To assist musicians as they express themselves on their chosen platform, is very purpose driven. Tip of the hat to your willingness to serve those you relate so well with. You will do exceptionally well, enjoy your journey as you without doubt will uplift others! wade-bergner.com. Namaste, Wade
Freedom For Musicians is well into changing the world of “Notes”.
Seems to be an affair of the heart where you are pouring in everything you have. And the results are coming through load and crystal clear.
Amazing how proud you should be the emotions behind which are like music to my ears.
Susan Patricia Connor Lewis
Director / email@example.com
What an amazing site!
I love the energy of it! I am not a musician myself, but I do love music. Your site is easy to navigate and it’s easy to find everything I was looking for. The best thing is I have found some new music that I really love – the artists are amazing and I’ll be keeping a close on the updates! I look forward to checking through more of some of your amazing music. Thankyou!
Karen and Jacky
Thanks for providing a fabulous platform
As a musician myself I really love what I’m seeing here. I don’t perform professionally any more but did so for many years with my partner. These days we still write, record and play and are in the process of creating an archive website for our back catalog to live on. We were slogging away way before Facebook, Youtube and all the other social platforms existed.
A Quiet Revolution
Freedom for Musicians seems like a really innovative concept for musicians to promote and distribute their digital music. I admire the work you are doing in this industry to solve the problem of exploitation by the big labels and distributors. I look forward to seeing the success of Freedom for Musicians.
The band was formed in 1981 and is made up of former musicians from the seven regiments of Her Majesty’s Household Division Bands namely:- The Life Guards, Blues and Royals (now the Household Cavalry Band), Grenadiers, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards Bands. The present Household Division Musicians Association Band follows a long tradition of music making by musicians from these famous regiments.
Most of the members are still playing in leading London Orchestras, London Theatres, or teaching in music colleges and schools throughout the country.
The Band performs at numerous public and private engagements, most notably The Chelsea Flower Show, Eastbourne Bandstand, and at The Royal Hospital Chelsea. The Band rehearses at The Royal Hospital Chelsea, with which it is proud to be associated.
The band rehearses once a month on a Sunday morning from 10.30am – 12.30pm at The Band Room at The Royal Hospital Chelsea.
David began his musical career at the age of 13 as a trombonist for Barnstaple Town Military Band and Bideford Town Brass Band. In 1987, he joined the Army and was posted to the Band of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment. During his two years at the Royal Military School of Music, David took a change of course, studying flute and classical piano under Graham Mayger and Veronica Clayton respectively. It was while he was at Kneller Hall that David discovered his passion for writing band arrangements.
After postings to Northern Ireland and Cyprus in the early nineties, David successfully passed an audition for the Life Guards Band of the Household Cavalry. During a series of summer concerts for the Household Cavalry band, David was persuaded by the Director of Music to take yet another musical change: he became the principal oboist of the Band, a position that he held until he left the army in 1998. During his military service he has performed all around the world, playing for all the members of the Royal Family, The Lord Mayor of London, as well as countless Ambassadors and diplomats.
Authored by Mark Nuccio, principal clarinet of the Houston Symphony and former associate principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic.
One of the most important responsibilities a musician has is the early preparation of a piece of music prior to even beginning to play one’s instrument. One must first familiarize yourself with the score of each work that he will be performing and evaluate just how your part fits within the context of the orchestra or chamber music piece. As is the case with many things in life, if you begin this preparation early, it is more likely that you will have a deeper understanding of the performance once you get to the performance.
If you are confronted with multiple and/or consecutive upcoming busy weeks, the early preparation can make it that much easier. It simply requires obtaining a score, preferably the urtext or most respected score for the piece you are to perform. In the case of an audition, find the most accurate score but if it is a piece you are to perform or record, it is more important to get a score from the edition from which you will be performing.
Why is this important, you may ask? Often times there may be a difference in slurs, articulations (style and location of), dynamics, etc ¼ for those who are not near a major public library or may not have access to an orchestra library, you can often times use IMSLP.com, a free source. Many times, I haven’t found these scores to be the best editions available but it certainly is better than nothing.
The next step is to seek out multiple recordings; listen to the conductor’s and the soloist’s interpretations and decide which one seems most reliable making sure that you choose something that represents the middle ground if there are large differences in tempi through the recordings. If you are performing with a major conductor who has recorded this work, find HIS/HER recording as this will be the most similar to what you will probably be performing. Certainly, if you are auditioning, this is likely the pacing and interpretation that the orchestra is most accustomed to and likely the conductor’s preference.
After you have chosen the ideal recording, you will need to listen to this again, probably several times, with your part, a pencil, eraser, and a metronome; be prepared to pause the recording many times while listening. This process will be described in detail later in this article. Your listening should be fully dedicated with NO other distractions.
On a side note, I always copy my parts so that if I were to perform the piece again, I don’t have to do all of this work again. Now you will have officially begun building your own library. Do your best to find real parts, purchase or copy them and understand that even these could have some mistakes. Use your sources (teachers, study of the most accurate published scores) determine the accuracy of the notes and/or printed tempi. Ex¼Beethoven is rarely performed at the printed tempi. Use excerpt books as a source of study but not a regular means of preparation. Always do your best to practice from full parts.
Now is where the work starts. Keep in mind that nobody should know the score any better than you. Ideally you will be surrounded by colleagues who also know the score as well as you do. Then the process of rehearsing goes twice as fast and music begins from the first time you and the “group” get together. That is “collaboration”!
Key things that I am looking for are listed below:
1. Mark the tempo for the movement on your part and include changes of tempi within the movement (ex. Quarter = 120). This will allow you to practice at the prescribed tempi during your preparation.
2. Which instrument/s starts the movement? If it is not obvious, a small cue in the part would help. Often times, a rhythmic cue of four 1/16 notes with the note “vln” would help you to know the tempo when the piece starts and who starts the piece. Obviously this would indicate that violins start with four sixteenth notes.
3. This next section should assume the person marking their music is a clarinetist. You can adjust these cues based upon your instrument.
As you are listening, decide if your notes are primary melody, secondary melody, harmony, etc.. If you are primary, you need to lead with your sound and pacing and everybody else should be subordinate and thus, follow. I might mark this (cl/ww’s) If you are a secondary melody, you should be a small amount quieter than the primary and always shadowing the primary voice regardless of whether the primary voice is with the conductor.
I might mark this fl/ob/cl)¼.in order of priority. The conductor will likely work to get the primary voice positioned correctly and then the secondary voice will then make sense. If you have the harmony or a part of the harmony, it typically is even less present, allowing the primary and secondary voices to dominate. I might mark this (Strings/ob/cl). It is entirely possibly, if not likely, that you could have the Primary voice and then hand that primary voice to another instrument and become secondary after doing so. If this is the case, readjust your role.
This can much more easily be determined during this process where you are reading a score and listening with your part in front of you rather than trying to do it in the first rehearsal on the fly with no score study. Understand that if you have the leading voice, the conductor (or other members of your chamber ensemble) will be looking your way for leadership and acknowledgement that you are aware of this. Look at the conductor right before you are to play the primary voice or solo.
As soon as he knows you are ready, he can then focus his attention on other voices. If you are not the primary, it is more important that you are in contact with that instrument and shadowing them rather than the conductor’s beat. I often times watch the bows of the lead string players with whom I am playing so that I am with them if they have the primary voice.
This is more often the case for a clarinetist since there are 30 violinists and one of me. So if you are a wind player, make sure that unless you are the lead voice, you know who is and you are with them, in time and in style!!! Even if it appears that the conductor is ahead, BE WITH THE PRIMARY VOICE. If that is the string section, watch the 1st desk of strings and you will likely be right.
Many stages don’t allow for the accuracy of ensemble due to proximity of each of us on stage and therefore we have to rely as much on our eyes tracking the bows of the lead desk of strings than even the conductor, especially if they have the lead voice. That, by the way, would be true for the back of the string section in its relation to the front of the section.
4. If you have a long rest, I find it useful to make a note of some key sound that happens during the rest so that you can check your counting as you pass by those spots (ex. In a 16 bar rest, cymbal on bar 9¼..I would write 9-Cym). If the orchestra gets separated, it may allow you to be the musician that helps to get the orchestra back together. This is also true with chamber music but less so with a concerto. Obviously there are times during a concerto that you also don’t have the primary voice and you need to know what instrument has the melody and become a bit more of a team player.
You should also make note of other cues such as a cymbal crash, loud trombone tutti, English Horn solo, or a big section cello entrance¼all things that help you to be sure you are in the right place. I also like to make sure if there is an 1/8 note pickup to my melodic line entrance, that I make a note of that and then I know to wait to hear (or see) that. I would write an 1/8 cue ahead of my part and label it ‘bsn’¼.or whatever instrument has the pickup.
5. Be aware of the instrument that precedes you and follows you so that you know the type of sound you should play with. For example for clarinetists, if oboe plays the first part of the primary voice and hands it to you, you should match the oboe sound and pitch and then if you hand the primary voice to bassoon, broaden the sound to match the bassoon as you pass the melody to them. Flexibility of one’s sound allows us to play with different colors allowing for more seamless transitions within the piece or melodic lines as we pass to different instruments.
6. Intonation: Know where you are in the chord in intonation- sensitive areas so that you are able to place your “root” or “third” with confidence. Who has the root? Is your third of the chord melodic or harmonic? That will determine its pitch placement. If you have the melody and it happens to be the third, then the root will have to adjust upward for the chord to sound in tune. We can’t adjust a third in a melody because it would sound wrong if adjusted and therefore others have to adjust around the melody.
7. Listen for what should be the appropriate style of articulation (is the weight of the accent on the front or slightly inside the beat¼, which instrument do I join and if we are in unison¼, which voice should dominate?) Style—is it a pressing tempo or back side of the orchestra’s pulse? I tend to want to play on the back side of the beat in romantic music if I have the solo. As long as the orchestra keeps pressing forward, it allows for a more expansive and expressive interpretation.
8. Always be aware of whether your line has already been stated. If so, you are obliged to make an effort to compliment the style of the solo so that the listener understands the passage in a similar style. Totally disregarding it makes you look as if you never knew that musical line had previously been performed.
9. This was touched upon earlier but make it a point to have eye contact with the conductor as often as possible, especially when the solo line is yours. He will be more confident that his “soloist” in that particular passage is ready to play and prepared to lead that passage. As they say, “the stick makes no sound”. But you should do your best to have contact with the conductor peripherally all the time.
10. Practice more technically challenging sections above the needed tempo so that if a conductor or soloist takes a tempo that is faster than your recording, you are ready. Practice with flexibility and don’t dominate when it is not your lead or solo line. On the contrary, when it is your lead, make sure to play more than your colleagues on a solo line even if it says ‘p’. Whatever the printed dynamic, your dynamic as the solo line should be one dynamic marking louder than what is printed.
11. Your preparation should allow you to sound performance-ready by the beginning of the FIRST rehearsal.
12. Make sure you have taken care of tough page turns so that you are able to execute the notes at the end of one page and the beginning of the next.
13. Be flexible with your other colleagues. Often times you may have to accommodate an instrument that has an inflexible note, pitch-wise, in another instrument. If this is something that can be addressed and fixed by the player, fine. If not, you must help them. No instrument plays perfectly in tune. My priority is first the music though and if there is anyway to achieve that rather than emphasize a pitch weakness in a given instrument, then choose the musical line first.
14. Unisons should not be played equal within the same instrument or even within the woodwinds. Allow one voice to slightly dominate in unisons and this will now sound more like one voice. Many times, allowing the lower voices some dominance adds depth the the higher voice’s sound.
Mr. Nuccio officially began his position as Principal Clarinet with the Houston Symphony Orchestra in the 2016-17 season after seventeen years with the New York Philharmonic. He also serves as clarinet faculty at the University of Houston’s Moore School of Music. Mr. Nuccio joined the New York Philharmonic in 1999 as Associate Principal and E-flat Clarinetist and during the time served as Acting Principal Clarinet for four years from 2009-13.
Prior to his service with the Philharmonic, he has held positions with orchestras in Pittsburgh, Denver, Savannah, and Florida working with distinguished conductors such as Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Mariss Jansons, Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Erich Leinsdorf, Bernard Haitink, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Chailly, Andre Previn, Christoph von Dohnanyi, and Gustavo Dudamel.
Additionally, Mr. Nuccio has toured extensively with the New York Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in numerous countries, recorded with both orchestras, and performed regularly with the Philharmonic on the award-winning series, Live from Lincoln Center, broadcast on PBS. Recent highlights include the Philharmonic’s historic and newsworthy visits to North Korea and Vietnam.
Nuccio is an active solo and chamber musician and has been featured with various orchestras in the United States and made multiple appearances as a featured performer at the International Clarinet Association conventions. He made his subscription solo debut with the New York Philharmonic on Feb. 10, 2010 and returned to perform the Copland Concerto with the NY Philharmonic under the baton of Alan Gilbert on May 31 and June 1 of 2013. Other highlights include a New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall in 2001 and his Japanese recital debut in 2002.
He is an avid chamber musician and continues to regularly perform recitals in Asia and Europe as well as across the United States. In New York, he can often be heard at Merkin Concert Hall, 92nd Street Y, Carnegie Hall, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Mr. Nuccio also participates in the chamber music series at the Strings in the Mountain Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and teaches at the Hidden Valley Music Festival in Carmel, CA.
As a studio musician, Mr. Nuccio is featured on numerous movie soundtracks, including Failure To Launch, The Last Holiday, The Rookie, The Score, Intolerable Cruelty, Alamo, Pooh’s Heffalump, Hitch, The Manchurian Candidate, and various television commercials. Additionally he has performed on the Late Show with David Letterman and on the 2003 Grammy Awards. His own debut album featuring the clarinet quintets of Mozart and Brahms, Opening Night, was released in November 2006.
A Colorado native, Mr. Nuccio was recently awarded the “Distinguished Alumni Award” from his alma mater the University of Northern Colorado, a very selective honor bestowed on an elite group of 200 alumnus representing various fields throughout the long history of the university.
He also holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University where he studied with renowned pedagogue Robert Marcellus. Beyond his active performing schedule, Mr. Nuccio is a dedicated teacher committed to training the next generation of musicians and teaches master classes in the U.S. and abroad. Nuccio is a D’Addario Advising Artist & Clinician and a Performing Artist/Clinician for Buffet Music Group.
After his cum laude graduation at the Hilversum Conservatory in 1996, Ilja taught the trombone there. In 1997 he was the second Dutch student so far to receive the American Degree ‘Master of Music.’Ilja is permanent member of Nueva Manteca, The Dutch Jazz Orchestra, Gino Vannelli’s Dutch Beat Band, The Houdini’s, The Cubop City Big Band, The Jasper van ‘t Hof Quartet, Lucas van Merwijk Music Machine and many other well-known Dutch groups. He was featured soloist with the Metropole Orchestra for four times.
Ilja worked and recorded with Tom Harrell, Ivan Lins, James Morrison, Jim Beard, John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Bill Dobbins, Toots Thielemans, Kenny Werner, Ed Neumeister, Jimmy Bosch, Vince Mendoza, Lester Bowie, Bill Holman, Dori Caymmi and many others.
In 1998 Ilja and his former teacher Bart van Lier founded an impressive trombone department at the Rotterdam Conservatory (Codarts). With classical collegues Alexander Verbeek and Brandt Attema they form the trombone Academy of Codarts, Rotterdam. Besides teaching main subject trombone, Ilja is leader of the conservatory bigband for the last 15 years, ensemble coach and arranging teacher. From 2015 the team of trombone teachers at Corats is completed with the great Bert Boeren and Andy Hunter.
Though he loathed it, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture won him fans the world over and made him a household name.
In 1962, a Don Draper-like advertising executive decided to market the oaty goodness of an up-and-coming brand of breakfast cereal by detonating bowls of it from a cannon in time to the finale of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.
When Arthur Fielder led the Boston Pops through the same piece in 1974, during a televised 4 July concert, the 1812 Overture was elevated from advertising prop to full-on national anthem, one still performed today to mark American Independence Day.
Woody Allen co-opted it for the soundtrack of his 1971 screwball comedy, Bananas. It has been referenced in The Simpsonsand in 1967, British comedian Charlie Drake struck comedy gold when he ‘performed’ all Tchaikovsky’s instrumental parts and ended up in an exhausted, Norman Wisdom-like heap on the floor. Each re-imagining took us further away from the 1812 Overture as Tchaikovsky understood it.
Not, we hasten to add, “as he knew and loved it”… because Tchaikovsky hated the piece.
That infamous assessment of it as “very loud and noisy and completely without artistic merit, obviously written without warmth or love,” was penned by Tchaikovsky himself. The overture’s popularity was a source of deep frustration to this sensitive, serious-minded symphonist whose imaginative fantasy and whimsical, melodic turn of phrase had also managed to transform the art of composing ballet music to a high calling.
The success of the 1812 Overture told him that the world cared more about theatrical spectacle than the hard fought-for personal expression of his symphonies, concertos and chamber music. The more successful his overture, the more Tchaikovsky became convinced that the world fundamentally misunderstood his art.
The piece is drenched in proud nationalist sentiment; Russian folk songs are heard to chase the French national anthem, The Marseillaise, before obliterating it in sound. It has become fair game for ‘pop classics’ concerts to trade off its showbiz pizzazz.
Tchaikovsky’s climactic cannon shots are used to trigger indoor fireworks, acrobatic displays even. The populist ante is constantly upped. 1812 Overture On Ice? Underwater 1812 Overture? Celebrity 1812 Overture On Ice, The Musical? It’s only a matter of time.
But what happened to the ‘real’ 1812 Overture, and how did Tchaikovsky come to write his Frankenstein monster? It is the 1812 Overture because it was conceived to commemorate the Battle of Borodino, fought in September 1812.
In the 1880s, Russian pride still glowed at the warm memory of Tsar Alexander I’s troops thrashing Napoleon’s army, although there was a certain level of rose-tinted hindsight going on here. Napoleon had retained the tactical upper hand throughout the battle itself, and was only forced into a long and arduous retreat when, during his subsequent occupation of Moscow, food supplies ran out as winter started to bite. Armies march on their stomachs, and Napoleon’s men marched out of Moscow to fill theirs.
Fast-forward to 1880…
… and a cunning plan from Tchaikovsky’s champion and mentor, Nikolai Rubinstein. The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, which had been commissioned to celebrate the Russian victory – never mind the nitty-gritty specifics of the battle itself – was nearing completion on the banks of the Moskva River in central Moscow. Rubinstein’s request to Tchaikovsky might have gone something like this:
“Compose a ‘go to’ commemorative composition and fill it with national themes. Make it a ‘useful’ occasional work to be performed to mark the opening of the cathedral. And the 25th anniversary of Alexander II’s coronation. And don’t forget about the 1882 All-Russian Arts and Industry Exhibition. They’ll want something too…”
Tchaikovsky cranked out the 1812 Overture in six weeks, cutting his imagination loose with every note and theme designed to tug at Russian heartstrings. And although the most celebrated section of the work is inevitably Tchaikovsky’s flamboyant, proto-cinematic finale, its opening passage is equally spectacular – albeit spectacularly understated.
Needing to ground the music in some fundamental truths about the Russian mind and spirit, Tchaikovsky opens by recalling a soulful Orthodox hymn, ‘Troparion of the Holy Cross’. A lesser composer might have sentimentalised the harmonies, but Tchaikovsky places this objet trouvé delicately on four violas and eight cellos, like an ethereal and wistful sound borrowed from the memory bank of history.
And now, two things have become clear…
… that the 1812 Overture is better than Tchaikovsky realised and, despite the indignities and abuse it has suffered in the name of entertainment, his score is robustly constructed and has maintained its compositional integrity. Because the opening sets the scene so powerfully, Tchaikovsky has access-all-areas to go anywhere musically as he begins to portray the shattering impact of the French invasion on his country.
A Russian folk dance, ‘At The Door, At My Door’, trumpets national pride; pride that is rocked by the first appearance of The Marseillaise, characterised as mocking and provocative, which Tchaikovsky shoots down with five strategically aimed cannon shots.
In a late, great symphony like his Fifth or Pathétique No. 6, Tchaikovsky’s melodic invention rises to the surface as his themes are combined in counterpoint: polarised logics of the symphonic argument made to coexist or not, and Tchaikovsky’s genius for eloquent counterpoint is woven into the fabric of the 1812 Overture at a deep structural level too.
With the battle gathering force, another Russian theme emerges, God Save The Tsar!, which he manoeuvres into a contrapuntal skirmish with The Marseillaise: two nations fighting it out in music, the composer never allowing the contour of one theme to nestle too cosily against its adversary. Enemy lines are kept tautly demarcated. A plunging, descending string line symbolises the Russian retreat; cannon shots and cathedral bells peel over a victorious roar of God Save The Tsar! from the orchestra.
Tchaikovsky ought to have been proud. He had written the ultimate showpiece, but his faith in the 1812 Overture quickly unravelled. His aspiration to see it performed in the cathedral square, with a brass band marching on stage to clinch the climax – only to top that with cathedral bells and cannon fire – proved impractical.
Tchaikovsky hadn’t reckoned on a basic logistical flaw: that the arithmetic of exploding cannon shots in time to the music proved trickier than splitting the atom. A time lag between releasing the barrel and the shot sounding made shot-to-score co-ordination impossible. Then in 1881, the Emperor of Russia, Alexander II, was assassinated and triumphalist music suddenly seemed inappropriate. The work had its first hearing – indoors – at the Arts and Industry Exhibition two years later; no brass band, no cannon shots, no cathedral bells.
So what are the lessons of the 1812 Overture, much loved by an eager public but often mocked by musicians who play it, and even by its own composer? Perhaps that the person who wrote a piece of music cannot be trusted to give a reasoned opinion on it. Tchaikovsky failed to realise that it is impossible to take a piece back, or impose a view upon it retrospectively, once it leaves the composer’s desk. The material with which you once shared an intimate one-to-one relationship is in the public domain. It’s gone.
But here’s an intriguing concluding idea.
Manfred Honeck, principal conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (and a Tchaikovsky obsessive) remarked that most conductors play the March section of the Pathétique Symphony too triumphantly, when Tchaikovsky meant it to sound ambiguous and questioning.
There’s nothing ambiguous about the 1812 Overture of course; could that be why Tchaikovsky couldn’t comprehend the forces he had unleashed? For the rest of us, the 1812 is to be enjoyed in all its noisy, vulgar splendour.
If he didn’t like his 1812, he’d have hated how it’s been used…
1962 Used in a commercial for Quaker Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice – with the slogan, ‘This is the cereal that is shot from guns.’
1967 Charlie Drake as orchestral musician, then conductor, tickles the nation’s funny bone by performing the 1812 Overture single-handedly, dressed in an ill-fitting tuxedo.
1971 Woody Allen uses the 1812 Overture on the soundtrack to a love scene in his comedy Bananas.
1974 The piece becomes part of American folklore after a televised Boston Pops performance captures the national mood.
1976 In an episode of The Muppet Show, Gonzo grows a tomato plant to the accompaniment of the 1812 Overture.
1990 In an episode of The Simpsons, Bart hums the 1812 Overture manically as he prepares an Evel Knievel-style death- defying stunt with his skateboard.
1995 The Swingle Singers release an a cappella 1812 Overture, complete with air-raid sirens and machine gun fire.
2005 The dystopian thriller V For Vendetta gives the 1812 Overture a sinister twist, referencing it alongside music by The Velvet Underground and The Rolling Stones to suggest a society out of balance.
2009 An advert for Vodafone New Zealand recreates the1812 Overture using the ringtones of 1000 mobile phones. It sounded horrible.
The battle of Borodino, 7 September 1812
The Battle of Borodino, the event that Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture commemorates, was the key battle of the Napoleonic Wars, and also its bloodiest. Seventy thousand troops perished as Napoleon’s army attacked the Imperial Russian Army outside the village of Borodino, west of Moscow.
Over a 24-hour period, the French bombarded the Russian Army, capturing the strategic points on the battlefield, but failed to destroy their enemy. Napoleon occupied the battlefield after the fighting was over, exploiting his position to launch an attack on Moscow, where he waited for over a month for a Russian surrender that never came. Napoleon hadn’t reckoned on the awesome chill of a Russian winter, and with food running out he was forced to retreat, handing the Russians victory.
In 1954, a studio recording was released that finally did the 1812 Overture justice. Hungarian conductor Antal Doráti and the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra used the authentic French muzzleloading cannon that Tchaikovsky had asked for in his score. It was accompanied by a documentary about how the cannon and cathedral bell effects were achieved, and how the cannon shots were co-ordinated.
This was the clear benchmark until, in 2007, Antonio Pappano released an intriguingly rethought 1812, performed with electric verve by the Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (EMI Classics 637 0065).
Pappano’s concept was a historically re-envisaged 1812 Overture in which the hymn-based opening and anthem God Save The Tsar! are sung, rather than played.
It’s not what Tchaikovsky wrote but the sung sections put the music into context: how rooted the work is in the Russian soul through its choral tradition. Pappano doesn’t hold back on the cannon shots and bells, either.
On 20th March we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s birth. For this reason, many concerts featuring his compositions will be performed worldwide, including one of his most famous works, the Konzert “Nobody knows de trouble I see” für Trompete in C und Orchester. This week, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Fabien Gabel and with Håkan Hardenberger as soloist, will play it on 23 March, and on the following day it will be performed by Paul Hübner together with the WDR Sinfonieorchester, conducted by Brad Lubman in the Funkhaus in Cologne.
Originally, the NDR commissioned Zimmermann to compose a piano concerto. However, by referencing the existence of countless piano concertos, Zimmermann was able to convince the NDR to promote the trumpet, which was somewhat neglected as a solo instrument, thereby making repeat performances of the work more probable. He had already made drafts of a trumpet concerto years earlier and completed them after he was commissioned. It was premiered on 11 October 1955 in the Studio X in Hamburg with the Sinfonieorchester des Norddeutschen Rundfunks and the trumpeter Adolf Scherbaum under the direction of Ernest Bour. At the time of the world premiere, the work was titled “Darkey’s darkness”. After a few years, however, Zimmerman learned that the word “Darkey” was used to describe a person of color in a contemptuous way, so he changed the title of his work to “Nobody knows de trouble I see” in reference to the spiritual that is used in the composition as cantus firmus.
Bernd Alois Zimmermann – Trumpet concerto: Crossover to reconciliation
The spiritual is at the center of the concerto and its structure is similar to that of a chorale prelude. Apart from this modern kind of a cantus firmus, Zimmermann also uses jazz elements and a twelve-tone-row as the basis for the composition. This special row appears frequently in Zimmermann’s work: It is also used in his Concerto for oboe, his film music for “Methamorphose”, and in his ballet Alagoana. By fusing these three formal principles, Zimmermann hoped to demonstrate a kind of fraternal connection in the music in response to the political realities of his time. As a soldier in the NS-regime and during the composition of the piece, Zimmermann’s awareness of the struggle of people of color in the USA to achieve equality and overcome endemic racial discrimination was heightened. He honors this struggle in the spelling of the title: Instead of “the”, Zimmermann uses a spelling based on the sound of the word as it was passed on through oral tradition, “de”.
“By the way I have recently finished a trumpet concerto with the title “Darkey’s darkness”. The negro spiritual “Nobody knows de trouble I see” underlies the work and the musical characteristics of the spiritual inform and imbue the work with the struggles of the coloured people.” –Bernd Alois Zimmermann, 1954
After this week’s concerts, the concerto can even be heard again. On 6 April, it will be performed by the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester with Håkan Hardenberger as soloist under the conduction of John Storgårds. In addition, as part of a Zimmermann concert series, the SWR Sinfonieorchester conducted by Ingo Metzmacher will perform the trumpet concerto on 28 April with Håkan Hardenberger again as soloist.
The most recent edition of the Schott Journal is dedicated to Bernd Alois Zimmermann. Therein you can find all events about the anniversary and an insight into his most important works.
The Italian Brass Week is an international festival born 19 years ago under the artistic direction of Luca Benucci, the first horn of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. During these years, the festival and the Association have dealt with the formation of thousands of young artists from all over the world, with the aim of consolidating a reality that too often goes unnoticed and give the opportunity to emerging musicians to participate at a primary visibility event for the world of brass and music.
The mission is the enhancement of great Italian and foreign talents, through promotion and cultural exchange. The festival gives the opportunity to young students, new professionals and professionals to take part in an event of international importance, to play and learn from the most important musicians in the world of brass, being part of the greatest orchestras, conservatories and universities.
The high level of training and the quality of the event were rewarded with the bronze medal of the President of the Republic and with many other awards, obtained for the importance of the event and for involving generations of young musicians, who were trained and they have become excellent interpreters.
The Italian Brass Week has moved to various locations in Tuscany, Santa Fiora, Vinci, to land last year in Florence, because Florence is an important reference for cultural growth. It is a city devoted to hospitality and already culturally renowned as a meeting point between present and past.
During these years the artistic quality of the festival has always been guaranteed by the presence of virtuosos and soloists from all over the world, Italian, European and international teachers, jazz bands and brass ensembles who participate, compare and play together in an important moment for the professional growth of all the young people taking part in the festival.
This is one of my pieces entitled ‘Romance’ that was played and recorded by the Jubilee Quartet at Lauderdale House in Highgate London in 2012. It was my contribution to an evening of music composed by members of the London Composers’ Forum.
Stephen is an impressive live performer and successful recording artist in both film and music industries. He has worked directly with Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe on background music for street scenes and scene links for Guy Ritchie’s film ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and played at the film premier at 1 Mayfair.
He is the founder member of the original Punchbowl Band and has played at innumerable private functions at the Punchbowl in Mayfair(Guy Ritchie’s pub!) and at a host of other well known London venues e.g. Black’s Club (Soho) Bortch n’ Tears (Kensington) Lobster Pot (Kennington) BBC Studios (Friday Night is Music Night)and 55 Exhibition Road (Corporate Venue)
He has also played with various bands and band combinations at weddings and corporate functions in the UK, Southern Ireland, Norway(Oslo), France (Paris) Brittany (Rennes and Nantes)Portugal (Estoril)and Bulgaria.
Stemming from his orchestral experience mainly with the Northern Ireland Studio Symphony Orchestra( first violin) current projects include ensemble arrangement and musical direction of early music of the middle Baroque period, and the composition of original pieces for string quartet.One such piece entitled ‘Romance’ was performed and recently recorded by the Jubilee Quartet.
Stephen has also written a number of pieces with an original slant (although with conventional chord structures) for wind band comprising up to 40 instruments one of which has been performed by the Lewisham Concert Band.He is a long time member of PRS/MCPS and has over fifty of his original compositions registered with them.He continues to work on new compositions in a range of styles including Classical/Celtic/Gipsy/Latin and Trad jazz.
For more information about Stephen Mulhern and contact details, visit Linkedin.
Gail Ford is a pianist/accompanist/oboist, based near Cambridge but working throughout the UK and Europe.
Gail studied at Manchester University, and later privately with teachers such as Nina Walker, Gordon Back and Clifton Helliwell. Her performing experience ranges from music hall to grand opera, including recitals, auditions, rehearsals and silent movies.
She has played in many prestigious venues including the Barbican, South Bank Centre, the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, the Embassy of the Czech Republic and the Italian Consulate, and her clients have included English Heritage, The Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, wedding parties, music societies, corporates and cinemas.
With the Collaborative Orchestra and Singers, she was a semi-finalist (oboe) on Britain’s Got Talent 2016, and also took part in the 10 Day Orchestra Challenge. She performs for rehearsals, performance, auditions and functions.
Available for bookings, session and recordings. Contact Gail to check availabilty and discuss fees
As An Oboist
As well as having orchestral experience, Gail plays regularly in wind and concert bands, chamber ensembles, pit bands, in solo recitals and in duo with the flautist Andrea Dunton.
She is especially interested in using the oboe in jazz & Latin-American music, and has recently performed for the sixth year in the Summer Music Season at St John’s Stratford, East London, with a programme of jazz arrangements, and has also performed with the London Phoenix Orchestra and The Collaborative Orchestra at St John’s Smith’s Square, as well as not a few jam sessions! She is available for functions, pit band, session, commercial and group work. She has a classical training, but also plays by ear, and improvises, in jazz, blues, rock & funk styles – if you need a reading musician who can also work in jazz, Latin-American, soul and other fields, she can help you. She can also record and send tracks to you via the Internet.
˜Because You Asked Me ” is a beautiful recording, a very organic moment of music, simplistic in elements, yet vast and calming in its output. The oboe is not so commonly heard as the leading instrument in modern music, but it’s a gorgeous sounding instrument and is played with great skill and grace throughout this track.
The piano backing piece is a fairly big part of the recording, the playing in this case is crisp and confident and effective and it contrasts well with the gentler, more dreamlike sound of the wind instrument. Both work well together though, and one without the other would possibly be somewhat less captivating. The music is the sort that you can put on for those reflective moments at home, writing perhaps, thinking deeply, staring out of the window on a rainy day. The notes throughout the piece are the sort that conjure up quite a nostalgic array of imagery; films from way back when, a mellow jazz bar, maybe some quieter times. It’s likely that it’s the kind of music that means something quite different to each person who hears it, and that it’s the beauty of it in many ways. To each their own in how they receive and experience the sound.
The music takes you on a journey, the melody of the oboe tells a story, and the break towards the middle of the track “ when the piano takes the lead for a while “ is a moment to let go for a while. It’s a well placed break and, all in all, despite its simplicity, there is a strong and clever use of structure throughout that keeps things interesting, whilst always relevant and fitting. It’s a fairly unique sound and a pleasure to listen to.
Trinidadian soprano Jeanine De Bique joins Chineke! to perform ‘Rejoice greatly’ from Messiah by Handel. This was Chineke’s first appearance at the BBC Proms and a fantastic Proms debut for Jeanine.
“An absolutely wonderful performance. It was a wonderful decision for it to be performed faster than most singers can manage. With her extreme virtuosity and confident control of her instrument, singing it at this speed really shows off her voice . Stunning performance.”
“What a voice! I got goose bumps right through the rendition because I could not control the emotions that I felt. That emotion is monumentally imbued in her clinical virtuosity”
At FFM, we want to highlight new and aspiring musical talent wherever we find it and where better than the many Music Colleges, Universities and Schools around the world. Our new feature ‘Spotlight on a Music Student’ is an opportunity for you or someone you know to step into the spotlight and share your talent, dreams and ambitions with the musical world.
All you have to do is send us your information, pictures, videos, sound clips and links and we will compile your feature.