New critical edition · Launy Grøndahl

Launy Grøndahl’s Trombone Concerto is arguably the favorite 20th century concerto for trombonists and audiences. Now the version for trombone and band is published in a new critical edition edited by David J. Miller.

Launy Grøndahl’s Trombone Concerto has been published and edited multiple times since it was composed in 1924, with the full orchestral score first appearing in print in 1954. The piano reduction was first published in 1929, and Per Gade edited both the orchestral score and piano edition in 1992. Poul Ivan Møller arranged the piece for concert band in 1984, with the score and parts published as copies of the handwritten manuscript. 

In 2016 David J. Miller, trombonist and arranger at Barclay Brass in Washington DC, contacted Edition·S and suggested to correct Møller’s arrangement for concert band following Grøndahl’s original orchestral manuscript, so that an engraved version of the score and parts could be published. 

Find the new critical edition of Launy Grøndahl's Concerto for Trombone and Band here >>

In the introduction to the new critical edition, David J. Miller writes:

“The concerto was originally premiered on 30 June 1925 in a version for solo trombone and wind band, according to Martin Granau’s article that appeared in the Spring 1998 ITA Journal. Although this premiere was performed by wind band, it was composed with an orchestral setting in mind. Grøndahl completed his version for orchestra on 30 November 1926; this date is found at the end of his handwritten manuscript. A comparison of the 1926 orchestral score and the 1984 Møller band score showed me that there were several inconsistencies in tempi and articulation.

In this orchestral manuscript, there are several passages that are marked “come sopra” (as before) with measure numbers written over the empty measures in question. This is one of many examples where a type of shorthand was used to save time, and the publisher or conductor was expected to understand the abbreviations. In some cases, these markings turned out to be incorrect. Additionally, orchestrational changes were made from the initial composition to the time it was published: the original harp part was changed to piano, and a timpani part was added, which had been written as part of the wind band version. 

With the piece having been published 30 years after it was composed, many aspects of performance practice have become standardized. Keeping these issues in mind, I realized that the manuscript could not be treated as the only authoritative source. I found that the best way to approach this critical edition was to compare Møller’s band arrangement against the manuscript, as well as the 1992 editions of both the piano reduction and the orchestral score.”

Premiere of the David Miller edition of Grøndahl's Concerto for Trombone and Band by Joseph Rodriguez, Assistant principal trombonist of the Cincinnati Symphony, with CW2 Jac’kel Smalls conducting the US Army Concert Band as part of the 2018 American Trombone Workshop.