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Author Topic: Liszt "Hosanna" instrument??  (Read 6032 times)
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MaestroHound
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« on: Jul 21, 2015, 09:41AM »

Many of us know Liszt's Hosanna is an important part of our repertoire for solo bass trombone and organ. It is arranged by Liszt himself, and was published in 1867 in Weimar. What was the "bass trombone" to Liszt at that time?? Was it a Bb/F trombone that was invented a few decades earlier?? (Were they widely in use by that time??) it does have what we call trigger range. Or did he have trombones in other keys in mind?? Or valve trombones in lower keys??
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« Reply #1 on: Jul 24, 2015, 09:31AM »

Have you checked out Will Kimball's website? There is a lot of useful information about instruments, especially in the timeline.
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« Reply #2 on: Jan 31, 2016, 08:36AM »

It probably was something like a G bass (one of those basses with a huge handle attached to the slide). I'm thinking that these were probably more common than the Bb/F trombone that we know today.
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« Reply #3 on: Jan 31, 2016, 10:37AM »

It probably was something like a G bass (one of those basses with a huge handle attached to the slide). I'm thinking that these were probably more common than the Bb/F trombone that we know today.

The G bass was used in Britain.  In Europe there was an F Bass, but by 1867 the "Tenor-Bass" had supplanted all those other instruments.  The instrument Belcke used for the David Concertino was nominally a bass trombone and was a largish bore Bb.
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« Reply #4 on: Jan 31, 2016, 10:49AM »

Calling Howard Weiner... Very definitely not a G bass. Almost certainly not an F bass. Would bet money on it being for Bb/F, in that area at that time. But which bore size, and what kind of design? Various were in use. Need someone who knows this stuff to comment - Howard or nobody, pretty much.
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« Reply #5 on: Jan 31, 2016, 12:44PM »

Calling Howard Weiner... Very definitely not a G bass. Almost certainly not an F bass. Would bet money on it being for Bb/F, in that area at that time. But which bore size, and what kind of design? Various were in use. Need someone who knows this stuff to comment - Howard or nobody, pretty much.

Wow, what a lead in! Thanks, Dave!

Liszt composed the "Hosannah" in 1862 (publ. 1867) for Eduard Grosse, who was trombonist and double bass player in the Weimar Court Chapel. He was for many years also Liszt's confidant, copyist, and traveling companion. At the groundbreaking for Wagner's Bayreuth festival theater in 1872 Grosse played third trombone, and then contrabass trombone during the first festival season in 1876. Given the time and place, it seems most likely that his "normal" instrument would have been a larger-bore tenor-bass trombone in B-flat/F. Based on the few measurements I have at my disposal, I would guess that it had a bore of ca. 14 mm or 0.55 in. I have to pass on the model, although it may well have been a Penzel (Leipzig), but in any case an instrument modeled on the trombones developed by Sattler (Leipzig) just a few decades earlier.

Howard
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« Reply #6 on: Feb 15, 2016, 09:53PM »

Howard, as always, thank you very much for generously sharing your knowledge.

Incidentally, just by association of the time period--I am slotted to play Bruckner D-minor Mass (composed in 1864) in March. I will be playing the third part. Would it be the same thing?? Since this is his sacred piece, the performers back then I believe would more likely to have been church ensemble (Old Linz Cathedral was the site for its premiere), with many of the brass players drawn from local military band (I could be wrong).

As for the instrument, the closest I have is a Kurt Scherzer Bb/F, but it is definitely a tenor bore (single bore .505" or so by my unreliable measurement). A colleague a couple of hours away has a Schopper bass trombone that would be perfect (if indeed that's the kind of instrument for the piece).
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 16, 2016, 01:57AM »

Howard, as always, thank you very much for generously sharing your knowledge.

You're welcome!

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Incidentally, just by association of the time period--I am slotted to play Bruckner D-minor Mass (composed in 1864) in March. I will be playing the third part. Would it be the same thing?? Since this is his sacred piece, the performers back then I believe would more likely to have been church ensemble (Old Linz Cathedral was the site for its premiere), with many of the brass players drawn from local military band (I could be wrong).

As for the instrument, the closest I have is a Kurt Scherzer Bb/F, but it is definitely a tenor bore (single bore .505" or so by my unreliable measurement). A colleague a couple of hours away has a Schopper bass trombone that would be perfect (if indeed that's the kind of instrument for the piece).

It just so happens that a Viennese colleague has been researching the use of trombones and other low brass in Bruckner's music -- he sent me his findings a couple months ago, and I'm now in the process of translating them into English. Basically, he has come to the conclusion that during Bruckner's time in Linz and later in Vienna, the trombones in use were valve instruments: The usual Austrian orchestral and military band sections being made up of two tenor valve trombones in B-flat and one bass valve trombone in F. I've known for a long time that slide trombones were reintroduced at the Vienna Court Opera in 1883, but now we have documentation that the Court Chapel remained on valve trombones until 1907.

As for your upcoming performance, I would say that you should just choose an instrument that you feel comfortable with and that will allow you to make the sound you feel is appropriate. And, of course, have fun!

Howard

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« Reply #8 on: Feb 16, 2016, 02:14AM »

Basically, he has come to the conclusion that during Bruckner's time in Linz and later in Vienna, the trombones in use were valve instruments: The usual Austrian orchestral and military band sections being made up of two tenor valve trombones in B-flat and one bass valve trombone in F. I've known for a long time that slide trombones were reintroduced at the Vienna Court Opera in 1883, but now we have documentation that the Court Chapel remained on valve trombones until 1907.

Bruckner's symphonies were scored for valve trombones up to and including No. 6. Nos. 7-9 are scored for slide trombones. Since he wrote them for performance by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, it goes without saying that once the orchestra switched to slide trombones (and therein lies a tale, since the trombonists in the orchestra were given the opportunity to learn the slide instrument and switch, but some evidently couldn't or wouldn't, the first trombonist in particular being replaced by a newly appointed German), the parts became significantly more pedestrian. One only has to compare the fast writing in Nos. 5 and 6 with the later symphonies to see how the limitations of the slide instrument imposed restrictions on Bruckner's ability to writing fast-moving passages.
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 16, 2016, 02:32AM »

Basically, he has come to the conclusion that during Bruckner's time in Linz and later in Vienna, the trombones in use were valve instruments: The usual Austrian orchestral and military band sections being made up of two tenor valve trombones in B-flat and one bass valve trombone in F. I've known for a long time that slide trombones were reintroduced at the Vienna Court Opera in 1883, but now we have documentation that the Court Chapel remained on valve trombones until 1907.

Ah, of course. Should have known that!

Would be nice to play those instruments, they are actually available to us (F bass I have access to is surprisingly small (i.e. tight wrapped) with only three valves but plays well). But probably not going to happen this time. This is a strange gig--we were requested to play 'historical instruments' but were not specified further than that. I know woodwinds will be mix of modern and historical instruments. No idea about the strings... Other than that, we were only told A440 for this occasion. I appreciate that historical performance is becoming popular here in the states as well, but we get vague requests more and more. The other day I got a call for Purcell's Funeral Music for Queen Mary. Sure I can show up with my sackbut, but I don't even know who plays a Flatt trumpet in the North America. But I digress...

Thank you again Howard, and Ed, too!
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« Reply #10 on: Feb 16, 2016, 04:39AM »

Allways fun to read Howard and Ed. Knowledge!  Clever Sing it!
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« Reply #11 on: Feb 16, 2016, 05:19AM »

Incidentally, just by association of the time period--I am slotted to play Bruckner D-minor Mass (composed in 1864) in March.

Reviewing the writing in the D minor mass, what is perhaps most remarkable is that Bruckner's relative inexperience in writing for orchestral forces becomes evident in particular in the way he treats the bass trombone. Remembering that by 1864 the older F and E flat bass trombones were long since obsolete, it is perhaps all the more remarkable that Bruckner writes repeated forays into the high register (above top line A) and very rarely ventures towards the bottom or below the bass staff - surely the defining characteristic of the instrument. What is manifestly obvious here is that Bruckner's isolation in St. Florian and Linz comes to bear in the inexperienced handling of the instrument, which improved with time spent in Vienna. However, the writing is still quite high, all the more so after the introduction of a bass tuba in Symphony No. 4. It is instructive to compare the original version of Symphony No. 4 with later revisions, as the third trombone part in the earliest incarnation is very much a bass part, rather than the inner voice, which characterises his later works.
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« Reply #12 on: Feb 16, 2016, 08:42AM »

off the topic of Liszt's Hosannah, but on the subject of Bruckner and Linz, I would like to know if anyone can explain the following.   There are references to church regulations for funeral in Linz and other historical references to the use of equali/aequali pieces for trombones in Linz, including references to there being a large number of such pieces. I have even seen references to there being "hundreds" of such pieces. All that seems to have come down to us are the Beethoven, Bruckner and Lambel pieces. I have seen some material from Mr. Solomon on the Bruckner Aequali here on the forum. Perhaps you fellows know something about what happened to the other pieces? Perhaps the trombone players merely played chorales? perhaps when the Cathedral had a fire the music was lost? Perhaps your contacts in Austria know something?
thanks
MJL
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« Reply #13 on: Feb 16, 2016, 01:28PM »

off the topic of Liszt's Hosannah, but on the subject of Bruckner and Linz, I would like to know if anyone can explain the following.   There are references to church regulations for funeral in Linz and other historical references to the use of equali/aequali pieces for trombones in Linz, including references to there being a large number of such pieces. I have even seen references to there being "hundreds" of such pieces. All that seems to have come down to us are the Beethoven, Bruckner and Lambel pieces. I have seen some material from Mr. Solomon on the Bruckner Aequali here on the forum. Perhaps you fellows know something about what happened to the other pieces? Perhaps the trombone players merely played chorales? perhaps when the Cathedral had a fire the music was lost? Perhaps your contacts in Austria know something?

In 1909 a Linz newspaper published an article entitled "Der letzte Turnermeister von Linz" (The last director of Linz's tower musicians) about Franz Xaver Glöggl, who was the fellow who asked Beethoven to write the Equali. The article gives the following information: Glöggl compiled a collection of 5000 pieces for the musicipal church; he himself owned a "literary library" of 250 works, a "practical music library" of 100 vocal and 1200 instrumental pieces, over 60 instruments, a small collection of engravings of famous musicians, and autograph manuscripts. He sold the instruments, engravings, and autographs to the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in 1824. According to the Austrian musicologist Othmar Wessely, who was a native of Linz and most probably knew were to search, none of the other music has survived. I wasn't able to find anything at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde.

But if you feel like taking a trip to Linz and looking around, don't let me stop you.

Howard
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« Reply #14 on: Feb 17, 2016, 08:32AM »

Thank you Professor Weiner. I have read that Mr. Gloggl also served as the Kapellmeister of the Linz Cathedral and that he served in that role at the old Cathedral (today called St. Ignatius I think). I know that in the mid 19th century a new Cathedral was built in Linz. I once heard about 8th hand that in old cabinets somewhere in the old Cathedral there are lots of documents and music that was passed down from one music director/organist to another that have not been given much attention as they are just there with no organization and were more or less left behind in the old Cathedral when the Diocese moved everyone to the new Cathedral. Sounds somewhat fanciful but would be very interesting if true.

I have also seen references that Mendelssohn wrote a couple of dozen pieces he called "Equale." I have seen one published as Equale No. 3 edited by Glenn Smith (Detroit Symphony some years ago???), but it really seems like a vocal piece for men's choir. Do you know anything about these so called Mendelssohn Equali?
Thank you again.
MJL
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Mark J. La Fratta
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« Reply #15 on: Feb 17, 2016, 12:40PM »

Thank you Professor Weiner.

Oh! I think I've just been promoted! -- But seriously, I am neither professor nor doctor, and in any case we all tend to be on first-name basis here. But of course it's your decision if you want to remain so formal.

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I have read that Mr. Gloggl also served as the Kapellmeister of the Linz Cathedral and that he served in that role at the old Cathedral (today called St. Ignatius I think). I know that in the mid 19th century a new Cathedral was built in Linz. I once heard about 8th hand that in old cabinets somewhere in the old Cathedral there are lots of documents and music that was passed down from one music director/organist to another that have not been given much attention as they are just there with no organization and were more or less left behind in the old Cathedral when the Diocese moved everyone to the new Cathedral. Sounds somewhat fanciful but would be very interesting if true.

It might have been true at one time, but I tend to doubt that the stuff is still there. I think there is still a slight chance of finding troves like this in the former East-block countries, but hardly in Austria today.

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I have also seen references that Mendelssohn wrote a couple of dozen pieces he called "Equale." I have seen one published as Equale No. 3 edited by Glenn Smith (Detroit Symphony some years ago???), but it really seems like a vocal piece for men's choir. Do you know anything about these so called Mendelssohn Equali?

No, I don't know anything about them, although I just looked this up in a Robert King catalogue from 1986 -- so Equale No. 3 was available already thirty years ago, and is still available today. Nevertheless, I doubt very much that they have anything to do with a local tradition from the Upper Austrian area around Linz from which the Beethoven, Bruckner, and Lambel Equali evolved. But I'm going to the library tomorrow anyway, so I'll see if I can find more information.

Howard
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« Reply #16 on: Feb 18, 2016, 08:20AM »

I have also seen references that Mendelssohn wrote a couple of dozen pieces he called "Equale." I have seen one published as Equale No. 3 edited by Glenn Smith (Detroit Symphony some years ago???), but it really seems like a vocal piece for men's choir. Do you know anything about these so called Mendelssohn Equali?

Here's the word: There are no equali in Mendelssohn's oeuvre. There are a number of pieces for four male voices. So it is probable that somebody thought they might work well for trombone quartet and designated the transcriptions as "Equali" in the erroneous asumption that an equale is merely a piece with equal parts.

Howard
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« Reply #17 on: Feb 18, 2016, 09:04AM »

So it is probable that somebody thought they might work well for trombone quartet and designated the transcriptions as "Equali" in the erroneous asumption that an equale is merely a piece with equal parts.

Howard

So, what is an equale? I recently played Beethoven's 3 and, if I ever get the opportunity again I would be interested to know what I am playing.

Thanks in anticipation.

Cheers

Stewbones
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« Reply #18 on: Feb 18, 2016, 12:49PM »

So, what is an equale? I recently played Beethoven's 3 and, if I ever get the opportunity again I would be interested to know what I am playing.

It is funeral music to be played by trombones (or other instruments) in alternation with the sung Miserere during the procession from the house of the deceased to the church and/or graveyard.

If you want to know just about everything about Beethoven's Equali, take a look at my article "Beethoven's Equali (WoO 30): A New Perspective," Historic Brass Society Journal 14 (2002):215-77.

Howard
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« Reply #19 on: Feb 18, 2016, 01:50PM »

It is funeral music to be played by trombones (or other instruments) in alternation with the sung Miserere during the procession from the house of the deceased to the church and/or graveyard.

If you want to know just about everything about Beethoven's Equali, take a look at my article "Beethoven's Equali (WoO 30): A New Perspective," Historic Brass Society Journal 14 (2002):215-77.

Howard

Thank you very much, I will look up your article.

Having passed my "Three score years and ten" I probably still have time to contact some old students and get them organised to play for my wake, although many will be worried about any sudden contact and will start searching for mouthpieces and music they borrowed many years ago and never returned.  Yeah, RIGHT.

Cheers

Stewbones
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