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Music for Brass

 
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kullervopete
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:55 am    Post subject: Music for Brass Reply with quote

Sibelius's output for Brass ensemble [Septet] forms a still little known part of his work, but it is expertly crafted and contains many Sibelian fingerprints. Most date from the last decade of the 19th century.

Allegro [1889] this has some Fanfares and the main theme seems close to Runic music.
The melancholy 'Andantino' [1891 or earlier] is in triple time and very similar to many of the slow movements in Sibbs early Chamber music and its companion 'Menuetto' is joyously boisterous.
The 'Praeludium' [1891] again contains highly virtuosic Fanfares with a folk-like second theme.
The Overture in F minor [1889-90] is a much more extended piece and contains some lively themes and much humour. 'Tiera' dates from 1899 an interesting piece for Brass Septet and Percussion.

Apart from these pieces, I would mention 'Song of The Athenian's' arranged for Boys and Mens Choir, Brass Septet and Percussion and the 'Preludio' for wind and Brass [1899] This delightful music makes one wish that Sibelius had written more music for the medium,and is further evidence of the enduring quality of much of his early work.

Finland has a long tradition of Brass Septet playing going back to the 17th century. During his youth Sibelius must have been familier with the Hameenlinna Band and at Loviisa he would no doubt have heard the resident Fire Brigade Band.
It comes as little surprise on this evidence that Sibelius's writing for Brass in the later masterpieces is so brilliant--where else in music is there brass writing so scowling and baleful?--kullervopete.

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Andrew B
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was fortunate enough to hear the brass music (except Athenarnes sång) in Korpo last year and can heartily concur - the Overture is a cracking piece - though from the players I gather that I believe the parts are in some disarray even today.

Add to the list a march that was almost completed - and presumably never performed - in the late 1890s (percussion part is incomplete but easy to fill in - oom-pah oom-pah). Not in itself a remarkable piece, but when JS was asked to write a march for the Scouts in 1918, he actually just recycled this one to form the Scout March, Op. 91b!

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kullervopete
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes indeed, and the Scout March was later used by the Girl Scout and Guides movement. At the 13th world Conference in Oxford, the music, originally composed as the March for one of Finlands oldest Scout Companies was adapted with the approval of Sibellius.--kullervopete.

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Kurkikohtaus
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder where the idea of a septet comes from, with the quintet being the obvious modern day standard, while earlier music (i.e. Gabrielli) uses larger ensembles, such as octets or greater when written antiphonally.

Was there a standard instrumentation for the septets?
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Harri M
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Information, english version hopefully coming

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Brass septet has been very important in Finland. A lot happened in the history of brass instruments and ensembles between Gabrieli time (I don`t actually know now what he wrote for brass, is G. brass music what we know original or arrangements) and modern brass quintet, but it is an other story. Instruments in finnish brass septet: cornet in E flat, 2 cornets in B flat, alto horn( or tenor, depending what lanquage we speak) in E flat, tenorhorn(bariton-) in B flat, baritonhorn( euphonium) in B flat, tuba in E flat.
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Tapkaara
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone else have the CD "Charm and Passion of Youth"? It's conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste. It includes the Overture in F Minor, Petite Suite for Brass Septet, Allegro for Bass Septet and the curious little "tone poem" Tiera.

Very interesting stuff. And should Tiera be rightfully included among Sibbe's other tone poems?

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kullervopete
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is 'Tiera' a tone poem? interesting question, I would think that it is. Robert Layton certainly listed it as such in his Sibelius book. 'Tiera' is a really interesting piece, scored for brass septet and triangle [JS 200] one theme has a distinct resemblance to the first symphony, both thematically and harmonically, and another to the second symphony. Finnish brass septet playing goes right back to the 17th century and they also used woodwind in those days. Septet bands would often be doubled, there was in fact no limit on the number of players.
I don't have the Saraste recording that Tapkaara mentions, but I do have another great Cd 'Original 19th century music for brass' containing four of Sibelius's pieces for brass and others by Dvorak, Rimsky-Korsakov, Beethoven and Cherubini etc. Christopher Larkin directs the London Gabrieli brass ensemble [Hyperion CDA66470]
There is a brilliant picture on the front cover of the Loviisa Fire Brigade Band, 1908.--kullervopete.

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Tapkaara
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool album cover, Pete. I love looking at old photographs.

Why not consider Tiera a tone poem? Sibelius gave it that name for a reason. It makes reference to the Kalevala, as many of his other tone poems did, so he obviously had something very distinct in mind. And that is true about Robert Layton...he, too, considers it a tone poem.

It's just not an orchestral tone poem, but one for brass and percussion! (Surely, this has to be among the most "unique" instrumentation for ANY tone poem in the repertoire!)

The CD I have "Charm and Passion of Youth" is a fairly rare Canadian release featuring the Finnish Brass Ensemble with Jukka-Pekka waving the baton. It also has a work by Usko Merilainen and Einojuhani Rautavaara.

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Andrew B
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've often heard Tiera called a tone picture rather than a tone poem - up to you whether you think there is an appreciable difference. From what I can ascertain at a quick glance, Sibelius didn't specify anything on the fair copy of the manuscript (HUL 0503), not did the early facsimile score provide any clue. In his catalogue of Sibelius manuscripts (The Jean Sibelius Musical Manuscripts at Helsinki University, Breitkopf & Härtel 1991), Kari Kilpeläinen chooses to refer to the piece as a tone poem. Personally I think that such a title is a bit pretentious for such a modest little piece, but that's just my opinion.

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Tapkaara
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I agree that Tiera is modest and little! There's no real drama in it to speak of...it's just such a strange little work that is, indeed, hard to classify.

But, it seems, it was the only brass work that Sibbe wrote that had a program attached to it. And what is more, the program is related to the Kalevala. Because of that, I for one am certainly tempted to refer to it as a 'tone poem,' despite its brevity and instrumentation.

Tone poem vs. tone picture? I guess the differences between those terms is up for grabs.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good point about the Kalevala. As far as I know, Tiera doesn't allude to a specific passage but is more of a general portrayal. Maybe somebody could have a quick flick through the poem and see if anything seems to fit... the poor guy doesn't get that many mentions...

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Tapkaara
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a copy of the Kalevala, bu it's in a box somewhere and I'm not about to start going on a scavenger hunt in the garage!

From Wikipedia:

Cantos 26–30: The second Lemminkäinen cycle: Lemminkäinen is resentful for not having been invited to the wedding; he travels to Pohjola and wins the duel with the Master of Northland; an army is conjured to get back at Lemminkäinen; at his mother’s advice he flees to the Island of Refuge; returning home he sees that his house is burned down; he goes to Pohjola with his companion Tiera to get revenge but the Mistress of the North freezes the seas and Lemminkäinen has to return home.

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Harri M
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting. I have played Tiera but can´t remember a note of it. I didn´t know that T. is a character in K. (tiera means a icy lump of snow which is formed in horses` hoof and is thrown backwards, excuses for translation)

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EsaTero
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mysterious, this tiera.

I used to be able to play Canadian Brass discs once upon a time , but somehow lost interest in it.,brass quintets. The only ones that I listen to anymore are baroque pieces. Some Gabrielli and Monteverdi.

The Sibelius pieces...I have them, but...no comment!
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