Latest updated 4/9 2022
CONTENTS IN THIS CHAPTER:
1 – CARL NIELSENS INSTRUMENTATION FOR BRASS INSTRUMENTS
2 – FEMALE BRASS PLAYERS ON POSTCARDS
3 – FEMALE BRASS PLAYERS IN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRAS
4 – WIND BANDS
5 – JOHN PHILIP SOUSA AND HIS FAMOUS SOLOISTS
6 – BRITISH BRASS BANDS
7 – MARCHING BAND INSTRUMENTS
8 – THE GOLDMAN BAND
9 – POPULAR WIND BANDS AND BRASS BANDS
10 – CHAMBER MUSIC / BRASS ENSEMBLES/MIXED ENSEMBLES
THE 20′ CENTURY II (1900 – )
1. CARL NIELSENS INSTRUMENTATION
FOR BRASS INSTRUMENTS
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.
CARL NIELSEN AS A MILITARY MUSICIAN
Photo from approx.. 1889
Carl Nielsen began as a military musician at the age of only 14 and was employed in 1879 – 1884 in the military band of the 6 regiment in the danish army. His instruments were bugle horn and alto valve trombone. He later became a violinist in The royal Danish Orchestra, then conductor at the royal opera and has become known as Denmark’s “national composer”
FROM CARL NIELSEN’S SYMPHONY NO. 4 – THE INEXTINGUISHABLE
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.
2. 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.
THE JANIETZ ELIE DAMEN BLAS ORCHESTER
Ppostcard from march 1912. Even coming from Germany they performed dressed as Scottish ladies.
Photo from 1898, Missouri, USA by Mr. BIGELOW, presented as Flash-Light Expert and General Photographer
CORNET PLAYER NETTIE from Chicago
Photo from the beginning of the 20th century.
Fig.7 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)
KÖNIGS CORNET a PISTON-TRIO
Charlotte, Magarete and Melani. Postcard from 1915
Fig.9 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.
FEMALE FANFARE WIND PLAYERS IN THE LADIES TRUMPET CORPS “THURINGIA” HEIDELBERG.
THE LADIES BAND, MUASTON, WISCONSIN, USA 1888
3. 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.
– 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.
– 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).
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!
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.
SUSAN SLAUGHTER joined the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1969 and four years later became principal trumpet. 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.
SUSAN SLAUGHTER & THE INTERNATIONAL WOMANS BRASS LOGO
4. WIND BANDS
MARINE BAND WATERBURY 1910, ITALY
The best-known wind-orchestra strength is that of the Wind Band. It has woodwind as well as brass and percussion of course. During the years there have been several kinds of strengths: The English Brass and Reed band is almost a Brass band with only a few high woodwind players, the English Military Band is a relatively small Harmony of only about 25 members, the Dutch Fanfare Band exists of brass players with a flugelhorn at the top and a complete group of saxophone players, but without flutes and clarinets. In the south of Europe, you find some really big orchestras, as the Republic Garde in Paris: Garde Republicaine, a band with 80 musicians, and the Police orchestra in Rome: Banda del Carabinieri with 95 musicians. Here the strength exist, beside the standard strength, of alto horn, Bb- and Eb flugelhorn, tenor horn (baritone) cimbasso, string double bass, harp, piano and more.
GARDE REPUBLICAINE BAND, PARIS
– exists of 80 musicians. The band had many prominent brass players among their members. One of the classics in the repertoire of brass chamber music: Eugene Bozza’s “sonatine for brass quintet” was written in 1951 for the a quintet of this band.
THE MOUNTED FANFARE BAND SECTION of the FRENCH REPUBLICAINE BAND
– in dismounted formation during a concert.
BANDA DEL CARABINIERI, ROME-
exists of 95 musicians. At the right, you see a “Cimbasso”, an instrument that is seldom used in a wind orchestra.
The type of harmony orchestra that is most common is the American inspired Concert Band. The repertoire is versatile, with arrangements of classical music, jazz and entertainment music and pop music, and original compositions. There can be many different instruments, as double bass, harp, piano, and cello and more, which makes it possible to show big contrasts, from soft chamber music to big orchestral tutti. When you look at the score of a Concert Band, you will find the high parts in the woodwind section while most of the lower parts are in the brass section. The brass section exists of:
4 trumpets (in older times there were special parts for cornets, like 2 trumpet and 2 cornets)
2 tenor trombones and a bass trombone
A part for a euphonium – that can be double (there has earlier been parts for baritone/tenor horn)
A part for the tuba, often written in octaves or divisi, to be played by 2 – 4 tuba players.
There has been written a long range of original pieces for the Wind Band: Rimsky Korsakov (1844-1908), Gustav Holst (1874-1934) Ralph Vaughan Williams (1857-1934), Paul Hindemith (1895-1963), Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) and Percy Grainger (1882-1961). Recently Johan de Meij (1953- ), Holland, has written some prominent works, solo concerts and symphonies, with an instrumentation that is full of fantasy, and therewith widened the popularity and knowledge of the modern Concert Band.
RØDOVRE CONCERT BAND, Denmark
5. JOHN PHILIP SOUSA BAND HIS AND FAMOUS SOLOISTS
THE SOUSA BAND
One of the most remarkable wind orchestras ever was the American John Philip Sousa’s (1854-1934) Band. Originally, he was a violinist but he became leader of a wind orchestra and a composer. He became known as the King of the Marches, and during his career, he wrote more than a 100, among them “The Stars and Stripes Forever” that became the American National March. He wrote 10 operas as well, but he never became known for that.
SOUSA ON A STAMP, 1940
SOUSA THE CONDUCTOR
THE UNITED STATES MARINE BAND, photo 1864
The band was established by act of congress on July 11, 1798, it is the oldest of the United States military bands and the oldest professional musical organization in the United States. The relationship between the Marine Band and the White house began on New Year’s Day 1801, when President John Adams invited the band to perform at the Executive Mansion. The same year President Thomas Jefferson gave the band the title “The President’s Own”. Sousa was leader of the band from 1880 to 1892.
Sousa conducted the ’United States Marine Band’ in Washington 1880-1992, but after that he started his own band. He had a real crowd of star soloists and he himself was a good conductor (in the opinion of the tuba player William Bell Sousa was the best conductor he ever had). Sousa’s ambition was to create a wind band that was as good as a symphony orchestra. He succeeded, he got all his wishes fulfilled, and he and his orchestra became world famous.
PAINTING OF SOUSA – UNKNOWN ARTIST
The Sousa Band was on various European tours and in 1910-1911, he toured all around the world. When Sousa was in Berlin in 1900, R. Strauss was present at the rehearsals and the performance, and you can imagine that Strauss got many ideas from the splendid musicians. Under the 1st world war, Sousa was a real patriot as he volunteered at an age of 60, and he became the manager of the many music corpses in the marine. He asked though that his salary would not be more than 1 dollar a month. When Sousa stopped with his own Band in 1931, he had played 15.623 concerts.
J. P. Sousa’s name not only was the name of his orchestra, but also the name of an instrument, a special tuba that was named after him. When he conducted the Marine orchestra in 1893 they had Helicons, but in his opinion the sound was too thin and direct, and he got build an instrument that had a bigger bell which was bend upwards – it got the nickname: “the rain catcher”.
THE RAIN CATCHER
The first sousaphone was build by W.Pepper in 1895
(See ROMANTICISM III, 18 – HENRY DISTIN)
HERBERT CONRAD THE FIRST SOUSAPHONE PLAYER
– was very tall (195 cm.)and served 1893 – 1903
In a letter, dated October 14, 1895, three years before the company Conn’s first Sousaphone was produced, Herbert Conrad makes this mention of the instrument: “The Sousaphone has become the talk of the town and gains in reputation daily. The Sousaphone is a splendid instrument. It is well in tune and has a wonderful carrying power. The photographs of the Sousaphone are in the windows of one of the principal music stores in Olive Street (St. Louis), which is the street of this city, and are a great attraction.”
Fig.30 JOHN PHILIP SOUSA and the SOUSAPHONE.
From left to right: J.P. Sousa and a “nymph” with a sousaphone.
SOUSA’s TUBA/SOUSAPHONE SECTION
TO THE RIGHT: 2 BIG BB-SOUSAPHONES MODEL CONN 48K JUMBO
A SOUSAPHONE SIDE BY SIDE WITH 2 TUBAS
– in the bass section of the Cedar Falls Band , Iowa USA in 1902.
THE SIZE AND THE SHAPE OF THE SOUSAPHONE HAS CONTINUED TO MAKE IT A FAVORITE OBJECT OF CARTOONS AND JOKES:
FRONT PAGE OF THE MAGAZINES: CANDY 1947, KILROYS 1951, HUCKLEBERRY HOUND and SNOOPY
A DAY AT THE RACES
MARX BROTHER MOVIE FROM 1937
Part of Sousa’s success were the prominent soloists who often played virtuous and incredible variations on simple but ear catching melodies.
HERBERT CLARKE (1867-1945)
– was known for his virtuous and expressive cornet playing. He was a composer, he wrote etudes and had been trumpet player in the New York Philharmonic and at the Metropolitan Opera, but he loved the cornet far more than the trumpet. In a letter from 31 January 1921 to a young man, who sought his advice to change to the trumpet instead of the cornet he wrote: “Replying to yours of the 19th just received, would not advise you to change from cornet to trumpet, as the latter instrument is only a foreign fad for the time present, and is only used properly in large orchestra of 60 or more, for dynamic effects, and was never intended as a solo instrument. I never heard a real soloist playing before the public on a trumpet. One cannot play a decant song even, properly, on it, and it has sprung up in the last few years like ”jazz” music, which is the nearest Hell, or the devil, in music”.
– was the young man. We do not know whether he took Clarke’s warning about jazz to heart, but he ignored the great man’s contempt for the trumpet. From 1928 to 1933, he was principal trumpet of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and then accepted the same position with the Chicago Symphony. In Chicago, he began designing a new trumpet for his own use. By 1937, he was making trumpets at home and selling them. Two years later, he formed the Benge Company and continued to make and sell trumpets after he moved to California in 1953. He did little advertising; his trumpets sold through word of mouth among professionals about the quality of the Benge trumpets made in Burbank. After Benge died in 1960, the Conn-Selmer company made Benge trumpets for a time, but production of most models dwindled, then ceased in 2005.
As mentioned in ROMANTICISM II Patrick Gilmore had 2 competing cornet-soloists. Also Sousa had 2 famous cornet-soloists: Herbert Clarke and:
HERMANN BELLSTEDT (1858 – 1926)
– who played in Sousas band 1904 – 1906. Later he conducted his own band and served as Professor of Wind Instruments at the Cincinnati Conservatory. Bellstedt composed for band, orchestra, piano, violin, and cornet. His most famous piece is the cornet solo NAPOLI – variations on the Neapolitan tune Funniculi-Funnicula.
ARTHUR PRYOR (1870-1942)
– invented a technique that made it possible to play as virtuous on the slide-trombone, as on the valve-trombone. His technique was outstanding and besides, he made his compositions to be ”right” for the trombone – you can hear that in his most well know solo: Variations on the melody “The Blue Bells of Scotland”. Pryor became famous and a feteret musician. One time, when the audience called: “Pryor-Pryor” , it was heard like ”fire-fire” and the concert was stopped by the lokal fire brigade. At a performance in Leipzig before an audience estimated at 25000, Pryor received a tremendous ovation. At the intermission, members of the Gewandhouse Symphony Orchestra came to stage to disassemble his trombone and inspect it, questioning how anyone could achieve technique on the trombone as Pryor’s without the benefit of some mechanical “yankee trick” aid. Through 12 years, Pryor performed about 10,000 times, at least twice a day, all week trough, from the age of 22, until he became 35.
SIMONE MANTIA (1873-1951)
– was born in Palermo, Italy, and began playing the alto horn at age 9. In 1890, the Mantia family immigrated to New York City where he soon began playing professionally in orchestras on trombone and in bands on both trombone and euphonium. In 1896 he joined John Philip Sousa’s Band as the euphonium soloist, and by 1900 had become known as the “best euphonium player in the world” when he toured Europe with the Band. On trombone he performed with many orchestras, in Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for 35 years. Here Mantia worked under the baton of the legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini. The trombone section complained that the parts for the Verdi-operas were so difficult that they could only be played on valve trombone (As they were actually meant for), but the argument was quickly settled when Toscanini asked the very able Mantia to demonstrate these parts on his slide trombone. Later, Mantia moved on to conduct his own ensemble, the Arcade Orchestra. Mantia recognized the need to expand the euphonium repertoire and arranged and composed many solo pieces.
6. THE GOLDMAN BAND
Just at Sousa’s time the Wind Band movement reached its top in USA, in 1890 with about 10.000 orchestras – later a bit less. A later Faymos band was THE GOLDMAN BAND. It was established 1918 by Edwin Franko Goldman (1878-1956). His son Richard Franko Goldman conducted the band from 1956 – 1979. The Goldman Band gave the first complete performance of Percy Grainger’s Lincolnshire Posy 1937, Darius Milhauds Suite Francais 1945 and Arnold Schoenbergs Theme and Variations op.43 1946. Hector berlioz’s Grande symphonie funebre et triomphale was given its first performance in USA by the Goldmann Band 1947
THE GOLDMAN BAND – PHOTO 1939
7. MARCHING BAND INSTRUMENTS
A very early marching band instrument was the Trombonium manufactured by H.N. White Company, King and Conn-Selmer from 1938 until the mid-1970s. The trombonium is a valve instrument with a trombone bore originally designed to be used as a marching trombone.
A special kind of performance is otherwise seen today in the American High School and University wind bands. They play in colorful uniforms and with a special choreography at sport events and at competitions for marching bands. For this purpose some special ”marching” versions of the low brass instruments have been designed, to be hold as a trumpet, or to carry on the shoulder.
MARCHING MELLOFON (alto horn), MARCHING FRENCH HORN (valdhorn,
8. BRITISH BRASS BANDS
HINSDALE BRASS BAND, USA c. 1910
The Brass Band movement developed through the 20th century. It is still the competition element that bears the Brass Band atmosphere, and from being a British phenomenon there now are Brass Band competitions in other countries, as well as European and World competitions. The importance of the competition is evident, among other things in the advertising / publicity presentation of the individual brass band which always proudly give information about the results at contests.
Over time, composers and arrangers also begins to write more differentiated for the Brass band’s instruments. From arranging the way that relatively few voices had everything that was important, the substance is now distributed more on all the instruments.
THE INSTRUMENTS IN A BRASS BAND
Apart from two tenor trombones, a bass trombone and percussion, all other instruments are almost one big saxhorn family:
One soprano Eb-cornet
Nine Bb-cornets. Front row: one principal cornet, three solo cornets. Back row: one repiano cornet, two 2nd cornets, two 3rd cornets
One flugelhorn (B♭)
Three tenor horns (E♭; called alto horn in almost all other countries) – solo, 1st, 2nd
Two baritone horns (B♭) – 1st, 2nd
Two euphoniums (B♭)
Two E♭ basses, also known as E♭ tubas, notated in treble clef
Moreover, two BB♭ basses, also known as B♭ tubas, notated in treble clef
At first, the Brass Bands only played arrangements, but already from the beginning of the 20th century, pieces have been written to form an original Brass Band repertoire. At first it were the “Great” English composers , such as Edward Elgar (1857-1934), Gustav Holst (1874-1934) and Ralph Vaughan Williams (1857-1934) who wrote original pieces, that nowadays can be seen as “classics“. Since then, a load of pieces are written for the many competitions, music that is a real technical challenge and difficult to play.
The use of vibrato in brass bands is a very discussed subject. Traditionally Brass Bands played with a heavy vibrato, what some people would call “A Unique singing quality” – others would call it vulgar and without taste. Conductor Sir Thomas Beecham (1879 – 1961) conducted symphony orchestras, but was disparaging of other ensembles: “Brass bands are all very well in their place – outdoors and several miles away.” In the score to the Overture for Brass Band “Henrik V”, the composer Vaughan Williams writes: The composer wishes that trumpets should be used instead of cornets and that ‘the vulgar sentimental vibrato that disfigures most brass band performances should be strictly avoided’. Today the vibrato is moderate and the way the players of modern Brass Bands perform is rather “normal”.
The British euphonium player, conductor and Director of Brass Band Studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. Robert Childs writes about vibrato in brass bands: In my opinion playing with vibrato in brass bands comes from the days when we used to play symphonic arrangements. Arrangers of the day gave the euphonium cello and bassoon parts, cornets often played violin or high wind parts, and various instruments in the band would play the vocal solos in the operatic arrangements. The brass band basically played more en the style of a chamber orchestra then a modern brass ensemble – this included vibrato. However during my time in the brass band movement I’ve noticed a change in attitudes to vibrato. The professional brass players (conservatoire trained) returning to the movement have an added color in their sound field. These men have taught us there is more to tone color than just playing with the same vibrato all the times.
BLACK DIKE MILLS BAND with conductor Nicholas Childs (brother to Robert Childs)
Perhaps the most famous of the brass bands was formed 1855 in the village of Queensbury in Yorkshire. John Foster, an amateur French horn player in the early part of the century, established a cotton mill on a stretch of land known as “Black Dyke”. He organized a brass band with what little was left of a village band, and provided instruments, a practice room, and uniforms, known as the Black Dyke Mills Band. Foster could never have imagined that one day his band would be more famous than the textiles manufactured in his mill. The band has won many prizes and competitions over the years. In 2014, the band won the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain for a record 23rd time, and the British Open Championship for another record 30th time. They have also won the European Championships a record thirteen times, most recently in 2015. Black Dyke Band has made over 350 recordings, including one of the first brass band recordings in 1904. Even not being military orchestras, the English Brass Bands always wear uniforms.
BRASS BAND SOLISTS
The best-known Brass Band musicians are soloists. They started as members of the best Brass Bands and became full time virtuoso. As Brass Bands are so popular, their soloists have become idols. Above two cornet players, left: Roger Webster, right: Richard Marshall (principal cornet in Black Dyke Mills Band). Below two euphonium players, left: Steven Mead, right: David Childs. Brass Band musicians are in principle amateur musicians and perform officially without fee, but soloists as these four have professional jobs as well, especially as teachers, but also as musicians in other orchestras apart from Brass Bands.
9. POPULAR WIND BANDS AND BRASS BANDS
The idea of giving marching wind bands or brass bands uniform on has hit all over the world. They are often locally dressed in national or locally colorful costumes, but the use of international standard-instruments is (more or less) worldwide:
SPAIN – Easter procession
And finally an anachronism:
ALPINE HORNS DESIGNED LIKE “STANDARD” BRASS INSTRUMENTS.
The mountain village of Baade, Austria, hosted the annual FESTIVAL OF ALP HORNS. This ancient musical instrument is a symbol of the region– performed on during weddings, festivals, battles, funerals.
10. CHAMBER MUSIC / BRASS ENSEMBLES/MIXED ENSEMBLES
Before and after the change to the 20th century there have been written chamber music for different strengths accompanied with brass wind instruments. The Wald horn is a part of the wind quintet, and there are other well-known pieces like Stravinsky’s “History of a Soldier”, with trumpet and trombone, his Octet for wind players with two trumpets and two trombones, and The Sonata for trumpet, horn and trombone by Francis Poulenc (1899-1960).
The wind quintet is a standard combination af instruments consisting of 4 woodwind players and one brass player, namely: Flute, Obo, Clarinet, Fagot – AND HORN. A large number of original works have been written for wind quintet all the way from the 18th century to the present.
THE BRØNDUM QUINTET – THE FIRST DANISH WIND QUINTET
– established 1903. from left: Clarinet: Anders Brems, bassoon: Knud Lassen, oboe: Peter Brøndum, horn: Vilhelm Poulsen, and flute: Leonhardt Emil Lottenburger – sitting to the right: The composerVictor Bendix.
BERLIN PHILHARMONIC WIND QUINTET. Hornplayer is Fergus McWilliam.
The biggest break-through for brass chamber music came in the 1960s, with the 2 ensembles: The New York Brass Quintet and The Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, England. From then brass ensembles got a big boom. The best-known strength for a brass ensemble is the brass quintet, with two trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba. Already from the start, the repertoire existed of:
1 – MUSIC FROM THE RENAISSANCE AND THE EARLY BAROQUE. The brass quintet does not sound like the music of Mozart or Brahms, and the old music sounded somewhat authentic. However, it is not, the full sound of the tuba is not like the sound of the old bass trombone or the lighter sound of the Serpent, but the repertoire was perfect for the modern brass quintet and the effect was tremendous. The brass quintet promoted in a way the performance of the old music – later even on original instruments like the cornetto and the sackbutt.
2 – THE FEW ORIGINAL PIECES FROM ROMANTICISM. This repertoire played an important part in the acceptance of the brass ensemble as a chamber music ensemble.
3 – A RANGE OF ARRANGEMENTS OF CLASSICAL MUSIC, JAZZ and POPMUSIC – not just “chamber music” as it was known, but it became important in the establishment of brass ensembles.
4 – NEW ORIGINAL CHAMBER MUSIC. Like with the old music, the brass sound was something rather new, and free from traditions. So lots of new chamber music was written for brass ensembles. Some of the best known, and nowadays almost classic original brass quintets, are the Sonatine by the Frenchman Eugene Bozza (1805-1991) and the Quintet op.73 by the Englishman Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006).
“EARLY” BRASS QUINTET FROM FROM AROUND 1900
Walter Bowman Rogers, ( 1865- ) – was a key figure of the phonograph industry for three decades, first as a featured cornet player on records and then as a music director for companies, the two most important being the Victor Talking Machine Company and Brunswick. Here he is performing (no. 2 from right) with a brass quintet.
BRANDON HIGH SCHOOL BRASS QUINTET, OHIO, USA 1910
BRASS QUINTET OF THE CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Back row from left: bagerst Frank Crisafully – trombone, Arnold Jacobs – tuba, front row: Adolph Herseth – trumpet, Hugh Cowden – horn and Reinold Schilke (who later founded his instrument- and mouthpiece firm) – trumpet
This ensemble was a pioneer for brass chamber music; they were playing from the beginning of the 1950ies, and had their jobs in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well.
ROBERT NAGEL (1924 –2016)
– was an American trumpet player, composer, and teacher. He was an early advocate for brass chamber music, and the founder and director of the NEW YORK BRASS QUINTET. He served as a faculty member of the Yale School of Music from 1957 – 1988 and was a founding member of the International Trumpet Guild.
The New York Brass quintet was founded in 1954, and it became one of the pioneer ensembles for “brass chamber music”. Its first performance was in October of that year at the Carnegie Recital Hall (later Weill Recital Hall). Initially formed to play children’s concerts in cooperation with Young Audiences, Inc., the ensemble soon became recognized as the finest brass quintets in the United States and would eventually enjoy residencies at the Hartt School, the Yale School of Music, and the Manhattan School of Music. Quintet members were busy as freelancers, but they were very dedicated about the quintet and prioritized it so high that they always completed their rehearsals even if only 3 of the members were present! The quintet performed music from all style periods, they commissioned Vagn Holmboe’s Brass Quintet no. 1 and Malcolm Arnold’s Brass Quintet and premiered numerous other works. Robert Nagel has chronicled some 1,000 works written for the NYBQ since the Bozza Sonatine was premiered in August 1954. The quintet’s performance of Eugene Bozza’s Sonatine and Alvin Etler’s Quintet for Brass Instruments received critical acclaim, and their LP Baroque Brass became listeners favorite. Far from the popular element that later became famous among brass ensembles, they were very serious and with elegance they helped to put the brass quintet in “the good chamber music environment”.
THE NEW YORK BRASS QUINTET
– established in 1954. This photo was taken by a reunion concert in 1986 at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. From left to right: John Swallow – trombone, Alan dean – trumpet, Harvey Phillips – tuba, Paul Ingraham – horn, Robert Nagel – trumpet.
THE PHILIP JONES’ BRASS ENSEMBLE. THE CLASSIC QUINTET, 1975
From left to right: John Iveson – trombone, Ifor James – horn, John Fletcher – tuba, Philip Jones – trumpet, Elgar Howarth – trumpet. The ensemble was founded in 1951 by the trumpet player Philip Jones (1928-2000). The repertoire was a mixture of: Renaissance and Baroque, the few original pieces for brass chamber ensemble from Romanticism and New music and Popular music. A mixture of old sacral, cheerful and popular music.
PHILIP JONES (1928-2000)
– was born in Bath, England, and brought up in a London family of trumpeters. Philip won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music and became a trumpet player himself. During the next 25 years, he held the position of principal trumpet in six London orchestras, included appointments with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (1956-1960), Philharmonia Orchestra (1960-1964), London Philharmonic Orchestra(1964-1965), New Philharmonia Orchestra (1965-1967), and BBC Symphony Orchestra (1960-1971).
In 1947, Philip Jones heard a performance of brass chamber music, rare at that time, by four players from the Concertgebouw Orchestra, which started him on the path he followed until retirement in 1986. In 1951 he made the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, in the beginning a quartet already with its first piece of specially commissioned music. At this time, a group of brass instruments, no matter how distinguished its members, was still seen as a “brass band”, mostly to be considered heard in brass band contests, open-air music, or ceremonial performances. He had special ideas about a brass ensemble performing chamber music and begun over the years to acquire new repertory, promote his own concerts, seek out engagements and refine the group’s performances. In the end the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble was playing the same venues, and receiving the same critical attention, as the finest string quartets. With his ensemble, he made more than 50 recordings and gave 87 world premieres. It achieved unprecedented popularity, performing nearly 100 engagements a year in the 1980s across Europe, the United States, Japan and Australia. He had 71 works written especially for him. Otherwise the repertoire consisted of renaissance music, baroque music, the few original pieces from Romanticism and original music. He was not drawn by instinct to the avant-garde, unless the music was carefully and idiomatically written for the instruments. The members of the ensemble also showed a special British sense of humor in their light music encore pieces. When the ensemble stopped, P. Jones felt the pressure from two sides: The ensembles that played the old music on original instruments, natural trumpets, cornettos and Sagbutts, (Fig. 21), and from the ensembles that had their focus on the popular music, like “Canadian Brass” (Fig. 22 ).
PHILIP JONES 10 PIECE ENSEMBLE
The ensemble started as a quartet, became a quintet, but had different strengths in between; especially the 10-man strength was very popular. The idea of this was a combination of two quintets, a standart brass quintet (2 trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba) and a renaissance quintet (2 trumpets and 3 trombones).
From left to right: John Pigneguy, Michael Laird, David Purser, Raymond Premru, James Watson, John Fletcher, Roger Brenner, Denis Wick, Paul Archibald and Philip Jones.
QUINTETTE DE CUIVRES “ARS NOVA” – PHOTO CA. 1970.
A French brass quintet founded 1964 by horn player George Barboteu (1924 – 2006). Other members are: Trumpet – Bernard Jeannoutot and Marcel Lagorce, trombone – Camille Verdier, tuba – Elie Raynaud.
– another full time brass quintet, founded in 1972 by the trumpet player ROLF SMEDEVIG, 1953-2015 (middle back). With a broad repertoire and playing at the highest level, Empire Brass got lots of success. The ensemble still exists after the death of R. Smedevig.
THE BERLIN PHILHARMONIC BRASS
– one of the longest standing ensembles to have emerged from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, was founded in the 1950s and they bring the distinctive sound and tradition from their orchestra. From left to right: Tamás Velenczei, Gábor Tarkövi, Martin Kretzer, Guillaume Jehl, Georg Hilser, Sarah Wilis, Alexander von Puttkamer, Stefan Schultz, Thomas Leyendecker, Jesper Busk Sørensen, Olaf Ott, Christhard Gössling. They have a wide repertoire, with special arrangements for their strength, which is 12 musicians: five trumpets, one horn, five trombones and one tuba.
– was founded in 1974. All members have other jobs as orchestral musician or teacher in different places in Germany. When they perform, they meet at the concert place, where they rehearse as well. German Brass exists: four trumpets, two horn, three trombones, tuba and percussion.
CANADIAN BRASS, FOUNDED 1970
Ronald Romm and Fred Mills – trumpet, Graeme Page – horn, Eugene Watts – trombone and Charles Dallenbach tuba. The ensemble started as a chamber music group, but very soon, they found their own form with a repertoire that mostly exists of arrangements of all kind of music, from the Renaissance to Dixieland music and with funny introductions to the various numbers. As you can see on these various record covers, we have by far gone beyond the old music opinion of “chamber music”. The ensemble was one of the first where the musicians were 100% ensemble-musician. “Canadian Brass” is identical with the special brass instrument’s popular sound and they have performed and played all over the world with great success.
– was founded in 1993 and got an enormous success as a very special and unique entertaining Brass-ensemble. They took a step further than Canadian Brass and away from the “traditional” chamber music as such. They play everything by head and in every possible style with a bravura that has not seen anything like it. They are comedians as well as virtuoso when they with the trumpet player Thomas Gansh in the centre, have their performances speckled with crazy ideas and arrangements special written for them: three trumpets, three trombones and tuba.
From the left: Sergio Finca, Carlos Benetó, Juanjo Serna, Indalecio Bonet and Nyanelo Pérez
After they won First Prize in the Sixth International Brass Quintet Competition “Ville de Narbonne” (France) in 1996, Spanish Brass have made an international career with a wide repertoire covering everything from the refined serious to the popular.
AMERICAN BRASS QUINTET
From left to right: Kevin Cobb, Louis Hanzlik, Michael Powell, John D. Rojak, Eric Reed.
An ensemble with the completely opposite entrance to the repertoire than Canadian Brass and Monzil Brass is the American Brass Quintet, established 1960. Committed to the promotion of original brass chamber music, both contemporary music and renaissance music written for the precursors of today’s brass instruments. They play with a bass trombone on the 5. part instead of the traditional tuba.