Bach Collegium Japan gives master classes

On Saturday, 26 March 2011, members of the Bach Collegium Japan presented a series of midday master classes at three different venues on campus. The ensemble was at Yale to perform Bach’s Mass in B minor in Woolsey Hall that evening. Several of its members took the time to work with musicians from the Yale School of Music.

Hidemi Suzuki, right, works with Jacques Wood, left. Photo by Susan E. Thompson.

Gerd Türk, tenor, and Peter Kooij, bass, met with members of the Yale Schola Cantorum in the Great Hall of the Institute for Sacred Music. Ryo Terakado, baroque violin, and Hidemi Suzuki, baroque cello, coached members of the Yale Baroque Ensemble (YBE) at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments. Jean-François Madeuf, baroque trumpet, and Robert Howes, baroque timpani, offered technical and interpretative advice to brass and percussion participants on the stage of Woolsey Hall.

Click here for a trumpet student’s account of the master class in brass and percussion.

In the words of Jacques Wood, who performed Beethoven’s Sonata for cello and piano, Op. 69, at the Collection of Musical Instruments, “Professor Suzuki is not only a brilliant cellist but also a phenomenal musician whose knowledge of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century historical performance practice is particularly noteworthy. Having had the opportunity to work with him on the Op. 69 sonata was a rare opportunity for me, and I learned much from his insights.”

Read this previous post for further information about the guest artists.

All master classes at the Collection are free and open to the public without charge. News about future master classes will be posted on the School of Music’s website.

Published April 1, 2011
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Student Viewpoint: master class in natural trumpet

by Andreas Stoltzfus ’11MM

It was a great pleasure to go to the masterclass given by Jean-Francois Madeuf and his natural trumpet colleagues. Madeuf began the masterclass by speaking about the difference between natural trumpets and baroque trumpets. A natural trumpet has no system of valves or vent holes to alter the pitch which means that it is limited to only the notes of the natural harmonic series. A baroque trumpet is a trumpet used to play baroque music to which has been added a modern system such as vent holes; these allow the instrument to play notes outside of the natural harmonic series.

Madeuf is the most highly regarded natural trumpeter in the world and plays with an incredibly beautiful, pure tone. He also plays perfectly in tune in the high register, a great feat for the natural trumpeter. As you go higher in the instrument’s register, many of the notes in the natural harmonic series are out of tune; it is up to the player to “lip,” or bend, these notes in tune. Some notes – A”, for example – are particularly difficult to play because the notes Ab” and Bb” are in the natural harmonic series, and one has to lip these pitches into tune. Madeuf played these notes in tune with ease and mastery.

Natural trumpet (top) vs. modern valved trumpet.

Madeuf also spoke about the history of trumpet playing. The trumpet was accepted into art music in the early seventeenth century, when composers began writing into the high register of the instruments. Players had to develop the technique to play these notes in tune.

Madeuf spoke about three things needed to produce sound: generator, vibrator, and resonator. The generator is the wind power, and the vibrator is the lips vibrating in the mouthpiece. Madeuf emphasized that the resonator was the player’s whole body. He spoke about finding resonance in the body in a similar way to great singers. He related the idea of finding resonance to choosing a correct mouthpiece, and suggested that natural trumpeters play larger rather than smaller mouthpieces when playing baroque music in order achieve the best sound. Most trumpeters, Madeuf believes, play mouthpieces that are too small, and as a result the sound is not appropriate for baroque music. He showed his mouthpieces, which have significantly larger rim diameters than those used by the standard modern trumpeter, and spoke about the great jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, who plays on a rather large mouthpiece compared to most jazz trumpeters. MORE

Published April 1, 2011
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Stylus Fantasticus: extravagant and experimental baroque sonatas at the Collection April 10

Robert Mealy directs the Yale Baroque Ensemble in virtuosic chamber sonatas

The Yale School of Music presents the Yale Baroque Ensemble on Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 3 pm at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments (15 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven). The ensemble, directed by Robert Mealy, will perform a program of avant-garde music from the seventeenth century entitled Stylus Fantasticus.

The program will celebrate the experimental and virtuosic chamber music of seventeenth-century Italy and Germany, and will feature brilliant and rarely-heard chamber sonatas in the stilo moderno (modern style) by Dario Castello, Giovanni Paolo Cima, Michelangelo Rossi, and Giovanni Battista Fontana, along with spectacular ensemble sonatas by Antonio Bertali, Johann Rosenmüller, Johann Schmelzer, Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber, and others.

Robert Mealy, described by the New Yorker as “a world-class early music violinist,” directs the Yale Baroque Ensemble (YBE). Harpsichordist Avi Stein and the current members of the postgraduate ensemble will be joined by YBE alumnni from previous years. This concert serves as a preview of the ensemble’s Carnegie Hall debut, which will take place on April 25 as part of the Yale in New York concert series.

The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, one of the foremost institutions of its kind, preserves and exhibits musical instruments from antiquity to the present. Many instruments are maintained in playing condition and are featured in performances and demonstrations in the fine acoustic of the upstairs gallery, the venue for this performance.

This concert is free, though tickets are required due to limited space. For more information or to reserve tickets, visit the School of Music’s website, call 203 432-4158, or visit the concert office in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street in New Haven. Tickets ordered by phone or web are subject to a $1 handling fee.

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Published April 1, 2011
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