Use of Trombones in Orchestra

ttf_MoominDave
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Use of Trombones in Orchestra

Post by ttf_MoominDave » Tue May 03, 2016 9:31 am

Quote from: wkimball on May 03, 2016, 08:38AMAbsolutely. Here you go.
Three separate first-hand accounts within 5 years of each other in the early 19th century: http://kimballtrombone.com/2016/05/03/t ... e-history/


These are nice to read, thank you. A small number of these make specific reference to size, i.e. ATB. But there's no indication of exactly what was meant - Howard's made a case that seems sound to my eyes that in many German cities at around this time these were often instruments of the same size referred to by different names, differentiated by function as much as anything else. What do you understand when Novello writes "alto, tenor, bass", and why?
ttf_Edward_Solomon
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Post by ttf_Edward_Solomon » Tue May 03, 2016 10:06 am

Quote from: MoominDave on May 03, 2016, 09:31AMWhat do you understand when Novello writes "alto, tenor, bass", and why?

Publisher's convention. Even parts in Tchaikovsky symphonies are sometimes marked up alto/tenor/bass, which is manifestly preposterous. It is no different with Elgar Enigma Variations or any number of other works. The fact remains that certainly as far as Novello publications go, British composers categorically were not scoring for alto trombone by the late nineteenth century. Indeed, it had even died out in brass bands, where it could still be seen up the 1880s in at least one band.
ttf_wkimball
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Tue May 03, 2016 10:44 am

Quote from: Edward_Solomon on May 03, 2016, 10:06AMPublisher's convention. Even parts in Tchaikovsky symphonies are sometimes marked up alto/tenor/bass, which is manifestly preposterous. It is no different with Elgar Enigma Variations or any number of other works. The fact remains that certainly as far as Novello publications go, British composers categorically were not scoring for alto trombone by the late nineteenth century. Indeed, it had even died out in brass bands, where it could still be seen up the 1880s in at least one band.

That is certainly one opinion, and reasonable people can hold different opinions. However, I would characterize it differently. The 19C treatises from Novello's area of origin (United Kingdom) all have the alto trombone in the E-flat orbit. You can see the tallies here: http://kimballtrombone.com/alto-trombon ... s-on-alto/
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Post by ttf_HowardW » Tue May 03, 2016 11:51 am

Quote from: wkimball on May 02, 2016, 11:29PMAgain with the errors in logic. I'm glad you've convinced yourself, Mr. Weiner. That's always nice. But it means nothing as a logical premise. You're in the same place you were before with your earlier non sequitur. You're convinced yourself, therefore what? Therefore I don't understand? Another non sequitur!

And, of course, you're the one making the argument; the burden of proof is yours.
This has gotten quite tiresome. So just one example and then I'm out of here.

As point 4 of your criticisms, you take me to task for missing the Brahms letter. Since my article focussed on the orchestral trombone section in the 18th and early 19th century, Brahms' letter of 1859 is and was entirely irrelevant. But it does go to show that not only did you not understand my article, you did not even understand its title. Basta!
ttf_BillO
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Post by ttf_BillO » Tue May 03, 2016 12:54 pm

Quote from: HowardW on May 03, 2016, 11:51AM Basta!

Shouldn't that be 'Ya Basta' (Enough already!)?
ttf_wkimball
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Tue May 03, 2016 1:11 pm

Quote from: HowardW on May 03, 2016, 11:51AMThis has gotten quite tiresome. So just one example and then I'm out of here.

As point 4 of your criticisms, you take me to task for missing the Brahms letter. Since my article focussed on the orchestral trombone section in the 18th and early 19th century, Brahms' letter of 1859 is and was entirely irrelevant. But it does go to show that not only did you not understand my article, you did not even understand its title. Basta!

I can agree with you on the Basta part! Here is the reply to your concern. If you would like to discuss further, feel free to email me.

Your assertion is kind of true, except for the fact that your own "historical sources" extend well outside your title's parameters (1620, c. 1650, 1687, etc.) and are included in your tally of keys. Brahms is much, much closer to the date span of your title than many of your early historical sources. By your own reasoning, then, not only do you not understand your own article, you do not even understand its title.


ttf_BGuttman
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Use of Trombones in Orchestra

Post by ttf_BGuttman » Tue May 03, 2016 1:16 pm

I read the blog post with the observations of the early 19th century.

The only mention of an alto trombone is in a church service.  Lots of mentions of trombones (unspecified) in the remainder of the posts.  And Quiesser is supposedly playing a "bass trombone" (which probably means a large bore Bb; most of the solos we have that he played lie well on a tenor).

So we really don't have any clear evidence that alto trombones were necessarily used in symphony anywhere between 1750 and 1850.  Not to say that they couldn't, but no clear evidence that they were.
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Tue May 03, 2016 2:38 pm

Quote from: BGuttman on May 03, 2016, 01:16PM
The only mention of an alto trombone is in a church service.

That's right--in that particular post. That was just the accounts of three British musicians who happened to be traveling within the same 5 years.

And I didn't realize we were ruling out church orchestras. (It's fine with me if you do.)
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Tue May 03, 2016 3:24 pm

Quote from: BGuttman on May 03, 2016, 01:16PMSo we really don't have any clear evidence that alto trombones were necessarily used in symphony anywhere between 1750 and 1850.  Not to say that they couldn't, but no clear evidence that they were.

I don't think I would take it that far. It depends on what you mean by evidence. You seem to be using it like a person might use the word "proof." Here are some things one could point to that would generally be considered evidence--

Evidence: In terms of museum holdings, I count 11 alto trombones at regular intervals in just the first half of your span (my list comes from Trevor Herbert and only extends to 1800).http://kimballtrombone.com/alto-trombone/extant-altos/ If you are going to say they were mostly amateur instruments, by the way, you will have to concede that at least an equal number of tenors were likely amateur instruments, leaving us with approximately the same basic ratio of alto to tenor. This situation is not like the slide trumpet, or even Stewart Carter's shortened trombone, of which there are no museum examples in existence. Here we have a sort of "fossil record" that needs to be addressed.

Evidence: I count 7 treatises, dictionaries, or methods from that time period that clearly state the key of the alto. They are spread across Germany, Austria, France, and UK. Six of them list the alto trombone in the E-flat orbit (D-E-flat-F), and one lists it clearly in B-flat. 6 to 1 ratio. http://kimballtrombone.com/alto-trombon ... s-on-alto/

Evidence: Both Kastner and Berlioz saw some use for the alto trombone, and spoke about its strengths in their treatises from this time period. Brahms, although his letter is slightly outside your date range (1859), was considered conservative for his time; he specifically insists on the alto trombone for one piece: “On no account 3 tenor trombones! One genuine little alto trombone and, if possible, also a genuine bass trombone.” Given the composer's artistic temperament, chances are more likely that Brahms was following old tradition rather than breaking new ground.http://kimballtrombone.com/alto-trombone/alto-quotes/

I don't know if a person would consider this set of museum holdings, treatises, and composer comments as clear evidence, much less proof, but I tend to think it is. But these things can get subjective!


ttf_Douglas Fur
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Post by ttf_Douglas Fur » Tue May 03, 2016 3:40 pm

Quote from: wkimball on May 03, 2016, 02:38PMThat's right--in that particular post. That was just the accounts of three British musicians who happened to be traveling within the same 5 years.

And I didn't realize we were ruling out church orchestras. (It's fine with me if you do.)


I think this thread started out as trying to define authentic practice. The historical data seem to run from Berlios' dream orchestra with six Altos to the generic comments from the travellers of "three tromboni".

So outside of the orchestra in Amadeus I guess we're still seeking a trombone in a museum with a label stating " played by Georg Schmidt for those high notes in my 5th symphony." and signed by Beethoven.

DRB
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ttf_wkimball
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Tue May 03, 2016 3:46 pm

Quote from: Douglas Fur on May 03, 2016, 03:40PM
I think this thread started out as trying to define authentic practice. The historical data seem to run from Berlios' dream orchestra with six Altos to the generic comments from the travellers of "three tromboni".

So outside of the orchestra in Amadeus I guess we're still seeking a trombone in a museum with a label stating " played by Georg Schmidt for those high notes in my 5th symphony." and signed by Beethoven.

DRB
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I see. Ok. Well that could be tricky!
ttf_Douglas Fur
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Post by ttf_Douglas Fur » Tue May 03, 2016 7:24 pm

Quote from: wkimball on May 03, 2016, 03:46PMI see. Ok. Well that could be tricky!
Absurd was what I was reaching for. Like the reference to Amadeus I was feeling the tennis match was losing it's sense of humor.
I much rather read your articles. I just looked at the extant trombones in collections essay. I wonder how the production gaps you point out would correspond with historical events such as Wars, plagues or economic cycles.

(An anecdote about being "right or wrong" in interpreting history. A roommate of mine was an illustration major. He had been an art history major during that part of the 80's when many historic paintings were being cleaned. He literally saw careers and reputations destroyed when it was revealed that many of the interpretations of chiascuro and color vocabulary had been based on the dirt and not the painting. The absurdity of it all caused him to drop out and change careers.)

DRB
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ttf_wkimball
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Tue May 03, 2016 9:03 pm

Quote from: Douglas Fur on May 03, 2016, 07:24PM
(An anecdote about being "right or wrong" in interpreting history. A roommate of mine was an illustration major. He had been an art history major during that part of the 80's when many historic paintings were being cleaned. He literally saw careers and reputations destroyed when it was revealed that many of the interpretations of chiascuro and color vocabulary had been based on the dirt and not the painting. The absurdity of it all caused him to drop out and change careers.)


Excellent example. My dad was an art professor, so I can relate!
ttf_Le.Tromboniste
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Tue May 03, 2016 10:55 pm

It is funny that this discussion has come up just now, as I am currently researching 18th century altos in the prospect of having a replica of a classical alto built. I am familiar with both Mr. Kimball and Mr. Weiner's research, and have spend most of the past week rereading each one's publications (among others). Weird coincidence to witness this heated argument.

I must say I believe Mr. Weiner's research (whether one agrees with his conclusions or not) is a very valuable contribution to our knowledge about trombone history, and I agree with him that we should be questioning a lot more what instrument is really intended. Too often have I heard ''well, it's written 'alto' on the part, so it's written for alto trombone'' or ''it's in alto clef''. I still don't think any definitive answer is possible though, as far as performance choice goes, for a number of reasons :

1) What the composer had in mind and what the players would have use was certainly not always the same thing (Berlioz, for example)
2) Many composers probably didn't know or care what instrument would be used. Let's not forget they were humans, not godly beings - how many times do we perform new music and have totally untrombonistic stuff to play, or deal with composers that are not familiar with our instruments - how often do we get asked about our instruments by composers (often-ish, but considering the number of composers, not nearly as often as it should!). It was very likely the same back then.
3) Players and/or conductors would still make their own decisions
4) Especially starting in the late 18th century, music traveled a lot. The same piece played in different places would have been played on different instruments - for the sake of argument, let's say there were no altos in Vienna (I am not convinced of that, but whatever), then works written there ''should'' be played with a tenor on the 1st part. Or should they? Beethoven 5 was certainly played elsewhere. When it was performed in Berlin, it was certainly played with an alto. Conversely, Mozart composed for alto, tenor and bass in Salzburg. When his works were eventually performed in Vienna, they would have been played with tenors. Who is to decide what is ''correct''. If they were no altos in Vienna, the Requiem was written for tenor? But one will certainly agree that Mozart had the typical Salzburg traditional trombone writing in mind, plus it raises the question, why is the Tuba Mirum in the second part if the first trombonist is also playing tenor - why not give it to him instead?

In the end, Mr. Weiner's article about the alto and bass trombones achieves that : it brings up questions, and gives insight. Of course there can never be a good answer, especially if you're playing on modern equipment, in which case the idea of being ''authentic'' is absurd.



With regards to Mr. Weiner's actual reasoning, I tend to agree with at least some of Mr. Kimball's criticism, although perhaps in a more nuanced way. It is a feeling I have more and more as I read other texts and more primary sources, and come back to Mr. Weiner's text, that Mr. Weiner has *somewhat* of a bias to start with.

1) as noted by Mr. Kimball, there is a certain selectiveness in which sources are quoted and which parts of the quotes are kept. Also, of taking quotes to infer an intention to a source without mentionning other comments of the same source which offer a contrasting or nuanced opinion. (e.g. Praetorius, and to some extent Berlioz come to mind)



2) The three paragraphs on pages 65-66 where Mr. Weiner ceases to use facts and sources and starts reasoning from his own aesthetic preference raise the question of wheteher the said preference induces a bias when he examines facts the rest of the time.

I have four further issues with these paragraph :

a) ''(While there are surely trombonists today who make a nice sound on the Eb alto, I would contend that they, too, make an even nicer sound on the Bb tenor.)'' - Well, I beg to difer, but I for one, and I imagine there are thousands of trombone players that think the same, like my sound on the alto and the possibilities the instrument provide me very much, all questions of authenticity and history put aside. And on historical instruments, I do find the so-called alto pieces both easier, more satisfying and better-sounding when I play them on the alto.

b)'' Yet this popular belief is based on the mere fact that the solo parts of these pieces [L.Mozart, M.Haydn] are notated in alto clef'' - There are several other indicators that these might have been written for alto :
-they sit quite high and never really go down into the alto's uncomfortable range;
-some of them are very demanding and tiring, even on an alto sackbut - I would like to think that ''any self-respecting eighteenth-century virtuoso would have chosen an instrument that helped him make the most beautiful sound possible'' on a consistent basis and for the whole duration of the piece.
-according to Mr. Weiner's own research, presented in the very same article, Salzburg employed a section of alto (D), tenor (A) and bass (D) trombones - whe thus know that Gschladt had access to and was well versed in the art of playing an alto;
-Haydn's concertino for horn and trombone from P.87, for example, is in D major - everything lines up to perfection when played on the alto in D - you have none of the ornament and trills issue that you find in Wagenseil when playing on alto - and the blend with a baroque horn (which has a clearer, brighter sound than the later invention horn and eventually valved horn) is especially good with an alto;
-(again about P.87) there are two contemporary manuscript copies of that serenade - it is my understanding from the modern Urtext edition that one of those primary sources specifies ''alto trombone concertato'', although I can't confirm it, as I could only get my hands on the Esterhazy estate copy, which doesnt (perhaps Mr. Weiner, or anybody else, could enlighten us on this if they have seen the second copy?).

c)The reasoning of trills and ornaments on the lower partials indicating that it is written for tenor trombone doesn't convince me at all. Trombones have had to play trills on the lower partials ever since the Renaissance. Trills of a fourth (i.e. between the 3rd and 4th partials) are mentionned in treatises. You find trills between partials 3 and 4, and 4 and 5 repeatedly in baroque sonatas (Castello, Bertali, for instance). Unless we're going to argue that this means those sonatas are actually written for the bass trombone, I think we should leave the trills alone and put them on the account of my earlier point : many composers don't know or care (or both) about our technical difficulties.

d)Quoting Praetorius to back an assertion about the choice of instruments of an hypothetical virtuoso that lived over a century later does not seem like a very strong argument, even more so because the quote is only very partial (see Will Kimball's page about this). Praetorius also says you should not write above E, that the best trombonists can reach A at the maximum on tenor, and that you should always give the high parts to an alto trombone. Given that his judgement on these issues was clearly void in the late 18th, I'd suggest we leave the entirety of what Praetorius wrote to its own context.



3) The main source of his affirmation that the Viennese didn't use altos is a method book by a trombonist. Mr Weiner presents this as reasons to see it as the most accurate source, but I don't see it quite that way. A trombonist and trombone pedagog is far more likely to have a bias or agenda than an exterior observer (Seyfried, Berlioz, for instance). There are certainly people today that, for reasons other than historical, do not like using the alto trombone, and disaprove of those who do. I think it is safe to say that was always the case. It is a possibility, then, that Nemetz simply was a proponent of playing everything on tenor - in which case his writing in no way represents what was actually being done in Vienna, but what HE thought should be done. Also, that we even see methods explaining the alto trombone (Fröhlich, for instance) actually surprises me, as I can only imagine that only an already competent trombonist would go on to learn alto trombone, at which point one doesn't really need a method - just practice. I don't know many people who used a method book to learn alto.

About the relevance of methods as historical indicators of whether an instrument was used or not, I'd like to raise the question : imagine we didn't have internet and the communication and data storing capacities we have; what might the musicologists of the future think if they were to read today's trombone methods? Since the vast majority of trombone methods do not mention or present the alto trombone, since the majority of etudes books are clearly not usable on an Eb alto, and since for example the trombone version of Arban (certainly among the most widespread and influential methods used during the 20th century) not only doesn't mention alto, but doesn't even explicitly state the pitch of the tenor, and only references it as ''slide trombone''; if they were to follow the same reasoning Mr Weiner's uses with Nemetz, they would certainly conclude that trombonists of the late 20th-early 21st century didn't play alto trombone!



4)''From the seventeenth through early nineteenth centuries the small alto trombone was at best a marginal instrument with geographically limited usage'' - marginal relative to what? I understand that what he means is : it might not have been used in Vienna, which is the center of classical and early romantic music, and is widely believed to have been the center of alto trombone playing. The use of strong language like ''at best a marginal instrument'' seems out of line with his own conclusions : that the alto trombone was used in at least 4 out of 7 cities he examines in his article.





On a sidenote regarding extant instrument, I believe the evidence is inconclusive. Upon consulting other sources and talking to a specialist of early brass instruments manufacture, I have to agree with Mr. Weiner that most instruments that have survived were probably intented for the protestant church (or the Moravian church, in some cases), and are not likely to have been used in Vienna, let alone for the repertoire we're talking about here.

The problem is, while it is true that we don't know any surviving alto in Eb/D from classical-era Vienna, we barely have any tenor as well -> the sample size is too small to make any conclusion. Moreover, the instruments that DO survive are very different than what one would expect from classical trombones. I have just two days ago seen pictures of Huschauer instruments; they look like they're from a century earlier than they are - their bells are not flared at all. There is a 1813 set of alto, tenor and bass. The bass in in G, and the alto is in C (!).

I think it is quite ironic that the place where most of our core baroque and classical repertoire originated from appears to be one of the places where we know the least about what instruments they were using
ttf_BGuttman
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Post by ttf_BGuttman » Wed May 04, 2016 12:09 am

Excellent post, but I take a couple of issues:

1.  Arban's was written for cornet and translated into bass clef for trombone or baritone.  There is no earthly reason it could not have been translated into alto clef for an alto trombone student.

2.  Pitch standards in 18th century Europe were not standardized and a trombone that is in Bb for an A-440 pitch is in A for an A-455 pitch.  I'm sure players of the era were much better at compensating for different pitch centers than we are today (or maybe not!) but a set of Eb alto, Bb tenor, and Eb bass in modern pitch might be in D, A, and D respectively with another pitch center.

Kimball is right that the alto trombone existed.  Was it used in public secular performance?  That is the issue.
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Wed May 04, 2016 1:40 am

Some thoughts about Berlioz and the alto :

As you all know, Berlioz specifically requested that the alto be used in the Symphonie Fantastique, he scored for it in other works as well, including the Symphonie Funèbre. La Damnation de Faust, at least in the version he used in Germany, reportedly has the first trombone playing alto (hence the missing low notes in the March in the German editions), although it isn't clear whether he was enthusiastic about it or he just modified the part because he knew the player would play alto.

So for the Fantastique, it is generally deemed historically acceptable to play the alto (since he specifically asked for it) even though it might not have ben played on alto at the premiere. But what about french music in general? What about French music from between the revival of the trombone in France and the time of Berlioz?


We always see the quote in his Grand traité about the alto trombone being absent or banned from orchestras (more on that later). But aside from that, he also writes a few things that are potentially quite revealing, and that tells me we should not be so eager to rule out the alto for the entirety of French music. Here are all the interesting passages (my own translation, and my anotations) :

1) ''Those last three species of trombones [alto, tenor and bass] are the only ones in general use, although it must be said that the Alto Trombone is not present in all French orchestras, and that the Bass Trombone is virtually unkown of them.''

-What strikes me is the difference between the way he refers to the alto and the bass. He says the bass is not used at all, but he doesn't say so about the alto, he says it is not always present.


2)''[...] the tenor trombone, from which the alto trombone, in the orchestra [meaning orchestral writing], is almost never separated''

-He refers here to the way the alto trombone part is written (when there is one) and the fact that you never have only a single alto trombone in an orchestra (or solo passages). Which does imply that the alto trombone is in fact used, or else, why even mention that? - He could, arguably, be referring to the German use of the alto.


3)''[...] we must regret that the Alto Trombone is, at this time, banned from almost all of our French orchestras.''

-Keyword : almost. That clearly implies that [s]some[/s] orchestras DO use the alto trombone. Also, ''banned'' is an interesting choice of word. He doesn't say the musicians can't play it or that there are no actual instruments - he says it is ''banned'' from the orchestras. Meaning either the conductors don't like it, or the players don't like using them (or both), or some other reason not related to the actual feasability of asking the tormbonist to play alto.
-Also key in this phrase : at this time. Which implies that this might not always have been the case.


4)(About the tenor) ''One usually writes it in the tenor clef, but as it happens in some orchestras that all three trombone parts bear different names, but are played on three tenor trombones, it follows that one is written in alto clef, the other in tenor clef and the third in bass clef.''

-Nothing new here about the clefs, obviously anyone who's done the tiniest bit of research knows that alto clef doesn't equal alto trombone.
-However, note the way he says ''usually'', denoting that the standard way is tenor clef, not all three, and ''it happens in SOME orchestras''. Which clearly implies there are others who do the opposite. So there most definitely ARE orchestras that do use alto.


5)(About the bass in Eb or F) ''However we have the misfortune in Paris of being completely devoid [of any Bass Trombone] : it is not taught at the Conservatoire, and no trombonist has yet wanted to become familiar with its playing.''

-Again, notice the difference between his comments on the Bass and those on the alto. He notes about the bass that nobody plays it. Wouldn't he have written the same thing about the alto, if nobody played it either, instead of saying it is ''banned'' from the orchestras?
-The fact that he also notes the bass is not taught to the trombone students of the Conservatoire reveals that perhaps the alto, on the other hand, might be. (although admittedly, that is a lot less obvious than the previous points and is subject to interpretation)


6)(About the valved alto in Eb or F) ''Lyrical solos are often written for the valved Alto Trombone. Well phrased, a melody can in this way have a lot of charm; it is however a mistake to believe that given to a true virtuoso, it would have any less charm played on  a slide Trombone; Mr. Dieppo has victoriously proven it many times.''

-The very existence (let alone the fact that some music is apparently often written for it(!) ) of the valved alto pretty much confirms that the normal slide alto was in fact being used. And note that he doesn't describe a valved tenor, he only acknowledges that it is used in some places in Germany! So the valved alto is common enough for him to spend a page, and the tenor not enough (although he saw it in both Italy and Germany).
-The last sentence might indicate that Dieppo (who was the instructor at the Conservatoire and probably the best trombonist in Paris) did play alto - in which case one can only imagine he taught his students to do so as well. (Again, that is open to interpretation, as Berlioz unfortunately says ''slide trombone'' without specifying ''alto'' - it isn't clear whether he means Dieppo as proven the same could be done on a slide alto, or on slide trombones in general (so possibly tenor))



One might argue that he is describing the trombones generally and is thus including what is being done in Germany, but there are several facts that contradict that :
-He does refer to what happens in Germany in very specific ways when describing the bass trombone and mentionning the valved tenor trombone. This indicates that when he is not specifying, he is most probably in fact describing the situation in France.
-The constant references to the situation in French orchestras and Paris and the Conservatoire.
-He wrote at least 3 works specifically requesting alto trombone(s) (the Fantastique, the Francs-juges overture, and the Grande symphonie funèbre et triomphale) long before he ever went to Germany



Added to this, the fact that 5 more treatises from France between the late 18th and late 19th centuries give the alto in Eb or F.



Conclusion

I will not go so far as to say this demonstrates that the use of the alto was widespread in Paris or France, or that we should generally play French music on alto. The fact remains, of course, that alto trombone usage in orchestral setting was limited, from Berlioz's own account.

But clearly, it is not so simple as the widely accepted ''French music = 3 tenors''. Berlioz is very specific (and urges others to be too) about the instruments he wants. If he wrote ''alto'', he wants an alto, and if he writes Trombones 1-3, he wants tenors. But others (especially before and during his lifetime) were not so specific.
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Wed May 04, 2016 1:51 am

Quote from: BGuttman on May 04, 2016, 12:09AMExcellent post, but I take a couple of issues:

1.  Arban's was written for cornet and translated into bass clef for trombone or baritone.  There is no earthly reason it could not have been translated into alto clef for an alto trombone student.

2.  Pitch standards in 18th century Europe were not standardized and a trombone that is in Bb for an A-440 pitch is in A for an A-455 pitch.  I'm sure players of the era were much better at compensating for different pitch centers than we are today (or maybe not!) but a set of Eb alto, Bb tenor, and Eb bass in modern pitch might be in D, A, and D respectively with another pitch center.

Kimball is right that the alto trombone existed.  Was it used in public secular performance?  That is the issue.

1. But it wasn't translated to alto trombone was it? My point was simply that if you projected yourself 200 years into the future without the knowlededge you have of our own current trombone-playing situation, and were asked to tell whether ''they'' used altos back in 2016 by looking at the primary method books ''they'' were using (hence my Arban example), you might want to say no.

2. I'm confused, did I imply otherwise? I'm well aware of this (hell, I certainly hope so, I have a sakcbut recital in a week! Image ). And actually, A=466 (ish)  Image
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Post by ttf_HowardW » Wed May 04, 2016 4:48 am

Quote from: Le.Tromboniste on May 03, 2016, 10:55PMI must say I believe Mr. Weiner's research (whether one agrees with his conclusions or not) is a very valuable contribution to our knowledge about trombone history, and I agree with him that we should be questioning a lot more what instrument is really intended. Too often have I heard ''well, it's written 'alto' on the part, so it's written for alto trombone'' or ''it's in alto clef''. I still don't think any definitive answer is possible though, as far as performance choice goes, for a number of reasons :I also don't think that a definitive answer is possible -- there is simply not enough evidence available. And as I said above, I had hoped that my article would get people to open their eyes and find sources that I may haved missed, irrregardless of whether the sources supported or disproved my theories. When I started writing my article, after over ten years of collecting material, I actually intended to focus on the bass trombone, but then I realized that I had enough material to include the alto. I approached my self-imposed task without a predetermined goal and just let the sources lead me where they wanted to go. And, by the way, I'm still interested in finding or obtaining relevant sources. Again, as I mentioned above, no further relevant sources have turned up during the eleven years since the publication of my article. (At least two sources relevant to the period after that treated in my article have come to my attention -- they'll be presented in an article on Bruckner in the upcoming issue of the Historical Brass Society Journal, but since it's not my article, I can't say anything more at this time).

Quote1) What the composer had in mind Your five points are well taken and in any case largely coincide with my views. One thing though: you ask "why is the Tuba Mirum in the second part if the first trombonist is also playing tenor." The answer is simply: because the Tuba mirum solo is in the tenor range, and the first trombonist would probably have been using a smaller mouthpiece more suited to the relatively high tessitura of the first part.

QuoteWith regards to Mr. Weiner's actual reasoning, I tend to agree with at least some of Mr. Kimball's criticism, although perhaps in a more nuanced way. It is a feeling I have more and more as I read other texts and more primary sources, and come back to Mr. Weiner's text, that Mr. Weiner has *somewhat* of a bias to start with.No, not to start with. My "bias" developed while working with and thinking and writing about the sources.

Quote1) as noted by Mr. Kimball, there is a certain selectiveness in which sources are quoted and which parts of the quotes are kept.My text was originally written for a lecture at a conference. In other words, I had only 20 minutes in which to present my material. When I finished the first draft, I timed how long it would take for me to read it out loud. I stopped after 35 minutes with several pages still to go. So I ended up cutting out nearly half of what I had written, which demanded a certain selectiveness. Nevertheless, I was happy with the result. And when it came to publishing it, I did not see any need to add anything I had previously cut, especially since I had already treated a number of the sources more extensively in my previous publications (which were properly documented and referred to in the endnotes).

QuoteAlso, of taking quotes to infer an intention to a source without mentionning other comments of the same source which offer a contrasting or nuanced opinion. (e.g. Praetorius, and to some extent Berlioz come to mind)Again, time (and later space) constraints forced me to limit myself to the gist of the quotes.

Quote2) The three paragraphs on pages 65-66 where Mr. Weiner ceases to use facts and sources and starts reasoning from his own aesthetic preference raise the question of wheteher the said preference induces a bias when he examines facts the rest of the time.I purposely headed this section "Excursus--The solo alto trombone" because I wanted at least to touch upon this theme, although it really did not belong to the actual subject of my article. This section is and was intended to be subjective -- to get the readers to think about the possible consequences my evidence has for the solo repertoire of this period. (I still intend to expand upon this in a future article -- I simply have not had time to do so yet.)

QuoteI have four further issues with these paragraph :

a) ''(While there are surely trombonists today who make a nice sound on the Eb alto, I would contend that they, too, make an even nicer sound on the Bb tenor.)''This is subjective and was intended to be so.

Quoteb)'' Yet this popular belief is based on the mere fact that the solo parts of these pieces [L.Mozart, M.Haydn] are notated in alto clef'' - There are several other indicators that these might have been written for alto :
-they sit quite high and never really go down into the alto's uncomfortable range;
-some of them are very demanding and tiring, even on an alto sackbut - I would like to think that ''any self-respecting eighteenth-century virtuoso would have chosen an instrument that helped him make the most beautiful sound possible'' on a consistent basis and for the whole duration of the piece.
Point taken. But something else to consider is the pitch at which these pieces were performed. I have found evidence that the court chapel in Salzburg played at chamber pitch (a=415), so that everything, including the solo trombone parts, sounded a whole tone lower than written. In a couple sources, the trombone parts are even already transposed. However, I admit that these trombone parts still remain formidable.

Quote-according to Mr. Weiner's own research, presented in the very same article, Salzburg employed a section of alto (D), tenor (A) and bass (D) trombones - whe thus know that Gschladt had access to and was well versed in the art of playing an alto; The town musicians in Salzburg played alto, tenor, and bass trombones. This does not necessarily mean that Gschlatt played or even had access to an alto. Moreover, Gschlatt was employed in the court chapel as a trombone soloist, and also played violin, violoncello, and horn; there is no evidence that he had anything directly to do with the town musicians.

Quote-Haydn's concertino for horn and trombone from P.87, for example, is in D major - everything lines up to perfection when played on the alto in D - you have none of the ornament and trills issue that you find in Wagenseil when playing on alto - and the blend with a baroque horn (which has a clearer, brighter sound than the later invention horn and eventually valved horn) is especially good with an alto;
Does everything still line up to perfection when you take chamber pitch into consideration? Just wondering.

Quote-(again about P.87) there are two contemporary manuscript copies of that serenade - it is my understanding from the modern Urtext edition that one of those primary sources specifies ''alto trombone concertato'', although I can't confirm it, as I could only get my hands on the Esterhazy estate copy, which doesnt (perhaps Mr. Weiner, or anybody else, could enlighten us on this if they have seen the second copy?). Sorry, I also only know the Esterhazy estate copy, which is in Haydn's own hand.

Quotec)The reasoning of trills and ornaments on the lower partials indicating that it is written for tenor trombone doesn't convince me at all. Trombones have had to play trills on the lower partials ever since the Renaissance. Trills of a fourth (i.e. between the 3rd and 4th partials) are mentionned in treatises. You find trills between partials 3 and 4, and 4 and 5 repeatedly in baroque sonatas (Castello, Bertali, for instance). Unless we're going to argue that this means those sonatas are actually written for the bass trombone, I think we should leave the trills alone and put them on the account of my earlier point : many composers don't know or care (or both) about our technical difficulties.The types and performance of trills varied depending on the time and place. And in any case, comparing Castello with Bertali or either of them with Michael Haydn would be a rather absurd undertaking. I see no reason to discount the importance of trills in this question.

Quoted)Quoting Praetorius to back an assertion about the choice of instruments of an hypothetical virtuoso that lived over a century later does not seem like a very strong argument, even more so because the quote is only very partial (see Will Kimball's page about this). This was one thing that I wish I had formulated a bit better. I was definitely not implying that the opinion stated by Praetorius in 1619 was still valid or even known in the second half of the 18th century. What I intended to imply was that -- in view of the fact that the trombone had hardly changed in terms of form and size between the early 17th and late 18th centuries, and was still used for the same purposes: playing colla parte (without obliterating the voices) and solo playing in smaller ensemble settings, and both of these in the usually very lively acoustics of a church -- a late 18th-century listener/musician/critic with a musical astuteness equivalent to that of Praetorius would very likely have come to a similar conclusion as he did a century and a half earlier.

QuotePraetorius also says you should not write above E, that the best trombonists can reach A at the maximum on tenor, and that you should always give the high parts to an alto trombone. Given that his judgement on these issues was clearly void in the late 18th, I'd suggest we leave the entirety of what Praetorius wrote to its own context.In one place, writing about the tenor trombone, Praetorius said:

"Some players (among them the famed master Phileno of Munich) command this instrument so well that they are able to sound the low D and the high c", d" and e" without any difficulty. I heard another player at Dresden -- Erhardus Borussus, who is said to be living in Poland at present. He mastered this instrument to such a high degree that he could play almost as high as a cornett -- that is, to the high g" sol re ut..."

Of course elsewhere, where he was giving advice for everyday music making at court or in the church, Praetorius had to assume that his readers merely had run-of-the-mill town musicians at their disposal, musicians who were more or less competent on trombone and various other instruments, and could not be expected to perform musical fireworks alla Phileno and Erhardus.

Quote3) The main source of his affirmation that the Viennese didn't use altos is a method book by a trombonist. Mr Weiner presents this as reasons to see it as the most accurate source, but I don't see it quite that way. Then find a better source documenting trombone playing in early 19th-century Vienna! Until you do, Nemetz is all we have. Whether you like it or not!

Quote4)''From the seventeenth through early nineteenth centuries the small alto trombone was at best a marginal instrument with geographically limited usage'' - marginal relative to what? I understand that what he means is : it might not have been used in Vienna, which is the center of classical and early romantic music, and is widely believed to have been the center of alto trombone playing. The use of strong language like ''at best a marginal instrument'' seems out of line with his own conclusions : that the alto trombone was used in 4 out of 7 cities he examines in his article.Marginal to trombone playing as a whole, and during a time in which the trombone was only in use in a very few places to boot. "In 4 out of 7 cities" is ignoring the fact that the trombone was used in only 3 of them during the entire period in question; in the other 4 cities (actually 3 cities and Italy, which I didn't really manage to discuss), I documented the reintroduction of the trombone. The trombone was all but unknown in England from the late 17th century until ca. 1790 (in the one very short period in which Handel used trombones in Saul and Israel in Egypt in 1738/39 it was an absolute sensation, and most people had no idea what a trombone/sackbutt was). It had likewise died out in France by the end of the 17th century and was reintroduced only in the early 1760s by Gluck, who was accustomed to working with trombones in Vienna. And even in Germany, there were only a few towns during this period in which the town musicians had not given up the trombone in favor or more fashionable instruments; Salzburg and Leipzig were among the few exceptions.

QuoteOn a sidenote regarding extant instrument, I believe the evidence is inconclusive. Upon consulting other resources and talking to a specialist of early brass instruments manufacture ...And guess who called me this morning, Maximilien.

Quote... I have to agree with Mr. Weiner that most instruments that have survived were probably intented for the protestant church (or the Moravian church, in some cases), and are not likely to have been used in Vienna, let alone for the repertoire we're talking about here.

The problem is, while it is true that we don't know any surviving alto in Eb/D from classical-era Vienna, we barely have any tenor as well -> the sample size is too small to make any conclusion. Moreover, the instruments that DO survive are very different than what one would expect from classical trombones. The Huschauer instruments look like they're from a century before that - their bells are only slightly larger than sackbuts, and not flared at all. There is a 1806 set of alto, tenor and bass. The bass in in G, and the alto is in C (!).There are a number of tenor trombones from Vienna from this era: 5 or 6 by Leichamschneider, the Huschauers in Edinburgh and Verona, possibly a Kerner (?formerly in the Boosey & Hawkes collection), and a recently rediscovered Riedl from 1823 (which is very similar to the instrument depicted in Nemetz).

Howard
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Post by ttf_HowardW » Wed May 04, 2016 4:58 am

Quote from: BGuttman on May 04, 2016, 12:09AMKimball is right that the alto trombone existed.  Was it used in public secular performance?  That is the issue.Sure, in some places at various times. The existence of the alto trombone has never been disputed. Two examples of secular music with alto trombone: The sonatas of the Hora Decima (1670) and the dance movements of the Fünff-stimmigte blasende Music (1674) by Johann Pezel.

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Post by ttf_BGuttman » Wed May 04, 2016 5:14 am

But I thought the issue we are discussing is whether alto trombones were used in symphonic music in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

There is a long stretch from Monteverdi (or maybe Pezel) until Beethoven where the standard orchestra had no trombones and we have music in the 19th Century where the parts may say "Alto Trombone" but we have no idea if an alto trombone was actually used.
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Post by ttf_HowardW » Wed May 04, 2016 5:41 am

Quote from: BGuttman on May 04, 2016, 05:14AMBut I thought the issue we are discussing is whether alto trombones were used in symphonic music in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

There is a long stretch from Monteverdi (or maybe Pezel) until Beethoven where the standard orchestra had no trombones and we have music in the 19th Century where the parts may say "Alto Trombone" but we have no idea if an alto trombone was actually used.Sorry, I didn't recognize the context in which you posed your questions.
Howard
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Wed May 04, 2016 8:26 am

Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AMI also don't think that a definitive answer is possible -- there is simply not enough evidence available.

I'm glad to see this statement. It seems to be different in tone from some statements I've seen in the past in this forum. In my opinion.
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Wed May 04, 2016 8:40 am

Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AMNo, not to start with. My "bias" developed while working with and thinking and writing about the sources.

That may not be completely true. For example, you admit bias here in the article:
"It is my belief that any self-respecting eighteenth-century virtuoso would have chosen an instrument that helped him make the most beautiful sound possible."
"While there are surely trombonists today who make a nice sound on the E-flat alto, I would contend that they, too, make an even nicer sound on the B-flat tenor."

And when you use the phrase, "It therefore follows that a tenor trombone in B-flat or A would have been the virtuoso's preferred instrument because of its superior tonal qualities," you are showing quite clearly that you are using subjective statements as part of your argument.

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Post by ttf_wkimball » Wed May 04, 2016 8:54 am

Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AMOne thing though: you ask "why is the Tuba Mirum in the second part if the first trombonist is also playing tenor." The answer is simply: because the Tuba mirum solo is in the tenor range, and the first trombonist would probably have been using a smaller mouthpiece more suited to the relatively high tessitura of the first part.

This explanation isn't necessarily conclusive. The composer put it in the 2nd part because he knew the first player would be using a smaller mouthpiece? Even though he was playing on the same size horn? I'm not so sure the composer would be aware of that. Couldn't the first player just put in a bigger mouthpiece? And wouldn't the 1st player be more likely to be the stronger player (not always, but more likely)?

This explanation isn't really air-tight. There is definitely room for differences of opinion here.
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Post by ttf_BGuttman » Wed May 04, 2016 9:25 am

Quote from: wkimball on May 04, 2016, 08:54AMThis explanation isn't necessarily conclusive. The composer put it in the 2nd part because he knew the first player would be using a smaller mouthpiece? Even though he was playing on the same size horn? I'm not so sure the composer would be aware of that. Couldn't the first player just put in a bigger mouthpiece? And wouldn't the 1st player be more likely to be the stronger player (not always, but more likely)?

This explanation isn't really air-tight. There is definitely room for differences of opinion here.

Quite frankly, from the 19th Century parts I have been playing in Orchestra, it seems the most difficult parts are usually assigned to the 3rd (Bass) trombone so possibly that would be the strongest player.  Also remember that Quiesser, the most famous trombone soloist of his era, was considered a "bass trombone".

But we are still skirting the question or trying to get at it from some odd angle.  We have evidence that in some parts of Central Europe the symphonies did not seem to use alto trombones in the early 19th Century and maybe other parts did.  And we have no eyewitness reports one way or another.
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Wed May 04, 2016 9:51 am

Quote from: BGuttman on May 04, 2016, 09:25AMQuite frankly, from the 19th Century parts I have been playing in Orchestra, it seems the most difficult parts are usually assigned to the 3rd (Bass) trombone so possibly that would be the strongest player.  

I'm not sure I agree, but it's still an open question. I'm not so sure a composer would be aware of a small thing like a mouthpiece difference on the same horn. Most composers I have worked with--even working directly with them, and even in our modern information era--aren't aware of what mouthpiece I play on and don't care, honestly.

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Post by ttf_wkimball » Wed May 04, 2016 9:57 am

Quote from: BGuttman on May 04, 2016, 09:25AMBut we are still skirting the question or trying to get at it from some odd angle.  We have evidence that in some parts of Central Europe the symphonies did not seem to use alto trombones in the early 19th Century and maybe other parts did.  And we have no eyewitness reports one way or another.

You seem to be particularly interested in "eyewitness reports." Eyewitness reports are terrific, I concede, but they're somewhat rare, historically. I'm not sure you're going to find eyewitness reports in a lot of good history. Just a small point.
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Wed May 04, 2016 9:59 am

Quote from: wkimball on May 04, 2016, 09:51AM 

I'm not sure I agree, but it's still an open question. I'm not so sure a composer would be aware of a small thing like a mouthpiece difference on the same horn. Most composers I have worked with--even working directly with them, and even in our modern information era--aren't aware of what mouthpiece I play on and don't care, honestly.


I should add that the same composers would notice (and probably care) if I played their solo on a "small alto" versus a tenor.
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Post by ttf_anonymous » Wed May 04, 2016 10:03 am

Howard, Will et al...I'm not around TTF much these days, but it's been refreshing to read your thoughts and comments on this topic, a much welcomed departure from so much of what occupies my screen these days.  I'll continue to follow this thread.  Nice to know there are still those out there this passionate about something some would see as antiquated as the trombone....
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Wed May 04, 2016 10:09 am

Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AM
My text was originally written for a lecture at a conference. In other words, I had only 20 minutes in which to present my material. When I finished the first draft, I timed how long it would take for me to read it out loud. I stopped after 35 minutes with several pages still to go. So I ended up cutting out nearly half of what I had written, which demanded a certain selectiveness.
This background about your original constraints is interesting. Be that as it may, it is still an internal weakness of the article, as Le.Tromboniste points out.
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Wed May 04, 2016 10:13 am

Quote from: dbubert on May 04, 2016, 10:03AMHoward, Will et al...I'm not around TTF much these days, but it's been refreshing to read your thoughts and comments on this topic, a much welcomed departure from so much of what occupies my screen these days.  I'll continue to follow this thread.  Nice to know there are still those out there this passionate about something some would see as antiquated as the trombone....

Thanks! (I think). My wife and kids think I am the biggest nerd on the planet (and they may be right). Glad you're enjoying it.
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Wed May 04, 2016 2:33 pm

Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AMAgain, time (and later space) constraints forced me to limit myself to the gist of the quotes.

Again, as I mentioned earlier, it is interesting to see that you had constraints of time and space, but that still doesn't change the inherent weakness in the article that people are pointing out. Perhaps it even highlights the weakness.
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Post by ttf_Douglas Fur » Wed May 04, 2016 7:50 pm

This topic seems to hinge on the interpretation of data at one remove from actual performance data.*

I made a comment a while back of considerations outside of music which may have impacted the range of instruments played and players to play them. This list included war. This thought percolated until I realized that the period under discussion roughly corresponds to the shift in military technology from "Brass" to iron cannons.

We've seen the impact of recent Wars on instrument making, limited production, a shift to manufacturing for military bands instead of popular bands  or orchestras.
It would be an interesting avenue to check with an historian of military armaments about material shortages in this era.

Maybe the paucity of posaunen is the result of scrap metal drives. The patriotic posaunenpumper, when faced with his duty threw his alto or bass into the melting pot, rationalizing that he can cover most of those parts with his tenor.

Are there fewer extant instruments remaining in belidgerant States?
Were Brass instruments treated as spoils of war and melted down for their strategic metal content?
Does the return of the alto and movement away from the three tenor Trombone section demonstrate an increased availability of Brass following the shift to iron cannons?

DRB
Seola Creek

*If only an NFL color commentator had been there..."that was a very nice trill played by Mr. Vogel on his gesamptkunstwerk alto, Bob..."
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Post by ttf_HowardW » Thu May 05, 2016 1:47 am

Quote from: BGuttman on May 04, 2016, 09:25AMQuite frankly, from the 19th Century parts I have been playing in Orchestra, it seems the most difficult parts are usually assigned to the 3rd (Bass) trombone so possibly that would be the strongest player.  Also remember that Quiesser, the most famous trombone soloist of his era, was considered a "bass trombone".There is some truth to this. In fact, a number of early 19th-century French and Italian works often have only a single trombone on the bass line (Rossini's operas come to mind). And then of course there is the very prominent third trombone part to Haydn's Creation.

Howard
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Post by ttf_blast » Thu May 05, 2016 2:36 am

There is one common quality in all those posting here.... YOU CARE  Image Image Image Image
Sometimes this had led to some heated exchanges, but that is simply an indication of the passion held by individuals...
This thread is now a daily must-see for me and many others.
It makes us think about how we think about the past and the different results that can come when we 'fill in the blanks' of the sparse information available.
We can do nothing to contact those long gone players of our instrument (in all it's forms) and find out what REALLY happened, but we can talk to players of previous generations and write down what they tells us.
One of the players I met as a youngster was born at the turn of the 20th century, taught himself on a trombone he had bought in a pawn shop and had enjoyed a great career in musical worlds that no longer exist .... I should write what I remember of what he said.

Chris Stearn
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Thu May 05, 2016 7:38 am

Quote from: blast on May 05, 2016, 02:36AMThere is one common quality in all those posting here.... YOU CARE  Image Image Image Image
Sometimes this had led to some heated exchanges, but that is simply an indication of the passion held by individuals...
This thread is now a daily must-see for me and many others.
It makes us think about how we think about the past and the different results that can come when we 'fill in the blanks' of the sparse information available.
We can do nothing to contact those long gone players of our instrument (in all it's forms) and find out what REALLY happened, but we can talk to players of previous generations and write down what they tells us.
One of the players I met as a youngster was born at the turn of the 20th century, taught himself on a trombone he had bought in a pawn shop and had enjoyed a great career in musical worlds that no longer exist .... I should write what I remember of what he said.

Chris Stearn

I agree, Chris. Thanks for your insight.
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Thu May 05, 2016 7:48 am

Quote from: BGuttman on May 03, 2016, 01:16PM
And Quiesser is supposedly playing a "bass trombone" (which probably means a large bore Bb; most of the solos we have that he played lie well on a tenor).


I am aware of the fact that Quiesser was called a bass trombone player at times. Are you also saying that he played the lowest part in his section in the Gewandhaus orchestra? I don't know, I'm just asking.

As you admit, the "bass trombone" you're pointing to in reference to Quiesser probably meant large-bore tenor. The David Concertino, on of his most-performed solos, is definitely a tenor piece.

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Post by ttf_mlarsson » Thu May 05, 2016 8:19 am

Quote from: wkimball on May 05, 2016, 07:48AMThe David Concertino, on of his most-performed solos, is definitely a tenor piece.


The original title for this work is "Concertino pour la Trombone Basse avec Accompagnement de grand Orchestre", indicating that it was at the time considered a bass trombone solo.

Also Queisser's other signature solo, the today lesser known concertino by C.G. Müller is, in the edition from Pfefferkorn Musikverlag, referred to as "Concertino in Es für Bassposaune und Orchester".



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Post by ttf_Tim Dowling » Thu May 05, 2016 8:48 am

Quote from: wkimball on May 05, 2016, 07:48AMI am aware of the fact that Quiesser was called a bass trombone player at times. Are you also saying that he played the lowest part in his section in the Gewandhaus orchestra? I don't know, I'm just asking.

Believe it or not Queisser was the principal VIOLA player (1822-46). The Gewandhaus Orchestra did not have a permanent trombone section until 1842, and even then Queisser remained in the violas until his death in 1846. He was contracted to play both trombone and viola however. All the trombonists from 1815 till 1842 also played other instruments
The first permanent trombonists were Carl Gottlieb Burgk (alto), Fr. August Mai, (May) tenor and Gottlieb Friedrich Kogel (bass). .
This info taken from the book Berühmte Posaunen-Virtuosen bu Rolf Handrow (retired bass trombinst of the Gewandhaus)


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Post by ttf_wkimball » Thu May 05, 2016 8:51 am

Quote from: mlarsson on May 05, 2016, 08:19AMThe original title for this work is "Concertino pour la Trombone Basse avec Accompagnement de grand Orchestre", indicating that it was at the time considered a bass trombone solo.

Also Queisser's other signature solo, the today lesser known concertino by C.G. Müller is, in the edition from Pfefferkorn Musikverlag, referred to as "Concertino in Es für Bassposaune und Orchester".


And do you feel they are idiomatically bass trombone pieces? Or is this a matter of labeling? The point is actually whether the player on the highest part in the orchestra was considered, generally, the strongest player. (Generally, I repeat).
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Thu May 05, 2016 8:53 am

Quote from: Tim Dowling on May 05, 2016, 08:48AMHe was contracted to play both trombone and viola however.

Ok, but here is my point: When he did play trombone with the orchestra, are we saying he played the lowest part? I don't know, I'm just curious. It would be helpful in pinning down this particular use of evidence.
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Thu May 05, 2016 8:57 am

In response to Le.Tromboniste's objection that "The main source of his affirmation that the Viennese didn't use altos is a method book by a trombonist. Mr Weiner presents this as reasons to see it as the most accurate source, but I don't see it quite that way," Mr. Weiner says,

Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AMThen find a better source documenting trombone playing in early 19th-century Vienna! Until you do, Nemetz is all we have. Whether you like it or not!

There are two glaring logical problems here in Mr. Weiner's statement.

First is what David Hackett Fischer famously calls "The fallacy of the lonely fact." In Fischer's words, "The fallacy of the lonely fact is the logical extension of a small sample, which deserves to receive special condemnation. It may be defined as a statistical generalization from a single case" (Fischer, Historians' Fallacies, p. 109). One data point (Nemetz) is a pretty narrow data set (as narrow as you can get, actually). Are you prepared to say that players in Vienna were so provincial that they only used method books from their own city? Do you think that is true of all Viennese instrumentalists? I would highly recommend widening your sources to include some of the many other methods and treatises of the time. Nemetz is not really "all we have," if you venture even a little bit outside the city of Vienna. See here: http://kimballtrombone.com/alto-trombon ... s-on-alto/ If there is not time or space to include a broader sampling, perhaps it is appropriate to limit the generalizations and conclusions as well.

The second logical problem is that there is a classic burden of proof misdirect here. The responsibility is always on the person who makes the assertion, not anyone else. Any attempt to assert that it is someone else's responsibility is fallacious. Again David Hackett Fischer's Historians' Fallacies states it clearly: "[T]he burden of proof, for any historical assertion, always rests upon its author. Not his critics, not his readers, not his graduate students, not the next generation. Let us call this the rule of responsibility" (Fischer, 63).
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Post by ttf_mlarsson » Thu May 05, 2016 9:31 am

Quote from: wkimball on May 05, 2016, 08:51AMAnd do you feel they are idiomatically bass trombone pieces? Or is this a matter of labeling? The point is actually whether the player on the highest part in the orchestra was considered, generally, the strongest player. (Generally, I repeat).

My understanding (please correct me if I'm wrong!) is that the solo trombone (the one considered to be the strongest player) in German orchestras, at the time of Queisser, actually was the lowest voice. That convention apparently later changed. So, yes, Queisser was the bass trombonist at Gewandhausorchesters Leipzig, playing solo repertoire, labeled as pieces for the bass trombone.

Idiomatically, what was considered bass trombone solo repertoire then, might not be what we consider it be today, due to several things, including the evolution of the design of the instrument itself.

And thanks for bringing back some life into this forum!
 
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Thu May 05, 2016 9:41 am

Quote from: mlarsson on May 05, 2016, 09:31AMMy understanding (please correct me if I'm wrong!) is that the solo trombone (the one considered to be the strongest player) in German orchestras, at the time of Queisser, actually was the lowest voice. That convention apparently later changed. So, yes, Queisser was the bass trombonist at Gewandhausorchesters Leipzig, playing solo repertoire, labeled as pieces for the bass trombone.

Idiomatically, what was considered bass trombone solo repertoire then, might not be what we consider it be today, due to several things, including the evolution of the design of the instrument itself.

Hmm. If we're saying that, then perhaps Mozart should have written the Tuba Mirum solo for the "bass trombone" part, which was the solo part? The Tuba Mirum solo has a tessitura that is quite a bit lower than the David Concertino. Or are we talking only German orchestras?


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Post by ttf_wkimball » Thu May 05, 2016 9:42 am

Quote from: mlarsson on May 05, 2016, 09:31AMAnd thanks for bringing back some life into this forum!

Thank you. I really appreciate that.
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Post by ttf_mlarsson » Thu May 05, 2016 10:00 am

Quote from: wkimball on May 05, 2016, 09:41AMHmm. If we're saying that, then perhaps Mozart should have written the Tuba Mirum solo for the "bass trombone" part, which was the solo part? The Tuba Mirum solo has a tessitura that is quite a bit lower than the David Concertino. Or are we talking only German orchestras?



I'm not sure I'd be willing to stretch it that far. Different countries, different traditions and almost a half century in time. And from a tessitura point of view, the solo repertoire of Queisser would be considerably more demanding than the tuba mirum solo. The C.G. Müller concertino goes all the way down to pedal E-flat and covers four full octaves.

 
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Thu May 05, 2016 10:08 am

Quote from: mlarsson on May 05, 2016, 10:00AMI'm not sure I'd be willing to stretch it that far. Different countries, different traditions and almost a half century in time.

I agree.
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Post by ttf_Tim Dowling » Thu May 05, 2016 10:38 am

I think the title SOLO posaune is a more 20th century designation. No doubt that in the early nineteeth century the bass trombonist was the highest paid player. Did Queisser play the bass trombone part in the orchestra? I don't really know. What would be interesting to Will Kimball is the salient detail that the three trombone jobs created in 1842 were specifically alto tenor and bass. But the bass was certainly a B flat instrument, perhaps with a valve (invented as we know in 1839 by Sattler) but not necessarily. I had the good fortune last week to examine the Sattler tenor bass trombone (in straight Bb) which is in the Grassi Museum in Leipzig. Even more fortunate that I was in the company of Sebastian Krause who has written a useful piece on Queisser published in Brass Bulletin. I know this much. Queisser walked from his house to the Gewandhaus (to play either the viola or the bass trombone. He walked past Sattler's workshop most days on his way to work. We can reasonably presume that Queisser and Sattler were well acquainted and it's likely that Queisser played a Sattler instrument possibly very similar to the one on the museum. Queisser was the first endorser of the Sattler F valve as well. There is no surviving example of that alas.
Sebastian was kind enough to let me play on a Penzel bass trombone (also without a valve) which is of very similar dimensions to the Sattler. Very full and rich sound, and worked well on David. Penzel was Sattler's son in law and took over the workshop after Sattler died in 1842. Brass inners but surprisingly good if heavy slide action. Considering how large the bore is on the tenor and tenor bass trombones of the Sattler set, it is surprising how small the alto trombone bell is. Hardly any larger than a modern trumpet bell

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Post by ttf_wkimball » Thu May 05, 2016 11:13 am

Quote from: Tim Dowling on May 05, 2016, 10:38AMI think the title SOLO posaune is a more 20th century designation. No doubt that in the early nineteeth century the bass trombonist was the highest paid player. Did Queisser play the bass trombone part in the orchestra. I don't really know. What would be interesting to Will Kimball is the salient detail that the three trombone jobs created in 1942 were specifically alto tenor and bass. But the bass was certainly a B flat instrument, perhaps with a valve (invented as we know in 1839 by Sattler) but not necessarily. I had the good fortune last week to examine the Sattler tenor bass trombone (in straight Bb) which is in the Grassi Museum in Leipzig. Even more fortunate that I was in the company of Sebastian Krause who has written a useful piece on Queisser published in Brass Bulletin. I know this much. Queisser walked from his house to the Gewandhaus (to play either the viola or the bass trombone. He walked past Sattler's workshop most days on his way to work. We can reasonably presume that Queisser and Sattler were well acquainted and it's likely that Queisser played a Sattler instrument possibly very similar to the one on the museum. Queisser was the first endorser of the Sattler F valve as well. There is no surviving example of that alas.
Sebastian was kind enough to let me play on a Penzel bass trombone (also without a valve) which is of very similar dimensions to the Sattler. Very full and rich sound, and worked well on David. Penzel was Sattler's son in law and took over the workshop after Sattler died in 1842. Brass inners but surprisingly good if heavy slide action. Considering how large the bore is on the tenor and tenor bass trombones of the Sattler set, it is surprising how small the alto trombone bell is. Hardly any larger than a modern trumpet bell


Nice, thanks Tim. You said 1942, but I'm sure that was just a typo. That's good info.
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Post by ttf_Tim Dowling » Thu May 05, 2016 11:20 am

Quote from: wkimball on May 05, 2016, 11:13AMNice, thanks Tim. You said 1942, but I'm sure that was just a typo. That's good info.
1842 indeed.  Oops
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