Nothing is known of the facts of this composer’s life.  The name, Schroen, which is fairly common, is of Northwest German - Dutch origin and means a cloth-cutter. It is likely that he was one of many German musicians who moved to Russia in the late 19th century, and that records of him were lost in the chaos of the Russian Revolution in 1915. He also had some training at at Institute Gustave Roussy in Paris.

The Fantasy Sonata for Trombone, Op. 40 is listed in Hofmeister Musikalisch-literalischer Monatsbericht (April 1900)Schroen, B.  Op. 40, Fantasie-Sonate f. Posaune u. Pfte. f. Vcello u. Pfte. Moskow, Jurgenson. This is cited in entries for ‘trombone’ in a number of more recent standard reference works, but it has been out of print for many years and is not found in the searchable collections of several major reference libraries.

It would seem to have been Schroen’s last work, or at least his last to make it into Hofmeister. A set of Drei Salonstücke for trumpet and piano, comprising Heimkehr, Ljubotschka and Andante sostenuto, was published by Rahter (Hamburg) in 1885 and is currently available from Simrock/Benjamin. These pieces currently appear in the syllabuses of several European conservatories. 6 Morceaux caracteristiques for cornet and piano published in 1880, also by Rahter, comprise Herbstlied, Mazurka, Romanze, Serenade, Polonaise and Elégie. An excellent performance of Elégie is currently found on You-Tube.

The hybrid Sonata - Fantasy evolved from Beethoven’s example during the 19th century, two of the most notable are by Joachim Raff, Fantaisie - Sonata Op168 (1871) and by Aleksandr Scriabin, Sonate-fantaisie (1886). A significant feature of the ‘Fantasy’ genre is the appearance of ‘interruptions’ in which the formal structure of the sonata is mixed with elements of a more ‘improvisatory’ nature. Frequent use of diminished 7th chords is also common[1], as in this work by Schroen, which is on an altogether smaller scale than the above examples.  It is written in the same virtuoso style as compositions of that period by Joseph Serafin Alschausky, and though quite challenging, it is fully idiomatic for the trombone. There is a passing ‘reference’ to the Concerto by Rimsky-Korsakov, and it is just possible that Schroen might have been familiar with that work as a trombonist himself.  There are also some stylistic similarities to the Fantasia for trombone and organ Op.58 composed in the mid-19th century by Friedrich August Belcke (1795 – 1874). 

This edition has been prepared from a transcription for tuba by John Spencer that was published in the USA in 1938. The Bflat tuba part and some of the piano part have been transposed up one octave, and I have corrected some obvious mistakes in the piano part.

Keith Davies Jones

Winnipeg, February 2016

[1]Hayashida, Mami, "FROM SONATA AND FANTASY TO SONATA-FANTASY: CHARTING A MUSICAL EVOLUTION" (2007). University of Kentucky Doctoral Dissertations. Paper 488.


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