Academic journal article Notes

Music for Brass Instruments

Academic journal article Notes

Music for Brass Instruments

Article excerpt

MUSIC FOR BRASS INSTRUMENTS Henri Lazarof. Invenzione Concertata for Brass Quintet [1997]. Bryn Mawr, PA: Merion Music; Theodore Presser Co., sole representative, c1997. [Score (in C), 8 p.; notes on composer, back cover verso; and 5 parts. Pub. no. 144-40300. Duration, ca. 8.5 min. $15.]

Tansy Davies. Keep On Keepin' On [for] Brass Quintet. London: Broadbent & Dunn (Theodore Presser), c1995. [Score, p. 1-8; and 5 parts. Pub. no. B&D 12601. £9.95.]

Bernard Rands. Fanfare for Brass Quintet [1997]. Valley Forge, PA: Helicon Music Corp.; sole agent: European American Music Distributors Corp., c1997. [Score, 4 p.; and 5 parts. Pub. no. EA 811. $14.95.]

Robert Suderburg. Entertainment-Sets (Chamber Music X) for Brass Quintet. [King of Prussia, PA]: Theodore Presser Co., c2000. [Score, p. 3-27; and 5 parts. Pub. no. 114-40650. Duration, ca. 17.5 min. $35.]

Jean Baily. Hymn for Brass: pour quintette de cuivres. (Ensembles de cuivres.) Paris: Gérard Billaudot Editeur (Theodore Presser), c1994. [Score, 13 p.; and 7 parts. Pub. no. G 5647 B. Duration, 12 min. $29.50.]

Shulamit Ran. Fanfare for 2 Trumpets, 2 Horns, and Trombone; arranged by Cliff Colnot. Bryn Mawr, PA: Theodore Presser Co., c1994. [Score (in C), p. 1-4; notes on composer, back cover verso; and 5 parts. Pub. no. 114-40627. Duration, ca. 4 min. $15.]

The modern brass quintet (two trumpets, horn, trombone, and tuba/bass trombone) rose to prominence only in the mid-twentieth century, largely driven by the infectious energy and effort of a few influential brass players. The effort that finally established the brass quintet as a mainstream ensemble, however, was just one of a series of attempts to raise the profile of brass chamber music. As early as the late nineteenth century, cornet player, conductor, composer, instrument designer, and pedagogue Jean-Baptiste Arban (1825-1889), best known today for his universally used treatise Méthode complète de comet à pistons et de saxhorn (Paris, 1864; various editions and translations, including, in English, Arban's Complete Conservatory Method, ed. Edwin Franko Goldman and Richard M. Smith [New York: Carl Fischer, 1936]), encouraged Victor Ewald (1860-1935) to write four brass quintets (the first composed around 1890) that form the early staples of the brass quintet repertoire. But Ewald's quintets did not herald a movement toward brass quintet writing. For most early brass chamber music, the quartet (two trumpets, horn, trombone; or two trumpets and two trombones) was the vehicle of choice; when it was supplanted in the 1930s, it was not by the quintet but rather by the sextet of two trumpets, horn, trombone, baritone (euphonium), and tuba.

It was not until modern orchestral brass sections became standardized in the mid-twentieth century, with the euphonium falling out of favor (despite its effectiveness in works like Maurice Ravel's 1922 orchestration of Musorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Dmitri Shostakovich's The Golden Age of 1930, and its continuing prominence in band music), that conditions were ripe for the quintet's ascendancy. Much of the credit for this rise goes to the tireless efforts of the New York Brass Quintet and the American Brass Quintet.

The New York Brass Quintet, founded by Robert Nagel with the assistance of Harvey Philips, was formed with the promise of work from Young Audiences, Inc., an organization dedicated to performing for school children. During its formative years between 1954 and 1961, the quintet had two primary goals: to develop an audience for brass quintet music, and to increase the available repertoire. Thanks partly to the outreach work with Young Audiences, the quintet was immensely successful in both enterprises; by 1960 the group had an active touring schedule throughout the United States and Europe, and the ensemble made its official New York City debut in 1961. This period of touring activity coincided with a surge in brass quintet composition by prominent composers like Malcolm Arnold (b. …

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