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Mahler symphonies...why the choice of keys for trumpet


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BudBix
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't remember when but Chris Martin did once while with Chicago. Barenboim requested it.

Jay Lichtmann wrote:
Does anyone know of a principal trumpeter in an AMERICAN orchestra that has used a rotary trumpet in a performance of Mahler's 5th? Or the 2nd, 3rd, 6th or 7th?

My guess is no. If I am correct I have my own theories on this.
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O00Joe
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

johntpt wrote:
In terms of the choice of pistons or rotaries for certain composers, it has less to do with historical accuracy than orchestral blend. Rotaries are often considered to have a sound that fits in to the orchestral texture rather than stick out, which is more fitting for Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, Brahms,maybe Wagner, and to some extent Bruckner, than it is for Mahler and Strauss, whose trumpet parts tend to be more soloistic in nature.

JU


To add to this, rotary trumpets work great for parts where the trumpets function as "soprano timpanis".

Also, I would love to here what Mr. Geyer has to say about bass trombone!
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tootsweet
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 1:54 pm    Post subject: F orchestral trumpet Reply with quote

oxleyk wrote:
hup_d_dup wrote:
Mahler's trumpet parts are chromatic and cannot be played on natural trumpets. What happened to all those big F valve trumpets? I've never seen one.


Here is one, https://www.robbstewart.com/brown-sons-f-trumpet

Here is an earlier one with Vienna valves, https://www.robbstewart.com/teltow-cornet-1


Now here's a question I've always had about F trumpets and F trumpet parts:
WHY do we transpose UP (a fourth, say, on a C trumpet)? The F trumpet is a big boy, with the fundamental (surely) a 5th LOWER than the modern orchestral C, nicht? Why would the preferred ("normal") playing range be an octave higher than its natural realm of F3-F1?
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dstpt
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:22 pm    Post subject: Re: F orchestral trumpet Reply with quote

tootsweet wrote:
Now here's a question I've always had about F trumpets and F trumpet parts:
WHY do we transpose UP (a fourth, say, on a C trumpet)? The F trumpet is a big boy, with the fundamental (surely) a 5th LOWER than the modern orchestral C, nicht? Why would the preferred ("normal") playing range be an octave higher than its natural realm of F3-F1?


I would say the reason has to do with avoiding excessive use of ledger lines. In related manner, some musicals, for instance, have a piccolo double, where the notes are written in the same octave that would be played on a regular-sized B-flat trumpet, and some have the notes written an octave lower, remaining consistent with harmonic series as you suggest. Sometimes, it's easier (for me) to read it in the same octave as what a B-flat trumpet would read. We know a lot of fingerings will be the same in either octave, but if you have a note that dips down to, say, D in the staff, then you just have to remember to play that 1-3 on the piccolo. In essence we are transposing. Some players may prefer to see it printed that way, so that their reference for the sound (and chop setting) remains the same. But to remain consistent with the harmonic series, it would officially be written an octave lower.

Maybe some of the answers would be in the writings of Edward Tarr and Richard Birkemeier. Not sure of others that have studied the usage of this branch of our instrument history, but for any reading this and looking for a good Masters or DMA major document topic, this may be your ticket! The study would probably involve an intertwining of instrument builders of the F trumpet, the prominence of the instrument in certain orchestras and the years of its usage, university-level instruction on the F trumpet, composers' leaning to score for it, and/or publishing houses preference to write for it (or at least scoring in the key of F). It has always caused me to cock my head a little to the side...like, why?
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mhenrikse
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jay Lichtmann wrote:
Does anyone know of a principal trumpeter in an AMERICAN orchestra that has used a rotary trumpet in a performance of Mahler's 5th? Or the 2nd, 3rd, 6th or 7th?

My guess is no. If I am correct I have my own theories on this.


C'mon Jay,

Lets hear the theory?

Mark
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dfgordon
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’ve performed Mahler’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and recorded the 10th on rotary trumpet. I’ve also performed all 10 on piston. The rotaries were a request from the Music Director, as they are part of the Viennese tradition with which Mahler is closely associated.

David Gordon
Principal Trumpet,
Seattle Symphony Orchestra
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deleted_user_da44b37
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I know did the Vienna philharmonic play on piston trumpets till the 1920s. I think it is mentioned in E.H.Tarrs book“The trumpet“ And if you look at Wikipedia only the symphonies 9 and 10 had their first performance in Vienna,after Mahlers dead.[quote="dfgordon"]I’ve performed Mahler’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and recorded the 10th on rotary trumpet. I’ve also performed all 10 on piston. The rotaries were a request from the Music Director, as they are part of the Viennese tradition with which Mahler is closely associated.

David Gordon
Principal Trumpet,
Seattle Symphony Orchestra[/quote]
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dstpt
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:24 am    Post subject: Re: F orchestral trumpet Reply with quote

dstpt wrote:
...I would say the reason has to do with avoiding excessive use of ledger lines....

We see the same thing in printed choral scores, where the Tenor part is sometimes written in treble clef but with a small "8" written below the clef, indicating that the notes are to sound one octave lower. I'm sure there are other like examples.

On this website...
https://rockhill.instructure.com/courses/328/pages/treble-clef-and-bass-clef

...see...

"Figure 6: A small '8' at the bottom of a treble clef means that the notes should sound one octave lower than written.

"Why use different clefs?
"Music is easier to read and write if most of the notes fall on the staff and few ledger lines have to be used."

...and...

"Figure 7: These scores show the same notes written in treble and in bass clef. The staff with fewer ledger lines is easier to read and write."
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mikatpt
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dfgordon wrote:
I’ve performed Mahler’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and recorded the 10th on rotary trumpet. I’ve also performed all 10 on piston. The rotaries were a request from the Music Director, as they are part of the Viennese tradition with which Mahler is closely associated.

David Gordon
Principal Trumpet,
Seattle Symphony Orchestra


...wait. that cooke recording is on rotary???

okay, time to start practicing more rotary....

M
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:21 am    Post subject: Re: F orchestral trumpet Reply with quote

tootsweet wrote:
oxleyk wrote:
hup_d_dup wrote:
Mahler's trumpet parts are chromatic and cannot be played on natural trumpets. What happened to all those big F valve trumpets? I've never seen one.


Here is one, https://www.robbstewart.com/brown-sons-f-trumpet

Here is an earlier one with Vienna valves, https://www.robbstewart.com/teltow-cornet-1


Now here's a question I've always had about F trumpets and F trumpet parts:
WHY do we transpose UP (a fourth, say, on a C trumpet)? The F trumpet is a big boy, with the fundamental (surely) a 5th LOWER than the modern orchestral C, nicht? Why would the preferred ("normal") playing range be an octave higher than its natural realm of F3-F1?

Hardly my area of expertise, but my guess is that transposing down would likely result in notes below the range of the modern Bb or C.
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dstpt
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The last printed note in the Mahler No. 5 opening (low F) is doubled (as a half note only) in all six horn parts in the score. It is printed in both Tpt 1 & 2 parts, but it is commonly not expected to be played by the trumpet, neither in auditions (U.S. for sure) nor in performance. This gets into the area of “performance practice” (how something is commonly performed). Some players may play it 1-2-3 on a B-flat trumpet and kick out the 3rd slide to hit that note, but most players today (in the U.S.) will play the work on their C trumpet and omit the low F. Some in major symphony orchestras have used a modern D, 4-valve E-flat, or even 4-valve F trumpet. The note is commonly omitted and no one is wondering why trumpeters are not required to play it. And because it is commonplace to omit it, it would only be a jerk of a conductor to ever “demand” it. Maybe a player in a symphony orchestra could chime in on this with additional insight from their experience.

A few players have had a rotor with additional tubing installed on the 3rd slide of their C trumpet to accommodate playing the printed low F, but I propose that it would barely be perceived by an audience member, if at all. Certainly, it gets into the "Law of Diminishing Returns," putting energy and money into a construct, where the end result really doesn't justify the hassles.
—————
Surprise! I just checked the original manuscript score on IMSLP.org. Mahler only had the previous low B-flat sustained for two whole notes and a quarter-note tied, but no low F! At All! That low concert E-flat is in unison in all six horns as a half note, but apparently, the publisher added music: the third tied, whole note on the low printed B-flat as well as the low F whole note. Did Mahler approve this? We do not know.

http://ks.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/e/ee/IMSLP515929-PMLP8063-m5.1.pdf
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nonethewiser
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dstpt wrote:
but that Mahler mainly focused on keeping notes inside the staff and limiting himself to the two common orchestral trumpets, F & B-flat, of the day (or of the orchestras with which he had affiliation, which is all speculation on my part at this point, hasn't been proven and not sure it if can be).


Gunther Schuller wrote about this in his 1989 article: "Schuller, Gunther
Trumpet Transposition and Key Changes on Late 19th-Century Romantic Compositions Feb89/19 "


A quote: "Generally speaking, what Mahler was doing in the first movement was to write the higher parts in F, the lower parts in B-flat -- quite the opposite of what one might casually assume. [Doing this] keeps most of the parts conceptually in the staff and in the solid most secure portion of the range. However, it should be noted that Mahler was unable to be entirely consistent in this approach."

He gives examples where it was achieved and not via symphonies 3 and 7. He also mentions that in the 7th symphony, first movement, trumpet switches keys 10 times, and 24 times for the rest of the piece.

I believe Ed Tarr in his book "The Trumpet" covers some of this too, but I don't have it on hand.

Schuller talks about transposition of: mahler strauss and wagner.

As mentioned by David Gordon, orchestras do play Mahler on Rotary by usually by conductor request. And I can corroborate the use of Rotary on Mahler 5 by Chris Martin per some conductors request...not sure Barenboim was conducting the one I'm thinking of but my memory escapes me.

EDIT: I checked out Tarr's book and yes. He talks about Mahler in his section "Introduction of the Bb trumpet" (or something like that). He mentions that the Bb compared to F was "impoverished sounding" which is the reason that it needed to be doubled. The transition from long F to short Bb took place first in Germany.

All the best
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Heim
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2019 6:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Question Reply with quote

MalinTrumpet wrote:
Anyone have any idea why so many American orchestras use piston trumpets for Mahler and rotaries for Bruckner?

LCM


It's a Fad.
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Heim
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2019 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

deleted_user_da44b37 wrote:
As far as I know did the Vienna philharmonic play on piston trumpets till the 1920s. I think it is mentioned in E.H.Tarrs book“The trumpet“ And if you look at Wikipedia only the symphonies 9 and 10 had their first performance in Vienna,after Mahlers dead.
dfgordon wrote:
I’ve performed Mahler’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and recorded the 10th on rotary trumpet. I’ve also performed all 10 on piston. The rotaries were a request from the Music Director, as they are part of the Viennese tradition with which Mahler is closely associated.

David Gordon
Principal Trumpet,
Seattle Symphony Orchestra


1932,
French Besson I believe.

https://youtu.be/YhcwQ-t9EoI?t=562
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trptmindfk
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tpt_Guy wrote:
Ah, ok. I missed that.

But the idea about ledger lines makes sense. I've played some pieces in F that had ridiculous ledger lines below the staff and hard to read.


Not to make it worse, but in the 2nd movement of Mahler 5, rehearsal 15, there is a lick written in F, and then repeated almost immediately on the same pitch, only in Bb! Both are in the staff. I've heard it suggested there were possibly two players on the part, one playing the F horn, the other Bb. Sounds crazy?
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dstpt
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

trptmindfk wrote:
Tpt_Guy wrote:
Ah, ok. I missed that.

But the idea about ledger lines makes sense. I've played some pieces in F that had ridiculous ledger lines below the staff and hard to read.


Not to make it worse, but in the 2nd movement of Mahler 5, rehearsal 15, there is a lick written in F, and then repeated almost immediately on the same pitch, only in Bb! Both are in the staff. I've heard it suggested there were possibly two players on the part, one playing the F horn, the other Bb. Sounds crazy?

If I had the time, I'd redo all of the parts in Finale and create alternate parts in Bb, C, D, Eb, and high F and post them on IMSLP. I get so tired of these discussions of why a composer does something like this. Who started this thread, anyway?!
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nonethewiser wrote:
...He mentions that the Bb compared to F was "impoverished sounding" which is the reason that it needed to be doubled.

Gotta' love that the instrument I chose, and have played for most of my life is impoverished sounding. *hangs head in shame*
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PC
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings,
To complicate things wrt choice of rotaries, composer intentions and such, I recently learned that players in Brahms' time did not use natural instruments (horn and trumpet) but preferred their, by now, trusted valve instruments. I thought that Brahms intended the trumpet parts to be played on English slide trumpet, since all of his writing is essentially playable on natural trumpet except occasional flats, playable with the clock spring slide extended. This is also the case for Mendelssohn, but by the time Brahms came around, players had at their disposal technically superior valve instruments which they preferred to hand horn or slide trumpet.

So, in short, what the composer intended (and Brahms did write that he wanted his trio for horn performed on hand horn, although players of his time did it on valve horn) was already lost in translation during their life, which means, carry on playing Mahler on any trumpet you like, unless you prefer keeping your job over trying to educate conductors against their wish!

Happy New Year,
Pierre
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RL
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

interesting discussion..
But .. maybe a F trumpet and a B trumpet did sound different at the time Mahler was composer/conductor. So the whole concept of sound did change during the years ?
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PhilS
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought a second hand F trumpet last summer - it plays well, although the maker’s mark has been erased over time, so I can’t identify its provenance. It’s been fun to play it in recitals though, and I’ve had very positive feedback from those on the other end of it!

I also couldn’t resist trying out some Mahler excerpts. The first symphony feels completely different from playing it on Bb or C, and the timbre of the F seems to suit the writing perfectly, even if it’s a bit more dangerous with regard to accuracy! Certain passages in the 2nd and 3rd sound, to my ear, utterly different.

Most surprising of all is the solo just before the final Chorus Mysticus from the 8th symphony (about 5 minutes before the end of the work). On a Bb or C (or Eb or piccolo - I’ve seen all of these being used!) the sound might tend toward shrillness (of course this will depend on the player and the orchestra to a large degree). On the F though, I found I could really open up and play out whilst keeping a full sound - in a funny way it therefore felt easier! I admit this wasn’t in an orchestra, and I’d love the chance, one day, to play one or more of the Mahler symphonies on F and Bb as marked, just to find out first hand what the result really would be.

I know that people have suggested that Mahler had no particular method for selecting Bb or F trumpets - and his writing certainly doesn’t seem to correspond to the Wagner-Strauss system of keeping the written part ‘in C major as far as possible’. Remember in this regard that Mahler was already writing in a post-Wagnerian, and at times early-Schoenbergian chromatic language... there are always plenty of accidentals to go around!

Sometimes, though, his choices just seem illogical: why is the theme at the very end of the 7th symphony, with its prolonged written high G, written for F trumpets, when the same theme at the opening of the movement was on Bb’s? The only answer I can come up with right now is that it was all to do with the composer’s ear for instrumental timbre - and that he therefore knew exactly what he wanted, and wrote accordingly.

Of course, it’s difficult to know for certain what the practice was at the time. There’s that quote from the 1st player at the premiere of the 7th symphony: (something like:) ‘I just fail to see what’s beautiful about blowing all hell out of a high C#’ (presumably the written G# (in F) at the climax of the 1st movement, just before the recapitulation). Can we assume, if he referred to the note as a C#, that he was playing on a C trumpet? Or was he simply talking in concert pitch?

We might generalise and say that people played, say, rotary Bb’s, or French Besson C’s, and this can be borne out through contemporary photographs and accounts. Yet is it beyond the bounds of possibility that a given player preferred a certain passage, or even a whole piece on the F trumpet? Or the F crooked down to E? Or even, just maybe, on the cornet...?!
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