Rotary Valve Kaiser Baritone

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tskeldon
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Rotary Valve Kaiser Baritone

Post by tskeldon » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:48 pm

Hi everyone,

I'll keep it short because this is a trombone forum, and I maybe shouldn't be proposing a discussion about euphoniums that, in general, trombonists only double on.

I would like to get a rotary valve euphonium, more particularly a Kaiser (tenor tuba). Before you start, I already have a piston valve compensating Boosey & Hawkes Imperial, so I don't want to discuss their merits relative to...

What I want is that 'true' lively Germanic sound of the Kaiser Baritone, which puts it closer to the sound of a cylidrical baritone than the tubbier woolly sound of the concial bored English style euphoniums.

Tuba players often prefer these, though trombonists do not, not I think because they interface with it as a tuba, but because they just sound more interesting, less euphonic. They can bite like German tubas.

With the right moutpiece, I much prefer them, or any good baritone, in performance of the Holst, Mahler 7, or either Strauss (Ein Heldenleben or Don Quixote). 'I' think the tubby/wooly euphoniums propose uni-dimensional characterizations of those musical representations.

First things first. Does anyone, who is a fan of the sound of the Kaiser Baritones, have experience of both the Alexander 151A and the Miraphone 56 such that you bring insight to our suspicions?

[Note: What about the Cerveny Bell-front EUPHONIUM CEP 538-4 or the CEP 733-5REX. I know nothing about these except that they are a fraction of the price. Does their performance outstrip their economy?]

Secondly, does anyone have a mint condition instrument of either of those models for sale? Please advise. Thanks for your insights and well considered deliberation of these instruments.

Tim
bbocaner
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Re: Rotary Valve Kaiser Baritone

Post by bbocaner » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:02 am

I've played both, but not in close enough proximity to be able to offer you any direct comparisons. They are both really nice instruments. I don't think they are appropriate for Planets, for which Holst undoubtedly had envisioned a British-style euphonium, or for Mahler 7, which calls for the smaller-bored smaller-belled tenorhorn.

Be aware that these instruments were originally made for the Spanish market where they were intended for use in folk bands. It wasn't until the 1960s that they were appropriated by tuba players as a "tenor tuba," because they not only look more like German-style orchestral tubas, but also because, as you note, they have a more colorful and more easily colored sound than the British-style euphoniums.
Ndwood
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Re: Rotary Valve Kaiser Baritone

Post by Ndwood » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:42 am

I had a chance to play both side by side but it was probably 5 years ago. For me at least, there was no comparison between them: the 151 (at least for me) was a much better instrument. It weights at least a third less than the 56A, had a more vibrant, flexible sound and produced more sound with less effort than the 56A, had better intonation, a much more free-blowing low range, and better ergonomics. The 151 I tried had the acoustic sleeves that Steve Ferguson was talking about and the low F slotted better than it does on my Besson 968, and everything below that, including low B, slotted really well and had less resistance and a sound more consistant with the rest of the horn than my 968. I didn’t check intonation with a tuner but it was no worse than my 968. From what I remember high B/C/Db/D were playable and had reasonable fingerings, which is not the case on a lot of euphoniums I’ve played. I started college as a euphonium major and if I was in the market for an expensive euphonium it would easily be my first choice, but I don’t play in bands where matching instruments/directions might be important.

But I also want to echo everything bbocaner said: it’s just a different instrument. It would be fine I’m sure in the Planets but not the instrument Holst envisioned, it’s not the appropriate sound for Mahler 7, would probably be good for Heldenleben and Don Quixote, etc. And it’s really not the same thing as an actual Kaiser Bariton -especially the 151 sounds more like a sized-down F tuba (especially with a very large mouthpiece...).
tskeldon
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Re: Rotary Valve Kaiser Baritone

Post by tskeldon » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:06 pm

Thanks guys!

I appreciate the time it takes to be generous with your experience. Personally, I think everybody would be surprised, no...shocked if they knew how many performances of these pieces have been recorded on instruments like this (baritones rather than euphoniums) to great acclaim.

I remember a session when Loren Marstellar, who is a great player, used 'I think' a bell-front 4 valve baritone for... ironically, a recording of the Holst, and it sounded...heroic, instead of tired, as it so often does ! I'm hoping someone who is younger than I, who is up on what' happening across the pond, will bring me up to speed.

30 years ago I played for years in a tuba quartet (on an 4-valve Imperial compensating) with 2 German tubas, and always lamented the...lack of character my sound brought to the group. I think it would have sounded both more 'alive' and less euphonically 'comical' on one of these.

It was the same on trombone. I had, I think, a dark, but uninvolving sound, because I was required by the authority of the one instrument/one mouthpiece ruling party of the day to use a mouthpiece that was too big for 'my narrow/thin lips', which left too much space in the mouthpiece for them to excite.

My teacher had wide/full lips and sounded great on the equipment. I too 'played' well, and had no problems with range or technique, but more practice was not going to change the physics of this situation. I think the same is true throughout the orchestral world.

Bigger is not better (though louder might be), only better is better, and I think in this case less (tone) can be more!

Tim
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JohnL
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Re: Rotary Valve Kaiser Baritone

Post by JohnL » Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:29 am

tskeldon wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:06 pm
I remember a session when Loren Marstellar, who is a great player, used 'I think' a bell-front 4 valve baritone for... ironically, a recording of the Holst, and it sounded...heroic, instead of tired, as it so often does!
If memory serves, Loren's horn of choice for quite a while was a four-valve, bell-front and valve-front King. I seem to recall something about it having been rebuilt by one of the local master techs (Robb Stewart or maybe Don Sawday?). I heard him play that horn live several times with the pro groups at TubaChristmas LA. When I grow up, I wanna sound like that.

Whups. Too late. :frown:
Ndwood
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Re: Rotary Valve Kaiser Baritone

Post by Ndwood » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:07 am

Again, even if they’re both called “baritone” an American baritone and Kaiser Bariton are different instruments, and the 56A/151 sound and feel more like rotary euphoniums than straightened out kaiser baritons. You really need to try them yourself (and get a chance to use them in an ensemble) to figure out what they are and what they aren’t. If you want to sound like Loren Marsteller on a bell-front King you should buy a bell-front King and save $7,000.
tskeldon
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Re: Rotary Valve Kaiser Baritone

Post by tskeldon » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:34 am

Hi everyone,

I wish there was a way to try them. There was a time when retail stores actually carried the things they hoped to sell; even the exotic items. Nowadays, nobody even wants to stock the things they typically sell on spec.

In the late 60's, early 70's, I played multiples of both of these instruments (although not side-by-side) in local retailers; both of which have been long since swallowed up by Canada's main musical retailer, Long & McQuade.

It was the case that on multiple occasions I was let loose in their bonded warehouses to un-box and play several of each instrument I was interested in, in order to chose the best one.

It is a retail myth that brick and mortar stores 'can't' carry everything; that's exactly what a store is, and they should be compensated by our, by 'my' willingness to pay 30-40% over on-line prices.

It is typical today that you can't even play something as common as a King 3B or a Bach 16, because retailers don't want to stock anything that is not part of the prevailing paradigm (which is to say Yamaha, in Vancouver).

That's why suggestions that you 'try them' aren't helpful. The whole idea of a forum is that you can generalize based on other people's experience. Its better than nothing which is what we have otherwise.

Worse still are the suggestions that you try several of them side-by-side, in order to find a good one; In what imaginary world are those people still living!

My experience of the physics of brass instruments is that 9 out of 10 times, good players with good mechanics always like or prefer the same instrument, while good players with 'eccentric' mechanics, chose...oddly.

I like those odds, so, in my case, keep making suggestions. I value your committed opinions and experience, without need of qualification or apology.

Tim
Ndwood
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Re: Rotary Valve Kaiser Baritone

Post by Ndwood » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:29 am

Ok to put it more plainly: the 151 is a great instrument that won’t let you sound like Loren Marsteller on a King. I personally wouldn’t bother with a 56A. Neither of them play or sound like oval Kaiser Baritons, which don’t sound or play like American baritones. If you just want a more vibrant euphonium sound, or want to come closer to Roger Bobo’s tenor tuba sound (or do both), the 151 is great but you most likely won’t be able to find one used. If you want to try one you can fly to LA later this year when Ferguson Music gets one in, but you won’t have anything to compare it to.
whitbey
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Re: Rotary Valve Kaiser Baritone

Post by whitbey » Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:43 pm

I have a Cerveny euph. I had a bass shank receiver put on and a lever to move the main slide. I like the bigger bore. The rotary valves play more like a trombone blow. And the movable tuning slide give this trombone player the ability to play high in tune.
Very good horn to double on.
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sirisobhakya
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Re: Rotary Valve Kaiser Baritone

Post by sirisobhakya » Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:33 pm

I don't mean to hijack the thread, but since it is already about oval rotary baritone... Have anyone had any experience with Wessex Kaiser Baritone (ER120)? I think it is the copy of either Mirafone or Cerveny. I am interested since it is at half a price of those European makes, but haven't heard much about it.
Chaichan Wiriyaswat
Alumni & Instructor - Kasetsart University Laboratory School Symphonic Band, Bangkok Thailand
tskeldon
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Re: Rotary Valve Kaiser Baritone

Post by tskeldon » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:53 pm

Hi,

Thanks guys for sharing your experience. [For the record, it was someone else who said they wanted to sound like Loren, I just said he sounded great on that session.]

I have been trying to develop the consideration of this thread, but realized, only after writing several small essays, that there is just too much general terrain to cover first in aid of advancing it productively.

Tim

P.S. I will say that I am going to use the abbreviation MEI, My Experience Is...in future posts, because experience, anyone's, has value, but very few opinions, including mine, do absent it.
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deanmccarty
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Re: Rotary Valve Kaiser Baritone

Post by deanmccarty » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:26 am

Just getting into this thread... I have a Mirafone Loimayr 54L Kaiser... it is a great instrument in the mid to high range. Low range is awful... but it sings up top. I found mine on eBay about 8 years ago at a good price.
Dean McCarty
Houston area freelancer

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