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Corno da tirarsi

Javier Sarría wrote (January 19, 2004):
In the third volume of the complete recordings of Bach Cantatas by Koopman is nr. 162 in the Weimar versios. There is an appendix with the bass aria and the chorale in the version of Leipzig. Some of the changes were the inclusion of a tromba da tirarsi doubling the viola part in the first case and the voices in the second. Wolff, in his notes, writes slide trumpet i.e."tromba da tirarsi",and the player is a trumpetist, but in the specification of the instuments in the track listig one can read "corno da tirarsi"

Are "tomba da tirarsi" and "corno da tirarsi" two different instruments or the same?

Riccardo Nughes wrote (January 19, 2004):
< Are "tromba da tirarsi" and "corno da tirarsi" two different instruments or the same? >
It seems they were the same instrument :
http://www.matthewparkertrumpets.com/periodin.htm
You can see it here :
http://www.corno.de/schmid/deu-eng/naturhornmodelle.htm

Riccardo Nughes wrote (January 19, 2004):
Obviously the instrument-maker speaking in the second link has a different opinion ^__^
Therewere also some interesting considerations about this instrument in the notes of one of the Suzuki serie cds, but I don't have at hand right now.

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 19, 2004):
Javier Sarría asked: >>Are "tomba da tirarsi" and "corno da tirarsi" two different instruments or the same?<<
From the book by Gisela & Jozsef Csiba, “Die Blechblasinstrumente in J. S. Bachs Werken” (Merseburger, 1994) p. 51-56, here are some observations about this instrument:

[The critical bit of information that distinguishes this instruments from other ‘Corno-type’ instruments is the ‘da tirarsi’ = a slide (a straight piece of tubing unlike the ‘crooks’ (extra curved extensions that were added to the ‘corno’-horn to change pitch and modify the quality of sound – these became more common toward the middle of the 18th century. This ‘slide’ (or extension) was added to (placed between the mouthpiece and the rest of the horn, or sometimes the mouthpiece was directly attached to a different length of straight tube) to change the pitch so that tones/notes, other than the ‘natural’ horn tones/notes, could be played. Without the ‘slide’ the number of notes that could be played cleanly and accurately was much smaller. As the word ‘slide’ indicates, it was possible to ‘slide’ the extension into a position which would facilitate the production of notes not otherwise attainable. There is some similarity here to manner in which the slide trombone functions, the difference being that the slide trombone can achieve different sounding lengths very easily. With the Corno da tirarsi (it is the same with the Tromba da tirarsi), a mouthpiece had to be removed to add the extension, or else a whole new section (longer or shorter) with mouthpiece attached had to replace the one being used.]

The Corno da tirarsi used by Bach was an instrument 8 feet long [other corno-type instruments were longer: Corno in F (12 feet long), Corno in D (14 ‘) and the Corno in C (16 ‘).] He used it as follows:

BWV 46/1 (1723 version) Designation: Tromba o Corno da tirarsi in C
BWV 46/3 Tromba o Corno da tirarsi in B
BWV 46/6 Tromba o Corno da tirarsi in C (cantus firmus)

BWV 67/1 (1724 version) Corno da tirarsi in A
BWV 67/4 Corno da tirarsi in C (cantus firmus)
BWV 67/7 Corno da tirarsi in C (cantus firmus)

BWV 162/1 Corno da tirarsi in C (1715)
BWV 162/6 Corno da tirarsi in C (1715 but changed to Tromba da tirarsi (1723)

The Corno da tirarsi in C must have been an instrument of the same length with the same number of notes available as the Tromba da tirarsi. It must have been a tightly-coiled Corno da caccia in C with a longer extension tube (with the possibility of the replacement slide extension (straight, not curved). The same difference due to the slide extension exists with the Tromba vs. Tromba da tirarsi just as it does here with the Corno da caccia vs. Corno da tirarsi. The extension tube/slide of the latter was 20 cm. long. It could be pushed in or pulled out thus allowing pitch adjustments to accommodate the pitch of various organs, as well as making notes available to the player that were otherwise unattainable without this aid. By sliding this extension, its length could be adjusted up to a total length of 28 cm. The drawback with the horn-type instruments having their tubing tightly coiled is that they were unable to accommodate a large extension slide. As a result it was still necessary to choose an instrument with its ‘basic note’ [‘Grundton’] so that the extension could be pulled all the way out, thus making the greatest number of notes playable.

In contrast to the Tromba da tirarsi, it is possible for a Corno da tirarsi to be tuned more than a whole tone downwards without causing a ‘mistuning’ of the natural horn notes that are available.

After 1724 Bach never composed any more music for the Corno da tirarsi. It would appear that the 16’ Corno in C which offers the playability of the same number of notes as the Corno da tirarsi while being easier to play generally than the latter instrument. The tone quality of both instruments is quite similar.

A modern reconstruction of a ‘Baroque Horn’ [Corno da caccia, Trumpet horn] with all the currently available ‘crooks’ (not used by Bach) and ‘bits’ (extensions/slides) can be seen at: http://www.thein-brass.de/index_en.php

The real Corno da tirarsi should look more like the instrument (Corno da caccia in C) which Gottfried Reiche holds in his right hand in his famous portrait (a copper engraving) by Chr. Fr. Rosbach (1727) based upon a painting by E. G. Haußmann. It is rather small, compact, and tightly coiled. It looks a bit like a miniature French horn.

Javier Sarría wrote (January 20, 2004):
[To Riccardo Nughes & Thomas Braatz] Thank you very much, Riccardo and of course Thomas. Is a privilege for me to have someone who wants to share his knowledge with others.

Ludwig wrote (January 20, 2004):
Corno da tirarsi---a soprano trombone?

[To Riccardo Nughes] It would then appear that the c. da t. is a soprano tronbone? Reports of other authors state that among the town musicians (Leipzig and other towns Bach lived) were trombonists.

Riccardo Nughes wrote (January 20, 2004):
Corno da tirarsi & Suzuki

In the liner notes of vol.3 in the Suzuki cycle here what is told about Corno da tirarsi in the Cantata BWV 162:
"At the time of the Leipzig performance, the first movement was augmented by a "corno da tirarsi" to the string ensemble. The name of the instrument isoften translated as "slide horn" but, unlike, the "slide trumpet" (tromba da tirarsi) very little is known about its characteristics. Some are of the opinion that it and the slide trumpet are one and the same instrument ; in either case this recording features the Weimar version of the Cantata, so a more detailed investigation into the nature of the slide horn is deferred until the recording of Cantatas such as BWV 46 or BWV 67".

Suzuki recorded BWV 46 in vol.11 & BWV 67 in vol.18 : which instruments he used in these recordings? Any rilevant info from the booklets (incidentally I don't have yet these 2 CDs) ?

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 20, 2004):
Riccardo asked: >>Suzuki recorded BWV 46 in vol.11 & BWV 67 in vol.18 : which instruments he used in these recordings? Any rilevant info from the booklets?<<
For Cantata BWV 46 Masaaki Suzuki () states:

“Continuing from the last volume of cantatas, the major problem of the brass instruments remains. In particular, BWV 46, BWV 67, and BWV 162 are known to scholars as cantatas calling for the ‘corno da tirarsi.’ But what is this ‘corno da tirarsi?’ A direct translation of the words yields ‘horn with a slide,’ but no such instrument currently exists. In the original part for BWV 46, the unique indication “Tromba ô Corno da tirarsi’ appears in Bach’s own handwriting: the meaning of this has been debated roundly, but no single resolution has emerged.

To begin with, whether it be a trumpet or a horn (these instruments were played by the same players,) it is a basic principle of all valveless baroque horns that they use only natural overtones; to produce a series of sequentially higher notes such as a scale using only the lips demanded considerable technique. Since Bach often required notes in his compositions that could not be played using natural overtones, a slide was used to change the length of the instrument itself (thereby changing the base note of the overtones,) enabling the notes to be played. The means of attaching a slide to a trumpet is relatively simple, but it is difficult to believe that it is possible to attach a slide to a horn.

Setting scholarly debate aside, Bach Collegium Japan trumpet player Toshio Shimada has succeeded in developing a horn with a slide which is capable of playing parts that call for more than natural overtones; we have made use of this solution in this series. But in truth, particularly in the opening and 3rd mvt. of BWV 46 and the opening mvt. of BWV 95, specific adjustments were necessary to accommodate the key of each piece and the tempo as it was established in the course of rehearsal.”

On the performance of BWV 67, Masaaki Suzuki (2001) states:
“One of the principal difficulties presented when performing this work involves the ‘corno da tirarsi’ (slide horn) required in the 1st, 4th, and 7th mvts: it is unclear to which instrument this refers. We in the Bach Collegium Japan have attempted to recreate Bach’s original idea, and Toshio Shimada has developed a slide horn which can be used in performances of this work. In the original parts, however, only the 1st mvt is written for a transposing instrument, and the 4th and 7th mvts. are written at concert pitch. There is thus no way of resolving doubts as to whether a different type of instrument was used for these pieces or whether the change is related to the type of piece.”

From these excerpts it appears to me that:

1) Suzuki is attempting to come as close as possible to recreating the original sound of the instrument that Bach has called for. This is admirable considering the availability of such ‘baroque horns’ (the example by the Thein Brothers that I shared) that seem equipped much more easily to play all of Bach’s horn parts without having to change instruments as was the case in Bach’s day.

2) Although it is difficult to tell from these brief excerpts with no bibliography given, it would appear that Suzuki may not have read and studied the book by the Csibas which I mentioned and from which I provided a summary of pertinent information in an earlier message.

3) By indicating ‘Tromba da tirarsi’ or ‘Corno da tirarsi,’ Bach may have been more interested in having the brass part played accurately and cleanly, and was not as concerned about which brass player would actually be available at the time of the performance. Although Bach’s brass players were generally expected to be flexible in shifting from instrument to instrument even from one mvt. to the next within a cantata, there may have been some (1st and 2nd chair players?) who may have become more specialized or preferred playing only certain instruments, this would mean that the 3rd player, if and when he appeared for performances, would more likely be expected to be even more flexible in the choice of instrument. In any case, whichever instrument could be played most accurately by the player who appeared would then be chosen. (Just a guess on my part.)

 

Higher or lower octave for horns (was: Corni da caccia in BWV 83)

Continue of discussion from: Cantata BWV 83 - Discussions Part 2

Neil Halliday wrote (March 9, 2006):
I checked all the internet samples of BWV 65's tenor aria (admittedly `corni' and not `corni da caccia' are used); of the modern instrument ensembles including Ramin, Richter, and Karlhoefer, only Rilling and Funfgeld play the horn parts in the higher octave (as written). Of the period instrument groups (including Koopman and Suzuki) only McCreesh plays in the higher octave. Harnoncourt and Leusink have the roughest/coarsest sounding horns; Koopman's are acceptably `smooth' for modern ears, IMO.

Thanks for raising this matter - I was unaware of the divergence of opinion regarding the correct octave in which the horns should sound.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 9, 2006):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< Of the period instrument groups (including Koopman andSuzuki) only McCreesh plays in the higher octave. Harnoncourt and Leusink have the roughest/coarsest sounding horns; Koopman's are acceptably `smooth' for modern ears, IMO. >
In the notes of one his Bach recordings (orit may have been in a journal article) McCreesh speaks of a conversation with Harnoncourt who wanted his horns to play "in alt" but didn't have competent players. The Missa Brevis in F on his "Epiphany Mass" is quite extraordinary with its high-flying horns. They have none of the mellow, tenor-range which is familiar from the post-Wagnerian orchestra. In fact, they have the intensity of trumpets. Many of the cantatas with horns (i.e. Wie Schon Leuchtet and Was Mir Behagt) would sound very different if the horns played "in alt". A similar problem exists in Handel's oratorios where the horns "double" the trumpets -- but at which octave?

Richard wrote (March 9, 2006):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< I checked all the internet samples of BWV 65's tenor aria (admittedly `corni' and not `corni da caccia' are used); >
I do agreee. Corni da caccia were unusual instruements at church in 1724, Bach needed a strong effect, not smooth sounds. They personnified the hunter of souls.

 

Horns & Trumpets

Continue of discussion from: Secular Cantatas - General Discussions Part 2 [General Topics]

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 13, 2011):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Graupner and Telemann and Stölzel scored cantatas with plenty of movements with horns, trumpets and timpani (and in some cases more than two drums). >
Handel routinely gave trumpets and horns the same music to play: The March around Jericho in "Joshua" is a famous example. I read somewhere that Handel expected horns "in alt" to double trumpets, even in such famous trumpet movements as the "Hallelujah" Chorus in Messiah. I remain dubious about the latter, but the deployment of brass in "Joshua" is breathtaking, including a rare use of brass in a minor-key chorus, "Almighty ruler of the skies."

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (February 13, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Handel routinely gave trumpets and horns the same music to play: The March around Jericho in "Joshua" is a famous example. I read somewhere that Handel expected horns "in alt" to double trumpets, even in such famous trumpet movements as the "Hallelujah" Chorus in Messiah. I remain dubious about the latter, but the deployment of brass in "Joshua" is breathtaking, including a rare use of brass in a minor-key chorus, "Almighty ruler of the skies." >
Thave independent parts in the instances I know with Graupner and Telemann. Graupner uses horns as a more middle voicing in harmony. The person who asked about this mentioned Handel's Fireworks music-- Telemann had done his own two settings in Hamburg of "Royal Fireworks Music" years before Handel did so in 1749. Like Handel, Telemann's settings were for outdoors performances, with large scale settings for trumpets, horns, and timpani.

Fascinating thread as usual ;)

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (February 15, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] I am still trying to find out information about Bach's requirement for Tromba da tirisi or Slide trumpet in English which is a misnomer because it leads one to believe that this is somekind of Trombone. Anyone have a photo reference for this instrument--I would appreciate hearing from you.

This is what I know--this instrument was made to provide chromatic passages which the natural trumpet normally can not do except from the C above mid C on the piano. It was rather awkward to play and rapid passages rather difficult to do and not feasible to write.

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (February 15, 2011):
[To Ludwig] Maybe this can help? http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tromba_da_tirarsi

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 16, 2011):
[To Thérèse Hanquet] For related discussion (without illustration) see: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Horn.htm

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (February 16, 2011):
[To Ed Myskowski] Thanks. I was seeking both info to distinquish this instrument from trombones and photos especially for a book/paper that I am writing---preferably copyright free or owned by some kind soul who would allow me to use them with full credit to them given. I found a Brass instrument maker (EGER) in Switzerland who had some excellent photos and does make them in case anyone on the list is intrested in buying. He makes copies of the same type that would have been available to Bach's Trumpeters.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (February 17, 2011):
[To Ed Myskowski] Thanks I wish this article was in English. The English version on this topic is not a very good one.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (February 17, 2011):
[To Thérèse Hanquet] Thanks.

 

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