The Three Equals for four trombones, WoO 30 (German: Drei Equale für vier Posaunen), are three short equals for trombones by Ludwig van Beethoven.
They were commissioned in the autumn of 1812 by the Stadtkapellmeister of Linz, Franz Xaver Glöggl, for performance as tower music on All Souls' Day.They were first performed at the Old Cathedral, Linz on 2 November 1812.
Two of the equals (nos. 1 & 3) were performed at Beethoven's funeral on 29 March 1827, both by a trombone quartet and also in vocal arrangements by Ignaz Seyfried.
The arrangements of Nos. 1 and 3 by Seyfried are settings for men's voices of two verses from the 'Miserere'.These were sung at the funeral, alternating with the trombones. The remaining Equal, no. 2 (again arranged by Seyfried for male voice choir) was sung at the dedication of Beethoven's gravestone on the first anniversary of his death in March 1828.
A clean manuscript copy, checked by Beethoven, was made of the original manuscript as part of a complete edition of his work ('Gesamtausgabe') by his Vienna publisher Tobias Haslinger.Although Seyfried's arrangements, published in 1827 and 1829, received public performances and were reprinted in 19th-century books about Beethoven, the original score for trombones wasn't published until 1888 as part of Breitkopf and Härtel's 'old' Beethoven Edition.
All three equals were played at the state funerals of W. E. Gladstone and King Edward VII, where one writer remarked on their "tones of weird simplicity and exquisite pathos",and they have become part of the standard trombone repertory.
The title of Beethoven's work, 'Drei Equale für vier Posaunen' is derived from the mediaeval Latin musical term ad equales or a voce (or a parte) equali. It designates two or more performers who sustain an equally difficult and important part ('equal voices') in either vocal or instrumental music, written for a particular range of voice parts.
The term gained popularity during the 16th century among writers on music theory. Equal-voiced music is contrasted with pieces written 'a voce piena, or for a 'full range of voices'.
The singular and plural forms in various languages are confusingly similar:
Although the German word 'Posaune' is usually rendered as 'trombone' in English, it has also been used historically to refer to slide trumpets, deriving from Middle High German busīne, busūne, 'trumpet', from Old French buisine, busine, from Latin bucina, Italian buccina.'Posaune' can be generally applied to brass instruments, as in 'Posaunenchor' (brass band).
Equal-voiced music, written for a specific restricted range of voices was developed through the Middle Ages and continues to be composed. The names used during the 14th to 16th centuries to describe the various voice parts have become part of the modern vocabulary of music, both vocal and instrumental.[ citation needed ]
Music written during the Middle Ages for a full range of voices, including treble, mid-range and bass parts, was described by music theoreticians who used the term 'a voce piena ("for full voice" or "full range").As well as writing pieces a voce piena, composers used more restricted ranges throughout the sixteenth century, in all major genres, and for a number of reasons. Various terms were used by writers on music to describe this type of music under headings such as ad aequales, a voci pari, the "grammatically peculiar" a voce paribus, or the related term, a voci mutate.
Such designations have often been translated and understood as "equal voices", but the wide variety of music answering to this description shows that these labels are often inadequate or even quite misleading. [ better source needed ]The multiplicity of Latin phrases used to describe the various voice parts of polyphonic medieval music became associated with modern voice types of treble, alto, tenor and bass.
The terms mentioned above came into use during the development of plainchant, which was sung to a single melody or cantus held by the tenor (from Lat. tenere, 'to hold'.) As polyphonic music developed, a second voice above the cantus was termed the contratenor. The third part was the triplum (the 'third' voice up from the tenor part, the modern 'treble').
By the 15th century the highest musical line was named discantus (whence modern 'descant'),or superius, 'highest': and the contratenor developed into the medium-high contratenor altus (hence modern 'countertenor' and 'alto') and the lower contratenor bassus, or modern bass. These terms are applied to music for any mix or range of voices, both a voce piena and a voce equale.
For music written for e.g. men's voices, or trombones, a certain amount of re-distribution of the full-range harmony was necessary. For most of the early fifteenth-century, French chanson repertory for equal voices -- whether in two, three or four voices -- the discantus and tenor occupy ranges separated by about a fifth. The contratenor will then be in the same range as the tenor; and the triplum, if there is one, will be in the same range as the discantus.
In the sixteenth century a self-conscious and systematic distinction began to be drawn between conventional, full-range musical textures and those with equal-voiced textures.Treatises by music theoreticians such as Pietro Aron, Nicola Vicentino, Gioseffo Zarlino, Thomas Morley, and not least the "monstrous" El melopeo y maestro by Pietro Cerone all contain remarks on writing for equal voices.
One of the most popular forms of outdoors public music-making in the 17th century in Germany and central Europe was tower music (German: Turmmusik), organised by the town piper (Stadtpfeifer) or tower master (Turmmeister). He and his band of musicians, also called Stadtpfeifer (the German plural is the same as the singular) played music for loud and penetrating wind or brass instruments (alta cappella) from church towers and town hall balconies.
These civic wind bands of town pipers had been a feature of larger German towns and cities since well before the beginning of the sixteenth century, similar to the employment of waits with their sackbuts and shawms in England.Martin Luther, one of the chief figures of the Reformation, encouraged music-making in the service of God, and by around 1570 town councils were employing musicians specifically to take part in church services to supplement the organ playing.
Generations of the Bach family in Erfurt filled the office of Stadtpfeifer or Ratsmusiker (German: 'town council musician'). By 1600 Halle, Dresden, Berlin, Cologne, Stettin, Nordhausen and even Eisenach (J. S. Bach's birthplace) with only 6,000 inhabitants, all had 'Stadpfeifers', whose job it was to sound the hours ('Stundenblasen') in the days before striking clocks were common in towers and churches.They started around 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning to start the working day, sounded (German: blasen, lit. 'blew') the mid-morning break around 10 o'clock (Latin: decima hora) and the afternoon break around three or four o'clock in the afternoon. Finally, at around 9 or 10 o'clock, there was an Abendsegen, or evening blessing. Well known pieces by and for 'Stadtpfeifer' include Johann Schein's Banchetto musicale (1617) and Samuel Scheidt's Ludi Musici (1621).
In Nuremberg and Leipzig and there was a particular penchant for antiphonal tower music: three verses of a hymn would be echoed back and forth three times between the bands stationed in the towers of the Neukirche, St. Thomas Church and St. Nicholas Church, Leipzig.The Leipzig Stadtpfeifer and tower master ('Turmmeister') of St. Nicholas Church from 1669 was Johann Pezel (or Petzold, etc.) whose Hora decima musicorum Lipsiensium ('Leipzig 10 o'clock music') was published the following year, as well as Fünff-stimmigte blasende Music (1685) with five-part intradas and dance pieces for brass instruments. Another Leipzig Stadtpfeifer and virtuoso trumpet player Gottfried Reiche (1667-1734) described tower music in his preface to Vier und zwanzig Neue Quatricinia (1696) for cornett and three trombones, as "a sign of joy and peace", an embodiment of the spiritual-cultural life of the city "certainly whenever the whole country is in mourning, or in war, or when other misfortune is to be lamented."
Although the revival of music in churches was a particularly Lutheran initiative, Catholic areas like Vienna and Salzburg were just as keen to promote tower music.Among the most popular of tunes were the Heilig-Leider, paraphrases in German of the Sanctus from the Latin Mass, which came into fashion after the enlightened reforms of the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph I promoted the use of the vernacular in church services. According to one Stadtpfeifer named Hornbock, quoted in Johann Kuhnau's Quack-Salber: "We know from experience that when our city pipers in the festive season play a religious song with nothing but trombones from the tower, then we are greatly moved, and imagine that we hear the angels singing.".
There was a distinct difference between the town or city bands who played cornetts and trombones, and the guilds ('Kameradschaften') of Imperial trumpeters and kettle-drummers, who played fanfares and other ceremonial duties for the emperor, kings, imperial princes, counts and other nobles. From around 1630 to the end of the 18th century these guilds jealously guarded their Imperial Privilege which allowed them exclusive use of trumpets and drums.Court cases were common in which Statdpfeifers and ordinary musicians had their instruments confiscated, and violence was not uncommon. Trumpeters were not allowed to mix with the town pipers, and the playing of trumpets in processions, dances or sounding an alarm was strictly forbidden. Johann Schein, the Leipzig Stadtpfeifer mentioned above, was prosecuted for using trumpets in a performance in the Thomaskirche, and admonished to use cornetts in future.
The art of trombone-playing was also kept a trade secret by musicians' guilds who feared the loss of their livelihood, one reason why there are few early treatises on the subject. This lack was addressed by Daniel Speer, Stadpfeifer of Stuttgart during the 1660s, whose Grund-Richter (1687, 2nd expanded ed. 1697)was one of the first books written specifically for teachers and students of wind and brass instruments and kettle-drums.
In Germany and Austria, brass music became generally associated with all sorts of events: at parish/community festivals, at burials in funeral processions, as spiritual company during confirmations; dedications at churches, harvest festivals etc.; playing in the New Year; at Epiphany (Dreikönigsblasen), Christmas and Easter; children's bands playing for the sick, the aged, anniversaries, birthdays etc.; and serenades of all kinds.
In Austria, trombones were typically played from church towers (German Turmblasen, lit 'tower blowing') or in cemeteries on All Souls' Day and the previous day (Hallowe'en in England). Their use is mentioned in a handbook explaining the multitude of church music regulations, Kirchenmusik-Ordnung (1828), by the Linz Stadtpfeifer Franz Glöggl.Glöggl commissioned the Three Equals from Beethoven in 1812. They were both pupils of Johann Albrechtsberger (d. 1807), who wrote one of the first trombone concertos.
Tower music reached a peak in around 1750, and thereafter declined towards the end of the 18th century. From around 1800 official civic concerts began to replace those given by the nobility, and what has been termed "Saint Culture" ('St.-Kultur') suffered a split, leading on one side to the growth of professional symphony orchestras, and on the other to amateur Stadtkapellen conducted by professional or semi-professional town music directors.
Beethoven completed his seventh symphony in the summer of 1812, later published as Op. 92. He began work straight away on the eighth symphony, but continued to suffer the same headaches and high fever from the year before. His doctor again ordered Beethoven to rest in the Bohemian spa town of Teplitz, where he wrote the well-known letter to his "Immortal Beloved", whose identity is still unknown.He also finally met Johann von Goethe in Teplitz in July 1812, a somewhat equivocal meeting of minds. Beethoven, out walking in the company of Goethe, deliberately walked straight through the midst of some royalties with his hands in his pockets, and rebuked Goethe for being too deferential.
Furthermore, Beethoven's youngest brother, (Nikolaus) Johann, had begun cohabiting during 1812 with Therese Obermayer, who already had a 5-year-old illegitimate daughter (Amalie Waldmann) from a previous relationship.Beethoven journeyed to Linz in late September 1812, primarily to convince Johann to end the relationship. Although he finished the eighth symphony after only four months in Linz in October, Johann remained obdurate, and Beethoven appealed instead to the bishop, to the civic authorities and to the police.
The Stadtpfeifer in Linz at the time was Franz Xaver Glöggl (also Gloeggl), whose full title was Stadtcapell- und Turmmeister (i.e. 'director of city music and tower master').Glöggl had been appointed as Tonkünstler und Musik-Commissioneur in 1789, living at Schmidtor 41. The following year he was Stadt- und Dommusikdirektor und Casininounternehmer ('director of city and cathedral music, and casino manager'). He may have been the world's first basset-horn teacher. Glöggl lived in the Schmidtor-Turm (Schmidt gate tower), provided for the Stadtpfeifer's use by the city: "A narrow staircase led from the street into the tower, where the tower master lived with his fellows."
Glöggl, as tower master, asked Beethoven for some trombone music to be played at the cathedral on All Souls' Day (2 November). According to an anonymous account (probably by Haslinger) printed in the introduction to Ignaz Seyfried's choral settings of the equals:
Beethoven may have written more than the three equals which have come down to us. 1838 Glöggl himself reported in a letter to Robert Schumann that “he [Beethoven] also wrote me some mourning pieces for trombones, of which I gave two to my friend Haslinger in Vienna, and one of them was played at his funeral. He wrote them in my room, and I kept one back for myself alone”
According to the memoirs of Glöggl’s son Franz(though these were not written until 1872): “My father asked Beethoven to write him an Equale for 6 trombones, since in his collection of old instruments he still owned a soprano trombone and a quart trombone [presumably a bass trombone in F], whereas usually only alto, tenor, and bass trombones were used. But Beethoven wanted to hear an Equale as played at funerals in Linz, so it came about that my father one afternoon summoned three trombonists, since Beethoven was eating with us at that time, and had them play an Equale of this sort; following which Beethoven sat down and wrote one for 6 trombones, which my father also had his trombonists play.”
However, there is no evidence in the manuscript itself that he composed a fourth piece that was subsequently separated from it.Beethoven's manuscript was acquired by Tobias Haslinger, Beethoven's publisher, to add to his collection of Beethoven MSS. "The original MS of this curious production is in the possession of Mr. Haslinger, and prized as a relic of no common kind."
Not long after the solemn music was performed on Sunday 2 November, Johann van Beethoven and Therese Obermayer finally got married on 8 November 1812 and Beethoven returned to Vienna.
Fifteen years later, as Beethoven was dying, Haslinger approached Ignaz von Seyfried with the manuscript on the morning of 26 March 1827 to discuss the possibility of forming a choral anthem out of these Equals to the words of the Miserere'.Beethoven died that afternoon, and the arrangement was finished that same night.
Beethoven's funeral took place in the afternoon of 29 March 1827. The music was played in accordance with the regulations of the Catholic Church governing the use of music in church, including at funerals. These assorted rules were only gathered together the following year with the publication of Kirchenmusik-Ordnung (1828), ('Church music regulations') by Franz Xaver Glöggl, director of music in Linz and its cathedral (Stadt- und Domkapellmeister'):
"For first-class funerals, the arrival of the clergy will be announced by a short mourning-music (Equale) played on trombones or other wind instruments. This will mark the beginning of the funeral service. After this, the funeral procession will set out, again suitably announced by mourning music played on wind instruments. During the procession, this shall be played alternately with a three- or four-voice choral Miserere until arrival at the entrance of the church or graveyard, where the benediction of the Requiem aeternam is sung. After the benediction and common prayer, a mourning motet is sung."
This corresponds fairly closely to the order in which events took place at the funeral. During the funeral procession from Beethoven's house in the Schwarzspanierhaus to the Alserkirche, nos. 1 & 3 were played alternately, stanza by stanza, first by the four trombones and then sung by the choir.
No. 2 was sung at Beethoven's grave on 26 March 1828, the first anniversary of his death, in another arrangement by Seyfried, setting words by the poet Franz Grillparzer.
Tobias Haslinger, Beethoven's publisher, acquired the MS after they were first played. "The original MS of this curious production is in the possession of Mr. Haslinger, and prized as a relic of no common kind."- Haslinger died in 1842.
The MS was used in the preparation of the Haslinger-Rudolphine edition of 1817,in which they appeared as 'Short funeral pieces'. This Haslinger-Rudolphine edition was used in the preparation of the 1888 Breitkopf and Härtel edition of the 'Drei Equale für vier Posaunen, WoO 30. The score of the 'New Beethoven edition' was prepared exclusively from the original manuscript.
Seyfried's arrangements for 4-part male chorus were published in Vienna by Haslinger, Nos. 1 & 3 in June 1827, and No. 2 in March 1829. See below .
Ignaz Seyfried was a pupil of Mozart, and along with F. X. Glöggl and Beethoven, was a pupil of Mozart and Johann Albrechtsberger,whose complete works he edited after his death. A prolific composer of stage works and wind band arranger, he was the musical director ( Kapellmeister ) from 1797 of the Emanuel Schickaneder's Theater auf der Wieden where the first performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute took place, and its successor, Theater an der Wien from 1797 to 1826.
Seyfried arranged two of Beethoven's three equals (nos. 1 & 3) for four-part male voice chorus, setting the words of verses 1 and 3 of Psalm 51, Miserere mei, Domine and Amplius. This involved some re-writing in order to give the words the right note-values.The music was transposed a tone lower to make it easier for the vocalists.
His arrangements of WoO 30 Nos. 1 and 3 for male voices and piano, were published in June 1827, prefaced by a lengthy description of the funeral and the music.The choral version has many changes from the original trombone music, necessary to accommodate the text and range of the male voices.
Seyfried's arrangement of WoO 30, No. 2, in a setting of words by Franz Grillparzer ('Du, dem nie im Leben Ruhstatt ward') was played at the dedication of the gravestone 29 March 1828. Printed as a supplement to Allgemeiner Musikalischer Anzeiger, No. 12 (21 March 1829).
Du, dem nie im Leben Ruhstatt ward, und Herd und Haus,
Ruhe nun in Tod aus, im stillen Grabe aus.
Und wenn Freundes Klage reicht über's Grab hinaus,
Horch eig'nen Sangs süssen Klang,
Halb erwacht im stillen, stillen Haus. (Grillparzer)
You, who in life ne'er had resting place, nor hearth nor house,
Rest now in death, in the quiet grave.
And if your your friends' lament transcends the grave,
Hark to your own song's sweet sound,
Half awake in the still, still, house.
These choral arrangements were performed at a Beethoven memorial concert in Nuremberg on 26 March 1828, and appeared in the appendix of Beethoven's Thorough-bass studies, edited by Seyfried.As late as 1806 Nuremberg had a tradition of playing 'Statdpfeiler' antiphonal tower music, consisting of verses of a hymn echoed back and forth from church to church.
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