Gypsy Melodies (Zigeunerweisen) by Pablo Sarasate (1844-1908) arranged by Neal Corwell

Instrumentation: solo euphonium with piano or band accompaniment
Copyright: 2006
Duration: 9:30
Range: FF to f-2
Difficulty: V
Publisher: Nicolai Music
Price: $55 with band accompaniment (score and parts)
$15 for piano acc. version
Other Info: Dedicated to the memory of the great violin virtuoso, Erick Friedman. The band accompanied version was premiered by Neal Corwell with the Hagerstown Municipal Band, in Hagerstown, Maryland, during the Summer of 2006. The piano version was completed in 2008 and has been performed by Dr. Corwell many times since, usually with his wife Kathryn Sincell-Corwell as accompanist.


The original title of this work is “Zigeunerweisen” which translates to Gypsy Melodies or Gypsy Airs. It was written in 1878 by the Spanish composer and violin virtuoso Pable de Sarasate. After its premiere during the same year, Zigeurnerweisen soon became a staple of the violin repertoire, a status it still holds today. The work consists of a series of Gypsy melodies, usually presented in a free improvisatory and highly ornamented form. The piece is concluded with a brisk dance-like section which echoes the rhythm and spirit of the Csárdás.

The Haunting melodies and abundance of technical pyrotechnics make this piece a good fit for the euphonium. Other arrangements of
Gypsy Melodies exist, but they all, in the opinion of the arranger, make too many musical concessions in an effort to accommodate the “limits” of a brass instrument. Other arrangements feature a compression of the tonal range, the cutting of sections of the work, and the over-simplification of many phrases by the extraction of notes from difficult passages. Dr. Corwell felt compelled to create his own version, one that would faithfully recreate the range, brilliance, and excitement of the original violin solo. The result is a version that utilizes the full range of the euphonium from the pedal register up to the extreme high range (sometimes a range of four octaves is covered in a single passage) and pushes the limits of the instrument in numerous ways. The challenges are many, but the potential rewards of successfully performing this work are well worth the effort.

click here for pdf version of Gypsy web sample

Gypsy web sample graph pg1Gypsy web sample graph pg2