Archive for December, 2010

At home with the Brass

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

The brass requirements are eight horns, six trumpets, four trombones and two tubas. All are muted and the horns are required to play cuivre. In the second and fourth movements there are parts for four tubas, briefly in the former but extensively in the latter. In general the parts seem well written.

The ranges employed are B1 to A5 for the horns – pretty extreme but not unplayable (the VSL samples only go up to F5 so that’s gonna cause me a small problem). Trumpets are in C and go from E3 to E6 – That’s a tone lower than a three valve range so lower trumpets would have to be Bb. Trombones are D1 to B4 – that’s pretty low but bass trombone players love it down there. The tuba’s range is C1 to A4 – now that is pretty high and it may need the first to double on Euphonium. There are some oddities between the tubas and the lower trombones with the tubas not infrequently being above the trombones and  no obvious musical reason why and Iwonder whether Sorabji went between writing the tubas as octave transposing (like the doublebasses) and not.

The passage I have worked up is a tremendous moment for the brass and I have incorporated dynamics and playing techinques not specifically indicated. I’m more and more convinced that I shall be very creative with such things throughout the score.

Heres the PDF of the score

And here’s the MP3

Oddly the 5th & 6th trumpets pay briefly in the first guiet passage but not at all in the big climax. My VSL brass are very good at sustaining long loud notes and being able to catch just the quickest of breaths!! This passage is identical to the percussion one and of course the rest of the orchestra are in full swing as well.