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


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Andy Del
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Joined: 30 Jun 2005
Posts: 2313
Location: sunny Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PC wrote:
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.

Well, not quite. But at the time of Brahms’ symphonies getting their first airing, valved instruments were available and being used. There were many players who used traditional instruments, however.

While conducting Brahms 2 a couple of years ago, I was introduced to a mezzoluna trumpet which has the provenance of being played on the second trumpet part at the premiere of that symphony. It was played using hand stopping to adjust pitches outside the normal harmonic series.

Did ALL players use this sort of instrument in the day? No, and I have no more information on this side of things. We do need to remember that Brahms wrote in a conservative manner when it came to a lot of his instrumental treatments, so his use of trumpets made the parts resemble a natural trumpet part a lot more his contemporaries May have. He was not a dummy, and knew full well what was possible in his day and how his players would react to parts. Much like Mahler would, hence the way HE wrote his parts.

There are many examples of music which looks like it was written for a natural or other instrument, and was not. A perfect example is Ravel’s Pavane pour en enfante defunte. The horn parts can be played on a hand horn. To do so may call into question one’s sanity!

Cheers

Andy
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so many horns, so few good notes...
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PC
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Joined: 10 Apr 2002
Posts: 395
Location: Trondheim, Norway

PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Andy for the info!
Yes, I had forgotten about the "demi-lune" trumpet... Years ago, I saw an original one on sale at an antique shop in Lyon. Did not have quite the cash to buy it at the time.
The result of using a hand-stopped trumpet would be a bit like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZ2IyoJIM_o

Cheers
Pierre
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Andy Del
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 30 Jun 2005
Posts: 2313
Location: sunny Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PC wrote:
Thanks Andy for the info!
"demi-lune" trumpet...

Cheers
Pierre


Ah yes, my interest pin cooking eating the results actually) mixed up the term... my bad!
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PC
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Joined: 10 Apr 2002
Posts: 395
Location: Trondheim, Norway

PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings,

To come back to choice of trumpet keys, here are some bewildering measures from Lohengrin. The first horn part is ridiculous, changing tuning crook from note to note. The trumpet is not lagging far behind... while the whole opera (as indeed the rest of Wagner’s music) is spread with key changes, only this part has these changes from note to note in the same phrase. Difficult to make any sense of it...

http://ks.imslp.net/files/imglnks/usimg/0/06/IMSLP65376-PMLP03617-Wagner-WWV075.horn.pdf
(Page 8 )

http://imslp.simssa.ca/files/imglnks/usimg/e/e3/IMSLP65377-PMLP03617-Wagner-WWV075.tpt.pdf
(Page 6)

Cheers,
Pierre
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Andy Del
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Joined: 30 Jun 2005
Posts: 2313
Location: sunny Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It’s not too hard to get a handle on - in Wagner’s mind, and those at the time, a valve was, in a totally unauthentic term, an auto-crook. One could move from note to next note by crook, but it would involve stopping, changing crook, etc. But the new ‘auto-crook’ meant you can change without stopping....

AMAZING! (Well, not to us) but to the average Joe player of the day?

You get the drift...

Cheers

Andy
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