Sonata from ‘Die Bankelsangerlieder’ - Tbn 5

CODE: AP-03035


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SONATA from Die Bankelsangerlieder by German "Anonymous" (©1684) is arranged by Joel Blahník for Trombone Quintet or Mixed Brass Quintet (Trombone 1-4, Tuba). Grade: 4 Duration: 2:45

Background and Performance Notes are in the Resources tab.

Sonata (from Die Bankelsangerlieder ) (score4565.pdf, 93 Kb) [Download]

Background Notes
The original manuscript of this work dates from 1684.  This music, spawned in Germany, represents the wonderful traditions in Central Europe where brass musicians during the 17th century held a noble position in the courts.  Their duty was to perform ceremonial music for all sorts of occasions, for church services, for Vespers, for tournaments, for all celebratory events in the Court culture of this time. Translated, the words mean "bench singer’s songs."
The "bench singers’’were a group of musicians that went from village to village, town to town, as an entertaining troupe, much like a miniature circus, performing entertaining shows in the town square for the populace.  They were primarily brass musicians and would perform dances and also other instrumental pieces that had text.  Most of the text was spicy, to say the least, often with vulgar jokes and crude poetry.  Censored!  They were often accompanied by dancing bears, monkeys and other curiosities.  They played the same role as the poetic trouveres and troubadors in France and Italy during the 12th and 13th centuries.  The Bench Singers were not so much artisans, but spunky rascals who had a zest for life and enjoyed moving about.  The results of the Reformation Wars, especially the Thirty Years War, did much to shape their behavioral mode and temperament.
In 1880 a German musicologist, Dr. Zelle, bought a bundle of old manuscript books at an auction.  Parts of these books were missing—each of the five instrumental books and one vocal book, were tied together with a string.Through the efforts of eminent musicologist Robert Eitner, these books were identified as music of "The Bench Singers."  This set of books contained 41 works; 23 vocal pieces and 18 instrumental pieces. The works had no titles and the composers/authors of the texts are not acknowledged. In that these escapades or endeavors in the town square had to have something more than just concert music to hold the attention of the audience, it is generally thought that these excursions provided a 'mini-drama', sort of a folk musical, where there would be songs and then instrumental pieces either with or without dance. This staging perhaps depicted a folk legend, a recent war, a parody on the aristocracy, etc.  We can imagine that they were quite colorful!
This Sonata was thought by Dr. Eitner to be the best of the instrumental pieces.  It has, therefore, survived the 'test of time' and is presented to you in this edition for trombones. Allow the music to dance!   Take on the spirit with finesse!
—Joel Blahník       
Sept.  2006
Performance Notes
The style is light, with a ‘bounce’ to the eighth notes and crisply tongued sixteenth notes.  The key to a successful performance is to keep the style consistent throughout the group as the instrument pairings change.