for the unveiling of the memorial to King Friedrich August. Mendelssohn was also commissioned to write a piece. The overall control of the performance, which took place in the Zwinger, was entrusted to me. I assembled a choir of 250 singers from the local choral societies, & made a great name for myself, in that it was universally agreed that my own piece, which was straightforward & uplifting, knocked Mendelssohn’s over-elaborate & artificial composition into a cocked hat.

Most books on the music of Wagner assume this festival song was unaccompanied, simply because Wagner mentions no instruments in his account in his autobiography. However, we know the version for male choir, trumpets, horns, trombones, and tuba which was published in the Complete Works, in 1913.

What, then, was the version sung at the original ceremony? To this writer there is first the matter of circumstance. Both Wagner and Mendelssohn wrote a work for 250 male singers for the same performance. Brass instruments are available and used for the Mendelssohn work. It does not make much sense that the Wagner version with brass was not also used and, in fact, a full score for voices and brass has survived but it is in private hands. The fact that he refers to his music as “simple,” still describes it, but should not be taken to mean unaccompanied.

The stronger argument is the music itself. This is not a brass accompaniment added later to a preexistent vocal piece. The brass parts here are sometimes independent, with non-harmonic notes not found at all in the vocal parts. Thirty-three bars from the end the brass ensemble has music for itself alone, the singers have a rest but what were they doing if the performance were sung a cappella?

Fanfares for 4 Trumpets

This work, which I found in a private collection in Graz, Austria, consists of three fanfares of various lengths for four natural trumpets and timpani, is dedicated to the Bavarian King’s 6th Chevaulegers-Regiment. Because of Wagner’s close association with the king of Bavaria he was in a position where he could not refuse a request for a piece such as this.

My modern editions of the original Huldigungsmarsch, Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral, the four Ring transcriptions and the trumpet fanfares by Wagner are available through the amazing catalog by Maxime’s Music at concertbandmusicstore.com.

  1. Curt von Westernhagen (Mary Whittall, trans.) Wagner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, II 446] ↩︎
  2. page 803 ↩︎