Amrein trumpets

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by gsmonks, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. gsmonks

    gsmonks Piano User

    Not sure what you're referring to. Do you mean "blending" as in "everyone using the same equipment", or "blending" as in "mixing disparate instruments together"?

    I listen to a lot of period brass- holed brass, keyed brass, early valved brass, recreations of old brass organisations that used all of the aforementioned. I prefer those recordings because you can hear each individual instrument. The character of the player and the instrument comes right through.

    I have the same quibble with choirs that try to sound like the Talis Scholars. I can't stand that homogenous blah sound. I can take it for maybe one performance of one piece, but that's quite enough. I like choirs with character, that are ensembles consisting of strong individual performers. I want to be able to hear the individual singers.

    The people that tend to like the Talis Scholars are people who have never heard a live choir in their lives.

    I've always wondered what would happen if they were required to perform Ligeti's Requiem?
  2. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    Boy, you know, that's a pretty dogmatic post. "...never heard a live choir in their lives"? Pretty presumptious, my man.

    Having said that, I see what you refer to at least in part. IMO, if the music has distinct individual parts, especially with different instruments, I can see how one would like to hear each one. Sort of like the difference of listening to a true New Orleans "Dixieland" band, and a homogenous section from a big band trombone section. But, I wouldn't want to hear that bone section sound like five different voices any more than I'd want to hear a symphonic string section sound like twelve different players.
  3. gsmonks

    gsmonks Piano User

    Why does the word "dogmatic" remind me of Japanese mechanical dogs I've seen on tv? Yep, that's me- a mechanical toy dog.

    You should see the list of different instruments string players use in most orchestras. Lots of variation. Some directors try to dictate the players' equipment, and I've even heard of one kook who thought he could tell his trumpet section which mouthpiece to use. I can't recall if they went along with it, but I'd've made him choke on it.

    You do know that there used to be up to three different boners in a section at one time? Alto, standard tenor (pea-shooter at the time) and maybe a larger-bore tenor, or a bass of some kind. Back in the old days it was alto, tenor, G bass, complete with handle. A 5th of Beethoven's alto boner part still gives some guys nightmares.

    That depends very much on the setting. Beat-oven and earlier, you need your trio of boners standing proudly at attention. For later composers you need a standardised wall of boners all armed with the latest and best weapon of choice. Otherwise there's no way you can shake the audience's fillings loose. Make their eyes water, maybe.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I think that there is some confusion here (actually a stronger explicative comes to mind....). If I listen to Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, LA, Boston symphony orchestra where we have players with very similar equipment and intentions as well as being very in tune with one another, I hear all of the parts. There is no mush. I generally really like what I hear - even if it is not on my instrument of preference for the particular work. When I listen to the german radio orchestras, Berlin Phil, Vienna Phil, I really like what I hear even if it is not my instrument of choice for a particular work. The beauty of music to me is not a trumpet geek detail, rather the bigger picture - the reading of the work. Music is fascinating BECAUSE of the variety. From my seat in the audience, I am not disturbed by a Bb trumpet playing Carmen instead of the A notated instrument it was written for. I am more interested in how it is musically rendered.

    That all being said, there are very fine historically informed recordings and performances that are also wonderful - everyone plays along and the uniqueness of the historic instruments (including intonation) comes into play.

    The hardware has nothing to do with it. The blending achieved at the highest levels of playing (historic, modern or any other type) does not mean that anyone sold their soul. I own a Riedl low F trumpet made in the late 1800s. I recently had it overhauled. It is fine for many things - if the rest of the orchestra plays along. There is a lot of purist idiocy out there. Baroque trumpets and horns with modern strings and winds. In the orchestras that I play with, we have a more or less matched trumpet section. That does not mean matched Monke, Schagerl or Thein. With certain programs it means rotary trumpets played like rotary trumpets. Other programs could be american C trumpets, other programs could be an all Monette or natural or baroque trumpet section. When cornet is called for, it is used - not with a C-cup mouthpiece however.

    There was a time where only the first trumpet player in american orchestras used a C. The voice was similar enough to the Bb because the players used their brains and made no excuses. The Gabrielli recording by Chicago, Philadelphia and Cleveland show what that type of blend means. I consider it required listening - after which we play the Gabrielli recording by the London Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble with their unique blend due to a different type of matching.

    I do not like mixed trumpet sections because the instruments react too differently to crescendi, the low, mid and upper range change very differently between the rotary and the piston. The development of sound changes too differently when playing cantabile. There are no warm fuzzies in the section when mixed. If I play with someone that only has one horn, I loan them one of mine or match mine to theirs (depends on the work). Life is simply more enjoyable with the proper common denominator.

    I do wish that Chicago used Schilke, LA Kanstul, Boston Shires, New York Bach (or Jaeger - but not the 37), Oregon Monette instead of everyone with that "universal" Bach or Yamaha "better Bach" sound. This concept works very well in Vienna and Dresden.

    As far as trombones go, in my opinion the same conditions apply - don't mix Kruspe and Bach, L├Ątzsch and Conn. Alto, tenor and bass trombone works when they are of similar design.
  5. gsmonks

    gsmonks Piano User

    Oh, I just love it when everyone is playing mismatched everything, when the overall tuning goes awry, when whole sections are trying their best to accommodate one or two very much out-of-tune instruments. We once used a pair of keyed bugles that couldn't be tuned to any fixed pitch. We finally had to tune somewhere in the middle register, and the higher we played, the further out of tune we got.

    Voigt is now making keyed bugles in C with Bb crook and Eb soprano, that are said to be pretty good intonation-wise, and one of the Chinese companies is making ophicleides for Wessex tubas that are pretty good players. I think they're based on the Jaubert (aka "jaw breakers", as they were referred to in the old days).

    The European perception of American-made boners is that the Americans use too thick and hard metal. What I've always heard most often, especially of German-made trombones, is that they prefer thinner metal, softer alloy. That's probably why Kruspe and Bach, Laetzsch and Conn don't tend to play well together. It is also said of German trombones that they don't have such a hard core at the centre of the sound, that they saturate better.

    I agree about the Chicago brass. Those guys can really blow, but I'm not overly fond of their choice of equipment.

    I brought a matched pair of Eb contra-alto trumpets to a rehearsal ten or twelve years ago, and could not talk the guys into at least trying them. We were playing a lot of early-to-mid 19th century music. You'd have to pry their C Perinet-valve trumpets out of their cold, dead hands, I think.
  6. gunshowtickets

    gunshowtickets Forte User

    Mar 11, 2015
    Tidewater, VA
    Ah-ha. You would like our schola cantorum, then. My wife comes from that school of thought you mentioned to sound like the Tallis Scholars. I was drafted because I can sing bass. We have a scholar in the soprano section who seems to want to be a group soloist because she makes no attempt to blend with the aural aesthetic, the conductor has made no objection to her doing so, and one other of the tenors does the same, so now do I.
    Now, if only one of those damned altos could be a hero and rise to the occasion.
  7. gsmonks

    gsmonks Piano User

    Heh- consider yourself lucky. There isn't a choir on the planet that wants me- a baritone with a lousy set of pipes and a very limited range. I stand out in any choir . . . as in "out in the hall".

    Altos do tend to like to hide themselves like white rabbits in a snowstorm- whether from shame or from habit because of their proximity to both sopranos and tenors or a combination of both remains an open question.
  8. gunshowtickets

    gunshowtickets Forte User

    Mar 11, 2015
    Tidewater, VA
    I lol'd.
    My sister said it was because the altos get blamed for everything. In our group, I think it's because most of them are demoted sopranos, older women without the range. There is another of our scholars who's a VERY good alto with a good "tone", in brass parlance, but she blends too much.
  9. gsmonks

    gsmonks Piano User

    Back in the 50's I remember reading a comic that said choirs consisted of Sopranos, Disappointed Sopranos, Tenors, Baritones Who Can't Sing In Any Particular Key, and some guy named Dietrich who just mouths the words.

    Altos are like viola players that way. They used to say that there were two sure ways to get into an orchestra: play the oboe, or play the viola. The oboe because they're comparatively rare, the viola because the viola section consists mostly of disappointed violinists.

    I think Paul Hindemith must've taken it personally, given the viola part in his String Trios 1 & 2.

    The altos bring it on themselves when it comes to blame. Haven't you ever noticed that they always look guilty? They always seem to be pointing to the girl next to them.

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