Equale Series for Trombone Quartet
Choral Works arranged for Trombone Quartet
At Beethoven’s funeral in 1827 two of his “Drei Equales” for four trombones were performed. The three Beethoven pieces are without doubt the most celebrated of the Equale genre, but short chordal pieces for trombone quartet were common in Austrian funereal music from the Eighteenth century onwards. And so the term Equale, which literally just means “equal” (referring to equal parts or voices) came to be the generic title for the very first trombone quartets.
The trombone was chosen for this particular funereal task because of its semantic association with divine presence. It’s worth noting that the “last trump” that signals the Day of Judgement in the King James Bible is “der letzten Posaune” in German. And it is perhaps also because of this divine association, along with its technical superiority to other early brass instruments, that the trombone was used from the Eighteenth Century onwards in so many sacred choral works, long before its introduction into the symphony orchestra, often doubling the parts of the choir.
Drawing on these two elements of the trombone’s history, the Equale series consists of choral works (mostly sacred in nature) arranged for trombone quartet.