The Air Force Brass Quintet

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Searching for Ewald

Hi all,

What a whirlwind this week has been!  It's been tough getting back to business, but I'm confident that this week will be easier.

In my readings this week I focused on the Ewald article.  Honestly, I didn't know much about him before I started reading.  I played his second quintet with the graduate brass quintet one day, and I brought in his third quintet for my listening presentation.  Andre Smith seems like a very patience man.  He took such a long time to carefully gather the research he needed to present a true picture of Ewald.  I think this teaches us that we must start our research early and be extremely thorough in that quest.  A question that this article brought to mind was, why did Mary Rasmussen behave so carelessly with her research of Ewald.  In a way, when you come to a dead end with a subject like Rasmussen may have, it is easy to just say, "Forget it!" There are deadlines to make, things like that, but what is more important?  Presenting a clear picture of such a influential composer, or giving a vague outline of his works?  I think we all know the answer to that one.  I have been playing rotary trumpet for a little while.  I used it once for an orchestra concert and some on my own.  I gathered from the article that they are the norm in Europe.  Since I have very little experience with rotary instruments I can't really make up my mind on a rotary vs. piston battle.  But I can say that if I ever moved to Germany to play with a brass quintet or a large brass ensemble and everyone was playing on rotary horns, I would get one.  From what I know they have a darker sound, I'm not entirely sure this has anything to do with the valves though.  But in order to match the other players a rotary would definitely be needed.  I disagree with the statement, "there is no true legato on trombone."  I think Smith makes a great point when he writes, "trombone players would basically be unemployed if they didn't know how to play legato..."  A trombone player must learn to be proficient in the lyrical sense to be able to match the the other players in the brass quintet or large ensemble.  Although it took a long time, the ABQ brought the Ewald quintets to Carnegie Hall.  As it states in the article, the rediscovery of the Ewald quintets 2-3 are due to the Empire Brass Quintet.  The handwritten parts were obtained by Werke.  Werke had brought them back from Leningrad and exchanged them for a medley of Gershwin tunes.  Amazing....they might have never gotten to America without him!  

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