Music for Brass Quintet
Gunther Schuller (1925 – 2015)
Gunther Schuller was a brilliantly gifted American composer, performer, teacher, conductor, writer, lecturer, clinician, music publisher, and administrator, perhaps the most complete American musician. He began his career as a horn player, serving as principal in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Meanwhile, he began composing during the mid-1940's, writing, both, music influenced by the techniques of Arnold Schoenberg and the world of jazz. He created more than 150 works in all genres. He took up conducting during the 1950's, championing the works of his contemporaries as well as neglected works by mainstream composers. He won the Pulitzer Prize in Music, received a MacArthur Foundation “genius award,” and authored a definitive 2-volume history of jazz.
Associated Music Publishers Inc.
Blackwood Chamber Works by Contemporary Chamber Ensemble & Arthur Weisberg: Anthology of Recorded Music Inc., 2010.
Types of Instruments/Mutes
All of instruments require mutes. Trumpet: straight, cup and hat. Trombone: straight and cup.
Music for Brass Quintet was commissioned by the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation of the Library of Congress and was premiered by the New York Brass Quintet on January 13, 1961. This is an atonal three-movement, serially composed brass quintet that ranks as one of the most difficult on this survey. The flavorful colors (including the use of multiple mutes), rhythmic complexity, extended techniques (flutter tongue and exended glissandos), and virtuosic passages, are exactly what we come to expect from Schuller in his writing for brass instruments. This is a piece that will result in an overall advanced modern sound that will challenge every single player of the quintet. Schuller composed a second brass quintet in 1994.