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Orchestral Origins



 
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Mr. Bubbles
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Joined: 04 Oct 2019
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 9:38 am    Post subject: Orchestral Origins Reply with quote

I'm fairly new to the orchestral world I've been to a few CSO concerts but I've always focused on more jazz/lead type playing so I never did much research on orchestras. I recently watched an interview with Chris Martin because I think he's amazing at what he does and I think even though orchestra has never been my main focus I can always learn about the style. Also it was just a great interview talking about so many great things about practicing and playing. Anyways back to my point, he said something about Chicago being a German style orchestra and I was just wondering what exactly that means. Is it how they set up the chairs and place sections on the stage, is it the approach to sound, is it even how many people are in a section? Also what style orchestra are LA and New York? And does the name of the ensemble mean something different (orchestra, philharmonic, symphony)? If anyone can enlighten me on all of this it would be much appreciated.
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kehaulani
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Joined: 23 Mar 2003
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Location: Texas, by way of Germany and Hawai'i

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was young, back in the Paleolithic Age, I could listen to symphony concerts on the radio and immediately identify the orchestra by its sound and style.

But now due to so much cross-pollination of conductors with different backgrounds and players trained in a myriad of locations, I personally can't identify the orchestra much difference anymore. I'm more inclined to identify the conductor than the orchestra.

Major orchestras have rich nationalistic heritages, though, and you might enjoy reading up on that.

Come to think of it, though, I can usually identify Russian orchestras which seem to me set a little aside from the others.
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Jerry
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Joined: 20 Jan 2002
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Location: San Diego

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Orchestral Origins Reply with quote

Mr. Bubbles wrote:
... Chicago being a German style orchestra and I was just wondering what exactly that means. Is it how they set up the chairs and place sections on the stage, is it the approach to sound, is it even how many people are in a section? Also what style orchestra are LA and New York? And does the name of the ensemble mean something different (orchestra, philharmonic, symphony)? If anyone can enlighten me on all of this it would be much appreciated.

It refers to the sound. German style usually means heavy, thick sound. French style usually means lighter sound. It doesn't have anything to do with how they set up chairs. Orchestra, Philharmonic, Symphony all mean they are big orchestras with enough members to play works requiring lots of players.

Along the lines as what kehaulani mentioned, American orchestras seem to have become so homogonized in sound over the years that there doesn't seem to be a big difference in sound to my ears. Others with more discriminating ears will probably hear subtle differences.
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kgsmith1
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Joined: 30 Nov 2019
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Location: Greater Chicago

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of major US orchestras had a German-trained contingent early on, including Boston which later came to be known as a French orchestra. These French players are credited with popularizing the C trumpet here.

However, due to trade laws, reviews cannot describe the Boston aesthetic as "French". Reviews must always refer to the principal trumpet's sound as "in the tradition of sparkling Voisin".
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kehaulani
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Joined: 23 Mar 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kgsmith1 wrote:
A. . the principal trumpet's sound as "in the tradition of sparkling Voisin".

And Voisin is a typical German or American surname.
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"If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." Charlie Parker
"Even if I could play like Wynton Marsalis, I wouldn't play like Wynton Marsalis."
Chet Baker
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Vin DiBona
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Joined: 24 Dec 2003
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Location: OHare area

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Chicago Symphony has a long history. Among their first US premier performances were Richard Strauss' works who actually conducted the orchestra in the early 1900s. Strauss found them to be a superb orchestra.
The tradition continued under Theodore Thomas' long tenure and subsequent principal conductors continued the style.
When Reiner became director, he weeded out players who could not do what he required and he fined tuned that orchestra to play anything put in front of them. Many of his recordings are of legendary status. The Germanic tradition was there for his term and somewhat under Solti who knew what he had and ran with it.
Their sound is still the "Chicago" sound but is now more metropolitan than ever before.
R. Tomasek
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david johnson
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Joined: 09 Jul 2002
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Instrumentalist published a very thick collection of brass articles that had some regarding a tour of Europe. Each time the writer encountered superb trumpet playing on his visit he noticed the performers were Czech.
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2020 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, having lived and worked in Europe for twenty years and having heard a myriad of orchestras, I can assure the readers that other Western European countries, as well as Russia, have very fine native trumpet players.
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