CONTENTS IN THIS CHAPTER:
Latest updated 5/12 – 2017
1 – ROMANTICISM I (1830 – 1900)
2 – VALVE SYSTEMS AND THEIR INVENTORS
3 – THE INVENTION OF THE VALVES
4 – THE NEW VALVE INSTRUMENTS
5 – ADOLPH SAX (1814 – 1894)
6 – PIERRE LOUIS GAUTROT (1812 – 1882)
7 – OTHER INSTRUMENT FAMILIES
8 – THE CORNET á PISTON
9 – THE FLÜGELHORN
10 – ALTO HORN, BARITONE and EUPHONIUM
11 – THE TUBA
12 – THE HELICON
13 – AUGUST HELLEBERG (1851 – 1935)
14 – THE TUBA FAMILY ON POSTCARDS
15 – VALVE INSTRUMENTS IN THE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA – LITTLE BY LITTLE ACCEPTED
16 – THE OSSIAN OUVERTURE
17 – RICHARD WAGNER (1818 – 1883) – BIG STRENGTHS
18 – GUISEPPE VERDI (1813 – 1901) – INSTRUMENTATION, DYNAMICS ans BALANCE
19 – SMALL ORCHESTRAS
20 – THE TRUMPET
21 – SPECIEL TRUMPETS
22 – THE QUESTIONABLY ETUDES FOR TRUMPET BY JOHANNES BRAHMS
23 – THE FRENCH HORN IN GERMANY AND BOHEMIA
24 – THE HORN IN FRANCE
25 –THE HORN IN AUSTRIA
26 – THE HORN IN UK
27 – THE HORN IN USA
28 – THE WAGNER TUBA
1. ROMANTICISM I (1830 – 1900)
The most revolutionary creation in the beginning of the 18hds was the invention of the valve system, a mechanical way to lengthen the tubes of the natural instruments, so they became fully chromatic. Herewith a new range of instruments came about: the tuba, the saxhorns (almost identical with the instruments in a Brass Band) and a lot of resembling instrument-families, and new members of the old instrument-families: like the bass trumpet, contrabass trombone and Wagner tuba. The wind orchestras welcomed the new instruments with open arms, but in the symphony orchestras it took some more time to break through, because of their conservatism. It is interesting to see that even if the brass instruments got new possibilities and were seen as one family, they kept their original character:
– The trumpet kept its character of a fanfare instrument
– The horn stayed the instrument to describe nature
– The trombone became more and more the messenger of holy destiny from either heaven or hell.
Fig. 1 HORN FIFTHS. Even when the valves made the horn fully chromatic people still wrote ”horn fifths”, a characteristic playing of natural tones.
Fig. 2 HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803 – 1869) – witnessed the development of the brass instruments from being natural instruments, through hand horn, keyed instruments up till valve instruments. He was very interested in the development of the instruments, he loved all that was new and he wrote about it in his study book on instruments: “Traité d’instrumentation et d’orchestration modernes”. In his Requiem “Grand Messe des Morts” he illustrates Dooms Day with an inferno of sound from four extra brass ensembles around the orchestra and choir. Even if the brass sound expanded much in the later years, the instrumentation by Berlioz was extraordinary at that time. (satirical drawing by Grandville.)
2. VALVE SYSTEMS AND THEIR INVENTORS
Before the valve was invented lots of people had tried at mechanical ways to alter the length (and therewith the pitch) of brass instruments. It was not really a wish to be able to play chromatic, but more a wish to get rid of the boring and unpractical change of crooks. As an example we could mention the Irishman Charles Clagget, who in 1788 made his “Chromatic trumpet” by uniting together two French horns, or trumpets – a combination of two natural trumpets a semitone apart, joined by means of a simple valve. Another solution is the omnitonic horn that has all the different tubes assembled on the instrument
Fig. 4 CHARLES CLAGGET (1740 – c.1795) was an Irish musician, composer, and inventor of improvements for musical instruments. He designed a precursor for the valve. His CROMATIC TRUMPET were two trumpets connected to the same lead pipe and with a setting screw could be switched between one and the other trumpet.
Fig.3 OMNITONIC HORN. All the tubes are assembled to the instrument, and with the help of a set-screw you can choose which tube you need, and obtain a certain pitch. The instrument was terrible heavy though and was no success (see also ROMANTICISM II / THE HORN IN FRANCE).
3. THE INVENTION OF THE VALVES
The valve system was invented by two German horn players, Heinrich Stötzel and Friedrich Blühmel in 1815. It is unknown which one of the two gentlemen was the inventor. They worked together for quite some time and in 1818 they got a patent for 10 years, but the twists and accusations to each other made that Stötzel bought Blühmel out. The idea was to be able to change length of the tubes by adding a piece of tube that could lower the pitch. From the beginning there were two important demands: The valves should move swift and smooth, and the bore should be smooth, that means no bobbles or narrowing. There came lots of different models and constructions. Here the models are shown that became common:
Fig. 4 THE STÖTZEL VALVE
– is a so called “piston valve”. To the left the “normal” position where the main tube goes through the valve casing. To the right the piston is pressed and therewith deflecting the airstream into extra tubing. The piston is pushed up again by a spiral spring. The bore is disrupted in the windway, not ”smooth”.
Fig. 5 THE VIENNA VALVE
– was an improved Stötzel valve, made by the Austrian instrument maker Leopold Ulhmann in 1830. There are two pistons for each valve loop which gives a more consistent bore. The Laurels for the real invention are granted Christian Friederich Sadler, Leipzig. Here is an early version from a drawing 1821:
Fig.6 THE ROTARY VALVE – In 1835 Joseph Riedl, also an instrument maker from Vienna, got his Rad-Maschine patented, the later so called Rotary Valve. The piston turns in the valve casing, not without problems though, but a careful design makes it possible to have a consistent bore.
Fig. 7 THE PÉRINET VALVE. The final form of the piston valve was the “Perinét valve, invented in 1838 and patented in 1839 by the Frenchman Etienne-François Périnet. It is rather thin and it goes smooth and swift. All tubing goes right across the valve casing and not at the bottom, which makes the airstream more consistent.
Only the pump valve and the rotary valve exist today. The Vienna valve is only used on the Vienna Horn in the Viennese philharmonic orchestras. At the end of the 1900hds new valve models were invented, especially for trombones (see “The 20th century”). Until the 1830s there were instruments with only two valves, but otherwise three valves became the standard for trumpets, four valves on horns and euphonium, and up till six valves on tubas. The pitch for the first four valves got standardised:
– 1.valve lowers the pitch by one tone
– 2.valve lowers the pitch by a halftone
– 3.valve lowers the pitch by one and a halftone
– 4.valve lowers the pitch by a quart
With the use of one or several valves, the instruments got fully chromatic, but the length of the tubes were compromised. It is easy to see that the extra (valve) tubes on a trumpet are shorter than those on a tuba. And another thing, the length of the 1st valve – that lowers the pitch by a tone – will be too short when using it with other valves. There were experiments in adding an amount of valves, which made it possible to use only one valve at the time:
Fig. 8 ADOLPH SAX TRUMPET WITH 7 VALVES, 1852
– or rather absurd: to add a complete bell on each valve. These instruments were very heavy and never popular:
Fig. 9 ADOLPH SAX CORNET WITH 7 VALVES AND 7 BELLS, c. 1852.
Fig. 9 THE COMPENSATING SYSTEM. A very special invention was the ”compensating system”, by the Englishman David Blaikey in 1874. Here the fourth extra tube goes through the other three valve casings. When using the fourth valve in combination with them an extra tube is added. Left: first valve is used and the first extra tube is added. Right: here both first and fourth valve are used (with another extra tube).
Here is the extra tubes on a euphonium with the compensating system:
Fig. 10 KÖHLER CORNET WITH CROOKS ca.1840
In addition to the valve systems that were successful were many other experiments, for example disc valves with extension tubes. Originally patented by John Shaw in 1838, an improved valve was subsequently introduced by John A. Köhler , London, who called it the “New Patent Lever Valve.” However, the same principle was already known in France in 1835 as plaque tournantes or disques mobiles, where it was developed by the Parisian maker Halary. The plaque on this cornet reads “Kohler, Sole Maker, Henrietta St, Covent Garden, London”. The disc valves did not survive, it was reported that “the valves were found to leak eventually, and soon became useless, and the principle was therefore abandoned.” The favorable reports of both present-day players and the 1851 jury support the conclusion that instruments with disk valves were soon given up not because they never worked well, but because they were difficult to maintain.
Fig. 11 TRUMPET IN Bb BY ANDREAS BARTH, MUNICH CA. 1837
Instruments were made were you instead of pressing directly on the valve should press on a lever.
4. THE NEW VALVE INSTRUMENTS
After the invention of the valve system there came no end to the invention of new instruments, the one more or less alike or unlike the other – some of them rather bizarre. Commercially reasons made that they got different names, and they were mostly used locally only – one big confusion:
Fig. 12 SCHNEIDER TENOR HORN
Fig. 13 ANTONIOPHONE
Fig. 14 TEARDROPSHAPED BALLAD HORNS
Fig. 15 BAS FLÜGELHORN in Bb
Fig. 15 SUDROPHONE WITH KAZOO
Fig. 12 OVER THE SHOULDER INSTRUMENTS. The American Civil War (1861 – 1865) gave birth to this special instrument family: instruments with a backward bell, so the soldiers that marched in the rear better could hear the music (se also BRASS ORCHESTRAS/ENSEMBLES, ROMANTICISM II).
5. ADOLPH SAX (1814 – 1894)
The first person to make a complete instrument family and who therewith got the various instruments systemized, was the Belgian Adolph Sax. He had studied both the flute and the clarinet at the Conservatory in Brussels, and after that he got an education as an instrument maker. In 1842 he settled with his own firm as an instrument maker in Paris. There were a lot like that already, and the competition was rough, but even if he was not welcome, he survived, because of his skill, and because he had some prominent composers, like Donizetti, Meyerbeer and Berlioz, who stood by him.
Fig. 15 ADOLPH SAX – inventor and instrument maker.
Nowadays Sax is especially known for his invention of the saxophone, but it had some importance as well that he got his Saxhorns patented in 1845, a complete brass instrument family formed like the tuba and with “Berlin valves” (An early piston valve with a large diameter and mass, originally developed by Stölzel, and later improved by a Berlin band leader Wilhelm Wieprecht (1802-1872 – see Romantisicm II). It was easier to construct than the Stölzel valve, but a bit slower in action). The soprano saxhorn had the bell pointing up and not straight on like the cornet à piston, but apart from that the saxhorns are rather similar to the instruments of today’s Brass Band.
Fig. 16 SAXHORN FAMILY as shown in the catalogue from Henry Distin & co., London about 1849.
Fig. 20 SAXHORN (EUPHONIUM) 1850-1865
Fig. 17 BERLIN VALVES
To promote his saxhorns Adolph Sax in 1845 organised a competition between a traditional harmony orchestra with The Italian composer and conductor Michele Carafa de Colobrano (1787-1872), at that time professor at the Conservatoire in Paris, as the conductor, and an orchestra that mostly existed of saxhorns and clarinets, conducted by himself. Sax won because of the overall homogeneous sound and the fullness in the middle register. Because of this victory Sax got a contract to supply all the French military music corpses with instruments, but not only that. The music corpses became to exist almost completely of saxhorn. Maybe this made him too presumptuous. The other instrument makers had enough of it, and stated that there was nothing new in Sax’s instruments, and that it was not fair that he got them patented at all. In a way they were right about that, because the saxhorns were no new invention as such, but they were better than their instruments. Anyway the idea of an instrument family was Sax’s!
Fig. 17 FRENCH INFANTERY REGIMENT MUSIC CORPS WITH SAXHORNS
Fig. 18 INSTRUMENT CONSTRUCTED BY SAX: EASY TO CARRY NATURAL HORN
Fig. 19 SAX TUBA built with the intention to resemble a Roman Cornu, photo and drawing. The saxtubas made their first public appearance at the premiere af the opera Le Juif errant(The Wandering Jew) at the Paris opera on 23 April 1852. At the time, Sax was musical director of the Opéra’s stage band (or banda), so it was not unusual for instruments of his design to be showcased in popular productions. The other opera appearance of the stage band occurs in the Judgment dernie. The only other notable public appearance of the saxtubas occurred on 10 May 1852, when twelve saxtubas participated in a military ceremony. Although a total of 1500 musicians from thirty regiments were employed in the ceremony, the twelve saxtubas overwhelmed all the other instruments.
Sax received many patents and he really got success, but the pressure was hard, and there was a lot of plagiarism. The instrument maker Guiseppe Pelinni from Milano answered the question whether he made sax-instruments, by his statement that it was the other way around, that Sax built his instruments. In 1845 Sax heard about various German parallels to his so called ”inventions”. As a result Sax had to go through a lot of lawsuits. His instruments were seen as the best of all, he got lots of new orders and his firm grew. Sax’s workshop sold some 20,000 instruments between 1843 and 1860, but he was not a talented money manager, and sales were not enough to keep him solvent. He filed for bankruptcy three times, in 1852, 1873, and 1877, and he was saved from a fourth debacle only by the intervention of another of his admirers, Emperor Napoleon III. Nevertheless in the end Sax and various other instrument makers went bankrupt.
Fig. 20 ADOLPH SAX’s WORKSHOP 1842
Fig. 21 ADOLPH SAX’s SHOP 1864 in the illustrated newspaper L’Illustration depict instruments by Adolphe Sax. Shows a man demonstrating og testing new instruments on a stage.
Fig. 20 SAX’s SHOP SEEN FROM THE STREET Ca. 1850
Fig. 21 IN 1865 SAXs SHOP GOT A VISIT OF EMIR ABD EL.KADAR, ALGIER. Illustration from “Le Journal illustré”
Fig. 19 ADOLPH SAX’s WORKSHOP ABOUT 1860. You really got an idea of the activity in the “wind orchestra environment” at that time.
Fig. 20 FROM ADOLPH SAX’s CATALOG
6. PIERRE LOUIS GAUTROT (1812-1882)
Fig. 24 PIERRE LOUIS GAUTROT
– had a big Brass Instrument company. By 1846 Gautrot claimed to be the most important factory of its kind in Europe, holding in stock 300 cornets, 1000 trombones, and 1000 ophecleides. His workforce of over 200 equaled 42% of the entire brass makers capacity in Paris. On August 6, 1847 Gautrot along with Raoux, Halary, Buffet, and Gambaro, all of whom were normally competitors, filed suit against both of Sax’s patents: that of 1843 (“Chromatic instrument system”), and that of 1845 (“A musical instrument, called the saxotromba”). The complaint of the instrument manufacturers was based on the claim that Sax’s improvements had long been known at home and abroad. The suit went through many appeals and ended in 1859 with a victory for Sax.
Fig. 25 THE GAUTROT SHOP 1880
7. OTHER INSTRUMENT FAMILIES
FIG. 30 KOENIG HORN. In 1856 the company Antoine Courtois presented the “Koenig Horn” in F designed by Herman Koenig – it became a precursor to the “Ballad horn”.
In 1868, the compay Boosey & Co. began marketing a another brassinstrument-family of bell-up instruments designed by Henry Distin called ballad horns. Distin himself was later to build ballad horns of his own, long after he had sold the patent to Boosey & Co., and he was living in the United States. The most common of the ballad horns was a C tenor instrument, the last of which were manufactured circa 1930 by the Salvation Army Factory (more information about Distin in Romanticism II, Brass Band).
Fig. 26 DISTIN, LEFT WITH HIS BALLAD HORN. After having lived as a performer with his father and brothers Henri Distin established an instrument manufacturing and sales concern, Distin & Co., in London 1849 (se more about Distin in ROMANTICISM II, BRASS BANDS and ROMANTICISM II, THE BUILDING OF BRASS INSTRUMENTS).
Fig. 25 CORNOPHON. There were other than Sax who attempted to make brass instrument families. Cornophonen is a conical brass instrument with three valves. It was invented in the 1880s by Fontaine-Besson in Paris. The instrument was originally called “cornon” and patented in 1890th.
Fig. 25 JOHN W. GRAEFF (1850-1912) FOTOGRAPHER AND LEADER OF THE PERSEVERANCE BAND – SELF PORTRAIT. His instrument has rotary valves with side action keys that were typical of American brass instruments from about 1855 to 1885. But the circular shape is a transition from the instruments used by brass bands during the Civil War, when the bell was held over the player’s shoulder pointing backward. This instrument’s bell points to the player’s left side. Its conical flare and mouthpiece are wide like a trombone, but the plumbing is shorter than a trombone, about the length of a B-flat cornet.
8. THE CORNET à PISTON
Fig. 24 EARLY TYPE OF SOPRANO CORNET in Eb: SOPRANO SAX-HORN in Eb, here with rotary valves. Postcards from the United States 1865-1870
In the 1820ies some of the earliest German valve instruments came to Paris, and the French instrument makers could not wait to copy them. In the mid-1820s an inventor Antoine Halary (1788-1861) added valves to the circular Posthorn, cornet-de-poste, calling his invention the “cornet ordinaire.” A few years later he invented a bell-forward instrument of more flattened proportions which he called the “cornet-a-pistons,” otherwise known as the “cornopean.” (horn of triumphal song) and later just: Cornet. At first the cornet was seen as a descant horn, and the young Parisian horn ”Lions” jumped at it. They could in a way do what they wanted, without the “Natural horn tradition” and the first cornet professor at the Parisian Conservatory was a horn player from the Opera, J. H. Maury. But after some time it were the trumpet players that got into cornet playing, and the instrument got some alterations: the mouthpiece became less deep, it was mostly pitched in Bb, and the Stölzel valves were switched to Perinet valves. The characteristic bend at the beginning of the bell (the last reminder of the horn) gave the cornet its final look.
Fig. 25 CORNOPEAN FROM the 19´’ Century –with extra tubes and wood box. In the early days of the cornet it was normal to be able to change the pitch from B-flat to E-flat. This cornet has the early Stötzel pump-valve, (French: piston) and a key for playing trills.
Fig. 26 CORNET in Bb WITH ROTARY VALVES, BESSON, 1845.
Fig. 26 Bb-CORNET, ANTOINE COURTOIS, 1875
Fig. 26 JEAN BAPTISTE ARBAN(1825-1889)
– was the first big virtuoso on the cornet. He became famous as a soloist as well as a pedagogue, and from 1869 – 1889 he was cornet professor at the conservatory in Paris. In 1864 he wrote his famous ”Grand Methode” that even today is used, not only by cornet players, but by all players of valve brass instruments. His method ends with a range of variations on well know melodies, the last variation on ”Carnival in Venice” shows quick changes in the registers, and that gives an idea of two cornets playing:
When the cornet arrived, there was a lot of discussion about if the cornet or the trumpet was the best instrument. The first cornets had a much softer sound than the cornets of today, so the difference between the cornet and the brilliant trumpet was quite big. Arban was a of cause a unconditional defender of the cornet in hopes of making it as popular as a solo instrument as the flute or the violin.
But not everyone was delighted. The conservative ”classical” music world looked upon the cornet as being a plebeian instrument. Berlioz thought the cornet inferior compared to the trumpet and in the symphony orchestras it was mostly used to fill in the gaps between the natural tones of the trumpet. In his treatise on instrumentation in 1855 Berlioz write: “A phrase that would appear tolerable, when performed by violins or the woodwind, becomes flat and intolerably vulgar when emphasized by the incisive, brash and impudent sound of the cornet.”
Others were delighted because of the soft sound of the cornet, and the easy way to play which gave you the best opportunity to play with virtuosity. Very soon it got a steady place in all brass and light amusement orchestras in Paris, and because of its frequent use in the dance orchestras it soon was called :”the soul of the quadrille”. Little by little it took the place of the keyed bugle in the wind orchestras and it became the most important soprano instrument among the brass instruments. (see: Patrick Gilmore ROMANTICISM II).
To day Arbans cornet method is the most well-known, but from the mid-1830s the publications of cornet methods skyrocket in Paris. In 1852 no fewer than 37 methods were for sale.
Fig. 27 “BOURGEOIS PARTY” Lithography by H. Dumier, 1852
In spite of its reputation the cornet got its own job in the symphony orchestras. After the premiere of the Symphonie Fantastique (Fantastical Symphony) (1830) Berlioz wrote a solo part for the cornet player Jean Baptist Arban (1825-1889) in the 2nd movement: Un Bal (A Ball), and in his Concerto for Viola: Harold in Italy (1834) there is a little solo as well. In orchestral works often parts were written for two cornets and two trumpets, like in the Symphony in D-minor by César Franck (1822-1890), the opera Don Carlos by Guiseppe Verdi (1813-1901) and in Peter Tjaikovsky’s (1840-1893) ballet the Swan lake, also with a big solo part for cornet. And for playing the sopranino register, the Soprano cornet in Eb became popular in wind bands and brass bands.
9. THE FLÜGELHORN
The keyed bugle got valves as well, and having a wider conical bore compared to the cornet it had an even softer sound. The name flugelhorn comes from de old small hunting horns. The word Flugel (German: Flügel) goes back to the Dutch word Vleugel, that goes back to the English Fly, meaning wing – On the battlefield (and also at hunting sessions) the ”Flugel master” directed with his hornplaying the wings or the flanks of the army.
Fig. 28 FLUGELHORN. The Flugelhorn in Bb and sopranino Flugelhorn in Eb got immediately their places in the wind orchestras. In Germany and Austria bigger instruments with a deeper sound were build, the Alto-, Tenor- and Bass flugelhorn.
10. ALTO HORN, BARITONE HORN and EUPHONIUM
Very soon the high sax horns were replaced by cornets, they were in a way just the same instruments, but with a different form. The other sax horns, from alto till bass, still have their places in the wind orchestras – you find them in their original form in the English orientated Brass Bands. The Alto and the two Tenor instruments (one with a smaller bore and one with a larger bore) have since been built with different forms and got different names.
These different names are very confusing. Not only because an instrument has different names in different countries. Even worse is the fact that the same name can have a different meaning in another language!
Fig. 30 A LIST OF INSTRUMENTS WITH THEIR NAMES IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES:
English: TENOR HORN/ German: ALTO HORN
is pitched in Eb with a keynote almost one octave above the French horn in F. Unlike the full and expressive sound of the French horn the Alto horn has less tension in its sound, and that makes it more suitable to complete the total sound of the other instruments in a Brass Band, like the viola in a symphony orchestra.
English: BARITONE/ German: TENORHORN
is pitched in Bb, it has a relatively small bore, with a sound that lays in the middle of the alto horn and the euphonium, which makes a perfect connection between these two instruments.
English: EUPHONIUM/ German: BARYTON
(Greek: good sound) is also pitched in Bb, it has a large bore that gives a full and heavy sound, which makes the name tenortuba more appropriate. Because of its perfect performances in high and low registers, the euphonium can double the horn (high), as well as the tuba (low). The euphonium is THE instrument to play the many obligate (counterpoint) counterparts, that play such an important role in the wind orchestras. As the most prominent solo instrument amongst the low wind players in both Brass bands and Harmony orchestras the euphonium has got a poetic nickname: The Prima donna of the low instruments”.
Fig. 29 GERMAN BARYTON (or Baritonhorn) with ROTARY VALVES.
Today most tenor horns, baritones and euphoniums formed like a tuba, and with pump valves, but in Germany they have been built as well with a round or oval form, and with rotary valves.
11. THE TUBA
The tuba is the only brass wind instrument, or rather the only orchestral instrument, with a real and known birth date. Wilhelm Wieprecht ( see: Romanticism II, harmony orchestra) and instrument maker Johann Moritz got their Chromatich Bass-Tuba in F with 5 Berlin Valves patented as Prussian Patent no. 19 on the 12th of September 1835. There surely have been other tuba-like instruments before but the quality and marketing of the tuba was very effective and the tuba became instantly very popular in all wind orchestras as something rather new. Later Wieprecht and Moritz build a bass tuba with a wider bore, the so called Bombardon
. When Sax got his saxhorn patented in 1849, the lowest of them were in a way also tubas. In the same year the Czech company V.F.Cerveny constructed a contrabass tuba in CC, and a bit later an even bigger one in BB, which as an honour to the Austrian Emperor got the name Kaiserbass.
Fig. 31 TUBA in F from 1840, Denmark.
Compared to the modern tuba the sound of the early tubas was almost a joke, but in relation to the other low instruments that were used, like serpent, bass horn and ophicleide, its sound was full and a real improvement. That is why it got the name ”Bass tuba”, but when later even bigger tubas in CC and BB were designed , they also should have a name, so they were called “contrabass tuba”. The tuba shown in fig.23 was probably used in the Copenhagen Royal Chapel at the premiere of the ”Ossian- Overture” written by Niels Wilhelm Gade, on the 19th of November 1841.
As every country has its own way to use brass instruments and as the tuba with its character and register should fit into the whole, every country got its own tuba. Different countries, different tubas! Being a bass instrument though, it was called bass tuba. And when the lower tubas in CC and BB came along, they were called contrabass tubas.
In GERMANY the tuba really quickly was accepted in the symphony orchestras, and the German tuba had to be the bass in the full and dark German brass sound. The tuba got rather popular and even the conservative Brahms uses the bass tuba in his Symphony no. 2 in D major, and in his Academic Festival Overture Op. 80. From the first part “Rhine-gold” (1854) of the Opera cycle “The Ring of the Nibelung” Wagner uses only the contrabass tuba, and in the third part “Siegfried”(1876) the tuba is the soloist in the dragon Fafner’s motif. The tuba gave a new dimension to the trombone group. You should think that the full and soft sound of the tuba would be a bad combination with the more direct sound of the trombones, but it was a perfect combination. In a choral with four parts the tuba gives an excellent bass and together with the bass trombone the tuba gives – in unison or in octaves – a characteristic mixed sound: the combination of the direct sound of the trombone and the full soft sound of the tuba.
Fig. 32 3 TUBAS FROM ABOUT 1870. From left to right: Kaiserbass from the Moritz company, English tuba in Eb with pump valves and Austrian tuba with rotary valves.
In FRANCE the ophicleide was rather established, far more than in Germany, and it took therefor quite a long time for the ophicleide to be conquered by the tuba. In 1843 Berlioz was on a short concert tour, and at that moment he heard the tuba for the first time. It was at a concert of his own Les Francs-Juges Overture which – conducted by Wieprecht – was played by a enormous orchestra of 320 people, and with 12 tubas. Berlioz became a real fan of the tuba. In revisited editions of his works he switched the ophicleide to the tuba, and if he did not do it himself, it was done by his editors. The brass sound in France was very light and the French tuba was rather different compared to the German. The French tuba was seen as a modern ophicleide, and was built with the same pitch, Bb and C, in our opinion almost like an euphonium.
Fig. 33 FRENCH TUBA in C WITH 6 VALVES
This little tuba, which was pitched a whole tone higher than the euphonium, combined very well with the other “light” French brass instruments. It was used in all tuba parts until about 1950, also in parts written for the contrabass tuba. It has a huge range, and that is why there is a high solo part in Moussorgsky’s ”Bydlo” (”Pictures of an Exhibition”, in an instrumentation by Maurice Ravel):
As well as a low bass line:
Fig. 34 ENGLISH EUPHONIUM from the end of the 19′ Century.
As the English tuba players originally played the ophicleide, and were used to the French inspired light brass sound, the first English tuba was a tenor tuba, – an euphonium. As late as in 1895 the program of the Glouchester-festival listed: Mr Guimartin – Ophicleide AND tuba !
The ophicleide was also rather established in ENGLAND. The conductor Hans Richter, who had worked together with Wagner, was used to real tubas, and when he came to England he just had to order a tuba at the local instrument maker.
12. THE HELICON
Fig. 35 THE HELICON is carried on the shoulder and the construction makes it easier to bear than the normal tuba. It is even possible to play the helicon on horseback, the instrument resting on the left shoulder, the right hand using the valves, and the left hand holding the reigns. Under: The McGibeny Family Band of Philadelphia employed three “helicons” (an E-flat alto, B-flat tenor, and B-flat bass) in their act (photo ca.1900).
Fig. 36 HELICON IN CIRKUS ? The Helicon is often connected with something external and entertaining.
13. AUGUST HELLEBERG (1851-1936)
Fig. 36 AUGUST HELLEBERG – was the first tuba player with international fame. A. Helleberg was born in Denmark and emigrated with his family to the USA. He became famous very quickly and his career was something special. Between the 1880ies and 1920ies he just was THE tuba player in the USA, where he played as a soloist as well as a musician in orchestras. He was the first tuba player in the Chicago Symphony orchestra, and after that a member of the New York Philharmonic orchestra, as well as the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, and the John Philip Sousa Band. In the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra he played the contrabass trombone as well (see under contrabass trombone) and he was a very good double bass player. His three brothers came also to the USA as musicians: Johannes on bassoon, Thomas on the trumpet and Andreas on bassoon. His two sons also became tuba players, and at a time the three of them were the tuba group in the Sousa Band. Long after his dead he still was called ”the father of all tuba players” and “the biggest tuba player ever”.
Fig. 37 HELLEBERG MOUTHPIECES. August Helleberg played at many recordings, among others with the singer Caruso, but it was the success of the design of hans mouthpieces that made him known in the professional inner circle until today. The mouthpieces were made by the company C.G. Conn at that time, but other companies have copied and adapted them since. To the left a mouthpiece for a tuba in Eb, to the right a mouthpiece for a tuba in BB.
14. THE TUBA- FAMILY ON POSTCARDS
Fig. 38 The big tubas were perceived as giant instruments. They appear to be even greater when they are displayed with small children, and therefore it was a popular motif on postcards from around 1900 until the 1950s.
Fig. 39 MUSICAL EMANCIPATION. German woodcut 1871
Fig. 40 CLARISSA, BEWARE THE SNAKE …. After Charles Vernier, Postcard, Paris ca.1850. The Serpent, the grandfather of the Tuba, could apparently still be seen at this time
Fig.41 OPHICLEIDE-PLAYER. French postcard 1903
15. VALVE INSTRUMENTS IN THE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA – LITTLE BY LITTLE ACCEPTED
The acceptance of the new valve instruments in the symphony orchestras went very slowly. The main opinion was that the balance between the old instrument’s possibilities and their function was both harmonic and clear, whereas the new instruments were bland and dull. And the device: ”Real musicians in a symphony orchestra do not play on valve instruments”, was something to be proud of. Factum was that the notes on the new valve horn sounded completely alike, something that some people saw as a splendid progress, but in the opinion of others it destroyed the character of the natural horn. Johannes Brahms, (1833-1897) was one of the people in this second group, he was very conservative and called the new valve horn a “brass viola”.
16. THE OSSIAN OVERTURE
Fig. 42 NIELS WILHELM GADE (1817-1890)
When the young (24 year old) violin pupil of the Royal Danish Orchestra, Niels Wilhelm Gade, (chapel no. 561) won the composers competition to write a concert overture, he immediately became famous with his “Ossian Overture”. He send his 1st symphony to Mendelssohn in Leipzig and became assistant conductor of the famous Gewandhaus Orchestra. When Mendelssohn died in 1847 he became chief conductor, but because of the war between Prussia and Denmark, he had to return to Copenhagen in 1848 and became the most prominent musician in Denmark.
The change from natural instruments to valve instruments went gradually of course. The Ossian Overture by Niels Wilhelm Gade is written in an early romantic ”Mendelssohn” style and it is a good example of the (at that time) rather advanced use of brass instruments. The horn parts are like those by Mendelssohn but the other instruments are well illuminated, though without breaking the tradition too much. Especially the trumpet parts are really exposed – much more than Mendelssohn would have written. Even if the parts are written for valve trumpet, they function as natural trumpets who play fanfare alike signals with triplets:
The trombones are used to present a powerful main theme with a character that lies between Franz Schubert’s symphony no. 8 and 9, and Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture:
The Ossian Overture was written in 1841 only 6 years after the invention of the tuba ( see ROMANTICISM I for the tuba that probably was used at the premiere). Normally there were three trombones in the orchestra, but as the tuba was a complete new instrument, it probably was the third trombone player who played the tuba. That is supposed to be the reason that there are only two trombones in the overture. (Nowadays a reconstructed version of the overture is often played with three trombones AND tuba).
17. RICHARD WAGNER (1818-1883) – BIG STRENGTHS
You would have thought that since this valve system had made the brass instruments fully chromatic, there would come a golden period where the brass players could blossom as soloists and chamber musicians. On the contrary, these new instruments became first of all rather important as orchestral instruments. The brass group in the symphony orchestra grew and got more and more solistic parts. The biggest brass strength in a symphony orchestra in the 1800rds was in the opera cycle “the Ring of the Nibelung” by Richard Wagner (1818-1883): 3 trumpets, bass trumpet, 8 horn, (4 French horn and 4 Wagner tubas), 2 tenor trombones, bass trombone, contrabass trombone, and contrabass tuba: 17 brass players!
Fig. 44 RICHARD WAGNER’ – satirical drawing. His long operas with those big orchestral strengths with lots of brass made that some people looked upon them as being arrogant, decadent and almost as a spiritual rape! Here the composer ”makes a dash at an innocent audience”.
“Big moments and long lasting half hours” – quote by Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868) about Wagner’s operas.
Fig. 45 WAGNER CONDUCTS SIEGFRED IDDYL. Wagner composed one piece for only 13 players, Siegfred Idyll, as a birthday present to his second wife, Cosima after the birth of their son Siegfred in 1869. It was first performed on Christmas morning, 25 December 1870, by a small ensemble of the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich on the stairs of their villa at Tribschen, Lucerne Switzerland. Conductor Hans Richter played the brief trumpet part. Siegfred Idyll stands in sharp contrast with the heavy big orchestral sound from most of his work. The artist of this picture has not had much knowledge of the facts. The brass instruments in the score are only 2 horns and one trumpet, but here are too many instruments and they are completely wrong drawn by the artist. Wagner originally intended the Siegfried Idyll to remain a private piece. However, due to financial pressures, he decided to sell the score to publisher B. Schott in 1878. In doing so, Wagner expanded the orchestration to 35 players to make the piece more marketable.
As the orchestras grew bigger, it became a problem at all to hear the singers in operas off he day. One solution was the layout of the Operahouse Bayreuther Festspielhaus in Germany. The oprahouse was build 1876 dedicated solely to the performance of stage works by Richard Wagner. A significant feature of the Bayreuth Festspielhaus is its unusual orchestra pit. It is recessed under the stage and covered by a shall, so that the orchestra is completely invisible to the audience. The design correct the balance of volume between singers and the big orchestra with the many brass instruments, creating ideal acoustics for Wagner’s operas. It also makes it possible for the audience to concentrate on the drama onstage, rather than the distracting motion of the conductor and musicians.
Fig. THE ORCHESTRA PIT IN BAYREUTHER FESTSPIELHAUS
Fig. 46 AUDIENCE SPACE IN I BAYREUTHER FESTSPIELHAUS
Fig. ORCHESTRA PIT SEEN FROM ABOVE
Fig. 47 ORCHESTRA PIT SEEN FROM BELOW
Fig. 43 WAGNER CONDUCTING PARSIFAL IN BAYREUTH’S ORCHESTRAL PIT, drawing from 1882. The orchestras became bigger and bigger in the second half of the 1800rds.
Fig. 48 Just before the performances and during the breaks, a brass ensemble plays themes from today’s performance.
BAYREUTH BRASS ENSEMBLE BEFORE (the sheet music are the Valhalla theme from the Ring):
– AND NOW:
18. GUISEPPE VERDI (1813-1901) – INSTRUMENTATION, DYNAMICS and BALANCE
Fig. 45 AMILCARE PONTIELLI’S (1834-1886) ITALIAN WIND BAND
— existed of clarinets, drums and otherwise the Italian valve brass instruments of that time: Cornet, Flugelhorn, (Wald horn) Genis (alt/tenor horn) in Eb, trumpet in low Eb, Valve trombones in Bb and in F, Flicorno Basso (tenor horn/baritone) in Bb, Bobardino (euphonium) in Bb, and Bombardone (tuba) in F, Eb and BB.
When you hear concerts of romantic music played on ”historical instruments” it is evident that the instruments of that time sound as they do nowadays, but the dynamics are rather different. The brass players in the Italian symphony orchestras at Verdi’s time all came from wind orchestras. They had no education at a music conservatory and they were not trained to play as loud as they do nowadays, and their instruments (all valve instruments) sounded more “muted” and could not give that powerful sound as you hear in for example the film music of today. Therefor the brass parts in Verdi’s music often are described to play Tutta Forza (which means with all force) – it was necessary to get the splendour in the music. Nowadays such a description would mean that the brass players would overrule the sound in the orchestra. Knowing this, one should play Verdi’s music somewhat softer than written, to obtain the necessary balance between the various orchestral groups!
Fig. 46 THE SCALA OPERA IN MILANO WITH A BIG ORCHESTRA – POST CARD from 1900. In the 19th century almost all Italian symphony orchestras were opera or ballet orchestras. The opera was really popular, and it had a big influence on the people.
19. SMALL ORCHESTRAS
The smaller dance and theater orchestras from the 18th century were mini versions of the symphony orchestras, often including piano and otherwise with the usual orchestra instruments: Strings, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments.
Fig. 47 SCENERY FROM AN ENGLISH TOY THEATER 1830 – showing brass players in the orchestra pit playing on natural instruments: 2 natural horns, one natural trumpet and a bass trombone in G with handle
Fig. 48 A TOY THEATER STAGE SET c. 1860 France. Includes a depiction of a French pit orchestra that features brass players with valve instruments: 2 valve-horn players, 2 valve-trumpet players and a trombonist.
Fig. 50 THE BOX BY THE STALLS. 1883—Paris, France: Painting by Jean Beraud – offers a view, through a patron’s box seat, of a Parisian orchestra. Included is a clear depiction of a trombone.
Fig. 51 CARL MØLLER AND HIS ORCHESTRA FROM ÅRHUS, DENMARK 1884 – with 2 trumpets and one valve trombone.
Fig. 52 MC. MASTER ORCHESTRA 1896, USA – with 2 cornets and one valve trombone.
Fig. 53 JOHANN STRAUSS II (1825-1899) AND HIS ORCHESTRA PLAYING TO A COURT BALL – with 2 horns, 2 trumpets and one trombone. Colored Lithograph 1900.
Fig. 54 DANCE- OR STUDENT ORCHESTRA, CHICAGO 1900 – with 4 cornets and one valve trombone.
20. THE TRUMPET
In France the success of the cornet worked almost as a drag on the process of introducing the valve trumpet. It went quicker in Germany, already in 1829 the Prussian cavalry’s Trompeten-Musik used valve trumpets with different pitches. On a journey through Germany in 1843 Berlioz thinks the German trumpeter much better than the French, and he is overwhelmed by the “exultant sound” of the trumpets.
Fig. 1 EARLY GERMAN TRUMPET IN G 1830. MUSEUM MARCHNEUNKIRCHEN
One composer who actually never composed for the valve brass instruments but anyway knew about them was Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1849). Commenting in 1834 on his overture Die Schöne Melusine, Op. 32 (1833), which featured the horns and trumpets outlining the minor triad (written, Eb instead of E). That mean the work was composed to require hand stopping by the horns but and the trumpets, but Mendelssohn stated that:
“The E flat for the horns and trumpets I put down trusting to luck, and hoping that Providence would show the players some way to do it; if they have new contrivances for it (valves), so much the better”. Mendelssohn seemed to be open to the idea of valved instruments playing these parts.
It was a confusing time for trumpeters who received several trumpet types to choose from. A good example is the French Francois Georges Aguste Dauverné (1799-1874), trumpet virtuoso, teacher and composer. He was 1.trumpet in the Kings Band, The Opera. The Academy Orchestra and in projects for Hector Berlioz. His instruments over time was: The Natural Trumpet, The Keyed Trumpet, The Valve Trumpet, The Cornet and The Slide trumpet (Fig. 2 )
According to Georges Kastner (composer with a special interest in the instrumental inventions of Adolphe Sax) The Royal Music Academy orchestra in 1851 was composed like following (family of brass instruments) : 4 french horns, 2 trumpets, 1 keyed trumpet, 2 valve cornets, 3 trombones et 1 ophicleide.
Fig. 2 Left: FRANCOIS GEORGES AGUSTE DAUVERNÉ (1799-1874). Right: BELL FROM A SLIDE TRUMPET, by the french company ANTOINE COURTOIS. In 1840 Meyerbeer brought to Dauverné along from Berlin this beautiful slide trumpet, as a gift for Dauverné who played it until 1846 when he handed it to his student Jules Henri Louis Cerclier (1823-1897), the winner that year of the Paris Academy of music competition.
After the creation of valves 2 main styles of trumpet were developed: The French style with piston-valves and the German-Austrian style with rotary-valves. The Piston-valve trumpet has a clearer and more brilliant tone made with the concept of a consistent sound across all dynamic levels and registers. This kind of trumpet were also used in England and USA. The rotary-valve trumpets used in Germany and Austria is not intended to have a consistent tone and is actually supposed to dramatically change in timbre at different dynamic levels – soft dynamic dark sound, loud dynamic bright sound. The difficult crook-system disappeared at last when introducing the Valve Trumpet in F ( an octave higher than the F-Horn) as a sort of ”Standard”. Even being free of the natural harmonic tones, still all trumpet parts were written in C, meaning that, if the part was not written for trumpet in F, it was still necessary to transpose the part.
Fig. 3 AUSTRIAN F-TRUMPET WITH VIENNA-VALVES AND CROOKS, 1840
Fig. TRUMPET in G WITH BERLINER-PUMPEN, MARKNEUNKIRCHEN, GERMANY ca. 1860 (see ROMANTICISM II, 26 – GERMAN INSTRUMENT MAKERS)
Fig. 4 GERMAN VALVE TRUMPET in F.
The musical importance of the valves and the new chromatic possibilities showed in the more lyrical and melodious music for trumpet. The parts became even higher and higher, and reached their maximum in the opera Parsifal by Wagner (1882), where a lyrical solo reaches the high C, and even: to be played sehr zart. (very soft and tender). That is possibly why (and maybe under influence of the cornet) the Bb-trumpet was used more and more. It was more secure in the high notes and the sound was more clear and brilliant. On the other hand, the Bb-trumpet’s sound was a bit thin, so in groups of 3 or 4 trumpets, the F-trumpet stayed on the lower parts.
The F-trumpet did not disappear overnight. Gustav Mahler found the sound of the Bb trumpet so thin that he asked for doubling of the 2nd trumpet part when conducting Beethoven’s symphonies. When the second trumpeter I the Vienna opera Frantz Thomas was hired in 1872 he was given an F-trumpet. When he in 1879 requested a Bb-trumpet, conductor Hans Richter replied: “As a second trumpeter Mr. Thomas shouldn’t ever play anything but an F-trumpet!”
Fig. 6 TRUMPET IN Bb/A by “KÖHLER & SON”, ca. 1888-1896, with 3 piston valves and for tuning one rotary valve
Fig. 7 GERMAN Bb-TRUMPET
Fig. 8 AMERICAN F-TRUMPET, BOSTON, ca.1900 WITH CROOK to Eb
Another solution was the idea of using the cornet for orchestral trumpet-parts, and it seem to last quit long. A typical 19th century attitude towards the orchestral trumpet is expressed by Ebenezer Prout, professor of music in the University of Dublin, in “The Orchestra, Volume 1. Technique of the Instruments”, published in London in 1897: “The tone of the trumpet is the most powerful and brilliant of any in the orchestra…Its quality is noble and it is greatly to be regretted that in modern orchestras it is so frequently replaced by the much more vulgar cornet. The tone of the cornet is absolutely devoid of the nobility of the trumpet, and, unless in the hands of a very good musician, readily becomes vulgar. It is, however, so much easier to play than the trumpet, that parts written for the latter instrument are very often performed on the cornet. In some cases, especially in provincial orchestras, this may be a necessity, as it is not always possible to find trumpet players; but it is none the less a degradation of the music. We cordially endorse the dictum of M. (Francois- Auguste) Gevaert, who says—‘No conductor worthy of the name of artist ought any longer to allow the cornet to be heard in place of the trumpet in a classical work’”.
The trumpet was first of all an orchestral instrument but once in a while it was used as a solo instrument. The brothers Friedrich and Ernest Sachse played as soloists in the 1850ties on the low F- and Eb- trumpet. The trumpet got more popular as a solo instrument when the music from the Baroque was rediscovered, especially the music from Handel and Bach. The art of Clarin playing had long been forgotten, so to play the high baroque parts it was necessary to build trumpets with a high pitch. Up till 1900 trumpets in C, D, G, and A were built and those with the highest pitch were called Bach-trumpets even if their length only was 1/3 of the original baroque trumpets.
Fig. 9 TWO PIONEERS OF BAROQUE TRUMPET PLAYING ON SMALL TRUMPETS. To the left: Julius Kosleck (1837-1903), Berlin, to the right John Solomon (1856-1953), London.
Fig. 10 OSKAR BÖHME (1870 – 1938) was born near Dresden, Germany. After studying trumpet and composition in the Leipzig Conservatory of Music until 1885, he probably concertized, playing in smaller orchestras around Germany. From 1894-1896 he played in the Budapest Opers Orchestra and then in 1897 he moved to Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, and was playing the cornet employed as “Kaiserlich. Russischer. Hofoperkünstler”. 1921-1930 he turned to teaching at a music school, and then returned to Leningrad (St. Petersburg). However, in 1936 a committee was established to oversee the arts in Soviet Russia. According to its anti-foreign policies, Böhme was exiled to Orenburg on account of his German heritage.
Böhme composed 46 known works, of which his Brass Sextet and Trumpet Concerto (Op. 18) are the best known.
21. SPECIEL TRUMPETS
Fig. 11 BASS TRUMPET. Already in the early days of the valve a low trumpet was built: the “Chromatische Trompetenbasse” (bass trumpet) , to be used in the wind orchestras.
For his opera cycle ”the Ring of the Nibelung” Wagner arranged that a bass trumpet should be made to (beside various solos) form a bridge between the trumpets and the trombones. It was pitched in C and could be tuned to Bb. After Wagner the bass trumpet was also used by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky.
Fig. 12 A SET OF AIDA TRUMPETS. For his opera “Aida” (1871) Verdi had made six straight trumpets, three in Ab and three in Bb. Each one of them had one ”whole note valve” which, when playing , was covered by the hand, so the instruments looked like ”antique” natural trumpets. Here is Aida-trumpet player in action from the opera in Verona:
Fig.13 WOODEN TRUMPET. For the opera “Tristan and Isolde” (1865) Wagner had made a wooden trumpet in C, with the same valve (in brass) as the Aida Trumpet.
22. THE QUESTIONABLY ETUDES FOR TRUMPET BY JOHANNES BRAHMS
As a young man Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) wrote 12 etudes for trumpet ca. 1848-1850. The story goes that Brahms was playing the piano at a pub in Hamburg with a trumpet player sitting in, and that Brahms wrote him some studies to improve his technique. The authenticity of these etudes is obviously in question because Brahms never wrote anything for the trumpet in his orchestral music that was as melodic or extended as these etudes demonstrate. But Brahms knew for sure about chromatic brass instruments. His father, Johann Jakob Brahms (1806-72), played the keyed bugle in the second Jäger-Battaillon band of the Hamborg Bürgerwehr 1837-1867. Later he switched to a new Vienna valve Flügelhorn which survives in the Kammerhof Museum of Gmunden, Austria.
Fig. 14 JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897) and his father AND JOHANN JAKOB BRAHMS (1806-1972)
23. THE FRENCH HORN IN GERMANY AND BOHEMIA
The trumpet players were rather cautious about the valve system, but that was nothing compared to the horn players. It took a very long time for them to accept the ”Mechanical Horn”. In their opinion the valves “cut” through the tones and it destroyed the soul of the French Horn. That is why Johannes Brahms preferred the natural horn. The (natural) horn in F was still the one that was used most, but the players still changed tubes. The problem was though, and there is evidence: that it took too long for the horn players to change tubes, so they were late in playing their part, that it was noisy, so the other musicians were distracted, and the worst of all was when a wrong tube was used. When at last the valves were being used, they were used as a mechanical way to change tubes. That is why the valves on a French horn are operated with the left hand, while the right hand (for most people their favourite hand) is placed in the bell, to play the stop notes. From ca. 1840 players began to use the valves the same way as done on cornet.
The stop horn method went really far, see for example the concert for Horn op.45 from 1815 by Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1825). The horn got two valves, later three, but its status as a solo instrument disappeared with it and Romanticism is not rich in solo concerts for Horn.
Fig. 15 EARLY GERMAN 2 VALVE HORN MADE BY JOHANN GOTTRIED KERSTEN, DRESDEN, GERMANY Ca. 1835
Fig. 16 GERMAN HORN (WALDHORN) WITH ROTARY VALVES from 1880 made by MÜLLER, BOHEMIA. During Romanticism the development of the horn went in different national directions. The German horn had a wide bore and a dark sound.
In 1866 horn player Friedrich Gumpert played in a chamber music concert at the Gewandhaus , Leipzig in Germany, of Johannes Brahms horn trio op.4o together with Clara Schumann (piano) and Ferdinand David (violin). Brahms was utterly against the valve horn, as mentioned before, and you can imagine what he was thinking when Clara Schumann send a letter to him about a rehearsal of his Horn Trio op. 40 for violin, French horn and piano (1868): ”We have played your Trio and the horn player was fantastic. I do not think that he ever kicked, which was splendid, but he played on a valve horn, and would not even think about playing on a natural horn”.
Fig. 17 EDUARD CONSTANTIN LEWY with his son Richard and his daughter Melanie. Some of the most important pioneers of the valve horn were the brothers Edward Constantin Lewy (1796-1846) and Joseph Rudolph Lewy (1804-1881). Eduard Constantin played the famous fourth horn solo in Beethoven’s 9th symphony at the premiere in 1824 – could be on a valve horn?
Fig. 18 JOSEPH RUDOLPH LEWY
performed on a valve horn already in 1826. He was a horn player when Franz Schubert’s song “Auf dem Strom” (On the river) for singer, piano and horn had its premiere in 1828. The horn part is possibly one of the first pieces written for valve horn. Joseph Rudolph was employed at the opera in Dresden, and it is rather possible that he affected Wagner in writing the horn part to his opera “Lohengrin”(1848). The horn parts were played – strangely enough – with a mixture of valve- and stop technique.
Quote by Robert Schumann: “The horn is the soul of the orchestra”
It was not only negativism, there were certainly positive thoughts about the new valve horn. Robert Schumann (1810-1856) was very inspired by the Lewy brothers. He shows his clear excitement in his “Adagio and Allegro Op.70” for (valve)horn and piano written in 1848, and only two weeks later in his virtuoso “Concert Piece for four horns and orchestra in F Major Op.86”(1849) for 4 valve horns. He wrote the piece in only 2 days and has written in the score: “Difficulkt and too long”.
Fig. 19 HORN VIRTUOSO H. POHLE – 1st horn player at the premiere of Robert Schumann’s Concert Piece for four horns and orchestra. Drawing from 1845 by C. Reimer.
At the first performance af Schumanns Concertpiece 1850 the 4 solo parts was played by:
Eduard Pohle (1817–1875) Principal horn in Leipzig Gewandhausorchesters 1843-1853
Joseph Jehnichen (? – 1852) 2. horn i Gewandhausorchesters
Eduard Julius Leichsenring (1810–1878) 3. hornt in Gewandhausorchesters
Carl Heinrich Conrad Wilke (1811-1856) 4. horn in Gewandhausorchesters 1842-1856.
Fig. 20 Poster from the first performance og the Concert piece Monday 25 February 1850. However, it was performed with piano one year earlier for a small company in a private home.
Fig. 17 FRIEDRICH GUMPERT (1841-1906) – was perhaps the most important German valved horn performer and teacher of the late nineteenth century. From 1864 – 1899 he was First horn in the Gewandhausorchestra, and Professor of Horn at the Leipzig Conservatory 1882-1906. His publications (all of which appear, erroneously, under the name “Gumbert” include twelve volumes of orchestral excerpt books, horn quartets, a horn method, and many arrangements for horn and piano.
24. THE HORN IN FRANCE
In France the natural horn was rather popular and the valve horn was more like a natural horn with set up valves. On most models it was possible to remove the valve part, and to switch it with a tube, so it was like a combination of the natural horn and the valve horn. That’s why the French right up to the mid 1800 century experimented with “Omnotonic horns”.
Fig. 21 OMNOTONIC HORN build by PIERRE LOUIS GAUTROT (1812-1882) in the 1837, r. a switching-screw (see also ROMANTICISM I, 2. VALVE SYSTEMS AND THEIR INVENTORS).
Fig. 25 EXTREME OMNOTONIC HORN BY JEAN PABTISTE DUPONT FROM THE 1800S. R. The Mouthpiece is placed in different tuning-leadpipes
Fig. 22 FRENCH HORN (COR) WITH PISTON VALVES. The ”French” horn had piston valves and often a 3rd valve to change the pitch from F to G, it had a small bore and a light sound and the dynamic power was not big. The instrument was said to be difficult to play, because the tone very easily kicked. The natural horn kept its popularity in France in a long time. The orchestral version of Maurice Ravel’s “Pavane for a dead princess” from 1908 shows a horn part, marked as ”Cor simple en sol”, which means that the pitch shall be changed to G and that the part shall be played with hand technique alone. The French method to play the horn, and the choice of instruments was overtaken by the English.
Fig. 23 SINGLE HORN IN F “système Sax” F. Van Cauwelaert (père) à Bruxelles, ca 1885. This horn was made between ca 1884 and 1900 with 2 Perine´ valves and crooks, this set consisting of D, Eb, E and F crooks would have been the typical pick of a late-19th century Belgian bandsman.
25. THE HORN IN AUSTRIA
Fig.24 VIENNA HORN – is directly opposite to the french horn. The deep f-pitch, the very deep mouthpiece and the open Venna valves gives it an even darker and fuller sound than the German horn. Up till today the Vienna Horn gives the Vienna Philharmonic its special sound.
Fig. 25 JOSEF SCHANTL (1842-1902) to the right, and HIS PUPILS, FOTO ca. 1895. Josef Schantl, (picture from 1880) the great horn player and teacher, principal horn player in several symphonies by Anton Bruckner and Johannes Brahms, principal horn player in the SHORT CALL at performances of parts of Wagner’s Siegfried and Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods) in Vienna under direction of Richard Wagner 1875. He died in 1902, just retired. He wrote a most comprehensive Horn Method (4 volumes)
No.3 from the right is his successor Karl Stiegler as principal horn player in the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. When Karl Stiegler had performed the Siegfried Signal 50 times, he got this picture from his colleagues – signed: Christian Nowak, Franz Moissl, Rudolf Reiss, Hermann Moissl, 2nd row: Karl Romagnoli, Anton Stark, Christian Nowak jun., 3rd row: Franz Koller, Hans Koller, Leopold Kainz, Karl Wesetzky, Josef Sandner
Fig. VIENNA HORN PLAYER, drawing by König.
26. THE HORN IN UK
Fig. 26 ABERDEEN TRIO, PHOTO FROM c.. 1880
In UK players took over the French type of horn and the French way of playing. This photo shows such a horn with 2 Stötzel(piston) valves. The horn is probably made c 1846 by the instrument maker Thomas Key from London.
Fig. THE FRENCH HORN PUB, TRADEMARK. Hornplayer with piston valve horn.
27. THE HORN IN USA
Fig. 27 HENRY SCHMITZ 1823 – 1914. In the 18th century many horn players in USA came from Germany. One of them were Henry Schmitz who came from Germany to USA 1846. He was solo horn of the N.Y. Philharmonic from 1848 to 1869 and of the Theodore Thomas Orchestra from 1866 to 1877, and several other well-known orchestras of the time. He was no doubt the first true virtuoso horn player in the United Sates and a frequent soloist. On January 12, 1856 he gave the American premiere of Weber’s Concertino with the Philharmonic. He was also the principal in the first U.S. performance of Robert Schumann’s Konzertstück for four horns given in New York on December 4, 1852, only three years after its composition
28. THE WAGNER TUBA
In his orchestral work Wagner called the horn group for ”the sonorous centre”. He visited Adolf Sax’s shop in Paris in October 1853, whilst he thought about using saxhorn (Tenor horn, Baritone and Euphonium), or something like it, as part of the orchestral strength in ”The Ring of the Nibelung”. It was the director Hans Richter though who gave him the idea to have built low valve instruments with a lead pipe connected to a “horn” mouthpiece. That gave the horn players opportunity to switch easily between these instruments and their “normal” horn. The new instruments were called Wagner tubas, and the Wagner tuba-section was formed with two tubas in Bb and two in F. You cannot put your right hand into the bell of a Wagner tuba and they sound a bit like a mixture of a horn and a euphonium. It took some time to have built these Wagner tubas and at the premiere of Rhine Gold (1869) the parts were played by ”military instruments”: Tenor horn, Baritone and Euphonium. Later the Wagner tubas were used by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) in his Symphony no.7 (1884), by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) in Le sacre du printemps (the Rite of Spring) (1913) and by Richard Strauss (1864-1949)in the opera Elektra (1909). Wagner tubas have also been used in Hollywood films.
Fig. 28 WAGNER TUBA
Fig. 31 WAGNUTUBAS WITH VALVES FOR THE LEFT HAND OR THE RIGHT HAND. Wagnertubas is made for valves for the left hand (with the bell pointing right – see THE 20’ CENTURY II THE NATIONAL SOUND ” Fig GERMANY AND AUSTRIA”) or with valves for the right hand (with the bell pointing left.
The sound of a Wagner tuba goes downwards, and with an almost identical mouthpiece to a normal horn mouthpiece it is rather difficult to ”push the sound upwards”, and make it bigger and darker. In France and England, the horn sound was very light, and to play the Wagner tuba was something of a challenge. That is why substitutes for the Wagner tuba have been developed.
Fig. 29 WAGNER TUBA-SUBSTITUTES FOR THE OPERA IN PARIS, SAX TROMBA WITH A REMOVABLE BELL. At the Opera in Paris this construction has been used. The bell could turn downwards, and thus give a dark and soft ”mystical” sound.
Fig. 30 WAGNER TUBA-SUBSTITUTES FROM COVENT GARDEN, LONDON. In 1892 the old Royal Italian Opera at Covent Garden became the Royal Opera House (also called “Covent Garden”). It was the year of the first performance at Covent Garden of Wagner’s Ring cycle (conducted by Mahler) and the change of name was no doubt influenced by this as, until then, all performances had been sung in Italian. For this Ring a bass trumpet and Wagner tubas would have been required, and it seems likely that these very instruments have been discovered in the attic at Covent Garden. They were made by the Belgian company Mahillon. Three of the four Wagner tubas were found, one tenor in Bb (the other Bb is missing) and two basses in F. These Wagner tubas are of four-in-line piston valve design, and interestingly, built to be played by trombone players (not horn players which is conventional) as they have lead pipes suitable for the small-bore trombone mouthpieces in use at that time. Along with their maker’s name, there is an inscription “Gold Medal Paris 1878”.