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Book: The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Brass Instruments

Edited by Trevor Herbert, Arnold Myers and John Wallace
Cambridge University Press


stars
This outstanding book (now published in hardback and paperback), edited by three celebrated authorities on the history, design and performance of brass instruments, and aided by 32 experts from fifteen different countries across the globe, will undoubtedly become a definitive reference publication.

Its scope, from antiquity to the modern day is backed by forensic research and analysis. Each page and appendix is an education in itself; from Abblasen to Zorzi Trombetta da Modon, Jean Baptiste Arban and Wilhelm Wieprecht to lists of brass makers and didactic works.  

Essential reading

The academic rigour imposed on the selection of entries is explained in a clear opening ‘guide’, with Prof Herbert providing an essay introduction that you suspect will be liberally plagiarised by many an undergraduate (let alone journalist) in the years to come. It is essential reading.

Its 612 pages see the familiar sit comfortably with the incredible, the forgotten resurrected to gain renewed appreciation alongside the famous.

There are pioneers and performers, instruments, inventors and entrepreneurs - each contribution and its importance marked, explained, referenced and cited; from the bizarreness of the cornophone and sudrophone to the ever expanding list of modern day Chinese manufacturers and the cornett fingerings and trombone slide positions from around 1600 by Italian music theorist Aurelio Virgiliano. 

You are also left to wonder what would have happened to the brass band movement if Tsar Nicholas of Russia had spent more time championing the adoption of British made instruments instead of messing about with Rasputin and resisting democracy.

Its 612 pages see the familiar sit comfortably with the incredible, the forgotten resurrected to gain renewed appreciation alongside the famous.  There are pioneers and performers, instruments, inventors and entrepreneurs - each contribution and its importance marked, explained, referenced and cited.  

Heart of Darkness

Elsewhere, the entries covering Africa and South America are particular revelations; the haunting image of the young brass band players of the Boma training school for policemen in Congo Free State in 1897 a joyless snapshot of the fetid, inhumane underbelly of King Leopold of Belgium’s African empire. It is taken just two years before Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ was published. 

The impact of the British brass band movement also has its place. Bands such as Besses, Black Dyke, Cory, Cyfarthfa, Foden's and Meltham Mills have entries alongside the Victorian giants of Gladney, Swift and Owen.  

The musical mark made by Vinter, Sparke, Howarth and Snell (amongst many) is highlighted alongside John Henry Iles, Enderby Jackson and Harry Mortimer, whilst the technical appreciation of the development of  brass band instrumentation from Sax and Distin to Besson and beyond will keep engineering students enthralled. 

Open to any page and you will become more informed.

It is a book of academic significance and rich occasional interest to anyone who wants to know more about the world of brass.

Iwan Fox


Available from various outlets including:
http://www.thewallacecollectionshop.world/product/the-cambridge-encyclopedia-of-brass-instruments/

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Foden's Band - Aberystwyth

Saturday 25 January • Old College, King Street, Aberystwyth SY23 2AY


Black Dyke Band - RNCM Brass Band Festival

Saturday 25 January • 124 Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9 RD


Tredegar Town Band - RNCM Festival of Brass

Sunday 26 January • Royal Northern College of Music. 124 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9RD


Black Dyke Band - Gladstone Theatre

Sunday 26 January • Gladstone Theatre, Greendale Road,Birkenhead,. Wirral CH62 4XB


Contest: Brass in the Wire

Sunday 26 January • Pyramid and Parr Hall, Palmyra Square, Warrington WA1 1BL


London Central Fellowship Band

January 23 • Vacancies for CORNET (solo / 1st / 2nd), TROMBONE, Bb BASS and PERCUSSION. An enthusiastic band affiliated to the Salvation Army with a full and varied diary of local and national concerts. We are looking for committed enthusiastic players


Mid-Rhondda

January 22 • Are you looking for a change for 2020 or a new challenge with a friendly/sociable band. We have vacancies for Soprano, back row cornet, Bb Bass and percussion. Rehearsal is on Thursdays at the Band Hall, Dunraven Street, CF40 1AL


Corby Silver Band

January 22 • Corby Silver Band, 3rd section - Midlands Area, are looking to recruit a back row cornet and/or 1st horn player for the regional Contest and beyond. We rehearse in our own band room in Corby, North Northamptonshire on Monday and Wednesday at 8pm.


Phillip Littlemore

GGSM, AoBBA Member
Conductor, Band Trainer, Adjudicator, Arranger, Teacher and Publisher


               

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