Blogs

In Regards to Spanish Concert Music for Brass Ensemble

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Introduction

At the beginning of the seventies, of the last century, there was an increase in concert music in Spain for trumpet, horn, trombone and tuba groups, an event that coincided with its constitution in 1972, the first formation of this type in Spain: the Spanish Radio and Television Brass Ensemble (abbreviated in Spanish as GMRTVE). This ensemble was active until 2004 and denominated Spanish Brass Ensemble, causing us to fix the chronological structure in 1981, as we explained in our investigation.

Therefore, we must clarify that well into the twentieth century, the expression brass ensemble or brass choir was used for any number of formations that were exclusively composed of instruments such as trumpet, horn, trombone and tuba. However, it wasn’t until 1950 that this title began to be used referring to a group formed of six or more heterogeneous brass instruments, with or without percussion, mainly in North American bibliographies. This occurred around the same time as the standardization of the brass quintet — two trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba, as well as the normalization of the brass trio as trumpet, horn and trombone.

Similarly, we should not forget that the phrase brass ensemble also serves to differentiate another group, the brass band, which is an ensemble of around twenty-five brass instruments — mostly conical brass instruments such as the piston horn, the flugelhorn and the tuba — the ensemble originating in the United Kingdom in the 1930’s.

On the other hand, we want to emphasize that the musical historiography did not deal with the repertoire that was the center of our investigation. We didn’t even find literature in Spain that defined the expression of brass ensemble, and even, whenever music of this type had been interpreted in Spain, prior to the formation of the Spanish Radio and Television Brass Ensemble, it was announced as a certain orchestra, without mention of any type of ensemble for brass like we are investigating. Thus, in our work to catalogue such performances, we use the historiographical references published at the international level (mainly in the English language) in order to highlight numerous articles from specialized journals, monographs, collective works and several investigations defended at various American universities.

A concert program of the GMRTVE, live broadcast of the program Dimecres de Ràdio Nacional (1976).

Finally, we specified “Concert Music” in the title to show that this music was meant to be performed in the context of a concert, that it is not just music with brass. This music had a specific purpose and does not include music such as parade music or processions of a civil, military or religious character. In addition, we focus on original works written for the formation of six or more heterogeneous brass instruments. We do not include different adaptations or transcriptions of composite pieces for other types of instruments or templates, nor the scores that originally were written as a part or movement of a larger work.

In all, the main objective of this work explains that there was a double perspective: on the one hand, the study of the genesis, trajectory and characteristics of the GMRTVE between 1972 and 1981; on the other, the study and analysis of the seventeen original pieces that were composed during these years.

The structure of the investigation

The doctoral thesis, Concert Music for Brass Ensemble in Spain: a study and analysis of repertory for Spanish Radio and Television Brass Ensemble (1972-1981) is organized in four chapters that have a double perspective — historical and analytical — which is included in the research.

Chapter I, Background. Characteristics, circumstances and purposes of the concert repertoire for brass ensemble between 1900 and 1972 in Spain, is an historical tour, at an international level, of the original concert pieces for brass ensemble — from the second half of the sixteenth century until the end of the 1960’s — and ending with the study of the following ten works written by eight Spanish authors between 1900 and 1972:

  • Fanfare sobre el nombre de Arbós (1934), by Manuel de Falla.
  • Miniatures 5-XI (1944) and Miniatures 5-XII (1944), by Ricard Lamote de Grignon.
  • Fanfàrria en homenatge a Picasso (ca. 1950), by Xavier Montsalvatge.
  • Four Preludes for Brass and Timpani (1962), by Lluís Benejam.
  • Misa de la juventud (1965) and In memoriam Anaïck (1966), by Cristóbal Halffter.
  • Sinfonías para 17 metales (1966), by Luis de Pablo.
  • Pater Noster (1966), by José Peris.
  • Pregón para una Pascua pobre (1968), by Rodolfo Halffter.

Chapter II, the Spanish Radio and Television Brass Ensemble (1972-1981): genesis, formation and trajectory, was devoted to the study of this ensemble through six epigraphs that addressed, among other issues, the genesis and formation of the group, the repertoire used in their performances during those years, and the biographical trajectories of the fourteen performers who participated in the ensemble’s activities between 1972 and 1981:

  • Trumpets: José Chicano Cisneros (1972-1981), Ricardo Gasent Castellanos (1972-1981), Juan Sánchez Luque (1972-1977) and Enrique Rioja Lis (1977-1981).
  • Horns: Luis Morató Salvador (1972-1981), Salvador Seguer Juan (1972-1975) and Jesús Troya Pérez (1975-1981).
  • Trombones: Benjamín Esparza Gil (1972-1979), Humberto Martínez Aguilar (1979), Francisco Muñoz Pavón (1973-1981), Benito del Castillo Bueno (1974) and Pedro Botías Berzosa (1974-1981).
  • Tubas: José Luis López Caballero (1972-1974, 1980), and Ramón Benavent Peris (1979-1981).

Spanish Brass Ensemble [LP] (1987). From left to right: Troya, Botías, Gasent, Benavent, Morató, Muñoz, Rioja and Chicano.
Chapters III and IV present a parallel structure within two subparagraphs constituting the concert repertoire of the seventeen scores that were studied for brass ensembles in Spain, during the chronological framework covered by the thesis.

On one hand, in Chapter III, titled The growth of concert music for brass ensembles in Spain: study and analysis of the musical creation dedicated to the Spanish Radio and Television Brass Ensemble (1972-1981), the ten compositions included were the following:

  • Zubi berrian (1973), Lúa, lúa (1973) and Agur jaunak (1976), by José María Sanmartín (1927-1977).
  • Divertimento (1973), by Narcís Bonet (1933).
  • Irradiaciones (1973), by Ángel Arteaga (1928-1984).
  • Reguladores (1974), by Carlos Cruz de Castro (1941).
  • Pequeña suite para grupo de metales (1975), by Manuel Berná (1915-2011).
  • Divertimento para Carlos (ca.1975), by José Chicano (1929-ca.1998).
  • Diaphonias (1975), by José Peris (1924-2017).
  • Églogas (1979), by Jesús Villa Rojo (1940).
The first measures of Zubi berrian (Sanmartín).
The first measures of Reguladores (Castro).
The first measures of Diaphonias (Peris).

On the other hand, in Chapter IV, titled The study and analysis of other compositions of concert music for brass ensemble in Spain between 1972 and 1981, we studied the following seven compositions:

  • Jondo (1974) and Anemos A (1975), by Francisco Guerrero Marín (1951-1997).
  • Música para metales, órgano y timbales (1976), by Luis Blanes Arqués (1929-2009).
  • Suite litúrgica (1976), by Amando Blanquer Ponsoda (1935-2005).
  • Concierto para sexteto de metales (1976), by Miguel Grande Martín (1940).
  • Aforismos (1977), by Jesús Legido González (1943).
  • Fanfarria a Picasso (1979), by Cristóbal Halffter (1930).
The first measures of Anemos A (Guerrero).
The first measures of the Concierto para sexteto de metales (Grande).

Conclusions

Regarding the general conclusions of the investigation, we will highlight in the following:

The Spanish Radio and Television Brass Ensemble was the starting point of the history brass ensembles in Spain, the first ensemble to produce a stable character that was organized in Spain and which was dedicated to concert music for brass instruments. Its impact on musical practice since the seventies was considerable, given that different cities in Spain had created different groups or ensembles that had very similar characteristics; the most recent were the Sevilla City Brass Septet in 1977, as well as the Santa Cecilia (Ferrol) Brass Ensemble and the National Brass Ensemble (Madrid), both in 1980.

In 1972, eight members of the Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra, who were in favor of producing a wider stage for their instruments and the typical brass quintet, decided to start an ensemble constituting of an octet of three trumpets, two horns, two trombones and a tuba. This list of instruments, agreed upon after their first set of rehearsals, were not regularly used in other countries, since we only found two previous scores dedicated by foreign composers such as: Serenade n.1 (1928) by Winfried Zillig (1905-1963), and Contrasts by Marcel Franck, edited in 1967 by Bourne Company Music Publishers. Consequently, we can point out that the GMRTVE was the first worldwide brass ensemble that had a fixed group of three trumpets, two horns, two trombones and a tuba.

The members of the GMRTVE who participated in the first concert in August 1973 were José Chicano, Ricardo Gasent and Juan Sánchez Luque (trumpets), Luis Morató and Salvador Seguer (horns), Benjamín Esparza and Francisco Muñoz (trombones), and José Luis López Caballero (tuba); on the other hand, those that made the 1981 recording that gave rise to the first LP (recording) of a brass ensemble in Spain — Grupo de Metales de R.T.V.E. (Damitor, 1981) were José Chicano, Ricardo Gasent and Enrique Rioja (trumpets), Luis Morató and Jesús Troya (horns), Pedro Botías and Francisco Muñoz (trombones), and Ramón Benavent (tuba). Likewise, we want to clarify that throughout the decade of established chronology, the trombonists Benito del Castillo (in 1974) and Humberto Martínez Aguilar (in 1979) also participated in very specific activities.

1974 Promotion. Standing left to right: Chicano, Gasent y Sánchez Luque (trumpets), and Esparza (bass trombone). Seated left to right: Seguer (horn), Muñoz (flugelhorn), Morató (horn) and Castillo (trombone).

Regarding the resources and compositional materials used in the scores we have analyzed, we emphasize that they respond to very different musical languages:

One extreme would be those works that we frame in an avant-garde style, such as Irradiaciones by Arteaga, Reguladores by Cruz de Castro, Jondo and Anemos A by Guerrero, Diaphonias by Peris, and Églogas by Villa Rojo. In these, random indications were shown in terms of measurement and tempo, as well as a special prevalence of dissonant sonorities, formed by harmonic sets with chromatic density. In the same way, some technical advances were called upon in order for the brass instrument to perform the music. Among these advances were multiphonics, blowing without buzzing, flutter tonguing, glissandi and the oscillation of the sound.

The first measures of Irradiaciones (Arteaga).

At the other end we would find Divertimento by Bonet, and the three pieces by Sanmartín — Zubi berrianLúa, lúa and Agur jaunak. The four works contain exposed structures and harmonic resources typical of the tonal tradition.

The first measures from the 4th movement of Divertimento (Bonet).

On the other hand, we would group the titles Concierto para sexteto de metales by Grande, and Aforismos by Legido as two atonal works, which the harmonic formations are predominated by quarter tones.

The first measures of Aforismos (Legido).

What is left, would be the Música para metales, órgano y percusión by Blanes, and Suite litúrgica by Blanquer. With these works, the melodic lines and harmonies are presented with high chromatic density, but always within the limits of tonality or tonal music.

The first measures (Trumpet I) of the 2nd movement from Suite litúrgica (Blanquer).

A catalogue of concert music for brass ensemble written in Spain between 1900-1981


Fanfare sobre el nombre de Arbós (1934), by Manuel de Falla (1876-1946).
1’18’’
T: (3.4.0.0) + timpani + 2 percussionists (military snare and open snare).
D: Enrique Fernández Arbós.
P: Calderón Theater of Madrid (03/28/1934); Madrid Symphony Orchestra & Enrique Fernández Arbós (dir.).
E: Ricordi [PR 667] (1953), as the first movement of the Suite homenajes (1939).


Miniaturas 5 – XI (1944), by Ricard Lamote de Grignon (1899-1962).
1’40’’
T: (3.0.3.1).
E: Clivis Publicacions [S 42] (1998), as a part of the series Miniaturas.


Miniaturas 5 – XII (1944), by Ricard Lamote de Grignon (1899-1962).
2’10’’
T: (4.4.3.1).
E: Clivis Publicacions [S 42] (1998), as a part of the series Miniaturas.


Fanfàrria en homenatge a Picasso (ca. 1950), by Xavier Montsalvatge (1912-2002).
2’
T: (3.0.3.0) + 3 percussionists (castanets, whip and snare drum).
D: Pablo Ruiz Picasso.
E: Tritó [TR 00069] (2001).


Four Preludes for Brass and Timpani (1962), by Lluís Benejam (1914-1968).
5’20’’
T: (3.1.2.0) + timpani.
E: Tritó [E 273] (1998).


Misa de la juventud (1965), by Cristóbal Halffter (1930).
18’
T: (2.2.3.1) + 1 percussionist (snare) + narrator + mixed choir.
D: National Youth Delegation and his children, María & Alonso Halffter Caro.
P: Festival of Santiago (07/25/1965), according to Gan Quesada; pilgrimage of the Spanish Youth Organization of Santiago (09/03/1965), according to the media during that time. Two types of premieres may be considered — the first being private or semi-public, and the second as public and official.
C: National Youth Delegation, 25th anniversary of the creation of the Youth Front.


In memoriam Anaïck (1966), by Cristóbal Halffter (1930).
5’
T: (2.2.3.1) + narrator + mixed choir of 5 voices (SATBarB) + 6 percussionists or, in place of, narrator + mixed choir of 5 voices (SATBarB) + organ, harmonium, or piano; the feminine voice correspond to a children’s choir.
D: In memory of the deceased daughter of architect Miguel Fisac — her name was Anaïck.
P: Inauguration of the Saint Anne Church in Moratalaz (Madrid), project by Fisac (12/18/1966); choir of the Dominican Fathers of Saint Peter Martyr & Our Lady of Memory Boys Choir, Pablo López de Osaba (dir.).
E: Universal Edition [UE 20059] (1973).


Sinfonías para 17 metales (1966), by Luis de Pablo (1930).
T: (7.4.4.2); trumpets used are piccolo, three standard trumpets (in Bb or C), bass trumpet & two flugelhorns (in Bb & Eb); a euphonium & a bass tuba or contra-tuba.
D: Rodolfo Halffter & wife.
P: Ministry of Information and Tourism of Madrid Auditorium (11/18/1966); Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra & Enrique García Asensio (dir.).
E: Salabert [MC 407].
C: Spanish National Radio.


Pater Noster (1966), by José Peris (1924-2017).
T: Brass ensemble of “trumpets & trombones” + three masculine voices (TBarB) + organ.
D: Composer’s firstborn.
P: Baptism of the composer’s son (1966); live in concert, in homage of Peris by the Zaragoza Philharmonic Society (2007).


Pregón para una Pascua pobre (1968), by Rodolfo Halffter (1900-1987).
T: (3.0.3.0) + reciter + mixed choir (SATB) + timpani + 5 percussionists (orchestral chimes, snare, bombo, tam-tam y tambourine).
P: VII Week of Religious Music of Cuenca (04/14/1968), Arcas Romanic Church; Federico Sopeña (reciter), “polyphonic group”, Madrid Philharmonic Orchestra & Odón Alonso (dir.).
E: Religious Music Institute, Cuenca (1969).
C: General Music Commission.


Zubi berrian (1973), by José María Sanmartín (1927-1977).
3’45’’
T: (3.2.2.1).
D: GMRTVE.
P: V Music Festival of Sevilla (10/02/1973), El Salvador Church; Chicano, Gasent & Sánchez Luque (trumpets), Morató & Seguer (horns), Esparza & Muñoz (trombones), and López Caballero (tuba).
C: GMRTVE.
R: Spanish National Radio (01/21/1974), program National Radio Mondays, Fénix Auditorium in Madrid; GMRTVE.


Divertimento (1973), by Narcís Bonet (1933).
18’30’’
T: (3.2.2.1).
D: V Music Festival of Sevilla.
P: V Music Festival of Sevilla (10/02/1973), El Salvador Church; Chicano, Gasent & Sánchez Luque (trumpets), Morató & Seguer (horns), Esparza & Muñoz (trombones), and López Caballero (tuba).
C: General Music Commission.
R: Spanish National Radio (01/21/1974), program National Radio Mondays, Fénix Auditorium in Madrid; GMRTVE.


Lúa, lúa (1973), by José María Sanmartín (1927-1977).
2’50’’
T: (3.2.2.1).
P: V Music Festival of Sevilla (10/02/1973), El Salvador Church; Chicano, Gasent & Sánchez Luque (trumpets), Morató & Seguer (horns), Esparza & Muñoz (trombones), and López Caballero (tuba).
C: GMRTVE.


Irradiaciones (1973), by Ángel Arteaga (1928-1984).
8’30’’
T: (3.2.2.1).
P: V Music Festival of Sevilla (10/02/1973), El Salvador Church; Chicano, Gasent & Sánchez Luque (trumpets), Morató & Seguer (horns), Esparza & Muñoz (trombones), and López Caballero (tuba).
E: Alpuerto (1980).
C: GMRTVE.
R: Spanish National Radio (01/21/1974), program National Radio Mondays, Fénix Auditorium in Madrid; GMRTVE.


Reguladores (1974), by Carlos Cruz de Castro (1941).
T: (3.2.2.1).
C: GMRTVE.
R: Spanish National Radio (04/25/1975), program Music Studio 1; Koan Ensemble & José Ramón Encinar (dir.).


Jondo (1974), by Francisco Guerrero (1951-1997).
24’
T: (3.0.3.0) + 4 percussionists + electronic tape + men’s choir (5 tenors, 5 basses).
P: Madrid (September 1974).
E: Alpuerto (1974).
C: Spanish National Radio, for Italian Grand Prix (1974).
R: Spanish National Radio (11/22/1974), program Studio 348; Spanish Radio and Television Choir and Symphony Orchestra & Odón Alonso (dir.).


Divertimento para Carlos (ca. 1975), by José Chicano (1929-1998).
T: (3.2.2.1).
D: To his grandson, Carlos.
R: Spanish National Radio (03/17/1976), program Dimecres de Ràdio Nacional, Palace of Catalan Music (Barcelona); GMRTVE.


Pequeña suite para grupo de metales (ca. 1975), by Manuel Berná (1915-2011).
T: (3.2.2.1).
D: GMRTVE.
P: Auditorium of the Faculty of Medicine of Sevilla University (03/17/1975); GMRTVE.
R: Spanish National Radio (03/17/1976), program Dimecres de Ràdio Nacional, Palace of Catalan Music (Barcelona); GMRTVE.


Anemos A (1975), by Francisco Guerrero (1951-1997).
10’30’’
T: (3.5.3.1) + 3 percussionists.
D: José María Franco Gil.
P: Real Theater (12/02/1975); Madrid Instrumental Ensemble & José María Franco Gil (dir.).
E: Alpuerto (1975).
R: Spanish National Radio (12/02/1975), Royal Theater; Madrid Instrumental Ensemble & José María Franco Gil (dir.).


Diaphonias (1975), by José Peris (1924-2017).
10’40’’
T: (3.2.2.1).
P: XXIV International Festival of Music and Dance of Granada (06/26/1975), Court of the Myrtles; GMRTVE.
C: General Music Commission.
R: Spanish National Radio (05/27/1990), Cycle of the Association of Spanish Orchestral Composers (ACSE), Cultural Center of the Villa of Madrid; Spanish Brass Ensemble.


Agur jaunak (1976), by José María Sanmartín (1927-1977).
3’
T: (3.2.2.1).
R: Spanish National Radio (05/19/1980), program Music Studio 1; GMRTVE.


Música para metales, órgano y timbales (1976), by Luis Blanes (1929-2009).
24’
T: (3.4.3.1) + organ + timpani.
P: Sevilla Conservatory Auditorium (March 1977); Miguel del Barco (organ), Pedro Vicedo (timpani), Salvador Fabra, Francisco Giráldez & Miguel Gómez (trumpets), Félix González, Juan José Llimerá, Antonio Serradilla & Manuel Tomás (horns), José Callejón, Rufino García & Félix González (trombones), Francisco Roldán (tuba), Manuel Galduf (dir.).
R: Spanish National Radio (10/09/1993), Extraordinary Concert of  “Valencian Community Day”, Music Palace of Valencia; Valencia Orchestra, Miguel del Barco (organ) & Manuel Galduf (dir.).


Suite litúrgica (1976), by Armando Blanquer (1935-2005).
15’
T: (3.2.2.1) + 5 percussionists.
P: XVI Week of Religious Music of Cuenca (04/07/1977), Saint Michael Church; Madrid Philharmonic Orchestra & Isidoro García Polo (dir.).
E: Piles (1980).


Concierto para sexteto de metales (1976), by Miguel Grande (1940).
12’
T: (3.1.1.1).
R: Spanish National Radio (05/27/1990), Cycle of the ACSE, Cultural Center of the Villa of Madrid; Spanish Brass Ensemble.


Aforismos (1977), by Jesús Legido (1943).
9’
T: (2.2.2.0).
P: Cycle of the ACSE (05/27/1990), Cultural Center of the Villa of Madrid (Madrid); Spanish Brass Ensemble.
R: Spanish National Radio (05/27/1990), Cycle of the ACSE, Cultural Center of the Villa of Madrid; Spanish Brass Ensemble.


Églogas (1979), by Jesús Villa Rojo (1940).
13’
T: (3.3.3.0).
D: GMRTVE.
P: In recording for the Spanish National Radio (06/25/1979); GMRTVE. In Concert at the Cultural Center of the Villa of Madrid (12/09/1979); Madrid Municipal Band & Jesús Villa Rojo (dir.).
E: EMEC (1984).


Fanfarria a Picasso (1979), by Cristóbal Halffter (1930).
T: (7.7.4.0).
D: Pablo Picasso.

Leave a Reply

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements