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Richard Wagner - "Trauermusik"

Written for the moving of Carl Maria von Weber's body from London back to Germany. The piece was composed for a large wind band and uses themes from "Euryanthe" as the basis for melodic material. The piece was originally edited by Erik Leidzen under the title Trauersinfonie, but a new edition by John Boyd and Michael Votta been recently published under the title Trauermusik. Below you will find program notes on the piece as well as a recording.

On December 14, 1844, the remains of Carl Maria von Weber were moved from London, where he had died, to Germany. Wagner composed Trauermusik for the torch-light procession to Weber’s final resting place, the Catholic Cemetary in Friedrichstadt. As part of his musical remembrance, Wagner arranged several portions of Weber’s opera, Euryanthe, for a large wind band of 75 players including 7 oboes, 10 bassoons, 25 clarinets and 14 horns, among others. This wind band was accompanied during the funeral procession by 20 drums. The first part of Trauermusik is an arrangement of music from the overture to Euryanthe which represents the vision of Emma’s spirit in the opera. The main section of the work is taken from the cavatina Hier dicht am Quell, the text of which contains numerous references to death. The coda comes from a passage in Act II that recalls the opening “spirit music.” Wagner amassed all of the military bands around Dresden for the occasion, and was gratified by the effect. He remained fond of the work throughout his life and in Mein Leben he wrote, “I had never before achieved anything that corresponded so perfectly to its purpose.”

- Program note by Michael Votta

Richard Wagner, Trauermusik, arranged by John Boyd and Michael Votta.

Brigham Young University Wind Symphony, David Blackinton, conductor.

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