This will be the first of three installments devoted to important horn parts in brass quintet music, which was also the subject of my doctoral dissertation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As part of the project, I created a website, the Guide to the Brass Quintet, as a way to make the information in my dissertation more accessible and user friendly. As a bit of background, I’ll quote from the homepage to this website.
The initial idea and inspiration for this project came from reading the “Afterthoughts” section of Douglas Hill’s book Collected Thoughts on Teaching and Learning, Creativity and Horn Performance. In this section, Professor Hill lists a number of intriguing research topics, including the creation of excerpt books focusing on repertoire other than standard orchestral excerpts. I am very interested in the wonderful music being written for the brass quintet, so this project proved to be an excellent choice given my own research interests and performing background.
What is Contained in this Site?
Hopefully, horn players and other interested musicians will find the following resources contained in these pages useful.
A collection of printable excerpts of important horn passages from some of the most frequently performed and recorded original brass quintet compositions. The excerpts are formatted and edited with additional performance instructions for horn players.
A Discography showing the names of the ensembles, titles of compositions, and information on the specific recordings where each work is found. The discography lists, at times, multiple recordings of each major work, so that players can study and listen to multiple interpretations.
Supplemental information such as an excerpt classification system, which organizes the excerpts according to their technical requirements, as well as the Range Requirements for 55 standard brass quintet compositions.
A bibliography of additional resources, both print and electronic, for further study of the brass quintet and its repertoire.
If this stuff sounds interesting to you, then stick around! One way to use this information, which I mention in my dissertation and on the website, is as an alternative/supplementary etude collection, complete with excerpt classifications for solo passages, high horn, low horn, technical, and extended techniques. For example, if you’re working on extended techniques and want some extra material to practice, you can consult the Extended Techniques section of the website for a list of composers, works, and measure numbers. All of the excerpts listed are available in the Excerpts portion of the site. Here are a couple of particularly interesting passages.
Georges Barboteu (b. 1924), Astral, 1 mm. after reh. G-7 mm. after reh. G, Lento (quarter note=50) [With metronome playing at quarter note=50]
All excerpts from Astral by Georges Barboteu used by permission. Copyright © 1971 by Edition Choudens. C. F. Peters Corporation, sole selling agents. All Rights Reserved.
Douglas Hill (b. 1946), Timepieces for Brass Quintet, Movement I, “Good Times” mm. 43-56, Double tempo (quarter note=160)
All excerpts from Timepieces for Brass Quintet by Douglas Hill used by permission. Copyright © 1997 Douglas Hill. Really Good Music, LLC, Sole Selling Agent.
For twenty-three of the fifty-five works, I recorded the horn parts and included them along with the printed music. Although it’s no substitute for a full ensemble recording, it hopefully gives you an idea of the excerpt. You can listen to the above excerpt from Douglas Hill’s Timepieces here:
If you enjoyed this post, check out the full website, it has much more information. Much of this material can also be found in my article “Why the Brass Quintet?” published in the May 2009 issue of The Horn Call.