Monday, February 07, 2011

Beethoven, Aliabev, and Bellon

Jean Francois Bellon (1795-1867)
Today we listened to Beethoven's Three Equali (1812), a Brass Quintet by Alexander Aliabiev [Aljabjew] (1787-1851), and Brass Quintet No. 1 by Jean Francois Bellon (1795-1867).

For more about each of these works, check out the following links:
  • Beethoven Three Equali entry in Oxford Music Online
  • Hear samples of Bellon's Brass Quintets on Classics Online 
  • More about Aliabiev here from
  • A bio about Jean Francois Bellon here and a link to listen at GMN here
  • Information regarding the Bellon quintets (from Editions BIM):
These 12 quintets, composed between 1848 and 1850, were all published in Paris during the 1850’s by Richault. The present, virtually complete edition of the entire series - lacking only the final movement of Quintet No. 12 - was realized thanks to the efforts of John Wallace, Anthony George and Anthony Rickard for quintets Nos. 1, 2 and 12, (which, together with No. 3, had been consigned to the British Library, London) and Raymond Lapie, owner of Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, and editor of this complete edition. Quintet No. 12 is reprinted from a later edition dating to the final years of the 19th century, and which appeared in full score form in the London musical review, “Orpheus Journal”. From a musical standpoint, this new edition (Quintet No. 12 excepted) refers and fundamentally adheres to the original printed instrumental parts, issued without full scores in the 1850’s. A full score for each quintet has been reconstructed to permit better analysis of the music. Only flagrant errors and a few doubtful chords have been indicated as such and corrected. The five instruments originally specified were: 1) a small flugelhorn in Eb (or trumpet, or piston-valve cornet in Bb/A), 2) a piston-valve cornet in Bb/A, 3) a horn, 4) a trombone and 5) an ophicleide (in Bb or C). These works may be performed today on period instruments or with modern ones, as desired; in the latter case however, it being well to adapt the dynamics, especially if trumpets replace the cornets. The Eb flugelhorn part, as specified and provided for by the Richault edition already, can also be played on piston-valve cornet. The ophicleide part is playable on tuba (preferably an F tuba) or, better still, on euphonium or bass saxhorn. A separate brochure, relating all presently known details about these works, is published by Editions Bim (Raymond Lapie, “Jean-Fran├žois-Victor Bellon, 12 major French brass quintets dating from 1848-1850, ISBN 2-88039-017-6; complete texts in French, English, German, Italian and Spanish). 
Also, from the Wikipedia article on Ewald:
For many years Ewald’s four quintets were considered to be the first original pieces composed specifically for an ensemble which is recognisable today as essentially the modern brass quintet - consisting of two treble, valved instruments, one alto, one tenor and one bass. A recent discovery of 12 four-movement brass quintets, thought to have been written in the 1840s (pre-dating Ewald by some 60 years) by the French composer Jean Francois Bellon (1795–1869; violinist and one-time leader of the Paris Opera Orchestra), show that Ewald was not actually the unwitting pioneer he was long thought to be. However, the popularity of his quintets has in no way diminished because of this.