Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Unacknowledged Founder of the Brass Quintet

It was Viktor Ewald that first came up with the voicing of the modern day brass quintet.  His accomplished this by adopting the voicing of two sopranos, one alto, one tenor, and one bass. I find it intriguing that he conceptualized the concept of a brass group through the human voice.  The human voice is considered the most natural and purest of the instruments.  Before reading this article I knew very little about Ewald and the background of the quintets.  I have played tho of them and performed one on many occasions but had not delved any deeper then musical study.  This article is very interesting.  It is truly fascinating how much of research and scholarly activity, let alone performance execution, is done so on the original premise of opinion.  Forsyth wrote, "There is in general no true legato on the trombone."  I would have to say.. ask the trombone players what they think.  I am a hornist and would never presume to tell them what is true and false or can and cannot be executed on their instrument.  I learned extensively from this article on not just Ewald but also on the art of music research in general.  Researching something is just like life itself, a journey.  This journey will take you many places unexpected, it will try your will and your very soul, you will meet with many obstacles, there will be pleasant surprises, there will be many moments of frustration and disappointment...   Smith dedicated his life to this journey of uncovering and properly acknowledging Ewald's brass quintets.  His determination, force of will, and dedication are what brought him along his path to where he is today. As with everything, I encourage the reader to apply this to every aspect of their life.

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