Eugène C. Roy Method and Works

Roy, C. Eugène. Méthode de Trompette sans et avec Clefs Divisée en deux Partie par C. Eugène Roy Trompette Major et Chef de Musique. (Mainz: Schott, 1824) Facsimile reprint by Editions BIM, 2009. Edited by Adrian v. Steiger. Ref. TP276

Roy, C. Eugène 15 Airs en Dous pour 2 trumpets, cornets, bugles, edited, and arranged by Adrian v. Steiger. Edition BIM, 2010 Ref. TP303

Roy, C. Eugène 4 Airs de Bravoure pour trompete à clefs et piano. Piano accompaniments realized by Edoardo Torbianelli. Edited by Adrian v. Steiger. Edition BIM, 2010 Ref. TP304

All available from: Editions BIM, or A sample PDF is on the BIM website.

Eugène Roy (1790-1827) was a prolific writer of instrumental method books in the early nineteenth century. He played the flageolet and his career was important enough to be documented by the European press of his day. An entry on his life was included in the Biographie Universelle of François Joseph Fétis in 1884. Adrian v. Steiger goes beyond these standard sources to find considerable new material on the illusive Roy and paints a picture of how he came to publish this important method for the trumpet (with and without keys). Steiger is the research director for Hochschule der Künste Bern, an institution that has taken the study of nineteenth century performance practice as its focus. This project, consisting of the method and modern editions of the duets and virtuoso solos from it, are the first three volumes in the HKB historical brass series and are a most welcome edition to the study of the natural trumpet, keyed trumpet and keyed bugle in the nineteenth century. A facsimile of the Concerto by Hummel and Schadädeli and Fröscher’s method for ophicléide are in preparation as numbers four and five in this series.

The method book is thirty-nine pages long. As the title suggests, it is in two parts. The first part is devoted to the natural trumpet with a commentary in French and German on the ordinary trumpet, the trumpet with keys, embouchure, articulation and mouthpieces. A different size mouthpiece is illustrated for first through fourth trumpet. A few pages of exercises for the natural trumpet and a series of interesting fanfares for two, three and four parts follow. The second part begins with a fingering chart for the keyed trumpet and a series of exercises and duets. The volume concludes with four virtuoso solo pieces.

Roy’s concluding virtuosic pieces are given piano accompaniments in a separately-published modern performance edition by Edoardo Torbianelli. It is this last selection of solos with their new accompaniments that will be of greatest interest to those who wish to bring this repertoire to the recital stage. They are written for a B-flat instrument and they fall within the compass of the range of the keyed bugle. In fact, they were included in Roy’s tutor for the keyed bugle that preceded this volume for the keyed trumpet. This is also true of the duets originally composed for E-flat and B-flat keyed bugles in the same earlier keyed bugle method. In the modern edition of the duets, many of the duets are transposed down to accommodate two B-flat or C instruments such as modern flugelhorns or cornets. Those wishing to perform them in their original keys (for example, on keyed bugles) can play them directly from the facsimile. These duets are typical of the types of duets that appear in many other keyed bugle methods in terms of the style that they are written in, but unusual in their scoring for E-flat and B-flat keyed bugle. The difference of the timbre of the E-flat and B-flat keyed bugle will make performances of these duets particularly interesting.

In the collection of four solos, we have a theme and variation on an air by Méhul arranged by Roy and newly composed works by Roy on Rossini’s “Assisa a piè d’un salice” and Michele Enrico Carafa di Colobrano’s cavatina “Ombra che a me ritorna.”
These selections are representative of the types of solos in other keyed bugle methods, but they are not typical in the level of virtuosity expected by the performer. Many of the keyed bugle methods were written with the amateur in mind and progressed in difficulty. Here we have four very technical and musically challenging works that require study even on modern instruments. The modern piano arrangements offer a few measures of rest by providing brief introductions and interludes that are not in the original. Even with the added material, the pieces require a player with good endurance and a developed technique. The question remains - are these pieces intended for keyed bugle, early valve instruments, keyed trumpet, or generically for all three? For the moment, I am inclined to agree with Steiger that they can be played on all of the instruments, but the chrononology of their inclusion in this method suggests to me that they were originally intended for the keyed bugle.

In conclusion, this is an important group of publications, made even more useful to scholars and performers by the supplement of practical editions of the duets and solos. Adrian v. Steiger’s commentary is in German, French and English is in the BIM tradition of making the publications accessible to as many performers as possible. There are some typographical errors in the English commentary, most notably in the commentary on the solos, but these are minor (the meaning is preserved in each case). Since the original languages of the facsimile are French and German, it would have been nice to include a literal English translation of that material as well. The paper and music engraving is high quality. There are virtually no problems with page turns and the piano accompaniments provided are tasteful and appropriate to the period. The quality of the facsimile is also very high. Steiger mentions that he knows of four sources for the original method. A fifth was recently found at the Instrumentenmuseum, Schloss Kremsegg in Kremsmünster, Upper Austria where it is part of a recent accession of the Hans Pizka Collection of horns and horn music. The Pizka Collection also has a copy of Roy’s keyed bugle method that features these duets and solos: Methode / de / Cor de Signal a clefs / contenant la Tablature, Gammes, / Excercises, Duos et Solos / Supplement / Gamme pour le / Cor de Signal de Basse, nommé / Bombardone / par C. Eugène Roy / Trompette major et Chef de Musique. / No 2214 Pr. 2 Fl. / Mayence, / chez B. Schott Fils, Editeurs de Musique de S. A. R. le gr: Duc de Hesse. (Mainz: B. Schott, 1825) K. 136
In light of the various editions of Roy’s work, there are undoubtedly more original copies of Roy’s methods waiting to be discovered.

Adrian v. Steiger and Roman Brotbeck of the Hochschule der Künste Bern and Jean-Pierre Mathez of Editions BIM are to be congratulated for the creation of this publication that will undoubtedly serve as a model for future projects.

-- Ralph Dudgeon
State University of New York, College at Cortland & Colgate University

Editor's note: Adrian v. Steiger has since written a longer survey of keyed bugle method books in the June 2011 issue of the International Trumpet Guild Journal.