Latest updated 10/6 2018
CONTENTS IN THIS CHAPTER:
1 – THE 20’ CENTURY (1900-) – SYMPHONY ORCHESTRAS
2 – THE MAKING OF INSTRUMENTS
3 – NEW INVENTIONS AND NEW TECHNOLOGY
4 – SHORT-LIVED PROJECTS
5 – THE TRUMPET
6 – THE CORNET
7 – SIGNALING
8 – THE HORN
9 – THE TROMBONE
10 – THE TROMBONE AS A SOLO INSTRUMENT
11 – THE TUBA
12 – RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS CONCERTO FOR TUBA AND ORCHESTRA
13 – OTHER BRASS INSTRUMENTS IN A SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
14 – CARL NIELSENS INSTRUMENTATION FOR BRASS PLAYERS
15 – FEMALE BRASS PLAYERS ON POSTCARDS
16 – FEMALE BRASS PLAYERS IN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRAS
1. THE 20′ CENTURY (1900 – ) – SYMPHONY ORCHESTRAS
Fig. 1 BRASS PLAYERS IN THE BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 1910
All instruments are ”modern” but the design is still like the German instruments from the time of Wagner.
On the other hand, the instruments have developed to be able to live up to new challenges. In the symphony orchestras it was especially Gustav Mahler (1860-1811), Austria, and Richard Strauss (1864-1949), Germany, who used the brass instruments in a rather new, challenging and brilliant way: long solos, extreme registers and a unique understanding of the character of the instruments. Once, when R. Strauss was critisized for making the trumpet- and horn parts too high and too difficult, he answered that that probably was right, but that the problem would be solved for sure, and he proved to be right.
Fig. 2 BRASS PLAYERS FROM THE BERLIN PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA – from the Herbert von Karajan Movie Documentary 1965-1966.
– THE TRUMPET SECTION
– THE HORN SECTION
– AND THE TROMBONE SECTION
Both the technique of the musicians and the use of instruments have changed. You could say that the original pitch of the instruments has been changed: The natural pitch of the trumpets and horns is higher now, and the pitch of the ”low brass” is lower. The re- introducing of the alto trombone and the further development of the bass trombone made the overall sound of the trombone group wider, and the preferred pitch of the tuba became CC/ BB in stead of F/Eb. Since the 1950ies the bore on the trumpet and trombone became wider, from small bore over medium bore to large bore. The bigger bore has made up for the sound in the higher regions, it is not too light. The brass group as a whole has got more contrast, without losing the homogeneous sound.
Fig. 2 THE BRASS GROUP OF THE CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 1978 – presented recordings with such a tremendous clearness, beauty and intonation that they have become the utmost example for the whole world. Characteristic of these brass players was to focus on the individual’s own part in the orchestra. The attitude is clearly reflected in the statement from the 2nd trumpet player in the Chigaco Symphony Orchestra 1952-1974 Vincent Cichowicz:
“The first rule of second trumpet playing is to check your ego at the door” !.
Fig. BRASS PLAYERS FROM THE CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, back row from left: Edward Kleinhammer – bass trombone, Arnold Jacobs – tuba, front row: Adolph Herset and Vincent Cichowitcz – trumpet.
To be a soloist is always a challenge, but to brass players (and also to singers) it is a physical challenge to be able to end a piece with the same reserves of energy as one had at the beginning of the piece. In the culture of wind orchestras and jazz it has always been rather ”normal” to have many brass-soloists, but from the second half of the 20th century it became more common to see brass players as soloists in front of the symphony orchestras. Some brass players have even become full time star soloists.
2. THE MAKING OF INTRUMENTS
In the 1900’s American instrument firms came along seriously, not only in the USA but also in Europe. Some of the best known were: CONN, KING, HOLTON og BACH. Today they are all a part of the company CONN-SELMER. (Also look after BENGE under Sousas soloists The 20′ century II).
Fig. 4 THE INSTRUMENT COMPANY CONN 1913
Fig. 5 THE “TOOL DEPARTMENT” AT CONN
Fig. 6 CONN’S “DOUBLE BELL” EUPHONIUM from 1920 is one of their special instruments. CONN got big succes with trumpets, horns, trombones as well as tubas.
Fig. 7 THE TROMBONE GROUP AT THE BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, about 1910. It was rather common to use wellknown musicians in advertisements for brass instruments. From left to right: Leroy Kenfield (bass trombone), August Mausebach (2nd trombone) and Carl Hampe (1st trombone) in an advertisement for HOLTON TROMBONES.
Fig. 8 ADVERTISEMENT FOR KING INSTRUMENTS. Coming out of the war, King instruments saw great popularity in the 40’s and 50’s with names like Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Ziggy Elman. From 1938 the King 2B trombone was made and and in 1952 the King 3B trombone was introduced, and today they are still the world’s top selling jazz trombones. These pictures show trombone player Tommy Dorsey and the trumpet player Harry James ain an advertisement for King instruments.
Fig. 9 THE STAN KENTON TROMBONE SECTION IN AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR CONN TROMBONES.
Fig. 10 VINCENT BACH (1890-1976) was born in Austria were he at a young age performed as a cornet virtuoso. Later he moved to the USA were he in 1918 set off with his firm making mouthpieces. Later he made trumpets and trombones as well and all his instruments became world famous, like a synonym for the highest quality ever. The series of his top-instruments was named after the famous old Italian violins: STRADIVARIUS.
In Europe there were still instrument firms in Germany, France and Engand, that were doing very well. In England BESSON continued to deliver instruments to the Brass Band Movement. In 1948, the group BOOSEY & HAWKES acquired the BESSON London brand. In 2006 the company Buffet Crampon acquires two famous brass instrument brands, ANTOINE COURTOIS Paris (created in 1803) and BESSON (created in 1837). The company became Groupe Buffet Crampon.
Til the end of the 1900’s it seemed that the USA dominated the marked for trumpet and trombone, while Europe was selfsupporting with horn and tuba. Today there are really lots of brass instruments companys and their quality is no longer depending on the place of manufacturing. The Japanese brand YAMAHA was earlier manufacturing cheap instruments but is now the name for top quality instruments. In Europe there are some medium size firms, who built quality instruments, each with their own ideas and special design, for example the Spanish STOMVI (all brass instruments), the Austrian SCHARGERL (trumpets and trombones) , the Swiss HIRBRUNNER (euphonium and tuba), the Dutch ADAMS (euphonium) and the German GEBR. ALEXANDER (waldhorn).
Fig. 11 EMPLOYEES AT GEBR. ALEXANDER, a picture from their 100 years Jubilee, 1882. It is evident that they still produce woodwind instruments at that time. The firm ” Gebr. Alexander” was established in 1782 as a firm for woodwind instruments and was a family driven factory. From the 1800rds they started to produce all kind of brass instruments. It was a milestone when they got their double horn patented in 1919. Today Gebr. Alexander produces primarily horn and wagner tubas and they sell all over the world.
Fig. 12 GEBR. ALEXANDER WORKSHOP 1909.
3. NEW INVENTIONS AND NEW TECHNOLOGY
In the beginning of the 20th century the overall design, function and technique of the brass instrumentes was of allmost the same level as we know today. For example, all instruments had got a tuning slide, which made it possible to tune accurate, a special valve to remove condensation, and it was common practice to use mutes.
Fig. 13 TUNING SLIDE AND WATER KEY FOR THE TRUMPET.
Fig. 14 MUTES FOR TROMBONE
From left to right: Cup-mute, straight-mute and harmon-mute.
Modern technology made it easier to produce smooth and accurate metal parts, as well as making precise accoustic calculations. The best bells though are those who are hand made. Not only the bore but also the metal type has influence on the sound: Brass – light sound, gold brass – a bit darker sound, copper – a dark sound. The modern polished orchestral sound overrules the sound that Strauss and Mahler could have dreamed of, you can hear it in lots of film music, for example in the filmseries Star Wars, written by John Williams.
Fig. 15 TRIGGER. On the trumpet, cornet, flügelhorn, euphonium and tuba there often is a mechanism to lengthen the tubes of the valves, a so called “trigger”, just like the slide on a trombone, and it helps to improve the intonation.
Fig. 16 “HEAVY WEIGHT” TRUMPET. The mass of the instrument has influence on the sound as well:a heavy instrument and mouthpiece makes the sound steady and dark, while a light instrument makes the sound more brilliant and light. This model from the firm MONETTE is extreme heavy with extra metal parts and a ”double bell”.
Fig. 17 NEW VALVES. Later in the 2oth century valves have been constructed that are more ”open” and without dents or narrowings. The most radical is the “AXIAL FLOW ” trombone valve, which is invented in 1976 by Orla Ed Thayer, USA. With its straight lines in the cone – the valving house – there are no dents nor sharp curves in the tube.
Both valve types are used on trombones. The Hagmann valve has also been tried on the Cimbasso
Fig. IMPROVEMENT OF EXISTING VALVE SYSTEMS. Many companies have been working to keep the tube diameter through the valves constant. Here is shown a kind of normal runs of tube trough rotary valves on a French horn:
– and here is the company Engelbert Smid’s design with smoother curves:
Fig. 18 GERMAN ROTARY VALVE TRUMPET WITH SPECIAL KEYS. A refinement on the modern German trumpet is these keys that take away som natural tones and make som high notes more secure to play.
4. SHORT-LIVED PROJECTS
Fig. 19 THE BELLOPHONE. Like before there have been inventions and constructions which not lived very long. An example is THE BELLOPHONE build by the American firm H.N. White (1893-1965) at the request of the tuba player William Bell (look at: pioneers in tuba playing). The idea lies in the combination of a C-tuba and a Bb-euphonium/baritone, this extends the register of the tuba. The instrument has two leadpipes, one for the tuba, and the other one to be able to shift between the tuba and the euphonium with a rotary change valve. William Bell performed on this Bellophone in The Cicinnati Symphony Orchestra, The Band of America and The Goldman Band.
Fig. 20 EXTREAMLY LARGE TUBA-BELLS were made in the 1930-ies and 40-ies, but it was never a succes.
Fig.21 DAVIS SCHUMAN (1912-1966) AND HIS ERGONOMICALLY TROMBONE. Trombonist Davis Schuman was teaching at Julliard School of music and a pioneer in developing the solo literature for trombone through his activities in recordings and as a soloist. He is credited with giving the first full-length recital for trombone and piano 1947 in Town Hall, New York. He commission and premiered works by Ernest Bloch, Vincent Persichetti, Darius Milhaud and Tibor Serly. Schuman created his ergonomically-correct “angular” trombone with the idea that: “The slide can be moved at an angle to avoid striking a person in front of the trombonist without the necessity of directing the bell away from the audience, and make the arm movement with the slide easier and more natural”. There was actually not made many Schuman-trombones.
Fig. 22 POCKET CORNETS. It has also tried out with the opposite: compact instruments that have small bore and little bell but they were of no particular importance. Bottom: BABY FLÜGELHORN and MINI FRENCH HORN
Fig. 23 BASS TROMBONE IN Eb. The Salvation Army has since 1878 a big and almost supreme organised Brass Band activities with their own music editors and since the 188oies their own instrument factory as well. Until the 1950ies the bass trombone in G with extra extension (see at Romanticism II) was used in England. As an experiment at the Salvation Army’s instrument factory a bass trombone in Eb was constructed in 1905, which with a smart system had a backwards slide as an extension to the main slide. The idea was that the sliding did not became too large but it all got too clumsy and complicated, and not many instruments were build. The Salvation Army instrument factory was sold to Boosy and Hawkes in 1979.
Fig.24 SALVATION ARMY INSTRUMENT FACTORY, Campfield, St. Albans, England. Photo from 1904
Fig. 24 THE KING SYMPHONY MODEL ORCHESTRA BASS – was a tuba designed in the 1930’s to enable a bass player to easily switch back and forth between a stringed double bass and a tuba. It was designed to be played standing up, and came with its own stand. This short lived instrument went away when tuba/double bass doubling fell out of fashion.
Fig. 25 BOOSEY COMPENSATION CORNET c 1898. A compensation system similar to what is used on euphonium was also tried on cornet. It became too clumsy and never became popular.
Fig. 26 HERR FRANZ SCHULTZ, principal tubist of the Schwerin Theater with THE AEROPHOR – a device invented in the early 20th century by Bernard Samuels, Schwerin, Germany, to give additional air to wind players. The AEROPHOR disappeared quickly again. Richard Strauss has provided for its use in his “Festival Prelude” in a passage marked “tuba con Aerophor”. Photo 1914.
Fig. 27 RARE INSTRUMENTS FOR TUBISTS:
– BASS FRENCH HORN IN CC – idea: Roger Bobo (on the photo) , made by George Strucel and Larry Minick
FLUBA, A TUBA SIZED FLÜGELHORN IN F – idea: Jim Self (on the photo) and made by Robb Stewart
5. THE TRUMPET
As a result of the new demand for a technical and stylistic scope the pitch in the trumpet became higher and higher. It happened little by little and it gave the trumpet a lighter sound. But Gustav Mahler was sorry not to have the dark sound of the low register of the Bb trumpet and he demanded a double 2nd trumpet part when conducting the symphonies of Beethoven. The French were quick to develop the C-trumpet that fitted quite well in the ideal French light sound. After some time even smaller trumpets came along and at last there was the small A/Bb piccolo trumpet. First it was mostly used in Baroque music but today it is also used in new and even pop music: it is used in the Beatles’ song Penny Lane. Today in most pieces is written for trumpet, which means that the trumpet player himself has to decide which trumpet fits best to the piece.
Fig. 27 MODERN TRUMPETS WITH PISTON VALVES. From left to right: Bb, C, Eb and Bb-piccolo trumpet.
Fig. 28 GERMAN TRUMPET WITH ROTARY VALVES AND WITH EXTRA KEYS. An extra finesse at the moderne German trumpet are the extra keys, which, when open, ”remove” some of the natural tones around the wanted tone, and in that way those are easier and more secure to play.
Fig. 29 EDUARD SEIFERT 1870-1965. From 1898, until his retirement in 1938, he served as principal trumpet in Staatskapelle Dresden. The Dresden Opera and Royal Saxon State Orchestra were at the center of musical and cultural life in Germany and Europe. Both the orchestra and Dresden Opera were dedicated to, and focused on, the contemporary composer Richard Strauss – the repertoire of Richard Strauss subsequently became an essential part of Seifert’s orchestral life. Seifert mastered Strauss’ trumpet passages perfectly and never failed, so colleagues named him “Mr. Never-Miss” (“Der Unfehlbare”). Eduard Seifert worked in Dresden with conductors such as Ernst von Schuch (1846 – 1914), Fritz Reiner (1888-1963), Fritz Busch (1890-1951), Karl Böhm (1894 – 1981) and the composer Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949). Alongside his orchestral career, Eduard Seifert performed as a trumpet and cornet soloist playing turn of the century style music. He reintroduced the Haydn Trumpet Concerto to the public with a performance on F trumpet and was a trailblazer for baroque trumpet playing, performing many of the works of the masters Bach, Stölzel and Händel on his Heckel F/G trumpet. He was one of the first to master the demanding trumpet part for Bach’s 2nd Brandenburg Concerto, which he frequently performed on tour.
Fig. 30 2 ENGLISH TRUMPET LEGENDS
Left: ERNEST HALL (1890-1984) was a giant that dominated the London symphonic trumpet scene for years. He first joined the London Symphony orchestra as principal trumpet in the age of 20 and later took the same position in the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He was teaching at the Royal Academy of Music, and it is said that in the 1950s he could go to any professional orchestra in Britain and sit on fourth trumpet in the sure knowledge that the first three had been taught by him, or by people who had been taught by him.
Right: GEORGE ESKDALE (1897 – 1960) was principal trumpet with London Symphony Orchestra from 1934 to 1956. He taught at Trinity College of Music from 1937 and the Royal Academy of Music from 1938. He is believed to be the first who made a recording of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto in 1938 (2. And 3. Movement – later in 1954, Eskdale recorded the complete Concerto). He had a more lyrical cornet-like style in his trumpet playing than the more heroic playing of his predecessors.
Fig. 31 ADOLF SCHERBAUN (1909 – 2000) A GERMAN LEGEND
Adolph Scherbaum was a pioneer in playing the baroque trumpet music on the modern piccolo trumpet and was called: “The man who rediscovered the baroque trumpet”. Adolph Scherbaum was born in the Czech Republic, but played mostly in Germany. He was solo trumpet in Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra 1941-1945 and solo trumpet in Hamburg Radio Orchestra 1951 -1964. In more than 400 concerts, that took him through the whole world, he destroyed the legend that the 2. Brandenburg Concerto was unplayable and recorded it 15 times. For many years he was the only trumpet player in the world that performed this concerto live. Scherbaum played with famous Orchestras such as London Philharmonic Orchestra, Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchester Santa Cecilia Rome, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester and more, and under conductors like Karajan, Klemperer, Knappertsbusch, Schmidt-Isserstedt (who called him ScherSTRONG) and others. Maurice André once replied during a TV-interview to the question as to who was the best trumpet player ranking right after himself: “I am being followed by many, but I had a single predecessor, Adolf Scherbaum, to whom I owe it all – it was his playing that set the standard and shaped my style”.
Fig. BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA TRUMPET SECTION 1935. From left: Georges Mager, ROGER VOISIN, Rene Voisin and Marcelle Lafosse. ROGER VOISIN (1918 – 2008) – joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as assistant principal trumpet in 1935 at age only seventeen, and became principal trumpet in 1950. He performed in the Boston Symphony for 38 years, until 1973. Voisin became chair of the New England Conservatory of Music brass and percussion department in 1950 and was the primary trumpet teacher at NEC for nearly 30 years. In 1975 he became a full professor at Boston University. Roger voisin is credited with premiere performances of many major works for trumpet including Paul hindemith’s Sonata for Trumpet and Piano (with Hindemith at the piano). Leroy Anderson’s A Trumper’s Lullaby was written for Roger Voisin in 1949. L. Anderson tells: I was sitting talking with the conductor Arthur Fiedler and the first trumpet of the Boston Pops, Roger Voisin. Suddenly Roger Voisin asked me why I didn’t write a trumpet solo for him to play with the orchestra that would be different from traditional trumpet solos After thinking it over, it occurred to me that I had never heard a lullaby for trumpet so I set out to write one — with a quiet melody based on bugle notes.
Fig.30 TIMOFEI DOKSHIZER (1921-2005). At age 19, Timofei Dokshizer won the Soviet-Union brass instruments’ players competition and in 1947, Dokshizer won the International Competition in Prague, which jumpstarted his performance career. He frequently toured the USSR and abroad, winning acclaim from critics who praised his timbre, beautiful tone, unique phrasing, and filigree technique. In addition to his solo performances, Dokshizer worked more than 40 years at the Bolshoi Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Moscow. Here, he was revered for his brilliant renditions of some of the most difficult orchestral trumpet solos, particularly in Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake,” Prokofiev’s “War and Peace” and “Romeo and Juliet,” Khachaturian’s “Spartacus,” and many others.
Nearly a quarter century of Dokshizer’s career was dedicated to pedagogical work, in many masterclasses and as a professor at the Gnessin Music Institute.
Fig. 31 ADOLPH HERSETH (1921 – 2013). Herseth was widely regarded as one of the greatest orchestral trumpeters of his generation. Already during his time in Boston as a student, he was invited to audition for the position of third trumpet at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Rodzinski. After hearing Herseth for about an hour, Rodzinski offered this young man — who had no professional experience at all — the job of principal trumpet. That was in 1948. As a 26-year-old, he joined the CSO, and remained principal trumpet for 53 years. He stayed on three more seasons as principal emeritus, and retired fully from the orchestra in 2004. He played as a soloist very often, but he loved to play in the orchestra and he never had plans to quit the orchestra to be a fulltime soloist. As described in the Chicago Sun Times “For decades Herseth’s rich, golden tone and powerful yet expressive playing were a cornerstone of the ‘Chicago Sound.’ That brass sound drew worldwide attention to the CSO.tra’s reputation around the globe and made Chicago an international center for the study of brass instrument performance.”
Fig. 32 MAURICE ANDRE (1933-2012) – A BRASS PLAYER OF WORLD CLASS. After having been a military musician and having finished his studies, Maurice Andre became principal trumpet in the Orchestre Lamoureux in Paris in 1953.
Later he joined the French Radio Orchestra and from 1962-1967 he played in the Opéra-Comique Orchestra. In 1955 he won the Geneva International Music Competition, and 10 years later he was asked to be a judge at the the competion: “Internationaler Wettbewerb” in München. He said no, because he rather wanted to play himself at the competition and he won! His wife and collegues pressed him to quit the orchestral duties and be a soloist.This was quite something for a brass player at that time, but he rose to the challenge. To become a person of importance, he had to be easy on the salary request, for a start anyway, but that changed very soon. He became extremely popular with his totaly ”easy” technique and his performances that were never heard before. Later his salary became really high, and the story goes that when, at a recording, people said that his demand was too big, he just answered that he would drop in salary, at whatever small mistake he would make, but there were none! He rode the Baroque flow that flooded through the music life of the 1960ies. (do not mistake this period for the later popular ”old music” period whith people playing on old or historical instruments.) In the Baroque repertoire M. Andre plays extraordinary elegant on his small piccolo trumpet, and not even that. Beside all original baroque pieces for trumpet, he also plays the transcriptions of the original baroque concerts for oboe, flute and violin. And he even played new music and light music. He was an absolut wonder as a brass player and he performed all over the world with the famous conductors of that time. He managed to do about 300 recordings as a soloist. Often he was presented as ”the leading brass player of the world”!
Fig. 33 The cover of an LP where Maurice Andre playes together with Herbert von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Fig. 34 MAURICE MURPHY (1935-2010) came from the British brass band movement as principal cornet in the Black Dyke Mills Brass Band . 1977 he was headhunted as principal trumpet in the London Symphony Orchestra.
He was the leading British orchestral trumpet player of his generation. During the 30 years in which he was principal trumpet with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), he defined the sound of the brass section with the clarity, precision and diamond-sharp brilliance of his playing. In the concert hall he was an inspiration and could lift the orchestra with his exhilarating, visceral sound.
Millions have been thrilled to the ringing top Cs he played on the soundtracks for the Star Wars films. The blazing sonority of the brass section led by Murphy was the aural equivalent of spinning through space. For the composer of the scores, John Williams, Murphy was a “heraldic spirit” whose instrument articulated “the ideal voice of a hero”. After the first Star Wars film, Williams wrote the subsequent scores with Murphy’s sound in mind. In 2008 Murphy received the honorary award of the “International Trumpet Guild”, given to those “who have made extraordinary contributions to the art of trumpet playing”.
6. THE CORNET
The cornet has, over time, been universally designed, except for the German KORNETT which has rotary valves:
Fig. THE UNIVERSAL DESIGNED CORNET, FROM BESSON
Fig. THE GERMAN KORNETT WITH ROTARY VALVES
Playing a signal horn or trumpet to communicate in the military was used until the end of the 19th century, when the radio took over. They used all kinds of signals for different information for such a long time that they even had for amor-attack and aircraft attack.
Fig.35 TRUMPETERS PLAYING A SIGNAL HORN/BUGLE HORN (trumpet). The last time the signaling was reversed military in the field was at the start of World War One in 1914, as shown here by the French Army’s light cavalry
Today the ”signal horn” is mostly used by trumpet players at ceremonies all over the world.
SPANISH HORN (CARMEN CORNET) , is a buglehorn in C with one single valve that raises the pitch a half tone:
8. THE HORN
At the time when the 19th century changed to the 20th the hornplayers in the orchestras felt pressed by the composers. In a orchestra it is normal to divede the parts between the players, but in the horn section it became rather normal to have a first hornplayer to play the most challenging part, and the other three some minor parts. It was as if the composer thought the first hornplayer to be more competent to play long and high strong parts. At the premiere of R. Strauss’ symphonic poem Don Juan (1888) one of the hornplayers was heard saying: ”what have we done that we shall be punished like this?” The hornplayers tried to make things easier for themselves by using the higher B-horn, like they had used for a long time in the military. But old directors like Hans von Bülow (1830-1894) did not tolerate that the sound became lighter. Together with the famous horn player Edmond Gumbert who served as third hornist in Meiningen, Germany, and was a nephew of Friedrich Gumpert from Leipzig (soloist in the Gewandhaus Orchestra and teacher at the conservatory in Leipzig,see ROMANTICISM II, The horn in Germany)) the German firm Kruspe build the first double horn, which made it possible with a valve to switch between a F-pitch and a high Bb-pitch. Those new models made it impossible to see which pitch was used. Richard Strauss recomended the use of the double horn, if only the horn player tried to minimise the difference in sound. (It was the firm Gebr. Alexander who got patented their designing in 1909 – see at ”The Building of Instruments”)
Fig.36 MODERN DOUBLE HORN
Later a compensation horn was build, which was not so heavy, but the tube goes many times through the valving houses. Today different horns are used: High F-horn (especially for Baroque music), Bb-horn, double horn in Bb and F, low F-horn and at last a Triplehorn in high F, Bb and low F. Stop horn is used when you stop the horn, which gives it a caracteristic snarling sound. Some horns have a stop valve that compensates the intonation problem of the stopped tone.
Fig. 37 MODERN CORNO DA CACCIA HORN WITH VALVES MADE BY ENGELBERT SCHMIDT
Fig. 38 FRANS STRAUSS – To the left as a young man, To the right together with his son RICHARD STRAUSS (picture from 1905). Frans Strauss (1822-1905) was a horn player and a composer and was called the ”Joachim of the horn” (Joseph Joachim was the most prominent violinist of that time). His taste was rather conservative and he could barely tolerate Brahms. As a soloist at the Court Opera in Munich and at the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra he played at the first performance of quite a few operas by Wagner: Tristan and Isolde (1865), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1868), The Rhine Gold (1869), and The Valkyrie (1870). Wagner thought that Frans Strauss was a pain in the ass, but you completely forgot that as soon as he started to play the horn. Frans Strauss on the other hand did not like Wagner at all, neither as a person, nor as a composer. F. Strauss got the last word: When the Court Orchestra heard that Wagner was dead, all people stood up to remember him with a moment of silence, – all people but not Strauss. Richard Strauss (1864-1949) wrote two horn concerts both in Eb – major. He wrote the first one, only 18 years old, for his father, the other 60 years later. Both horn concerts express with their dramatic and lyrical elements the true essence of romantic horn playing.
Fig. NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC HORN SECTION 1938
From left: Robert Schulze, Santiago Richart, Luigi Ricci, Bruno Jaenicke,
Fig. 39 AUBREY BRAIN (1883-1956) father to Dennis Brain. Aubrey Brain’s professional career began at the age of eighteen when he was appointed by Sir Landon Ronald principal horn of the New Symphony Orchestra, in 1911. For over thirty years, he contributed his distinctive brand of horn-playing to numerous orchestral recordings and a handful of solo and chamber recordings that remain as bench marks of achievement for future horn-players to aspire to and to emulate. Characteristic for the time he had a marked preference for French instruments with smaller bore, and he played a hand horn made by Labbaye in c. 1865, to which English-made piston valves had been added. He would never permit the use of large-bore German horns with rotary valves.
Fig. 40 DENNIS BRAIN (1921-1957) came from a complete family of horn players. His grandfather Alfred Brain (1850-1925), his uncle with the same name (1885-1966) and his father Aubry Brain (1883-1956) were horn players. Dennis Brain was already as a very young person known as a soloist and he became one of the most prominent soloists in England, but his base was being a horn player in an orchestra, which was characteristic at that time. He switched playing as a soloist between the National Symphony Orchestra (21 years old), The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and The Philharmonia Orchestra. Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) wrote a horn concerto for him and Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) wrote his: Serenade for tenor(-singer), horn and orchestra for Dennis Brain and Peter Pears. Together with The Philharmonia Orchestra Dennis Brain recorded Mozart’s horn concert with Herbert von Karajan as a conductor, and R. Strauss’ horn concerts with Otto Klemperer as a conductor. In the beginning Dennis Brain played on a French horn with pump valves, but later he switched to a German “Alexander” horn with rotary valves.
Fig. 41 PHILIP FARKAS (1914-1992) was a legendary horn player, a leading teacher, writer of books about horn playing and brass playing in general, and co-founder of the “Interational Horn Society”. He started as a soloist in the Kansas City Philharmonic 1933, and became soloist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (as the youngest musician in the orchestra), soloist in the Cleveland Orchestra 1941-1945, soloist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra 1945-1946, back as soloist in Cleveland 1946-1947, and at last back as a soloist in Chicago 1948-1960.
Fig. 42 BARRY TUCKWELL (1931-). Was born in Australia. After jobs in Australian and English orchestras he became solo hornist in the London Symphony Orchestra in 1955. In 1968 he made the uncommon and very daring decision to become a full time soloist, without a base as a musician in an orchestra or being a teacher – the career continued til 1997. Barry Tuckwell’s full sound and virtuous play can be heard on many recordings, as a soloist, a chamber musician and as a member of the LSO.
Fig. 43 TO THE RIGHT: A VERY YONG BARRY TUCKWELL. This photo shows the horn section from Sydney Symphony Orchestra 1950, from left: Douglas Hanscombe, Clarence Mellor, Claude Katz, principal horn Alan Mann and Barry Tuckwell. Alan Man was teaching his section at the time – all four were under twenty-one.
Fig. 43 VINCE DEROSA (1935-) had a career of over 70 years, during which he played on many film soundtracks, recordings, and television programs, he is probably the most recorded brass player of all time. Beginning in the late 1950ies, DeRosa played a CONN 8D horn, creating a sound composers favored and establishing what has become known as the L.A. horn sound. At DeRosa’s retirement composer John Williams wrote: “Vince Derosa’s contribution to American music can’t be overstated. He was the premier first horn player on virtually every recording to come out of Hollywood for over forty years. He represented the pinnacle of instrumental performance and I can honestly say that what I know about writing for the French horn, I learned from him. DeRosa was an inspiration for at least two generations of composers working in Hollywood and beyond. He is respected world-wide and universally regarded as one of the greatest instrumentalists of his generation. It has been a privilege to have worked with him all these many years.”
9. THE TROMBONE
Fig. 44 THE TORMBONE SECTION FROM THE TIVOLI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, DENMARK, PHOTO FROM 1899. From the left: Carl Christensen – 1. trombone, August Petersen senior – 2. trombone and Anton Hansen – 3. trombone, all 3 playing on, more or less, the same kind of instrument. (at that time the bass trombone was not really regarded as a special instrument).
In the 20th century the trombone family practically got a wider sound spectre. The tenor trombones got a bigger bore and therewith a heavier sound, and that is why the alto trombone was reintroduced into the classical repertoire. The tenor-bass-trombone (now known as bass trombone) got also a bigger bore, and with an extra valve (either on the tube of the 1st valve, or on the main tube) the bass trombone became full chromatic. The bass trombone now has got a special status, (like the viola compared to the violin) with its own repertoire and with a steady place in the symphony orchestras, wind orchestras and Big Bands. The tenor trombone has a few solo parts in the orchestral repertoire of the 20th century: A big solo in Gustav Mahler’s Symphony no. 3 (1896) and a solo in Ravel’s Bolero (1928). There are also written solo concertos for trombone, some of the best known are the concerto by Launy Grøndahl (1886-1960), Denmark, and Lars Erik Larsson (1908-1986), Sweden.
Fig. 45 MODERN ALTO-, TENOR- and BASS TROMBONE
The example of Verdi, using the contrabass trombone was followed by G. Puccini (1858-1924), who kept the Italian tradition in using 4 trombones instead of 3 trombones and a tuba..
Fig. 46 MODERN CONTRABASS TROMBONE. The modern contrabass trombone is not in CC or BB but in F. Also R. Strauss used the contrabass trombone in the operas “Salome” and “Elektra” (low brass: 4 trombones and tuba) and in his Alp symphony (4 trombones and 2 tubas).
Fig. 47 MODERN CIMBASSO. Even the Cimbasso changed from BB to F. It is normally used when tubaists play cimbasso- and contrabass trombone parts.
Fig. 3 CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA LOW BRASS RECORDING. From left to right: Edward Kleinhammer (bass trombone), Frank Crisafulli (2. trombone), Arnold Jacobs (tuba), James Gilbertsen (assistant principal trombone) and Jay Friedman (principal trombone). This recording was made in 1971 for the purpose of providing a better aural perspective of the trombone and tuba section in a symphony orchestra. It is perhaps the first attempt to present the sound of an orchestral section playing the standard orchestral excerpts, thus enable the listener to hear the approach to style and phasing.
10. THE TROMBONE AS A SOLO INSTRUMENT
In the first part of the 20. century others picked up the idea from Belcke and Quesser to use the trombone as a solo instrument. Some succeeded, but the trombone had a hard time to compete with the trumpet and the horn in the classical repertoire. At that time the trombone concertos by Vagenseil and Albrechtsberger were not found yet (they were found in the 2nd part of the 20th century) and the later – often played – concertos by Launy Grøndahl and Lars Erik Larsson were not written. Some people though succeeded being a soloist, and among their repertoire it was mostly the concerto by Ferdinand David that was played, but also other pieces, like the trombone concerto by Eugene Reiche (1878-1946) written somewhat like the concerto by David.
PROMINENT TROMBONE PLAYERS OF THE 20. CENTURY.
Fig. 48 ANDRÉ LAFOSSE (1890-1975) – left, with students: Pierre AMBACH, Vinko GLOBOKAR, Roger TOUCHARD, Raymond PATRY, Claude DURAND, Raymond KATARZYNSKI, Maurice DELANOY, and Pierre GAUTHIER. André Lafosse was Professor of Trombone at the Paris Conservatoire from 1948 to 1960, where he took over from Henri Couilaud. He wrote Méthode complète pour le trombone in three volumes published in 1921 (first two volumes) and 1946 (third volume). In it he famously describes the practise of playing with vibrato as vulgar (very strange with the French tradition of using vibrato in mind ) and glissandos of questionable taste. There are just three pages of an appendix to cover the bass trombone, probably because of the absence of the bass trombone in French orchestras before 1950. In the 1920s and 1930s Lafosse recorded in orchestras with Stravinsky. It has been suggested[ that he was the soloist in Stravinsky’s own 1928 Paris recording of Pulcinella where the trombonist omits the written glissandos – instead playing the notes staccato
Fig. 49 P. PRESUTTI – BERLINER POSAUNENVIRTUOS. A postcard from the beginning of the 20th century. The term “Virtuoso” was often used at that time.
Fig. 50 SERAFIN ALSCHAUSKY (1859-1948) – TROMBONE VIRTUOSO AND COMPOSER, who played with big success at both sides of the Atlantic.
Fig. 51 PAUL WESCHKE (1867-1940) ROYAL CHAMBER VIRTUOSO played also as a soloist, but played otherwise as a solo trombone player in the Statskapelle Berlin (1895-1929) and he was known as teacher at the Staatliche Akademische Hochschule für musik in Berlin (1903-1934). He spoke to Richard Strauss about writing a trombone concerto, but unfortunately it was never written.
Fig. 52 VLADISLAV BLAZHEVICH (1881-1942) was a trombonist, teacher, conductor and composer. After obtaining his diploma at the Moscow Conservatoire in 1905, he became principal trombone in the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra, where he remained until 1928. He was professor of trombone at the Moscow Conservatoire and in 1937 he was appointed head of the department of wind instruments in the military faculty of the Moscow Conservatoire and conductor of the state wind band. Blazhevich was one of the founders of the Soviet trombone and tuba school. He was a remarkable performer, a superb teacher and an outstanding composer in a romantic Russian style. As a composer he left many works of all kind. We might mention the “Collective Playing Method for Wind Instruments” (1939), the “Trombone and Tuba Method” and, pieces and studies for different instruments and nothing less than 13 concertos for trombone.
Fig. 53 EDVARD KLEINHAMMER (1919-2013) Bass trombonist in the Chicago Symphony orchestra 1940-1985. He was one of the first who by his playing and teaching got focus on the bass trombone as an orchestral instrument. Later, other bass trombone players – like Charlie Vernon, his successor in the orchestra – introduced the instrument as a solo instrument.
Fig. 54 MICHAEL MULCAHAY and DENIS WICK
In the 20th century there were many very competent trombone players. A range of prominent teachers improved the trombone playing, as an orchestral instrument as well as a solo instrument.
Mulcahey comes from Australia. He has been 2nd trombone player in the Chicago Symphony orchestra since 1989, and has been a teacher for a lot of trombone players from all over the world.
DENIS WICK was principal trombonist in the London Symphony Orchestra 1957- 1988. During his time with the London Symphony he played under many of the world’s greatest conductors. Denis has also been a member of the London Sinfonietta and, for a short period, the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble. In addition, he has made many appearances as a soloist. He has had concertos written for him by several British composers; among them, Gordon Jacob, Buxton Orr and Alun Hoddinott. Appointed professor of trombone at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1967-1976, and has worked as a consultant professor and conductor since that time. His textbook, Trombone Technique is used worldwide with translations available in Japanese, German, Swedish and Italian. Denis Wick is perhaps best known for his line of brass instrument mouthpieces and mutes. In 1989, he received the ITA Award.
Fig. 55 CHRISTIAN LINDBERG (1958-) – re-established the status of the trombone as a solo instrument.
The Swedish trombone player Christian Lindberg is an unique soloist. He started to play the trombone rather late, being 17 years old, but already at 19 years of age he got a place in the opera orchestra of Stockholm. In 1981 (being 23 years old) he won a Nordic soloist completion and after that he started –rather unusual- a career as a full time trombone soloist. He has been playing all over the world and there are written a long range of pieces, especially for him. Today he is also a composer as well as a conductor.
11. THE TUBA
Little by little the tuba got difficult orchestral parts as well. Like for instance in the music of Prokofiev (1887-1053), and as early as 1888 there is a little melodic solo part in G. Mahler’s symphony nr. 1 (frère Jacques in minor). In Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps (1913) there are two tubas, like the French tradition with two ophicleides (The piece was written in France and at the premiere the tuba parts were played on two small French tubas). At the end of the 20th century the F-tuba was really used often in Germany and Scandinavia, but since than the deeper sound of the CC-tuba is getting more popular. In the USA the C-tuba has always been very popular, whereas the Russians have always preferred the BB-tuba. In England the tuba was first en F but later the Eb-tuba is mostly used, both with piston valves and a big bore.
Between professionals it is said that in the 1960ies there was a real “tuba-explosion, which means that there was really a lot of tuba playing. The reason could be the growing interest in chamber music for brass instruments and it was a breakthrough for the tuba as a solo instrument.
Fig. 56 MODERN F-TUBA and C-TUBA WITH ROTARY VALVES
Fig. 57 GIANT MONSTER-TUBA. Just for fun some real huge tubas in CCC have been produced, which means double as long as the contra bass tuba in CC. Even if it is possible to produce a sound on such an instrument it never has been of any importance. The picture shows professor Jörg Wachsmuth playing on such a tuba , produced by some German firms for the exhibition for music instruments in Frankfurt, Germany 1913. It is 2,05m high and the weight is 50kg.
PIONEERS IN TUBA PLAYING
Today there are many virtuous tuba players. Theese four tubists has been of uttermost importance:
Fig. 58 WILLIAM BELL (1902-1871) was the premier player and teacher of the tuba in America during the first half of the 20th century. In 1921, he joined the band of john Philip Sousa, and from 1924 to 1937 he served as Principal Tuba with the cicinanati Symphony Orchestra. In 1937 General electric’s David Sarnoff invited conductor Aturo Toscanini to select personnel for The NBC Symphony Orchestra. William Bell was the third musician selected by Toscanini. In 1943 he became principal tuba player for the New york Philharmonic. Leopold Stokowski invited Bell to perform and narrate Georg Kleisinger’s Tubby the Tuba, and to perform and sing a special arrangement of ‘When Yuba Plays The Rhumba on the Tuba. In 1955 Bell performed the American premiere of Ralph Vaughan William’s “Concerto for Bass Tuba and Orchestra”. He was tuba professor at the Manhattan School of Music until 1961, and Indiana University from 1961 to 1971.
Fig. 59 Arnold Jacobs, USA, (1915-1998) Tuba player in the Chicago symphony orchestra, became a living legend. He was a charismatic teacher and he almost invented an art of breathing technique with ideas about a form of collaboration between the brain and the body. His ideas about breathing made him well known and helped not only for tuba players but all players of wind instruments and singers as well.
Fig. 60 Harvey Philips, USA, (1929-2010) was a well-known teacher at the Indiana University and he played the tuba in one of the pioneer ensembles in brass chamber music: “The New York Brass Quintet”. He has traveled, performed and given masterclasses almost all over the world. TUBACHRISTMAS was conceived in 1974 by Harvey Phillips as a tribute to his teacher and mentor William J. Bell, born on Christmas Day, 1902. At this events really big groups of tuba- , euphonium- and baritone players meet at Christmas time and play Christmas hymns
fig. 61 John Fletcher, England (1941-1987) with his English Eb-tuba. He was a tuba player in the London Symphony Orchestra and a member of an other leading brass chamber music ensemble: the “Philip Jones Brass Ensemble”. His recording of Vaughan Williams’ tuba concerto has long been a reference for tuba players.
Fig. 62 MICHAEL LIND (1950-), Denmark, has played in the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and is now Head of Brass at the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. As a musician he has performed worldwide with many famous musicians as recorded numerous CDs from classical works to jazz and popular music both . Lind has taught at Indiana University in the United States and is known worldwide as a teacher and soloist – often as a soloist with symphony orchestras. Lind has promoted and organized Workshops for tuba players and for brass players in general.
12. RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS CONCERTO FOR TUBA AND ORCHESTRA
When the tuba reached the age of about a 100 years old, people started to write other solos for the tuba rather than popular music. The most important man in the solo literature for the tuba is Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958): Concerto in F-minor for bass tuba and orchestra from 1954.
Fig.63 RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958 ) AND TUBIST PHILIP CATELINET (1910.1995) WITH HIS F-TUBA
The soloist in this most famous concerto for tuba was Philip Catelinet. He came from the Salvation Army and studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music, Trinity College of Music, and the Incorporated London Academy of Music. He became an arranger for the Salvation Army and composed or arranged over 100 vocal and instrumental pieces just for the Army – but he taught himself to play the tuba and euphonium. He started as professional as euphonium player in the military and in the 1950′ s he became a member of the Philharmonia Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra and often appeared as an extra with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
In 1954 composer Ralph Vaughan Williams asked Philip Catelinet and the London Symphony Orchestra to premiere his new tuba concerto at the orchestra’s Jubilee Concert. Phil met with the composer at his residence and played through the work and consulted him during the preparations and rehearsals. The work’s world premiere came at the Royal Festival Hall on June 13, 1954 with Sir John Barbirolli conducting and Vaughan Williams in attendance.
Unsure of the audience’s reaction to the new piece, Philip Catelinet asked his wife not to attend the concert. In an article for the TUBA Journal, Philip wrote of the “belittling image invariably linked to both the tuba and tubists” and “…I did not know how the public would react. If I had to suffer, I would rather suffer alone.” The music and Phil’s performance were both well received, and the orchestra and soloist held a recording session the following day.
In 1956 Philip and his family left England and moved to Pittsburgh in USA where he composed, conducted and worked for the salvation Army and in 1976, Philip and his wife returned to their native England and he remained active in his later years.
13. OTHER BRASS INSTRUMENTS IN A SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA.
The ”new” instruments that came along after the valve was invented became very quickly an important part of the wind ensembles, but little by little they can be heard in the symphony orchestras as well. Sergei Prokofiev shows the tremendous sound of the cornet in the beautiful solos in Lieutenant Kije (1932) and in the ballet music of Romeo and Juliette (1936). The Flugelhorn has been used rarely in the symphony orchestras. It is used at the Post horn solo in G. Mahler’s 3rd symphony (1896) and Vaughan Williams has given it a long solo in his symphony no.8 (1956). In Ottorino Respighi’s (1879-1936) The Pines of Rome (1924) it is the flugelhorn that lays on top of the Sax horn/brass band instruments that illustrate 6 buccina’s.
In his Don Quixote (1898) and Ein Heldenleben (1899) R. Strauss has given a part to the tenor tuba. Originally is should have been a Wagner tuba , but after the premiere he gave the part, following the wish of the conductor Ernst von Such, to the bariton/euphonium.. In G. Mahler’s Symphony no.7 (1908) and in the Planets (1918) by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) there is a solo for the bariton/euphonium. The dominant instruments for tenor tuba parts have all over the world been the English / American euphonium or the German oval baritone. They both come from the French saxhorn, which is now again reproduced by the French company Courtois.
Fig.63 A MODERN COURTOIS SAXHORN IN Bb
14. CARL NIELSENS INSTRUMENTATION FOR BRASS PLAYERS.
Fig. 63 CARL NIELSEN (1865-1931)
Carl Nielsen’s 1st symphony is very ”classical”, almost like the orchestral music of Johan Svendsen or Antonin Dvorak. But from his symphony no. 2 Carl Nielsen uses the brass instruments more exposed. In his younger years Nielsen played signal horn and alto trombone (with valves) in a military orchestra in Odense and it could well be that he got his inspiration from that period – he knew the brass sound and dynamics very well. He got lots of criticism for his instrumentation and the fact that the orchestral sound was far too heavy with too much brass. The problem is the same as with Verdi, (see Romanticism II): The brass instruments at the time of Carl Nielsen sounded soft and it was impossible to play as loud as you hear today in the film music of our time – the trombone parts was played on rather mellow sounding valve trombones). You can hear it, when people are playing on old brass instruments from the time of Nielsen – they sound softer than and not as brilliant as the brass instruments of our time. It is a paradox that the instrumentation of Carl Nielsen now has become a part of his ”brand”, and to day his works are being played with a brilliance he himself never has heard.
Opposite is the problem with the orchestral music of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. (1865-1957). Not because of the instruments, they were the same that Nielsen wrote for, but because the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra had real few string players, and that is why Sibelius often wrote soft dynamics for the brass instruments. You can play the brass parts louder than it is written.
Fig. 50 FROM CARL NIELSEN’S SYMPHONY NO. 4 – THE INEXTINGUISHABLE
15. FEMALE BRASS PLAYERS ON POSTCARDS
Traditionally there have almost always only been male brass players. For a very long time it was forbidden for females to play in the military orchestras as well as in the symphony orchestras. From the middle of the 19th century there came a lot of female amateur brass players, but first after 2000 they came into the professional symphony orchestras, military orchestras and Big Bands. But in the years before and after 1900 there were a lot of female brass players, who performed in cabarets, variety shows, music halls and theatres. They are remembered by lots of pictures and photos that are used for postcards and posters.
FEMALE BRASS PLAYERS FORM ABOUT 1900.
fig. 64 THE JANIETZ ELIE DAMEN BLAS ORCHESTER, postcard from march 1912. Even coming from Germany they performed dressed as Scottish ladies.
Fig. 65 ODA RUDOLPH a photo from 1898, Missouri, USA by Mr. BIGELOW, presented as Flash-Light Expert and General Photographer
fig. 66 Cornet player NETTIE from Chicago, photo from the beginning of the 20th century.
Fig. 67 YOUNG LADY PLAYING THE TROMPE DE CHASSE, POSTCARD FROM 1905. This instrument is the authentic French horn and the ancestor of the modern orchestral horn. It is played outdoors as the signaling component of the Hunt, an equestrian tradition that goes back to the 17th century and the time of Louis XV (look under BAROQUE)
Fig. 68 KÖNIGS CORNET a PISTON-TRIO, Charlotte, Magarete and Melani. Postcard from 1915
Fig. 69 FEMALE TROMBONE PLAYER ON A PEDESTAL, PHOTO FROM THE “THE APEDA STUDIOS” in NEW YORK in 1915-1925. You find the girl on other postcards as well, an she could well be a model, and not a musician.
Fig. 70 FEMALE FANFARE WIND PLAYERS IN THE LADIES TRUMPET CORPS “THURINGIA” HEIDELBERG.
Fig. 71 THE LADIES BAND, MUASTON, WISCONSIN, USA 1888
16. FEMALE BRASS PLAYERS IN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRAS
To be a professional brass player in a symphony orchestra were for a long time a 100% male profession. Today there is many female brass players but the ice was broken by a handful of players:
HELEN ANNE KOTAS HIRSCH (1916-2000) was principal horn in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1941-1948). She was a pioneer and the first female to secure such a position—in fact, the first woman to be hired as principal of any section, except harp—in a major U.S. orchestra. She was also an accomplished horn soloist and an outstanding teacher.
Fig.72 HELEN KOTAS surrounded by the rest of the Chicago Symphony horn section in October 1941: Max Pottag, Frank Erickson, Joseph Mourek, and William Verschoor
MAISIE RINGHAM WIGGINS 1924-2016, England, began playing trombone at the age of 10, under the guidance of her father and she soon became known as “The Wonder Girl Trombonist” for her remarkable performances in Salvation Army Brass band concerts. She was awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal Manchester College of Music and following her studies, successfully auditioned to become principal trombone of the BBC Midlands Light Orchestra. Just over a year later she was invited by personal telegram by Sir John Barbirolli to join the Halle Orchestra and from 1946 to 1956 she was principal trombone of the Halle Orchestra, an era when women were seldom seen in brass sections. After leaving Barbirolli’s orchestra to raise a family, she continued playing and teaching into her 90s, receiving the MBE from the Queen for her services to music.
Fig.73 MAISIE RINGHAM features on the souvenir brochure to celebrate the Halle orchestra’s 1948 tour to Austria.
LIVIA GOLANCZ (1921-2018) bought her first French horn for £5 at the age of 15, and at 16 was accepted at the Royal College of Music to study horn and viola. The second world war created opportunities for female musicians and she joined the London Symphony Orchestra straight out of college in 1940. When Barbirolli became conductor of the Hallé Orchestra in 1943, he chose Livia as principal horn. She admired his insistence that female musicians should be treated on their musical merits. She then joined the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (1943–45), and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (1945-46). Returning to London in 1947, Livia was appointed principal horn at Covent Garden, where she had her first experience of chauvinism. Karl Rankl, then its musical director, who was known for his resistance to female musicians, refused to work with her. Later she worked at Sadler’s Wells Opera (1950-53).
Fig.74 LIVIA GOLANCZ
JULIE LANSMAN (1953- ) won the 1985 audition – behind a screen – for principal horn player at the Metropolitan Opera. She is world renowned as a master teacher and holds faculty positions at The Julliard School of music and the Bard college Conservatory and teaches as a guest at the Curtis Institute. About being the first woman in the Metropolitan horn section Julie says: Since that time, four more women have joined the Met Orchestra horn section. The Met horn women are all former students of mine! I am optimistic about women in the brass world continuing to win auditions with great orchestras!
Fig.75 JULIE LANSMAN
MARIE SPEZIALE, USA, who lives in Clifton, became the first female trumpet player in a major orchestra when she joined the Cincinnati Symphony in 1964. She retired in 1996 after 32 years with the orchestra. But she is still active performing and doing master classes in Europe, Japan and throughout the United States.
Fig.76 MARIE SPEZIALE
SUSAN SLAUGHTER joined the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1969 and four years later became the first woman to be named principal trumpet of a major symphony orchestra. She stayed in the orchestra for 30years until 2010. Slaughter has founded Trumpet Lab, a week-long workshop designed to give young musicians the opportunity to study orchestral literature with a professional musician. She is also the founder of the annual International Womens Brass Conference, an organization dedicated to providing opportunities and recognition for women brass musicians.
Fig.77 SUSAN SLAUGHTER & THE INTERNATIONAL WOMANS BRASS LOGO