The Homagenization of Principal trumpet playing in America

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Sophar, Mar 19, 2005.

  1. Sophar

    Sophar New Friend

    Jan 30, 2005
    I want to pose a question to anyone who might now the answer to this question. Why when I listen to most of the New Principal trumpet players in the united states I find that most of them have the same type of sound.
    what I mean is this individuality is ones sound. Mager,Glantz,Herseth,Vacchiano,Ghitalla, Smith, Laureano,Wise. These trumpet players have fire and Beauty and resonance in thier sound. They played with a sence of truth as to what a trumpet sounds like. I can only think of a five principals with the sound that makes them who they are. One has retired after 50 years as principal trumpet. The others live and work in Minnisota and New York. Am I missing something people? should I blame the Conductors or CDS?

    Sophar so good :dontknow:
  2. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I don't think it is true. Maybe you have to hear them live. The people you mention are great but so are many others with their own sound.
  3. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    Re: The Homagenization of Principal trumpet playing in Ameri

    Well, I don’t know if what you are saying is fair since two of the guys you listed currently have jobs. If you want to say that today things have become homogenized that is fine, but by listing two current principals that sound worlds apart you kind of defeat the point of your post in my opinion.

    I have yet to hear any one that makes the same musical choices, based solely on that I would say that they do not sound the same. I also think you should listen to Chris Martin play wiht the ASO, they have plenty of fire and beauty!
  4. adohanian

    adohanian Pianissimo User

    Feb 27, 2005
    It's not just the "sound" that distinguishes one player from another. Every principal trumpet today (and section player) has the ability to play with a variety of articulations, dynamics, vibrato, note lengths etc. to shape any piece and sound apprpriate in almost any style, and how they choose to use these tools is what distinguishes one from another. The players you listed all have many similar characteristics in their playing, clear sounds, clear articulations, a strong stylistic sense of how they want to play a given piece. Just because today's players don't have some notable idiosyncracies in their playing that some previous generations had does not mean everyone "sounds" the same.

  5. Billy B

    Billy B Pianissimo User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    I think it goes deeper than that. It seems to me that the older recordings have more character. Digital recording allows so much editiing that you can't tell what is "real". Perfect is boring. Orchestras seem to lack that special something that allows you to identify who is playing after listening to a few bars. The new halls are designed to sound as if you are in the orchestra. I don't really want to be 3 feet in front of Herseth's bell when he is playing. So equipment is changed, the shields go up, the perception of sound is altered. Put this all together with the conductors "on tour" and the orchestra's communal sound takes a back seat to the show biz. You will be assimilated.
  6. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    I think this comes back to how Adam put it with "idiosyncrasies in their playing". The difference becomes musical not technical. I feel like people are confusing the two. That does not absolve the conductor of the responsibly of making music but it does mean that we are maybe listening to different details than before.
  7. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

    Mar 7, 2005
    Rochester, MN
    I'm sorry, but if you can't hear a difference between the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Boston Symphony Orchestra, The New York Philharmonic, etc., etc.... then you are not not listening!

    AS for the digital recordings, fughettaboutit. Go listen to them live. I just paid $52/ticket to go hear U2. I seem to recall paying far less money than that for far better seats at Orchestra Hall to hear the MN Orchestra perform (and much better music, too, even if I am a huge U2 fan).

    I know it's not like we get to go all over the country touring orchestras, but just take one in the next time you're in a major city -- any major city will have a decent orchestra. Look'em up and get a ticket or two and go take a listen.

    But as for the recordings, I think if you really listened, you'd notice a difference.

    Also, your list of principles is fine, but it kinda fails to enhance the argument because of the selectivity of the list. I could say something along the lines of "some baseball players are just so memorable: DiMaggio, Ruth, Gehrig, Aaron, Koufax, Ryan.....but today's players just don't seem as memorable..."

    Of COURSE they don't. You'll never get the same comparison when you compare the best with the rest....
  8. robertwhite

    robertwhite Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    No offense to any of you who actually believe what the original poster said, but I have to say that this idea is simply an oft-repeated canard. I suppose there will always be people who need to kvetch about "the good old days". But I've heard dozens of major orchestras and they all have unique qualities and characters to them. They may not be the same characteristic differences of 20, 30, or 50 years ago, but there are still noticeable differences in approach and musicianship.

    The only "homogenization" you could make a case for is to say that international orchestras sound increasingly like American orchestras. This is because the focus now is on the sound of a given piece, not the sound of the orchestra as the prime component. Is this a bad thing?

    Could one make a case that the audition process has begun to yield increasing numbers of players on all instruments that play very cleanly, accurately, and convincingly but not with real artistry? Maybe. Could one make a case that there are fewer "great" conductors than there used to be? Maybe. But the orchestras themselves are better than ever.
  9. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    Okay, so let's take the conversation on what I believe is only a slight tangent.

    One of the reasons Marlon Brando is remembered is because of the way he brought "method acting" to the forefront of American films. Up to that point, most American actors retained their respective speech patterns and general personae. That is, no matter what part Humphrey Bogart played he spoke the same and was very much the same character. What people enjoyed was that character from film to film. Oh, sure, he softened it up a bit for "The African Queen" but it was Bogie all the way. The same could be said easily for Gary Cooper. In "Pride of the Yankees" he was more of an Iowa farm boy than a kid from the Bronx.

    But audiences ate that up.

    Enter Brando who made it his mission to "be" the role he was playing. Movies changed significantly and so did audiences' expectations.

    Now for the stretch I'm making relating to orchestras.

    In large measure, symphony orchestras were very much like actors before method acting became popular. American orchestras had a distinct approach depending on which orchestra it was. Only certain conductors had the ability to transform these distinct qualities. It seemed that NY Philharmonic sounded much more like the Cleveland orchestra when Szell conducted them; lean and trim, it was the polar opposite if how they sounded with Mitropulos or Bernstein. So, these orchestras could change if they had to but there surely was a way they preferred playing, left up to their own devices.

    Do I want the Vienna Phil to sound like the Orchestre de Paris or the Chicago Symphony? Absolutely not nor should they.

    Orchestras are story tellers. We have to be able to count on certain ensembles to put their traditions on display for those of us that travel across the pond to hear them. Why would I want to hear a sound that is no different from what we produce here at home? No, thank you.

    Having said all that, I want to hear a principal trumpet in this country pay musical homage to whatever composer is on the desk at the moment but I also want to hear it done in a distinct way that makes me remember that performance distinctly. It's a very tough thing to pull off but that's the challenge, as I see it.

    I still want visitors from other countries hear us interpret Copland, Bernstein, Adams, Ives, Hanson, Gershwin, and Harris and feel as though they can't get that anywhere else. Furthermore, if they hear three orchetsras play the same repertoire, I want them to hear different qualities of style-within the style. It's not, ultimately, as much about sound as it is style for me.

    I, therefore, agree with the original post but amend the thought to be that there seems to be less willingness to inject INDIVIDUAL (the person) style into a musically CHARACTERISTIC (the composer) performance.



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