Kopprasch Project “The Final Five” No. 60

No. 60 is a very interesting study, and a bit different from the other fifty-nine in Kopprasch’s Op. 6 collection. It can be practiced quite slowly – which makes for a good single tonguing exercise – or when practiced at faster tempos (quarter note=60 +) it is a great workout for multiple tonguing. However you approach it, strive for five perfectly even notes (whether single or multiple tonguing), with some length on the eighth notes. For the quintuplets I used a combination of double and triple tonguing , with the syllables “ta-ka-ta-ka-ta” or “dah-gah-dah-gah-dah.”

I’ve often wondered what the composer’s goal or inspiration was for this particular etude, especially since there isn’t anything in the orchestral repertoire of that period with similar writing for the horn. However, if we look at solo horn music from that era (late 18th/early 19th century) we find some connections. Here is the first measure of Etude No. 60 as found in the Breitkopf and Härtel Edition on IMSLP.


And for comparison, here is the same measure in the Gumpert edition (also on IMSLP)


It’s very interesting to note the editorial changes in the Gumpert version, especially the added “staccato” marking, and the slight notation change. I assume the articulation markings were not necessary in the earlier edition as natural horn players would probably have tongued the fast notes without needing to be instructed to do so. Valved horn players were surely in the minority when these etudes were first published. By Gumpert’s day the number of valved horn players would have increased, so perhaps he felt the indication was necessary. However, in his excellent, meticulously researched article “The Original Kopprasch Etudes,” John Ericson cites evidence which suggests Kopprasch composed his etudes for the valved horn.

In either case, if we look at a solo horn work such as the Concerto No. 11 in E by Giovanni Punto (1748-1803), it is clear that Kopprasch knew the kinds of passage work that horn players might be required to play. Here is a short excerpt from the Third Movement of Punto’s concerto (Revised and arranged by Edmond Leloir, published by Hans Pizka Editions)


While not identical to the Kopprasch example, the relationship is immediately apparent.

This brings my Kopprasch Project to and end! I am working on some summary comments about the entire project – which has taken over three years to complete – and will post them next week.


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