Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Trombone History Timeline

Will Kimball, the Associate Professor of Trombone at Brigham Young University, has an outstanding website, which features some of his projects, including the Trombone History Timeline. Although it is instrument-specific, there are several entries which mention ensemble history, and it serves as an excellent way in which Professors of Music can pursue avenues of  academic research in our own fields.

Monday, January 30, 2012

American Brass Quintet
The three posts below are updated posts from previous years regarding our lecture today, A Survey of Selected Professional Brass Ensembles.

The criteria I suggested, for your final project and for future professional reference, were:

  1. Longevity - How long has the ensemble existed?
  2. Consistency - What personnel changes have they undergone?
  3. Programming - What is a typical program for this ensemble?
  4. Focus & Mission - What are the ensembles goals and purpose?
  5. Performances - How many and what types of performances?
  6. Recording - How many? Label? Repertoire?
  7. Publicity - Press Kit, Website, and Reveiws
  8. Innovation and Originality - What have they done for the genre?
  9. Affialiations - Managment, Institutions, Events
  10. Awards and Accomplishments - Competitions, major honors, firsts?
  11. Commercial Success - Fee? Fame? Income? Contributions?

Composers & Places in Brass Ensemble History

Monday in class we will be finish our Historical Perspectives unit with a lectrure and discussion on the "Composers and Places". Here are numerous related links:

Malcolm Arnold - Classical Net
Walter Hartley
Fisher Tull
Alec Wilder - Classical Net
Alvin Etler - Wikipedia,
John Philip Sousa
Monique Buzzarté's Database of Brass Music by Women Composers
Giovanni Gabrieli - Wikipedia
Jan Bach
Samual Adler - Presser Online
William Kraft - Presser Online
Eric Ewazen
David Sampson
Gunther Schuller
Vaclav Nelhybel Official Web Site
Elliott Carter
Poulenc, Francis

Venetian Music of the Renaissance
Brass HistoryVenetian School - Wikipedia
Venetian School: From Answers.com
Goldman Band - Wikipedia
Russia the Great
Civil War Band Music: The American Brass Band Movement
The Brass Players Museum
Music In The Renaissance

Other places and composers will eventually be listed here. I am currently researching other hotbeds of brass ensemble activity, such as Vienna, Berlin, Paris, and New York. If you find anything regarding these places, or more composer sites, please post them in a comment or email them to me.

Professional Brass Ensembles - Week I

American Horn Quartet
This week we begin our look at professional brass ensembles. In addition to the groups already featured on your own blogs, I have provided here a list of groups we should all examine.

American Horn Quartet
Trans Atlantic Horn Quartet
Bones Apart
New England Trombone Quartet
Sotto Voce Tuba Quartet
Ensemble de Trompettes de Paris
Saint Louis Brass Quintet
Proteus 7
Boston Brass
Philadelphia Brass
Center City Brass Quintet
Trombones de Costa Rica
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Youngblood Brass Band
Women In Brass
Synergy Brass Quintet
Royal Danish Brass
Gomalan Brass
Resounding Brass Trumpet Duo

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Listening Session #1 - Historic Brass Ensemble Music

The YouTube video below features the Sonata Pian e Forte from Gabrieli's "Sacred Symphonies". This performance is by the brass section of the Bayerische Staatsoper, conducted by Zubin Metha.

This is the listening list from today's class:

  • La Feliciana a 4 by Adriano Banchieri and La Bignani by Giovanni Cavaccio recorded by The English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble.
  • Canzon I by Peuerl recorded by Atlantic Brass Quintet.
  • Canzona by Samuel Scheidt recorded by the trombone quartet Four Of A Kind. 
  •  Canzona Duodecimi Toni by Giovanni Gabrieli.  
  • The New Year's Gift by Anthony Holborne recorded by Atlantic Brass Quintet.
  •  Les plaisirs de la chasse, and Le chevreuil recorded by the Cor de chasse ensemble, Le Rallye-Cor de Montmélian. 
  • Jewel Waltz and Ellen Bayne Quickstep by G.W.E. Friederich recorded by the Empire Brass Quintet & Friends on The American Brass Band Journal.
  • Quintet No. 2 in C major (c. 1850) by Jean François Victor Bellon Recorded by the Ewald Brass Quintet. [I. Allegro, II. Minuetto, III. Andante, IV. Rondo] Rusasca De La Buzdug (traditional) recorded by the Balkan Brass Band, Fanfare Ciocărlia

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ewald Articles on ICON

Viktor Ewald
Due to their size, I have uploaded the complete articles on Ewald and his brass quintets onto our ICON site. You will also find a table of selected major composers and compositions for brass ensembles.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Eras and Traditions; An Interactive Outline

Image:Cornicen on Trajan's column.JPGThis is an online interactive edition of Monday's lecture. Use it as a starting point for your research for your historical perspectives papers. Brass instruments, and brass ensembles have been around for thousands of years. Your paper topic should illuminate one aspect of this rich heritage. You will find more specialized resources in journals, and books than on the internet in most cases. Focus on a topic or subject before the 20th century. To understand brass ensembles as a genre, it is necessary to examine our past.

Brass Ensemble History

A. Prehistoric - brass functioned as signals (shells, animal horns)
B. Antiquity
1. Ancient Egypt - ceremonial, trumpet in Tutankhamun’s tomb
2. Ancient Greece - Apollonian & Dyonesian dichotomy, salpinx (salphinx)
3. Ancient Rome - Martial, Roman Tuba, Buccini (spiral infantry bugles), Cornu
4. Ancient Hebrews - sacred/ceremonial, shofar
5. Russia - lur; horn bands (Mares[ch] in Bohemia, Czar Alexander); Rozhok (wooden Russian cornet); composers Cannobio & Glinka
6. Other - Nefer (Morroccan trumpet); Irish Bronze Age horns; Asia? Africa?
C. Middle Ages
1. Sacred vs. secular
2. Early Brass: Serpant, Sackbut, Cornetti, etc.
3. Minstrels, troubadours/trouveres?, Brass associated with royalty & battle
D. Rennaissance
1. Civic Brass Musicians: Waits (UK); Stadtpfeiffers (Gr); Pifferi (It.) Alto Capella
E. Baroque
1. Polychoral/antiphonal brass ensembles;
2. Use of natural horns, trumpets;
3. Birth of opera, chamber music
4. Brass players “let indoors” (Monteverdi L’Orfeo - 1607)
F. Classical
1. More brasses incorporated into orchestra
2. Harmoniemusik, Tafelmusik, Serenades
3. Eggert & Beethoven use trombone section in orchestra
G. Romantic
1. Major developments:
a. 1815 - valves patented
b. 1835 - tuba patented, brass choir (SATB) complete
c. 1865 - Civil War, regimental bands, saxhorns
2. Composers write for full brass section (Wagner, Berlioz, Tchaik., Strauss)
3. British Brass Band tradition
H. Modern (end of 19th C., beginning of 20th)
1. First brass quintets, sextets
  • Bellon (1795-1867) 12 Quintets written between 1848 and 1850
  • Alyabyev [Aljabjew] (1787-1851)
  • Ewald (1860-1935)
  • Böhme (1870-1938)
  • Maurer (1789-1878)
2. Modern brass bands, brass choirs, trios, quartet, quintets, etc.
3. Modernists, extended range, extended techniques

Online Resources:
Related Grove Online Articles:

Journal Articles (Ewald & Russian Traditions):
  1. Smith, André. “Brass in Early Russia: From the Beginnings to the Birth of Victor Ewald, 1860.” International Trumpet Guild Journal. December, 1993, pp. 5-20.
  2. _______ “Victor Vladimirovich Ewald (1860-1935) Civil Engineer & Musician”. International Trumpet Guild Journal. February, 1994, pp. 5-23.
  3. _______ “The History of the Four Quintets for Brass by Victor Ewald. International Trumpet Guild Journal. May, 1994, pp. 5-33.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Axiom Brass

Axiom Brass
I recently discovered this up-and-coming brass quintet, and I was very impressed with what I saw and heard.

Their website is slick, modern, and updated - which is more than I can say for many brass quintet websites. Their press material looks outstanding, and the sound files and videos on their site are impressive.

Even though the group has only been in existence for a few years, they have accomplished a lot, including winning several prestigious competitions. They have an excellent example of a press kit here (under Press in the main menu). This quote is from their publicity materials:
Praised for their “high level of musicality and technical ability” and for their “clean, clear and precise sound”, the award-winning Axiom Brass Quintet has quickly established itself as “one of the major art music groups in brass chamber music.” Winners of the 2008 International Chamber Brass Competition and prize-winners of the 2010 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, the Preis der Europa-Stadt Passau, the Plowman Chamber Music Competition, and the Jeju City International Brass Quintet Competition in South Korea, the Axiom Brass is dedicated to enhancing the musical life of communities across the globe and educating the next generation of musicians.

Blogging Resources

Next week, you will each need to launch your blog project. I have some resources listed below which you will find very helpful. I recommend Blogger or Wordpress:

Getting Started:
Free Blogging Host Sites:
Some classical music blogs:
General Guidelines:
  • Pick a theme or subject. (such as Civil War Brass Bands, or South American Brass Quintets, etc.)
  • Set up your blog and email the name and location of your blog so I can link to it here.
  • Post twice weekly. I would recommend using your blogs publication schedule reminder if they have one.
  • Think of your blog as a combination online guide to your subject and personal journal for this course.
  • In addition to commentary, create hyperlinks, post pictures, and explore your subject.
  • Be sure to check out the blogs of the other students and make occassional comments.
  • Let me know if you encounter any problems. Be sure to use a free blogging host, and experiment with a few posts to see if you can easily navigate their interface.

On Blogging Well

I thought it might be helpful to offer some advice and point you to some links to help you with your blogging projects. It's best to think of your blog as a personal expression and a place to share your ideas and thoughts - much like a diary or journal, but much more public. In the case of your ABEL blog, it might be helpful to think of your blog as an online version of a thoughtful comment in a class discussion. Tell us what you think, what you feel, what you heard, and show us where to find it. Most blogs have a theme, or focus and many have several categories of topics. Occasionally, it's OK to stray off of your topic, especially if it is course-related.

As a reminder, the assignment reads:

Blog Project (2 weekly posts; with a focus on class-related topic of your choice)

  • Start blog and begin weekly posts by January 25th, project due April 23rd
  • Topic to be determined by the second week of class and subject to approval
  • Average of two posts per week
  • Post comments on other students’ blogs
Part of the assignment is to post comments on each others blogs. Neither the posts or comments need to be lengthy to be significant. The advantage to this assignment is that it can be accomplished five minutes at a time, at your convenience, and the focus is you - what you think, what you know, what you've heard, seen or done. Remember, just like a research paper, if you use someone else's material, credit the original source and put it in quotations.

Here are some links to help you with the process.
Here are some ideas for blog postings:  
  • Sign up for a Google Alert on your topic and receive email notifications of new stories about your topic.
  • Blog about something we discussed in class.
  • Blog about someone else's topic.
  • Link to a site that has free streaming audio of recording related to your topic
Here are some good examples of music blogs to model:
Here are some of the most popular non-music-related blogs:
So, keep up with your blogs, and like any writer, just do it. Also remember that the thing that draws people to blogs is fresh content, so keep generating new thoughts. I look forward to reading your posts and comments.