Rite of Spring bass trumpet - what instrument originally?

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MoominDave
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Rite of Spring bass trumpet - what instrument originally?

Post by MoominDave » Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:45 am

Somebody asked me a question I didn't know the answer to the other day. So I asked a professional specialist and he was also making an informed guess. I wonder if anyone knows for sure?

Stravinsky's 'Rite of Spring' - iconic piece, wonderful to play or listen to. The 4th trumpet part doubles bass trumpet, and the bass trumpet has a couple of solo moments towards the end of the piece. One of these is notably low for bass trumpet, descending repeatedly to concert Ab. The bass trumpet segments are written in transposing Eb, so this Ab is written as a 3-leger-line F below the treble staff. I have always when asked played this on a Bb instrument without feeling that that was in any way against the spirit of the writing.

I was asked what instrument Stravinsky originally wrote the part for. Anyone know what model of bass trumpet was current at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in 1913... Eb with 4 valves, perhaps? Maybe C? Maybe Bb? Maybe Stravinsky just didn't understand the instrument very well?
sf105
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Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:28 pm

Re: Rite of Spring bass trumpet - what instrument originally?

Post by sf105 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:02 am

We did it last year with a low Eb trumpet (courtesy of John Shaddock). It worked very well and made sense as a doubling part. It's not that hard to get hold of middle-European instruments.

I know it's common these days to use a C or Bb (I've done it), but it's pretty boring waiting around. Also, I think the smaller horn sounds more appropriate.
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