Archive for: April, 2014

Brass Area Seminar – April 17, 2014

This week’s Brass Area Seminar featured by five chamber groups, including the Old Capitol Brass Quintet, a Trombone Quartet, a Horn Quartet, a Tuba/Euphonium Quartet and a Trumpet Quintet. I was very impressed with all of the performances and quite proud to heard such great music making from everyone. Due to the full program, we will be posting our comments here and invite all students to post theirs as well.

Here are my comments and observations:

1. Old Capitol Brass Quintet (Hidas) – The group blend and expression was excellent. The tone of the very opening was so bright it sounded angry, but warmed up quite nicely. Remember, when projecting in the forte range to think of it more as “full” than  “loud” to maintain a nice tone. The balance in this room (Music West Atrium) was excellent and the group blended well. The tuba/trombone triplets weren’t quite together on the triplets before the horn solo. Megan, nice job on the solo. Be sure to let the longer notes and ending notes “sing” a bit more. The pitch and tone matching while muted still needs work. Nice group phrasing in slow, homo-rhythmic section. During some individual solos, even the short ones, the clarity and response needs improvement. Great ending and overall an excellent performance.

2. Trombone Quartet (Agrell – Gospel Time) Collegium Tubum has performed this work several times and it’s great to have a resident composer in the brass area [who gave you a well-deserved standing ovation!] Nice group blend, but be sure to maintain a consistent pulse to maintain that great momentum you created. Great solos by everyone. Be sure to work on pitch and tone at the top of your ranges. In the last fast section, watch the intonation on the octaves. Great job guys!

3. Horn Quartet (Verne Reynolds) Nice job and beautiful selection. Be sure to work on starting cleanly and make sure everyone is ready. I would suggest making better eye contact and breathing together in time. Low horns should strive to be more solid on pitch, as the upper horns are relying on you for a foundation to tune to. Nice work!


4. Tuba/Euphonium Quartet (Brink) Nice shirts! Very nice performance overall. A few things: Jayna, remember to stand to announce and speak loudly and clearly. Sometimes the rhythm/time is a bit inconsistent. Remember that when playing minimalistic music (that repeats a lot of material) you must be consistent with both playing and breathing. Occasionally the transition from triplets to duple rhythm rushed. Great variety of dynamics and overall affect.

5. Trumpet Quartet  (City Scapes by Eric Morales) Very nice group sound. Lower trumpets should strive for a warmer tone in the low range. Great energy and group momentum. Try adding a decrescendo to vamps; this strongly sets the groove then gets the background out of the way to introduce the melody. In the second and third movements, make sure that the melody and harmony balances – sometimes the harmony overpowered the melody. I loved the mouthpiece tapping effect, especially when the valves were activated to change the pitch – I have never heard that extended technique. Great job everyone!

Thank you again to all of the performers, and remember to start planning YOUR chamber music group for next semester!