Friday, 18 January 2013

Canadians and the Brass Quintet

Rosedale Presbyterian is hosting the Toronto Brass Quintet this coming Sunday (Jan 20 3pm), and I got curious about the origins of the brass quintet. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Canadians have been a champion of this terrific brass ensemble medium !

A brass quintet is a five-piece musical ensemble composed of brass instruments. The most common instrumentation is two trumpets or cornets, one horn, one trombone or euphonium/baritone horn, and one tuba or bass trombone.
As an ensemble type, the brass quintet is very flexible, with a repertoire encompassing musical genres from madrigals to jazz and everything in between. The instrumentation for a brass quintet is very flexible. Often trumpets will double on piccolo trumpets and flugelhorns. In some pieces the horn is replaced by a trombone. In some ensembles a euphonium substitutes for the trombone part. While a tuba is considered standard, the range and style of many pieces lends themselves to being played on bass trombone. Additionally some pieces call for the use of percussion instruments, particularly tambourine, snare drum and especially timpani.
The contemporary brass quintet was started in the late 1940s by two different groups operating independently—the Chicago Brass Quintet and the New York Brass Quintet. Two members of the Chicago Brass Quintet can arguably be credited with helping plant the seed for today's success of the brass quintet medium: Arnold Jacobs, tubist of the CBQ was teacher to the two founders Daellenbach and Watts of the Canadian Brass, while Renold Schilke, trumpet player in the CBQ and master craftsman, was mentor to the entire group, successfully crafting the first-ever matched set of gold-plated quintet brass instruments. Canadian Brass has gone on to establish both the style and popularity of the quintet medium throughout the world having performed more than five thousand concerts and having sold more than 500,000 quintet music books for performers around the world, affirming the rise of the brass quintet as a worldwide phenomenon. The wealth of new music for brass quintet can be attributed to the American Brass Quintet with over 100 premieres of new quintet works.

No comments:

Post a Comment