Friday, July 4, 2014

The "First" Use of Certain Instruments in Symphonies - by George A. Borgman

The object of this paper is to show how certain composers used certain instruments for the "first" time in their symphonies. First is in quotes, because scores of the first symphonies of several of the composers could not be found by this writer.

The usual orchestra of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven consisted of one or two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, first and second violins, violas, cellos, and contrabasses.

Franz Joseph Haydn
Only some of the latter symphonies of Haydn are considered here. In the Surprise Symphony (94), Haydn used a triangle, cymbals, and bass drum; this was in the second and forth movements. In The Clock Symphony (101), he used two clarinets, which were usually independent of the rest of the orchestra; however, they were sometimes used with the strings, with the bassoons, and with the brass.
Although the Overture to Magic Flute is not a symphony, it is considered here, because not many of Mozart's symphonies are available to the writer. Mozart used three trombones (alto, tenor, and bass) in this overture. They are usually used with brass and woodwinds in harmony parts.
All of Beethoven's symphonies were available to the writer.
Ludwig van Beethoven
In the Erioca (3), Beethoven used three horns for the first time. Sometimes Beethoven only uses two horns, and other times he uses only one horn in this symphony. The three horns are usually used with the brass and woodwinds. 
In Symphony No. 5, Beethoven, in the fourth movement, uses a piccolo for the first time in a symphony. The piccolo usually plays in thirds or sixths with the flutes, and sometimes in unison. One contrabassoon is used, and it usually runs along with the contrabass part. Beethoven also used three trombones in this symphony; they are used separately from the rest of the brass and they are often used in choir with other brass; they also have sustaining parts.
In Symphony No. 9, Beethoven used four horns for the first time. They are used for sustaining, and are employed with the woodwinds and brass; all four are usually not used at one time. In the fourth movement, Beethoven uses a chorus with soprano, alto, tenor, and bass soloists, triangle, cymbals, and bass drum are also employed in this movement.
Three trombones are used along with the other brass in Schubert's Great Symphony (7). Schumann also used three trombones, as well as four horns (three trombones in Symphony No. 2 and four horns in Symphony No. 3).
Hector Berlioz
Berlioz uses two cornets in the Symphonie Fantastique. They are usually independent of the trumpets, but sometimes they are a part of the brass choir. In the second movement, two harps are employed to play arpeggios, chords, and scale passages. In the third movement, Berlioz introduces the English horn to the symphony; it is independent of the rest of the woodwinds, and it is usually a solo instrument in this movement. In the same movement, four timpani are used. In the fourth movement, he employs two tubas, four timpani, and a tambourine. In the fifth movement, he used six pianos, two bells, divisi first and second violins and violas.
In Harold en Italie, Berlioz has a viola solo part. A contrabassoon is used by Brahms in his Symphony No. 1. It is used with the timpani, basses, and cellos. In Symphony No. 2, he uses a bass tuba with three trombones.
Tschaikowsky also uses the tuba with three trombones in Symphony No. 2. He uses the tamtam in the fourth movement. In No. 6, he divides the first and second violins and the cellos. 
In Antar (2), Rimsky-Korsakov uses three flutes, one oboe, and an English horn together (in first movement). In the second movement, he uses a tamtam. In Scheherazade, there are triangle trills.
As a summary, it may be noted that the size of the orchestra increased as time passed. Berlioz seems to have set the size for the Romanticists, but not all of them followed the French composer. In the classic era, Beethoven seems to have varied the size of the orchestra more than Haydn or Mozart.

Haydn's The Clock Symphony (101)

No comments:

Post a Comment