Sunday, February 19, 2017

The History of the Four Quintets for Brass by Victor Ewald

This post is a response to on February 13, 2017.

  • What did you know about Ewald and his brass quintet before reading this article? 
    • The things I knew about Victor Ewald prior to read this article were his nationalities and his Brass Quintet no. 1 to no. 3. As a horn player, I enjoy conducting and coaching brass ensemble but performing in it. My experience with brass quintet and brass ensemble of any kind were mostly during my undergraduate study and some with my master study. I only did professional brass quintet concert once after my graduation and that was it. 
  • What did this article teach you about proper research?
    • This might not directly answer this question but I think these three things below are important cores for research that any researchers need to keep in mind.
      1. Researchers must widen their view in the larger context (rather than focus solely on music) as part of their studies. I believe that music was composed, occurred, and existed from many different reasons. These reasons need to be consider as part of research as well.
      2. Author said "I know in advance that its conclusions will be examined, discussed, and replaced by others and I am glad of it. That is how history progress and must progress." This statement can't be true enough. 
      3. If researchers are blessed with time, spend as much time to collect as much information as they can. If researchers have to work against deadline (like Rasmussen or Reed), try to work with material at hands and try to do as best as they could. In other word, choose to work on something according to your obligation or goal.
  • What questions did this article raise?
    • Whether or not Victor Ewald was the pioneer of modern brass quintet setting, his brass quintet, and its acquisition. 
  • What are your thoughts on rotary vs. piston valve preferences mentioned in the article?
    • It is interesting to learn the historical aspect of how rotary and piston valves were thought about back in the early 20th century. Personally, I don't think there are much differences between both valves. In the end, it is up to those who play on it and what kind of sound they are looking for. What I find more interesting is in the very first figure of this article (show below) where all instruments of the brass quintet use valves. Also, trumpets are the only instrument that have their bell pointing forward. I have a feeling that Ewald's quintets will fit really well with those instrumentation. Anybody interested to try?
  • Do you agree with Forsyth who wrote, "There is in general no true legato on the trombone"
    • I do not agree with this statement. Any brass instruments can play a true legato on overtone series which trombone also can. Forsyth only mentioned trombone slide position changing which is only part of trombone playing.
  •  What are your thoughts about Smith's ideas on instrumentation mentioned on page 13.
    • I don't think it is wrong to try to replicate Renaissance or Baroque performance practice on modern instruments. Even thought those music did not write specifically for the modern one, it has been part of the (music performance) innovation that give variety to music performances/recordings that we have today. True, performing music from those era on the instrument that was intended for would probably provide the closest sound. However, we don't know for sure how the music is supposed to be performed since those music came from 200 years ago. What we can do today is to keep music from those era survive by any means we can.
  • In regards to the modern revival of Ewald's brass quintets, what roles did the following people play? Frøydis Ree Wekre, the American Brass Quintet, the Empire Brass Quintet?
    • Frøydis Ree Wekre, a horn virtuoso who went to Leningrad, Russia to study, acquired a handwritten copy of two brass quintet by Victor Ewald. 
    • The Empire Brass Quintet acquired above handwritten copies from Werke by exchanging it with a medley of Gershwin Tunes.
    • With a program planning for 1974-75 season, American Brass Quintet added Ewald's brass quintet in their program and gave premiere of Ewald's quintets at the Carnegie Hall. 
  • What has been your experience both playing and listening to the Ewald quintets?
    • If my memory serves me right, I did learn and perform Ewald's quintet no. 1 when I was around 16 or 17. That was the only experience playing this piece. Since then, I have not performed nor heard of his quintet until last week Advanced Brass Ensemble Literature class. Do I like it? Yes, I find it nice and easy listening. Will I put it on my play list? Probably not. It is not kind of my go to music if I need one. 
    • I have been searching through YouTube and Spotify for his quintets. Here are the two that I like

Very interesting and highly informative articles. I wish I could read the first two articles as well. There are more things that is yet to be discovered or explore than we think. What we need is just to be curious, look at things from many different angles, and to have a really strong "will" to finish it.

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