Три Equale для 4-x тромбонов (d-Moll, D-Dur, B-Dur), WoO 30

Время создания: ноябрь 1812 года

№1. Andante
№2. Poco Adagio
№3. Poco sostenuto

Philip Jones Brass Ensemble

Beethoven wrote these three pieces at the suggestion of Franz Xaver Glöggl (1764 - 1839), music director at the cathedral in Linz. The composer had visited Glöggl's brother, Johann, in 1812, and there was urged by Franz Xaver to write these works. Beethoven asked to hear an equale, which is a piece for equal voices or instruments. This rather arcane genre had become associated with the trombone (it was usually scored for four), and was typically written for solemn occasions, such as funerals. Glöggl arranged for a performance of an equale for Beethoven, and apparently the composer was impressed. These works are thought to have been written for use in an All Souls' Day service, another serious occasion.

All three of these pieces are somber and slow, written in a style closer to that of Renaissance music than that of most other compositions from Beethoven's middle period. Harmonies are simple and provide little color, reinforcing a somewhat austere character that pervades the pieces.

The first equale has a stately sobriety and hymn-like character, but in the end registers with a funereal quality in its solemnity and quasi-religious sound. The second piece is slower and more ponderous; its glacial pacing and barren sound world relate it more to gray moods than to lugubrious ones. The third entry here is closer in spirit to the second, but the music is less sonorously fluid; it stops, restarts, and stops again, especially in the latter half.

All in all, the music has rewards but hardly sounds like Beethoven. Moreover, the status of the three equali as minor works is reinforced by their short duration: the first and third last about a minute and a quarter each, and the second is just under a minute long. Ironically, Ignaz von Seyfried, a friend of the composer and later his biographer, thought highly enough of this music to arrange the first and third equali for four male voices, and used those renditions at Beethoven's funeral in 1827. The score to the original version of this music was published posthumously.

(All Music Guide)

Вокальные переложения дирижера Игнаца Зайфрида на латинские тексты были исполнены на похоронах Бетховена.