Continuing the post from Part I of this series, we should consider some of the other reasons why it is beneficial to study, or least be familiar with, brass quintet excerpts. Quoting again from the Guide to the Brass Quintet:
Many of these works are performed frequently by student and professional brass quintets. Being aware of the important horn solos and other prominent passages in these pieces will keep you from being caught off guard at your next reading session or rehearsal.
Because the brass quintet is the most popular medium for those instruments in chamber music, and because it has a tradition extending back to the 19th century (Ewald, etc.), there is now a more or less standard repertory, similar, though not as large, to what we find in symphonic music. Even if you are not currently active in a brass quintet, it would still be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the major works and passages in the literature. (Quoting myself again from the Guide to the Brass Quintet)
Although professional brass quintet auditions are not standardized in this country the way orchestral auditions are, players interested in pursuing a career in chamber music for brass should definitely know this repertoire. Players auditioning for teaching positions at institutions which have a faculty brass quintet would also need to be familiar with these works, since a reading session with the quintet would be very likely during the audition/interview process. In addition, some full time and regional orchestras also have a woodwind or brass quintet made up of principal players – I know of at least one audition list that stated “Auditionee for Principal Horn may be asked to participate in a reading session with woodwind and/or brass quintet.” (Cedar Rapids, Principal/3rd horn, 1997)
If you’re looking for a place to start your study of brass quintet music, consult the list below. These are all pieces – in no particular order – that I think most would agree are more or less standard in the literature, meaning they are performed and recorded quite often. There are certainly others equal in popularity, but these are as good as any for a point of departure. Clicking the links will take you to a specific movement from that work located in the Guide to the Brass Quintet website. Return to the Excerpts homepage to see passages from additional movements.
Ingolf Dahl, Music for Brass Instruments [Brass Sextet]