Music Reviews

  • Brass for Beginners - Website/Curriculum Review

    brassforbeginnersBrass For Beginners: A Comprehensive Brass Education for the Primary School Classroom or Private Instruction.

    HBS members have learned of Chris Hasselbring and Kristy Montgomery’s innovative educational program through a number of presentations they have given at HBS events and through a number of news reports. Their program, Brass for Beginners, has had numerous recent developments.

  • Two Fanfare Sets for Natural Trumpet Ensemble ed. Anna Freeman

    Pieces from Mr. Handel’s Water Music for 4 trumpets and timpani. Compiled and arranged by Anna Freeman. Musikverlag Spaeth/Schmid Nr. 50129, 2011.

    Salzburger Aufüge 14 Processional fanfares for 4 trumpets and timpani. Reconstructed by Anna Freeman. Musikverlag Spaeth/Schmid Nr. 50128, 2011

    Publisher's Website:

    Anna Freeman has edited two fine performance editions, with score and individual parts, for the natural trumpet ensemble. One is an arrangement of 9 pieces selected from Handel’s Water Music and the Suite in D for Trumpet. The second is a reconstruction of early 19th century repertoire offering us a glimpse of the tail end of this long and wonderful musical tradition.

    In addition to giving the trumpet ensemble an opportunity to perform the glorious Handel tunes, Freeman has presented optional timpani solos as well as an ornamented and virtuoso third trumpet line replete with florid 32nd notes ascending up to high c’’’. The individual third trumpet part has the ornamented line in a smaller font so the player can easily distinguish the basic part from the ornamented line. Generally speaking, however, the range of these tunes is modest. The first trumpet part only ascends to g’’ with an occasional a’’.

    Freeman dates the Salzburg Fanfares to about 1830 and has presented them in this edition in what she believes was the original form of the pieces, that is scored for 4 natural trumpets and timpani. The creation of this edition comes with an interesting story kindly related to me by the editor herself. About 35 years ago, Freeman visiting an old barn in Upper Austria bought a box of old wet band music from a farmer for about 5 dollars. The box was put away in the attic and traveled around the globe on various home moves. A few years ago the box was first examined and the editor noticed that the top 2 trumpet parts of this music were almost completely on natural tones. After consulting with Albert Hiller and Marc Meissner, Meissner recognized that the first fanfare in an 1803 collection, Sechs kurze und leichte Aufzüge by Martin Mösl (1787-1843) was almost identical to the 5th fanfare in the Salzburg collection. The present reconstruction by Freeman is based on Salzbürger Fanfaren Nr. 535 compiled and arranged by Otto Eberhard, Salzburg, and listed by the publisher, Musikverlag Siegfried Stamberg Vienna, in 1940. That collection is scored for 2 trumpets and 2 trombones. According to Freeman’s edition notes, Eberhard arranged and composed works for brass and had embraced the idea of taking music from many different sources and popularizing them and making the music more assessable. Based on the Mösl fanfare and the fact that the two trombone parts could very easily be reworked to fit the limitations of natural trumpets, it is Freeman’s contention that the present edition scored for 4 natural trumpets and timpani was indeed the original instrumentation from which Eberhard wrote his arrangement.

    This is a fascinating tale which ends with a “new” collection of 14 pieces for the natural trumpet ensemble. The music itself is very much in the tradition and is modest in range and difficulty. Two of the last fanfares have been named and Freeman has retained those names in this edition. Fanfare #12 Jagdfanfare [Hunting Fanfare] has a clear hunting horn style and fanfare #14 Huldigungsmarch [March of Homage] is the longest piece in the collection, a regal 32 measures.

    The notes in both editions are in English and German. The individual parts and score are in large readable font size and on sturdy stock. These are two most welcome additions to the natural trumpet repertoire.

    -- Jeffrey Nussbaum

  • Dauvern and Ganne Editions by Couturier


    F.G.A. Dauverné, 20 Etudes variées pour trompette chromatique, Ed. Jean-Louis Couturier (Noisy-le-Sec France: Sempre più Editions SP0014, 2012).

    Louis Ganne (1862-1923), Vieille chanson Fantaisie-Gavotte pour cornet et piano, Ed. Jean-Louis Couturier (Noisy-le-Sec France: Sempre più Editions SP0022, 2012).

    Today Louis Ganne is regarded as a minor 19th century composer, but in his day Ganne was highly regarded and composed over 200 works (including songs, comic operas, operettas, ballet scores, and many dance pieces). Ganne entered the Paris Conservatoire where he studied organ under César Franck and began his career as a composer and conductor. Jean-Louis Couturier has brought out this lovely cornet solo piece to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth. [Editor's note: the publisher has put a short audio excerpt of the work on their website BP]

    The source of this edition is in the Bibliothéque nationale and was first published in 1888. This short piece (91 measures) is a lively and spirited work of modest difficulty and a modest two octave range, A - a''. The piece is filled with 16th note and some 32nd note passages reminiscent of pieces in the Dauverné method of some three decades earlier. This edition includes a piano part as well as C and Bb cornet parts. It is a welcome addition to the cornet repertoire.

    Couturier’s edition of Dauverné’s 20 Etudes variées pour trompette chromatique is actually several selections from the famous method of 1857. This modern edition numbers the etudes 1 – 20 but in fact they are from different sections of the method and have a different original numbering. Etudes 1-12 in this edition are from “12 Etudes Melodiques” (page 248 in my facsimile edition published by International Music Diffusion). Etudes 13- 17 correspond to numbers 1 – 5 in the original edition in the “20 Etudes Caractéristiques et Mélodiques” section (page 266 in the IMD edition) and Etude 18 in the Courturier edition corresponds to Etude 20 in the original edition. The last etude in the modern edition, no. 19, corresponds to Etude 11 in the original edition (page 230) from the section titled “12 Etuders Mélodiques”. Courturier did mention those different sections in his fine notes (in French and English translation by Elizabeth Guill) but it would have been helpful if this edition had indicated the original numbers. Courturier presents parts that are transposed from the original notation with parts for Bb trumpet. My edition had an extra Erratum page correcting an unfortunate measure rest which is not in the actual part. Courturier’s edition in a great improvement over the facsimile edition in that it is less cramped and much easier to read than the original. The music is printed on large size sturdy stock. We owe Jean-Louis Couturier much thanks for his research in 19th century French brass music and look forward to future editions.

    -- Jeffrey Nussbaum

  • Tarr, ed.,Bach for Brass 7

    tarr bachEdward H. Tarr, ed. Bach for Brass, vol. 7. Cantatas and Mass Movements with Cornetts and Trombones. Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany: Carus Verlag 2017.

    Bach for Brass 7: Cantatas and Mass Movements with Cornetts and Trombones is the final volume in a series of the complete brass parts to Bach’s orchestral music.This seventh volume, edited by Edward Tarr and Uwe Wolf, includes the cornett and trombone parts to the cantatas and mass movements. The short forward and remarks, written in German with English and French translations, makes the initial point that the twenty first century has seen the complete Bach oeuvre published in new editions (the Neue Bach-Ausgabe or NBA) which replaces the beloved but now dated Bach-Gesamtausgabe. Aesthetically the volume is very pleasing. Handsomely bound and engraved, these short scores offer a practical guide to practice and performance. The handful of facsimile pages from original performance parts that are included add to the aesthetic pleasure of the volume.

  • Dauverné's Duo Concertant ed. Couturier

    DauverneFrançois Georges Auguste Dauverné, Duo Concertant pour 2 Trompettes Militaires in C, ed. Jean-Louis Couturier (Vienna: Doblinger, 2017)

    In addition to the fine and easy to read large notation on sturdy stock, Jean-Louis Couturier has presented us with an informative introductory essay on Dauverné (1799–1874) and this lovely duo for two natural trumpets. Couturier presents a brief biographical sketch. He began his musical trumpet studies under the direction of his uncle Joseph-David Buhl (1781–1860)

  • Keyed Trumpet Editions by Jaroslav Roucek, et al

    immerhummelThe four trumpet scores reviewed here are all part of the “Edition Immer” series and are published by Musikverlag Martin Schmid.

    • Johann Nepomuk Hummel. Quartet in E Major (for trumpet, violin, violoncello, and pianoforte). Edited by Jaroslav Rouček and Jan Valta. Edition Immer, Musikverlag Spaeth/Schmid, SM 50565. 2012. Also published in a separate version transposed to E-flat major as SM 50566.
    • Johann Leopold Kunerth. Offertorium, Op. 10 (for soprano, keyed trumpet, pianoforte accompaniment and optional choir). Edited by Friedemann Immer and Jaroslav Rouček. Edition Immer, Musikverlag Martin Schmid, SM 50585. 2015.
    • Johann Leopold Kunerth. Quintet (for flute, clarinet, keyed trumpet in D, viola, and guitar). Edited by Friedemann Immer and Jaroslav Rouček. Edition Immer, Musikverlag Martin Schmid, SM 50589. 2016.

    Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s “Quartet in E Major” is a reconstruction of a work performed by keyed trumpet player Anton Weidinger during his 1802–1803 concert tour. In his introductory notes, Jaroslav Rouček argues that the three compositions by Hummel that appeared as part of this tour’s repertoire all probably contained the same musical material—that of Hummel’s trumpet concerto—arranged for different performing ensembles to fit different needs. The original score of this quartet is lost. Therefore, this reconstruction may best be viewed as a reduction of the orchestral score for the smaller ensemble of trumpet, violin, cello, and piano. In this capacity, this edition will serve quite well; most of the details of the orchestral version are preserved in this arrangement. Where exclusions must be made, the editors have made intelligent choices about what to retain and what to leave out of their reduction.

  • Paul Rougnon (1846-1934). Three Solos for Trumpet. Edited by Jean-Louis Couturier. Martin Schmid Blechblasernoten (SM50953–50955), 2017. Paul Rougnon.

    • 1er Solo for Trompette chromatique and piano in F. ed. Millereau. Paris, 1895. Dedicated to Meri Franquin. Source Bibliothéque Nationale de France Vm14.89 Paul Rougnon.
    • 2e Solo for Trompette chromatique and piano in F. ed. Millereau. Paris, 1896. Source Bibliothéque Nationale de France Vm 14.86 Paul Rougnon.
    • 4éme Solo De Concert for Trompette Chromatique in C with Piano. ed. E. Gallet, 1913. Dedicated to Merri Franquin. Source Bibliothéque Nationale de France K 28631

    Once again, Jean-Louis Couturier has delved into the massive shelves of the Bibliothéque Nationale de France and brought forth three new editions of French trumpet music from the Belle Époque. This time it is music by pianist, composer and teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, Paul Rougnon. Rougnon taught piano and music theory and composed hundreds of works including a few trumpet solo works in addition to the three reviewed here. Two of the pieces are dedicated to his colleague at the Conservatoire, trumpet professor Merri Franquin. Franquin and Rougnon were almost exact contemporaries, Rougnon being born only two years before Franquin and both died in 1934. They both spent their entire professional lives at the Conservatoire and no doubt Franquin influenced the writing style of Rougnon. Franquin was a force to modernize trumpet music, advocating for the use of trumpet in C moving away from the traditional low F trumpet. That the three “contest” pieces (used for the annual concours for trumpet students) reviewed here are written for the chromatic trumpet indicates an allegiance with the modern trends. The three pieces are between three and a half and four and a half minutes long each consisting of four or five short movements. The writing is highly chromatic and lyrical with a number of very florid thirty-second note passages as well as being harmonically interesting. Most of the writing is in the staff but the range does expand from a to Bb’’. The edition of the fourth Solo concert piece in C comes with a C part as well as a transposed Bb part. The two other works in F come with parts for Bb trumpet parts. As is usual for Couturier’s editions published by Schmid, the music is on sturdy stock with large and well-spaced notation. These three new editions offer trumpeters interesting and challenging solo pieces that would enhance any concert program. -- Jeffrey Nussbaum

  • Jean-Baptiste Arban. Morceau de Concours for solo cornet/trumpet, ed. Jean-Louis Couturier (London: Resonata Music, 2016). Published 2016.

    This is the second edition of solo cornet music by Jean-Baptiste Arban (1825-1889) that Jean-Luis Couturier has recently edited for Resonata. This work originally published in 1888 by the Parisian publisher Chaimbaud is now housed in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (Score K. 13784). It is a three movement solo cornet piece of a virtuosic nature. There is a melodically interesting and spirited Allegro of 52 measures and a 26-measure Andantino with flurries of 32nd notes and brilliant glissandi. The third movement is in triple time, labeled Polacca, and is a triple and double tonguing showcase culminating in a tour de force coda. The range is not extreme, similar to much of Arban’s writing, extending to  Bb below the staff ascending to A’ above the staff. There are but a few quarter note rests in the entire work, making endurance a greater challenge than range.

    In an email communication Couturier explained that the original score is notated untransposed in C, implying perhaps the use of the C "Arban" cornet. It is unclear if that instrument was a 3 or 4 valve instrument. Couturier argued that because the cornet part calls for low F naturals in the Polacca and Coda sections, the Paris Conservatoire students ca. 1888 were must have been using the C "Arban" Cornet. It would seem to be equally plausible that the transposed part for Bb cornet (where the low F would become a notated low G) is simply lost.

    The edition is published on sturdy stock on large size paper and is easily readable. The edition has both a Bb and C cornet part. While there is certainly a life-time worth of music to explore in Arban’s famous method, it is always a treat to explore “new” repertoire by the famous cornetist. We are once again in debt to Jean-Louis Couturier for his diligent work in unearthing these wonderful gems.

    -- Jeff Nussbaum

  • Anonymus (1700) Sinfonia a due Trombe arranged for 4 trumpets and continuo. Edition Immer, Musikverlag Martin Schmid, SM50591. 2015.

    Friedemann Immer has presented a very clever arrangement of an anonymous  work from the Torelli-school for two trumpets and continuo. This duo was first published by Ed Tarr in 1975 by the Brass Press. An easy piece it’s not! It’s a long blow and while not in the highest tessitura, does consistently stay in the C” to C ‘’’ octave with long flurries of sixteenth notes. What Friedemann Immer has done is simply break up the passages between trumpets one and two and then given over to trumpets three and four. Thus he maintains the integrity of the composition and gives the trumpeters enough rests to have a reasonable chance of getting through the piece without collapse. In the last two bars Immer allows all four trumpets to play together by writing in some octave doublings and simple harmonies ending with a very effective conclusion. Martin Schmid’s publication is published with a large and readable font on sturdy stock as is the norm for his music editions. Those who attended the 2012 HBS Symposium in NYC had the chance to hear him join his colleagues in a wonderful natural trumpet ensemble performance of this work.

    -- Jeffrey Nussbaum

  • Felix Désiré Ligner, 50 Exercises: Sur Le Coup de Langue Ternaire (1876), ed. Henry Howey. Cimarron Music Press CM 2804.

    At the 2015 HBS Early Brass Festival at Oberlin College, Henry Howey gave an intriguing talk on Ligner’s etudes. Born in Paris in 1842, Ligner enrolled in the band of the Garde de Paris in 1864 as a “musician, second class.” The source used here is housed in the Bibliotheque nationale de France along with 92 other works by the now little-known musician; these include solos and band arrangements. Howey notes that he became aware of and purchased a copy at a used book and music store while participating in the 1999 HBS Conference in Paris.

    According to Howey, this short etude book is significant in that it questions a basic component of wind articulations that has been a corner stone of brass articulation as explained by none other than Arban in his method book. A complex topic, Howey uses Ed Tarr and Bruce Dickey’s monumental Articulation in Early Wind Music as a source for explaining his thesis. The issue involves the K sound in the triple tonguing instruction TTK. Howey contends that Ligner has the K made with the tip of the tongue “anchored” against the lower teeth. The etude book contains mostly triplet figures guiding the trumpeter from relatively simple figures to more and more complex ones, all with the intent of employing a placement of the anchored tongue which is different from the Arban’s suggested practice. Henry Howey has included a diagram of the face, teeth, throat and tongue to further help explain the tongue placement for the proper articulation. We look forward to reading a more detailed study and explanation of this fascinating topic.

    -- Jeffrey Nussbaum

  • Louis Gérin (1837-1915): Concertino for B flat for Cornet


    Louis Gérin (1837-1915) Concertino for B flat Cornet and Piano. Edited by Jean-Louis Couturier. Paris: Sempre piu Editions (SP0169), 2015.

    Jean-Louis Couturier has once again found a wonderful little-known gem of the 19th century cornet repertoire. This four-movement piece (Allegro, Même movement, Andante, and Polonaise) by Louis Gérin captures all the charm of the genre. The work has a range ab to f’’ and is filled with a multitude of fully chromatic, lyrical melodies that modulate through a series of key changes. The Concertino is of moderate difficulty but thoroughly enjoyable both to play and hear.

    Louis Gérin has escaped mention in the standard reference sources including Rick Schwartz’s comprehensive Cornet Compendium and Appendix. Fortunately, Couturier has provided some biographical information. Gérin was born on April 4, 1837 in Toulouse and taught cornet at the Lyon Conservatoire from October 1874 to October 1905. The source of this Concertino is in the Bibliothéque Nationale de France (Call number Vm9- 1222) and was first published in 1900 by O. Bornemann in Paris. The composition is dedicated to Monsieur Aimé Gros, Director of the Lyon Conservatoire and Public Education Officer. Gérin published several brass methods including the Grande method de cornet á pistons (1881), the Méthode de trombone á pistons (1893), and the Nouvelle method de saxhorn (1893). We owe Jean-Louis Couturier a debt of thanks for not only bringing to light this wonderful cornet solo but for not allowing the name of Louis Gérin to fade into complete obscurity.

    -- Jeffrey Nussbaum

  • Babillarde by Jean-Baptise Arban

    for Cornet and Paino by Jean-Baptise Arban (1825-1889). Edited by Jean-Louis Couturier. Resonata Music (2015) RM00052.

    Jean-Louis Couturier must spend half of his waking moments in the Bibliothèque Nationale but we are the beneficiaries of his many wonderful discoveries of rare brass music. This work by the celebrated author of the cornet and trumpet “bible” is the latest in the line of many fine works Couturier has brought to light. Babillarde originally published by Brandus et Dufour (Paris, 1877), is a relatively short polka (126 measures) with all the flashy and splashy double and triple tonguing passages expected from a showpiece. While the range is not extreme (c’ to a’’), endurance is definitely a major factor in performing this piece as rests are few and are far between. Babillarde is a thoroughly enjoyable work and a welcome addition to the cornet/trumpet repertoire. Resonata has published a very readable edition with large font and appropriate spacing. Thanks again to Jean-Louis Couturier for his wonderful editions of rare brass music.

    -- Jeffrey Nussbaum

  • Weckmann Instrumental Sonatas


    Matthias Weckmann, Sonate à 3 e 4 istromenti, D-Lr KN207, Heft 14: 10 Sonatas for Violin, Cornettino, Trombone (or Viola da Gamba / da Braccio), Bassoon (or Bombard) and Basso Continuo. Ed. Helen Roberts. Frome, UK: Septenary Editions, 2013.

    Septenary Editions is a relatively new publishing house started in 2013 by instrumentalists Helen Roberts (cornetto) and Caroline Ritchie (viola da gamba), in order to create practical editions of early music for performance. According to Roberts, they “specialize in previously unpublished material and under-represented composers and works, using both pdf downloads and printed formats.” Their company is not-for-profit—perhaps some issues with the printed edition may be due to this situation. Proceeds go towards creating bursaries that unaffiliated researchers may apply for, in order to acquire digital copies, microfilms and library permissions, or to cover any other expenses incurred in working with any primary sources necessary for creating an edition.

    Certainly publishing Matthias Weckmann’s ten sonatas fulfills both the company’s goals and the need for a modern edition of these beautiful and virtuosic pieces by a relatively unknown composer. Weckmann (ca. 1616–74), an organist, was probably the finest student of Heinrich Schütz and a good friend of another Schütz pupil, Christoph Bernhard. In addition, he studied with Jacob Praetorius (a student of Sweelinck) and Heinrich Scheidemann, working in the early part of his career at the Elector of Saxony’s court in Dresden and the Danish royal court at Nykøbing. In 1655 he won the organ positions at both the Jacobikirche in Hamburg and the Gertrudenkapelle, with which the church was associated, and spent the rest of his career there. These sonatas were composed between 1660 and 1674 for the Collegium Musicum that Weckmann founded in the Hanseatic League in 1660. Unfortunately the foreword of this edition by Roberts does not provide much of this information, and some of what is presented is incorrect. Weckmann was never a Kapellmeister at Dresden—he was a court organist, but the highest position he attained there was as inspector of the electoral chapel. Weckmann founded the Hamburg Collegium on his own, and I remain mystified by the phrase “he was influenced heavily by the English virginalists he met during his employment in Dresden and Copenhagen.” The term “virginalist” in itself is rather old-fashioned, referring to the generation of Byrd, Tomkins, Gibbons, and Bull (a full generation before Weckmann), and is rarely used nowadays since these musicians played other keyboards as well. Perhaps the author means English musicians or composers, as both were plentiful at these courts. The English virginalist John Price was at Dresden from 1629 to 1633, but Weckmann was very young at this time, and still a discantist. The only reference I could find associating Weckmann with English virginalists is in Gerhard Ilgner’s tome of 1939. Here Ilgner was refers to Hamburg, when Schütz took Weckmann there to study with Praetorius, not Copenhagen, and to music, not performers, although later in the book he names string players and instrumental composers. Ilgner mentions English virginalists again in his preface to his edition of the sonatas, referring to both Hamburg and Copenhagen, in a phrase including lutenists and violinists in the case of the former city, and violinists in the latter. Weckmann was most profoundly influenced by his German teachers, and certainly there is no study concerning an English influence in Weckmann’s compositions. Roberts neither states that Weckmann composed relatively few works nor mentions the existence of a fragment for an eleventh sonata. In addition, she does not describe the source (D-Lr [Lüneburg, Ratsbücherei] KN207, Heft 14) or the music, gives no dates for the sonatas, makes few editorial remarks, and provides no performance practice suggestions. Perhaps the inattention to the foreword is endemic of the not-for-profit situation.

    An edition of the ten complete sonatas is, however, badly needed and most welcome. There is the one mentioned above by Ilgner in Das Erbe deutscher Musik, Reihe 2: Landschaftsdenkmale der Musik. Schleswig-Holstein und Hansestädte published in 1939, but it is very difficult to acquire. Septenary’s editor, Roberts, does state that Ilgner’s edition was used as a point of reference for hers, although the barring is different—Ilgner modernizes everything, providing courtesy accidentals and some suggestions for ficta and figures. Music Rara produced an edition of the first sonata, edited by A. Lumsden in 1957, although without editorial commentary. Roberts provides little editorial interference in the edition, stating “[D]ecisions regarding additional accidentals and musica ficta are left to the discretion of the performer.” While early music practitioners will applaud this, as a teacher I think that some editorial suggestions would benefit students and would also avoid confusion. For example, I would prefer that the 3/1 section in Sonata 2 have a barline after every three whole notes, rather than follow the original. There are also times when courtesy accidentals would be helpful. For example, in Sonata 3, the many repeated c1-sharps in m. 29 of the bassoon part not only look odd, but the number of them (4) differs from the score (6). In m. 54 of the same piece, the third c2 in the cornettino part has no sharp, implying that it is natural despite the sharps on this pitch found within the phrase before and after it. Ilgner adds an editorial sharp here, and a courtesy natural for the fifth c2 that follows in the next phrase.

    Major concerns about this edition, however, pertain primarily to the layout of the parts, the print, and its general look. My overall comment is that the size of the notes and especially the figures is too small. I normally play through continuo parts when doing a review, but the print size for notes and figures in the score is so tiny that this was impossible. The most difficult figure to see is the raised scale-degree 6 that is replicated here as a 6 with a caron above (v), which is almost invisible, and not explained in the editorial remarks. Apparently even youthful eyes have a hard time reading these parts. Sometimes a flat or sharp is placed too close to a note stem, note head or dot. The black notes appear very odd, often looking like horizontal figure eights that have been filled in with ink. The directives should be regularized and positioned in the same place for all parts. Stating the complete instrumentation for each piece in the upper right corner and slightly below the title in the parts, rather than centered directly under the title, is confusing. There is an awkward page turn in the basso continuo part that could have been avoided if the music for Sonata 1 had started on the recto, so that Sonata 2 could start on the verso, thereby avoiding this situation. Decisions should have been made so that parts could start on the verso or recto, as appropriate for that individual part. For example, although the Violin part has a two-measure rest to allow for a page turn in the second and third sonatas, this turn could have been avoided entirely if Sonata 2 had started on the verso. In addition, some single measures are spread out over an entire system, which is confusing and unnecessary. This happens several times: cornettino, Sonata 2, mm. 22–23, 34–36; violino, Sonata 1, m. 21; Sonata 2, mm. 22–23, 34–35; trombone, Sonata 2, m. 19–21, 26–28, 31–32; and bassoon, Sonata 2, mm. 19, 23, 26–28, 37–40. The cause of some of these issues could be the music program being used, especially the part-extraction feature. As a creator of many editions using a music program, I have learned that one needs to really proof and fiddle with the parts to get them to look right before presenting them to the public. As a performer, I much prefer to read off my old Musica Rara parts rather than those of this new edition, simply because I can see everything clearly.

    Despite these issues, I must commend Septenary Editions for their initiative in publishing lesser-known composers and their music, and admire them for doing so as a not-for-profit company. I hope they will be able to make some adjustments to their music program to improve the readability of the figures and parts so that all can enjoy performing this wonderful music.

    Charlotte A. Leonard

  • Six Fanfares by Georg-Friedrich Fuchs (1752-1821)

    Georg-Friedrich Fuchs (1752-1821). Six Fanfares for 4 trumpets, 2 horns, trombone and timpani. Edited by Jean-Louis Couturier. Alta Musica Series SM 50221. Spaeth/Schmid Blechblasernoten, 2014.

    Georg-Friedrich Fuchs was born in Mainz and displayed musical talent as a young boy and learned the clarinet, horn and bassoon.  He received instruction under Joseph Haydn and went on to serve as a military musician in several German regiments. In 1784 Fuchs moved to Paris where he gained a fair bit of notoriety and success as a composer and arranger of wind and harmoniemusik. When the Paris Conservatoire was established Fuchs received an appointment as a clarinet teacher.

    Jean-Louis Couturier has here presented another terrific edition of brass music currently housed in the Bibliothéque Nationale de France (Call no.  Vm 271585). The music is in the cavalry band tradition, including the four-part trumpet choir typical of this genre. The range is modest going from low G in the fourth trumpet part (termed Toquet from the Italian word toccata), to g1 in the first trumpet part.  As is usual the timpani part supports the bottom of the trumpet choir. The addition of the two horns and trombone parts was, as Couturier explains, from the influence of David Buhl (1781-1860) who wrote works with similar instrumentation.  This instrumentation adds more color and harmonic motion than in the standard trumpet ensemble. The editor’s notes further explain that at the time of the Napoleonic wars cavalry music encompassed trumpets, horns, trombones and drums. Cavalry regiment music was typically scored for sixteen trumpets, six horns, three trombones, and kettle drums.  Couturier explains that these six short works are more involved than typical trumpet fanfares.  “The Fanfaren-Suite in six movements has more in common with an instrumental suite. The opening Intrada appears as a prelude or an overture, the dances are represented by a Minuet and a Waltz, the fast movement is realized in two Allegros and Ggue is replaced by the concluding Chasse in the corresponding 6/8 measures. “

    We certainly owe Jean-Louis Couturier a great note of thanks for continuing to bring to light brass music long buried on the shelves of the Bibliothéque Nationale. This brass suite is a wonderful and very playable addition to our repertoire.

    -- Jeffrey Nussbaum

  • Dubois: Concerto in F for Horn


    Charles-Ferdinand Dubois. Concerto de cor simple pour cor naturel (oucorchromatique) en fa et piano. Edited by Jean-Louis Couturier (Paris: Semprepiù Editions, 2014).

    In June 2014 Semprepiù Editions published a new edition of Charles-Ferdinand Dubois’s Concerto de cor simple pour cor naturel (oucorchromatique) en fa et piano. This edition is edited by Jean-Louis Couturier and like the other Semprepiù Editions I have had the pleasure of seeing, this publication is very nicely packaged. It is based on a score published in 1889 by H.A. Simon Editeur of Paris which is currently in the collection of the BibliothèqueNationale de France (call number K.38505).  That original score is dedicated to Jean Pénable of the Concerts Society of the Paris Conservatoire.

    Charles-Ferdinand Dubois lived from 1849 to 1899, so his experience with the horn in Paris would have placed him in the same position of such figures as Camille Saint-Saens and Paul Dukas. It would be right to view this piece, like Saint-Saens and Dukas’s works for the horn, as part of the transitional period in which Parisian horn players were still clinging to the natural horn even though much of Europe had adopted the valve horn. It makes perfect sense in this context, that Dubois would indicate that his piece is for either the natural horn or the chromatic horn. The piece is entirely playable on the natural horn, but there are some challenging passages that would be much easier to play on the valve horn.

    Jean-Louis Couturier has taken the time carefully to set the score to ensure that it is easy to read. Accordingly, the horn part is laid out to provide logical and practical page turns. Even the piano score is made easier to read (at the beginning of the third movement, for example) by eliminating the rests in the horn part from the score to avoid unnecessary visual clutter and page turns. From a player’s perspective, I found the metronome markings to be very helpful since this is not a piece I had encountered previously. Also, the publisher’s website offers brief midi recordings that provide a nice basic example of the sound of this music.

    The piece itself is approximately seven minutes long. The opening Allegro movement is interrupted by a brief Andante non troppo before returning to a quick Animato. The first movement is easily playable on natural horn, containing several arpeggio passages and melodic lines reminiscent of Beethoven or Mozart. The middle Andante movement is loaded with trills, a cadenza section, and some of the most challenging chromatic passages of the piece. The final 6/8 Allegro, comprised mainly of arpeggios in the tonic key, seems inspired by the calls of hunting horns. It is interrupted by an Appassianato section using long lyrical lines before finishing with a return to the allegro horn calls. The last movement and the piece are rounded out by a lively Poco animato that contains fast 6/8 figures with enough chromaticism to challenge even accomplished natural horn players.

    -- Eric Brummit

  • New Editions of Stadlmayr and Volckmar


    Johann Stadlmayr. "Canzon in a [a tre]." From Philomela coelestis. For two recorders (violin, cornettos) and Basso Continuo. Edited by Markus Eberhardt. Magdeburg: Edition Walhall, 2013. EW777.

    Tobias Volckmar. "Schmücket das Fest mit Maien." Geistliches Konzert für Sopran, Trompete & Streicher. Edited by Klaus Hofmann. Magdeburg: Edition Walhall, 2014. EW814.

    Tobias Volckmar. "Lobet den Herren, ihr seine Engel." Geistliches Konzert für Sopran, Trompete & Streicher. Edited by Klaus Hofmann. Magdeburg: Edition Walhall, 2014. EW818.

    Founded in 1993, the Magdeburg-based Edition Walhall consistently proves to be a publishing firm dedicated to lesser-known repertoire from long-neglected composers. They offer reliable Urtext-style scores and parts devoid of editorial minutia, but with brief informative prefaces that leave the curious early-musician wanting to know more. Although a good portion of their catalogue is devoted to string and keyboard music, in recent years Edition Walhall has made significant headway in publishing relatively unfamiliar and unrecorded brass compositions. Three recent publications by two underrepresented composers, Johann Stadlmayr (ca. 1575–1648) and Tobias Volckmar (1678–1756), point to their increasing attention to historical brass repertoire.

    Stadlmayr's Canzon in a, edited by Markus Eberhardt, originally appeared in a 1624 Munich collection entitled Philomela coelestis, compiled by the Jesuit musician George Victorinus (ca. 1570–1639). The canzona, scored for two unspecified treble voices and basso continuo, is one of the few untexted compositions in a collection comprised mostly of sacred vocal music. (Digital facsimiles of the part books appear on the Bayerische StaatsbibliothekWebsite.) By no means as technically challenging or inventive as works with similar scoring by, say, Fontana or Salomon Rossi, this canzon contributes only slightly to our understanding of Stadlmayr's reputation as an important Kapellmeister in Salzburg and Innsbruck. None other than Michael Praetorius praised him for being both an excellent performer and contrapuntist. (Despite the comment, it is difficult to ignore the clunky parallel fourths, with a 9th sounding against the bass, which appear twice during prominent cadential approaches. I doubt they were intended to be radically expressive statements.)

    Not more than a few minutes in performing duration, Stadlmayr's instrumental composition would be served well by placing it alongside the more varied vocal works found in Victorinus's Philomela coelestis. To date, no complete modern edition of the entire collection exists, and after being treated to the snippet that the Stadlmayr canzona represents, performers might urge the editor and publisher to bring forth a complete version of Philomela coelestis. (The instrumental works from this source have already appeared in an 1976 edition from Hieber called Müncher Canzonen.)A complete modern publication would help garner greater interest in Stadlmayr and his little-discussed contemporaries -- names including Kurzinger, Krumper, Hartman, and Perckhouer. More should be heard from these sacred musicians, who, working in Catholic-oriented Germany and Austria, possessed a distinctly Venetian contrapuntal accent.

    Editor Klaus Hofmann in another Walhall series, this one with the polyglottous header "Monarca della Tromba / Musik der Fürstenhöfe," presents two sacred arias for trumpet, soprano and string orchestra by Tobias Volckmar, who primarily worked in Danzig, Stettin, and Hirschberg (now Jelenia Góra, Poland) as a choirmaster and organist. On the whole Volckmar's approach to the trumpet displays neither the technical extremes nor the lyricism heard in music by contemporaries Telemann, Handel and J. S. Bach. Seldom venturing into the upper reaches of the clarino register nor daring into the frontiers of chromaticism, Volckmar's solo trumpet is firmly rooted upon idiomatic traits: standard martial motives, repeating triadic outlines, with the occasional rapid-fire diatonic passaggi in imitation or anticipation of the vocal line. Regardless of Volckmar's conservative compositional style, the trumpet does figure prominently in both arias. Volckmar inventively employs sonorous combinations, alternately pairing the trumpet with voice, then with violin 1, and even with viola in ever shifting contrapuntal textures.

    The text for "Schmücket das Fest mit Maien" derives from Psalm 118:27 (A section) and Romans 5:5 (B section). A rough English translation—not provided in the edition—reads: "With boughs in hand, join the Feast / up to the horns of the altar. Because the love of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us." It is set as a da capo aria with the first section in common time and the contrasting B section turning to 6/8 in g minor. The second sacred aria, "Lobet den Herren, ihr seine Engel," derives from Psalm 103: 20-21 and reads: "Praise the Lord, you His angels that excel in strength, that follow His commandment in hearing the voice of His word. / Praise the Lord all ye His hosts, ye His servants that do His will." This aria, unlike the previous one, isa large-scale binary form, diverging from Italianate da capo traditions. Volckmar again changes meter between sections; the abrupt rhythmic and stylistic switch from 3/4 to common time mirrors thePsalm text’s two contrasting lines.

    It should be noted that both arias are originally in Bb major, an unusual key for baroque trumpet repertoire. Although it would have been exceedingly helpful to have the option, transpositions into C are not provided. Evidently Volckmar intended these works for a valveless Bb trumpet, and there the key must stay! In a modern-day early-music performance, this means the trumpeter might be found making an awkward crook change while the string players pause for a serious retuning.

    If Volckmar's two sacred arias seem tame when compared to better known trumpet and soprano works from the High Baroque, then they also exhibit something satisfying in their solid construction and clear purpose. This is functional music concerned only with the proclamation of devotional joy, and it does exactly what it sets out to do. Moreover, the arias provide a welcome respite to the standard war horses so easily recognized by today's audiences. Trumpet and soprano soloists should add to their repertoire these Volckmar pieces. They are worthy additions to any celebratory musical setting, sacred or secular. Their scoring alone makes them attractive, since they feature what is arguably the most emotionally impactful and allegorically powerful sonic pairing that anyone could have heard in the baroque age.

    -- Alexander Bonus, Bard College
  • Dauverne''s Variations, Op. 3 for Trumpet and Piano

    François Georges August Dauverné. Variations, Op. 3 for Trumpet and Piano. Edited by Jean-Louis Couturier. Vienna: Doblinger, 2013. DM1455. For purchasing information see the Doblinger website.

    This composition by Dauverné is a charming work comprised of an introduction, theme, and four variations. According to the editor, it was most likely composed in the 1830s. The extant source is in the Bibliothéque nationale in Paris and bears the call mark Vm91148. It was written some 20 years before the publication of Dauverné’s Méthode pour la trompette (1857) but contains similar lyrical and virtuosic lines that are contained in the celebrated method. The original edition includes in the title, “non-difficult variations.” As Courturier points out in his commentary, what is “difficult” is certainly a relative matter and that Dauverné viewed this work as not difficult, must speak to his very high level of technical mastery. There are quite a few obstacles that need to be overcome in this work. While the range is modest, an octave and a 4th (D to g’) there are many fast triple and double tonguing passages that don’t fit my view of “not difficult”. Jean-Louis Couturier regards this piece as one of the earliest trumpet and piano works in the French tradition. It is certainly an enjoyable and fun piece to perform and we own Jean-Louis Couturier a debt of thanks for his continued research on this brass repertoire and in particular, for bring out this composition.


    -- Jeffrey Nussbaum


    Editor's note: Dauverné's historical position and his method books have been addressed a number of times in the Historic Brass Society Journal, most recently in Bryan Proksch's "Buhl, Dauverné, Kresser, and the Trumpet in Paris, ca. 1800-1840" in volume 23 (2008), pgs. 69-93.

  • Playing Natural Horn Today by John Ericson

    John Ericson, Playing Natural Horn Today: An Introductory Guide and Method for the Modern Natural Hornist (Tempe, Arizona: Horn Notes Edition: 2013).

    For purchase and further information, click here.

    Professor John Ericson, of Arizona State University, has recently published a short e-book designed to introduce the natural horn and its technique to modern horn players. Ericson is a performer and historian, who has presented lectures and published articles for the Historic Brass Society. His expertise is wide ranging, with a particular interest in the development and use of the valve horn in Germany and Austria during the nineteenth century.

    Ericson’s goal in this book is convincing modern horn players to study the natural horn and provide them with tools they can use in that study. To that end, he offers several reasons for modern horn players to take up the study of the natural horn: development of accuracy, development of the ear, improved stopped horn technique on modern horn, and a better understanding of musical style (ii). These are all excellent reasons for any horn player to consider adding regular practice of the natural horn to their daily routine.

    The book is divided into two main sections. The first section, entitled “Learning the Technique” (1-13), deals with basic concepts (harmonic series, hand-stopping, articulation, intonation, etc.) and equipment (mouthpieces, horns, and crooks). The second section of the book, titled “Music to Build Technique” (14-26), contains etudes written by Dauprat, Duvernoy, and Gallay, all edited by Ericson. The final pages of the book contain advice and suggestions for choosing duets and chamber music, some brief concluding thoughts, and lists of suggested method books and makers of natural horns.

    Overall, I am very impressed at the amount of information that Ericson has packed into this book. He touches on a wide range of topics that will help any modern horn player get started successfully on the natural horn. The book contains many high quality color photographs, including clear demonstrations of proper hand technique inside the bell and examples of natural horns and crooking systems. The sections that are of particular interest are those that compare the technical specifications of modern and period horns and mouthpieces.

    Natural horns and mouthpieces from the classical period are very different from their modern counterparts. The differences are important because they greatly affect the quality of the sound that a player is able to achieve on the instrument. Ericson provides excellent information regarding the physical dimensions of antique horns and mouthpieces. For example, the book contains a useful chart that compares the cup sizes of some common modern mouthpieces to those of the classical period. The main point of this comparison is to detail the fact that period mouthpieces do not possess back-bores and are typically much deeper than modern mouthpieces. Ericson points out that playing a natural horn with a modern mouthpiece results in a sound that is overly bright, if not strident, and diminishes the ability of the performer to manipulate pitches, achieve authentic articulations, and produce proper trills.

    Many modern horn players have taken an old, obsolete valve horn and created their own “natural horn” by removing the valve section from the middle of the instrument. This operation is sometimes called a “valvectomy.” Dr. Ericson points out that the problem with such an operation is that the bell and bore dimensions of modern horns are much larger than authentic natural horns. The resulting problem is that most “valvectomies” produce instruments that don’t play or sound like true natural horns. Ericson suggests that if modern hornists cannot purchase a period natural horn or a replica from a reputable maker, the best solution may be to perform a “valvectomy” on a mellophone that dates from around 1900 because the dimensions of those instruments more closely resemble authentic natural horns.

    The musical selections Ericson has included in this book will adequately serve any student of the natural horn in their attempt to develop good technique. They have been well edited, with clear and appropriate articulations. Furthermore, the technical challenges present in the exercises Ericson has chosen will expose players to the kinds of playing that both high and low horn players encounter.

    Playing Natural Horn Today by John Ericson will make an excellent addition to the libraries of horn players. It is available as an e-book, in pdf format. It is possible to read and work from the book on your digital device, and you can also print out a hard copy of the text if you prefer to work that way. For those who prefer not to order online, the website includes email and postal addresses for contacting Ericson.

    - Eric Brummitt

  • 19th-Century Horn Solos by Mohr and Brémond


    Jean-Baptiste Mohr, “3ème Solo de cor,” ed. Pascal Proust (Paris: Sempre piú Editions, 2012). 11,70€ .

    François Brémond, “1er Solo pour cor,” ed. Pascal Proust (Paris: Sempre piú Editions, 2012). 13,20€.

    Two recent publications of music by Sempre piú Editions have made available some very interesting music from the nineteenth century Parisian horn tradition. They are the “3ème Solo de cor,” Op. 8 of Jean-Baptiste Mohr and the “1er Solo pour cor” of François Brémond. Both pieces have been edited and prepared for publication by Pascal Proust.

    Jean-Baptiste Mohr (1823- 1891), as reported in the introduction to this edition, was a pupil of Gallay and served as principal horn in the Paris Opera Orchestra from 1853 to 1883. Additionally, in 1864, Mohr succeeded his teacher at the Paris Conservatory and he is the composer of many instructional works for the horn. Mohr’s “3ème Solo de cor,” Op. 8 is a short piece for horn and piano, comprised of four continuous sections: Maestoso, Larghetto, Allegretto, and Allegro maestoso. The piece includes a wealth of cantabile-style melodic passages and lies mainly in the solo range of the instrument; primarily within the staff. Written for horn in F, the piece is well suited for the natural horn, with the middle sections of the piece being tonally close (in the key of the dominant for the Larghetto and in the key of the subdominant for the Allegretto).

    François Brémond (1844-1925) was a student of Mohr at the Conservatory, played in various orchestras in Paris, and like Mohr, became a teacher at the Conservatory. The information included with the edition notes that Brémond played a “cor solo” made by L.-J. Raoux that was fitted with a sauterelle system made by Besson. Brémond taught the natural horn at the Conservatory until 1896, at which point he taught the sauterelle horn until 1903, when he began teaching the valved horn. Brémond retired from the Conservatory in 1922. Brémond’s compositions include works for horn technique in addition to pieces for examinations. The “1er Solo pour cor” is comprised of three continuous sections, much like Mohr’s piece: Allegro moderato, Andante, and Finale, Allegretto. Unlike Mohr’s piece, Brémond’s work is more tonally adventurous and technically challenging. Written for horn in F, the piece begins in F major and transitions to the key of B-flat major at the Andante. In the middle section of the Andante, Brémond makes a nice shift into the parallel minor before returning to the major mode. The Finale returns to the key of F major. Throughout the work, there are several trills and other decorative devices, including a brief cadenza-like passage in the Finale. The editor informs us that Brémond “was known for his beautiful sound and perfect trills,” features which would have been well showcased in a performance of this piece.

    Both of these pieces are clearly laid out, with logically placed page turns. The Brémond even includes suggested cuts from the editor for performance should the piece prove too taxing. A visit to the publisher’s website allows consumers to preview the first page of each work and even listen to short audio excerpts in midi format.

    -- Eric Brummitt

  • Facsimile Edition of the Hummel Trumpet Concerto (1803)


    Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Concerto a Tromba principale, Facsimile edition with commentary (sold separately) by Edward H. Tarr, HKB Historic Brass Series 4 (Vuarmarens, Switzerland: Editions BIM, 2012). ISBN 978-2-88039-034-1 and ISBN 978-2-88039-036-5

    The reviewer has before him a facsimile of one of the most well-known works for trumpet ever written: Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto in E major of 1803, or simply “The Hummel” as most of us know it. It is safe to say, without any exaggeration, that if you are even remotely interested in the history and development of the trumpet that you must absolutely spend some time with this wonderfully-produced full-color facsimile and 20-page commentary. In fact, this publication demonstrates just how inaccurate the common wisdom about the work was before Edward H. Tarr gave the manuscript a fresh and thorough analysis.

    I am greatly impressed with the quality of the facsimile itself. Of all the facsimiles I own, this is the one that makes me feel most like I am holding a piece of music history in my hands. The three layers of handwriting (original now-brownish ink, and later additions in red pencil and black ink) necessitated the full-color reproduction and also demonstrate the distinction with which the Editions BIM printers went about their work. Even more impressive is the inclusion of the original fold-out pieces of paper used for corrections – the publisher has taped them in exactly where they are in the original. I have to admit that at times these fold-outs made me feel like a baby holding a pop-up book, so eager was I to see what was underneath. I have only one real criticism for the facsimile portion: for some reason the publisher inserted small red measure numbers on the top corner of each page within the margins of the facsimile. I can understand the interest in numbering the measures for reference’s sake, but they should have been placed outside of the margin so as not to interfere with the original.

    The separately-sold 20-page commentary booklet accompanying the facsimile provides all the necessary information for understanding the historical details of the manuscript and its implications for the modern performer of “The Hummel.” Most of the commentary deals with the substantial changes made to the trumpet part in black ink and red pencil. Tarr provides a convenient modern transcription of each of the three versions – original brown ink, black ink changes, and red pencil changes – making for an easy examination of the work’s evolution and performance possibilities. There are other insights into the false assumptions made by modern editions of the work as well. For instance, the mysterious “wavy lines” seen in the Concerto have usually been interpreted as trills, but Tarr notes that these lines differ from the composer’s usual marking for trills. He posits that the marking indicates a heavy vibrato instead. Taken in generally, Tarr’s notes make it clear that every single edition of the Concerto ever printed has errors, some more serious than others. Undoubtedly Editions BIM will print a modern urtext version in the near future, which should rectify this problem once and for all.

    I am somewhat less enthusiastic about Tarr’s discussion of Hummel’s use of musical quotations within the work. He and others (notably John Rice in an article in Music and Letters) have argued for a significant number of borrowed thematic ideas within the work from Cherubini and Mozart, as Hummel worked to increase the accessibility and popularity of his concerto. To me the presumed references to Mozart seem more like topical similarities (further see the writings of Leonard Ratner).  If Hummel really is quoting throughout, it would fundamentally change the way in which we think about this composition. Perhaps Tarr is correct and these quotations are there and were intentional, but I remain skeptical. To me these gestures are compositional clichés typical of the style of the time, though the discussion of the E major tonality of the work may hold more water. The remainder of the commentary includes biographical details, an examination of the different handwritings seen in the facsimile, and a discussion of the performance history of the work.

    In spite of these few and admittedly nitpicking problems, overall the facsimile edition is a must-own for the aspiring trumpet historian and will provide even the average trumpet player with a great deal of food for thought. Those that teach trumpet at the college level will find this to be a useful and engaging resource for instruction – especially as students prepare the work for performance in recital. The pair of books are reasonably priced at a combined ~$110, which is less than equivalent facsimiles I have purchased in the past. In summation, it is a shame that we had to wait some 200 years for this publication, but now that we have it we should all have a copy on our bookshelf.

    -- Bryan Proksch