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Tristan und Isolde - Prelude
Original Title
Wagner, Richard
Jones, Christopher
Year Arranged
Original Instrumentation
Full orchestra
Real Music
Year Published
Catalogue Number
Sheet Music Format
A4, Score (11) & parts (8x2=16, plus 2 optional novice parts, 2+1=3, total=19)
Additional Equipment
Other Instruments
Structure / Movements
One movement. Langsam und schmachtend
Treble, bass
Key signatures
Horn 1: a - c3 (opt. c#3) Horn 2: eb - a2 Horn 3: f# - a2 Horn 4: E - g2 Horn 5: b - c3 Horn 6: c# - a2 Horn 7: b - a2 Horn 8: G# - f2 Horn 9 (optional novice part): g - f#2 Horn 10 (optional novice part): g# - g#1
Creator's Comments
Real Music for Horns These arrangements are enjoyed by, The CSUS Horn Studio, Pete Nowlen, director The San Jose Horn Choir, Larry Osborne, director In general, the odd numbered parts will be written for high horn players and the even numbered parts for low horn players. However, the 'low horn' parts will cover most of the range of the horn in order to keep these parts interesting and help relieve the high horn players. Octet arrangements utilize a 'double quartet' part assignment (i.e. Horn 5 is really 'Horn 1B' etc.). Some suggestions for seating arrangements are as follow: (Semicircle) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 or (Two Rows) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Some of the larger works will have extra 'ad lib' horn parts for beginner/rebuilding players to use in mass choir situations. I hope you enjoy these additions to the horn repertoire. C.U.J.
Performance Notes
Wagner's Tristan und Isolde is an opera in three acts based on the tragic romance by Gottfried von Straßburg. Inspired by his affair with Mathilde Wesendonck and the philosophy of Schopenhauer, is became most influential musically for its use of chromaticism and tonality. In an orchestral setting, the Prelude is usually paired with Isolde's Liebestod, resulting in a performance time twice the length. The Prelude stand very well on its own though, and this transcription works well in a multitude of settings. The characteristic ascending and descending sixth, that opens (ascending) the movement and introduces Isolde (descending) is given to every part at some point, so as claimed in the comments above every player really can join in the thematic material of the work. The Prelude opens with the famous "Tristan chord", a dissonance resolving in another dissonance, with the middle parts (3-6) favoured on this occasion. This is another reason why the semi-circle setup is recommended (with two rows most of the visual distribution effects get lost). From there onwards it is sometimes a wild ride, with all of Wagner's original elements present, and some virtuosity required. One of the most difficult aspects of this transcription is the soft entering on high notes, and perhaps some of the fast scales. The works ends with horn 8, solo, in the low register. As an appendix this publications has short program notes, also containing a list and musical examples of the themes of the prelude (Confession of love, desire, the glance, the love philtre, the magic casket). All of these can be found in this transcription, if wanted. Otherwise it's a great piece of music arranged very well for 8 horns.
Access to review score: Nancy Joy (NMSU)