The Trumpet shall sound

This was the title of the last presentation to the Society by Ed Tinline.  As the title suggests it was a presentation around the trumpet but Ed also included examples of other brass instruments some of which he brought in and one he attempted to play.

The essential point about brass instruments is that the sound is formed by the lips in a mouth piece and then amplified by a conical tube.  Originally, in ancient times, the tubes were very long but the idea of coiling them into the current shapes we see in the modern orchestra made them more manageable.  The addition of valves also made creating a range of sounds possible.  The brass instruments differ from a saxophone say, because the sound in that instrument is created by a reed – similar to a clarinet – so although made from brass it is not in fact classed as a brass instrument.  Although almost all instruments were made of metal, the serpent for example was made of wood but still relied on a mouthpiece to make the sound.  He also explained the role of ‘crooks’ to alter the pitch of the instrument.

Ed played a mixed selection of pieces starting with an extract from the Messiah which gave the evening its title.  We then heard Purcell’s Sonata for trumpet in D major and this was followed by Albinoni’s Concerto for trumpet and organ in F major – and odd paring of instruments but it did in fact work quite well.

A type of horn is the alphorn and Leopold Mozart composed a concerto for alphorn and strings arranged by Dennis Brain.  Rimsky Korsakov’s Concerto for trombone and wind band premiered at a garrison concert in 1878.  To finish the first half we heard part 1 of the Horn Concerto op 23 by Mathew Taylor who was born in 1964 in London.  Well, we didn’t quite finish the first half with that piece but with Flanders and Swann’s Ill Wind, a take off to words of the famous rondo from  Mozart’s Horn Concerto No 4.

… and the second half started off with the real thing.  Mozart wrote his horn concertos for his friend Joseph Leutgeb with whom he had a lifelong – if occasionally stormy friendship.  The instrument of the day was difficult to play and Leutgeb was obviously a skilled performer.

A familiar horn piece is of course Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man written to rally the troop at the entry of the USA into the Second World War.  It’s a piece which is frequently played at public occasions.

An interesting arrangement for brass of Chopin’s Mazurka No 47 in A minor by D Abrams followed.  Gerard Hoffnung was one of the tuba players in this witty piece.   Then it was the first movement of Vaughan William’s Tuba Concerto composed in 1954.  It was originally regarded as a rather eccentric piece but has become an established part of the repertoire.

sousaphone
A sousaphone being played in the south of France.  Photo: author

The final three pieces were by Sibelius: Allegro for brass ensemble and triangle, a piece he submitted anonymously for a competition but did not win!  Holst’s March from the Moorside Suite came next and then part of Strauss’s An Alpine Symphony to finish.  Except, not quite because we heard the Pasadena Roof Orchestra play a piece featuring the Sousaphone.  The instrument was designed for street performance where a big sound was needed but a tuba was too difficult to carry (see photo).

A fascinating evening which illustrated the various issues surrounding brass instruments as well a careful selection of music from several eras.

Next meeting is on 15 April and will feature modern music

Peter Curbishley

 

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New seasons programme!

The new seasons programme has now been agreed and contains an exciting mix of composers and presentations.  Starting on Monday 17th of September with Anthony Powell’s intriguingly entitled: One composer’s journey into silence and then to resignation. 

The programme includes presentations on Debussy, Ravel and Elgar among others.  There is also an evening on the music of Valentin Alkan – a ‘neglected genius’ as the presenter will say.  We heard something of him last season so hearing more will be interesting.  There are many such composers who were immensely popular in their day but are almost unheard of now.

We will be posting details nearer the time so keep an eye on this site to see what’s happening.

If you are not a member details are on a tab at the top of the site and remember parking is easy and free.

Entry is £3 for visitors.

The full programme can be downloaded from the link below and may we ask members to print off a copy and possibly give it to someone who might be interested.  We are printing the leaflets so they should be available next week in Oxfam and the TIC (if it hasn’t disappeared that is).

Programme 2018/19 (pdf)

Most people have pdf now but if not, you can get a free download here

Peter Curbishley

Second half of the season kicks off soon

The second half of the season starts tonight, Monday 5 February and we are delighted to welcome Simon Coombs from the Vaughan Williams Society who is going to discuss and play music by this great English composer.  Starts at 7:30 as usual and is only £3 to non-members.  Parking is easy and free and details of how to find us are on the ‘Find us’ tab at the top of the site.

We look forward to welcoming existing members back also any new visitors.

Music of Schubert

NB the programme says 4 October which is incorrect – it is tonight 2nd.

The title of the next meeting is Music from the Schubert Centenary International Composers’ contest of 1928.  It will be presented by Robin Lim and starts at 7:30 in the usual place on Monday 2 October.  Visitors are welcome and there is a modest fee of £3 to cover our expenses.  The evening will start with a brief agm.

[If you saw the piece in last week’s Salisbury Journal, that referred to the previous meeting on Busoni but the item was held over]

 

New season

By now, existing members will have received their invitation letter and programme for the 2016/17 season.  We are pleased with what we have in the programme which includes a ‘live’ event and outside speakers on Bruckner and Delius.  We have stayed away from Bruckner because his symphonies are on a massive scale but we are delighted that Terry Barfoot has risen to the challenge to give us a presentation on this important composer.  Proms listeners will have had a treat this year with several of his works being performed.

If you are new to this site we hope you will give us a try and if you just want to come along to an evening – because you have a particular interest in a composer for example – then it is only £3 to help cover costs.

One of our guiding principles is to widen knowledge of the musical world and speakers will often try to introduce unfamiliar pieces, either by composers who are almost forgotten or less well known pieces by major composers.

Parking is easy with plenty of space and we are within walking distance of the town centre.