Peter Cornelius’s The Three Kings is such a familiar feature in the world of English choral music, but he was in fact a German composer. Die Könige is the third song of a cycle for voice and piano, Weihnachstlieder (Christmas carols), and, as the title suggests, describes the visit of the three kings to Jesus. Cornelius was friends with Liszt, who suggested that he add the Lutheran chorale Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern (How brightly shines the morning star) as the accompaniment to the melody. The result is a ravishing polyphonic setting that grows from a tender beginning to a poignant emotional climax. In the English choral version the solo is sung by a baritone, with the choir singing the chorale, and this arrangement makes reference to this tradition: the solo is played by a euphonium, with the remaining instruments of the septet cup-muted for the accompanying chorale.

Parts included:

  • Score
  • Trumpet in E-flat
  • Trumpet 1 in B-flat
  • Trumpet 2 in B-flat
  • Trombone 1
  • Trombone 2 (Euphonium solo)
  • Trombone 3 (Bass)
  • Tuba

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