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Thread: Use of simultaneous brass/timpani prior to Wagner?

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    Default Use of simultaneous brass/timpani prior to Wagner?

    The first known use of the simultaneous brass/timpani combo that I know of is in Wagner, most prominently in Siegfried's Funeral March. I often hear it in Mahler and Strauss (Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, all throughout Elektra). Does anyone know of its use prior to Wagner or did he come up with this?

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    Senior Member drpraetorus's Avatar
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    I would suspect Berlioz and perhaps Meyerbeer, but i cannot bring an example to mind.

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    Doesn't the transition from the last orchestral movement to the choral part in Beethoven's 9th have that?

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    Senior Member Cavaradossi's Avatar
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    Trumpet and timpani goes back at least to the baroque era. I play in the trumpet section for a local performance of Handel's Messiah every year, and most of our entrances are accompanied by timpani.

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    Take a listen to Schumann's Fourth, the transition from the scherzo to the finale. Has always struck me as an incredibly wagnerian (or brucknerian) passage. Heavy brass, string tremolo, timpani. Like a short, blissful vision of a sound world completely foreign to Schumann.

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    Senior Member Norse's Avatar
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    By "simultaneous brass/timpani combo" are we talking about the simple fact that there's timpani and brass playing at the same time? Because this is common from Lully onwards.. Or am I misunderstanding something? Are you talking about only brass and timpani?

    There's some powerful brass and timpani here from around 1:38. It actually has two sets of timpani playing in unison.

    Last edited by Norse; Oct-11-2012 at 21:33.

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