Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post Reply
User avatar
StephenK
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:41 am
Location: Reading, Old England

Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by StephenK » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:37 am

What is the view on which instrument should be used for the third part in Mahler 3? My conductor has requested a bass trom; looks more like a tenor (Bflat-F) to me.
User avatar
BGuttman
Posts: 1212
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:19 am
Location: Cow Hampshire

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by BGuttman » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:45 am

It plays nicely on a single trigger horn.

Whether to use a bass or just a large tenor should be a matter of what you are playing between. A pair of large bore tenors and a big CC tuba would call for a full bass. A smaller setup can be played with a large tenor.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
"Almost Professional"
User avatar
Matt K
Posts: 1274
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:34 pm

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by Matt K » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:47 am

When in doubt, I go with what the conductor wants. When not in doubt, I still go with what the conductor wants :wink:
2bobone
Posts: 78
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by 2bobone » Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:53 pm

Being somewhat in doubt as to where to post this, in a thread about the Mahler 3rd, or in a thread about Ed Anderson, I've chosen the former.
While relaxing with Ron Bishop and Ed Anderson [tubist & bass trombonist respectively of the Cleveland Orchestra] one evening after their concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., I was treated to a marvelous story about the trombone solo in the Mahler 3rd. This was during a period [1972-82] when Lorin Maazel was their conductor. The story goes that Ed was summoned to the maestro's office and informed that Maestro Maazel had had "an epiphany" and realized that the trombone solo in the Mahler 3rd should be played by the bass trombone ! After an uncomfortable conversation about why it wasn't being played by the principal player as is normally done, Ed agreed to follow through with the Maestro's "epiphany" and did indeed perform the solo part in a series of concerts. Ron said that Ed 'knocked it out of the park" and even intimated that it should always be done that way. Ed, being the modest gentleman that he was, just sat there with a knowing smile on his face. Of course, that made me start wood-shedding the damned thing in fear that it would become an orchestra-wide phenomena because I was still the bass trombonist of The National Symphony Orchestra at the time. My fears never were realized, but beads of sweat break out on my forehead every time I think about the possibility !
OK ---- Back to the regular programming --------------
User avatar
BGuttman
Posts: 1212
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:19 am
Location: Cow Hampshire

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by BGuttman » Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:11 pm

Remember, the instrument Mahler was writing for would be considered a symphonic tenor today. But if the rest of the section is using symphonic tenors the Bass should be using something bigger. Especially with a large tuba.

Bob, I'm sure you could have aced the Mahler 3 solo on bass bone as well. There is another solo given to the 1st that sounds like it should be on bass: the Saint=Saens Symphony 3 (Organ). And there is one part given to the bass that probably should be given to the 1st (and is given to the 1st in most scores) and that is in the Farandole in the Arlesienne Suite #2.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
"Almost Professional"
User avatar
LeTromboniste
Posts: 277
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:22 am
Location: Basel, Switzerland

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by LeTromboniste » Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:45 pm

I personally think it sounds too heavy with two basses. The only one I would do with two basses is the 6th, because it's actually written that way, as a 3-part section with an added bass in the last movement (although in an ideal world it would actually be a smallish bass on the 3rd part and a contra on the "bass" as it's likely Mahler intended an F or Eb bass). In the 3rd the section really functions as a unit of 4, and I see no reason why basses should form 50% of the section. If I recall the part correctly, the 3rd part follows the top 2 more than the 4th when it's split in octaves.
Maximilien Brisson
User avatar
BGuttman
Posts: 1212
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:19 am
Location: Cow Hampshire

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by BGuttman » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:28 pm

We're talking about using a tenor with F on the 3rd part of Mahler 3 vs. using a bass. You really don't need two triggers, but a larger instrument would better match a large tuba and two symphonic tenors. On the other hand, if the 1st and 2nd are playing smaller instruments (orchestral tenors of the period) then a large tenor would work nicely for the bass; especially teamed up with a real F-tuba on the bottom.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
"Almost Professional"
CalgaryTbone
Posts: 84
Joined: Thu May 10, 2018 1:39 pm

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by CalgaryTbone » Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:43 pm

I've never seen a performance of the Mahler 3rd w/two bass trombones, but it certainly may have happened somewhere, sometime. The whole section goes down to a low D flat once or twice, but the part isn't that low as a rule throughout the piece.

There are some other pieces, like Strauss - Alpine Symphony, or Wagner - Ring excerpts where using a bass on 3rd is fairly standard. Honestly, I think that most of these pieces including the Mahler can be played either way as long as there's a strong, solid player on the part, and sometimes, the choice of which instrument would depend on which player in the local area would do the best job in the section. Since most orchestras only carry 3 players, and the pool of top players might be small, the optimal instrument might not be the 1st thing considered in choosing who's in the chair.

To the OP, I disagree with your conductor, but I also wouldn't push the matter - he "signs the checks". If you have access to a lighter playing bass (maybe a single trigger), that might be a good choice to bridge the gap between the 2nd and 4th parts, and still satisfy the conductor's eyes when he looks back and sees a bigger bell.

Enjoy! It's a great piece to play, not just for the great solo and section stuff in the 1st mvt., but also for the beautiful finale.

Jim Scott
User avatar
LeTromboniste
Posts: 277
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:22 am
Location: Basel, Switzerland

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by LeTromboniste » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:42 pm

About that finale, Claudio Abbado had the great idea (or perhaps he took it from someone else) of asking his Lucerne festival brass section to cover their bells with loose pieces of cloth for the soft brass chorale in order to sound more distant.

We tried it as well when I played that piece and in the end chose to do it. It's rather gimmicky, but the effect actually really works, and it had the benefit of letting us play a bit more comfortably while still sounding softer from the hall, which the principal trumpet in particular was quite happy about!
Maximilien Brisson
Bassmike
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:29 pm

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by Bassmike » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:41 pm

Matt K wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:47 am
When in doubt, I go with what the conductor wants. When not in doubt, I still go with what the conductor wants :wink:
Never ask the conductor what they want. Quite often they don't know.
User avatar
JohnL
Posts: 429
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:01 am
Contact:

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by JohnL » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:40 pm

Bassmike wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:41 pm
Never ask the conductor what they want. Quite often they don't know.
Or they know what they want, but can't tell you in a way that helps you give it to them...
blast
Posts: 283
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:46 am

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by blast » Fri Aug 24, 2018 10:03 pm

Just seen the BSO at Tanglewood.... 3 tenors 1 bass. Toby Orft was stunning... so musical. A real treat.
Chris
User avatar
StephenK
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:41 am
Location: Reading, Old England

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by StephenK » Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:24 am

Thanks all, appreciate all your inputs. I don't have a dispute with the conductor, I was just a bit surprised at his choice, and he appreciated my input after he had told me what he had chosen (but I think we may well end up with no change!).
As an amateur I feel very privileged to be able to play this sort of music after just starting orchestra a few years ago, and was massively chuffed to play Mahler 2 not too long ago, which has been a favourite for well over 40 years, It's a smashing orchestra that does very innovative things (like there will more than one commission in a year, sometime substantial, and putting on concerts in some unusual situations, like 2 Schumann symphonies at Reading rail station (which has a wonderful space). Anyway, I'm a lucky bunny and have some practice to do.
cozzagiorgi
Posts: 329
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:40 pm

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by cozzagiorgi » Sat Aug 25, 2018 12:34 pm

LeTromboniste wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:42 pm
... brass section to cover their bells with loose pieces of cloth for the soft brass chorale in order to sound more distant.
Not to say mr abbado copied it from there, but its a technique often used in british brass bands.
CalgaryTbone
Posts: 84
Joined: Thu May 10, 2018 1:39 pm

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by CalgaryTbone » Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:06 pm

blast wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 10:03 pm
Just seen the BSO at Tanglewood.... 3 tenors 1 bass. Toby Orft was stunning... so musical. A real treat.
Chris
Chris -

One of my students was there as well, and said the same thing. Wish I could have heard it.

Jim Scott
Noahharry
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:52 pm

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by Noahharry » Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:55 am

CalgaryTbone wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:06 pm
blast wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 10:03 pm
Just seen the BSO at Tanglewood.... 3 tenors 1 bass. Toby Orft was stunning... so musical. A real treat.
Chris
Chris -

One of my students was there as well, and said the same thing. Wish I could have heard it.

Jim Scott
I was there as well and it was magical!
User avatar
StephenK
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:41 am
Location: Reading, Old England

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by StephenK » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:57 am

Feeling privileged - I'm really delighted and thrilled to have had the opportunity to do this last Saturday with Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra (I'm a member of this fine amateur orchestra), to a sold-out audience at the Great Hall, University of Reading (UK). (Though I was on trom 1 rather than trom 3). I'm glad also that it went really well :-) .
Bonearzt
Posts: 223
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:40 am
Location: My Dungeon of Hell....Actually Texas
Contact:

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by Bonearzt » Tue Oct 23, 2018 9:46 am

Such a great solo, why NOT learn it well? Even if you don't get the call on a concert!

Just DON'T play it while warming up prior to the group actually playing it!!!


Eric
Eric Edwards
Professional Instrument Repair
972.795.5784

"If you must choose between two evils, choose the one you haven't tried yet."
"Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud." -Sophocles
bcschipper
Posts: 78
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:52 pm
Location: California
Contact:

Re: Mahler 3 3rd Trombone part

Post by bcschipper » Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:00 am

Here is Mahler 3 on a German trombone (Kruspe) played by Andreas Kraft with the SWR Orchestra:

https://www.swr.de/swr-classic/symphoni ... index.html

You may want "scroll" to 7:50 for the first solo.
Post Reply

Return to “Performance”