Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Operatic Brass

One of my favorite musical settings from which to "borrow" repertoire has to be the opera house.  Brass ensembles of all shapes and sizes have long admired the overtures, instrumental interludes,  arias, and choruses of the most famous (and often less familiar) operas.  The most popular composers of operas that brass ensembles form transcriptions/arrangements include Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi, W.A. Mozart, and Gioachino Rossini.  The beautiful, singing quality of opera music can be imitated on brass instruments.  Also, audiences will undoubtedly be familiar with some opera music, if not the names of the operas themselves at least. 

I had the pleasure of performing this arrangement of Mozart's Overture from The Magic Flute in the Seminole Trombone Quartet in my time at Florida State University.  These operatic arrangements offer tremendous technical challenges to brass players because of the imitation of the string parts.  Here, the Budapest Trombone Quartet gives a stunning live performance of this overture.

Another great example of an overture arranged for brass comes from Verdi.  This performance of his Overture to "Nabucco" is performed by the Gomolan Brass Quintet. 

Finally, on a more comical note, the Mnozil Brass with their own opera medley.  The Mnozil brass, a European brass ensemble that transcends the boundary between musicians and actors, is most known for their incredible brass playing and comical wit. 

1 comment:

  1. I love these videos. Two of my favorite things: opera and brass. I'm always so impressed with these arrangements too. The Magic Flute video is incredibly virtuosic and they play it so seamlessly.