Title

Brass Quintet No. 1 in Bb minor, Op. 5

I. Moderato

II. Adagio non troppo lento - Allegro vivace

III. Allegro moderato

Composed

ca. 1902

Composer

Victor Ewald (1860 – 1935)

Composer Information

Victor Ewald was not a musician by trade, he followed in his family’s tradition and became a professor at the Institute of Civil Engineering in St. Petersburg. But he also was an accomplished amateur musician and enjoyed playing cello at string quartet performances, eventually befriending composers such as Modest Mussorgsky and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov. but an engineer and teacher who had music as his avocation. In the Russia of the 19th Century, many musicians, including the greatest, were "amateurs," having another profession in addition to their art. Belayev published this Symphony for Brass in 1912.

Publisher

Ensemble Publications, Inc.

Duration

13:00

Difficulty

1

Ranking Position

2

Discography

Tchaikovsky, P.I.: Romeo and Juliet / Serenade / Francesca Da Rimini / Ewald, V.: Brass Quintets Nos. 1 and 3 by Philadelphia Orchestra, Eschenbach: Ondine, 2010.

Russian Brass by Empire Brass Quintet: Sine Qua Non Superba 2012 (1977)

Brass Quintest by Center City Brass: Chandos, 1996.

Brilliant Brass by Wien-Berlin Brass Quintett: Tudor, 2015.

Types of Instruments/Mutes

No mutes required.

Final Considerations

Inspired by Ewald’s interest in Russian folk music, this piece is cherished for its minor tonality, rich harmonic structures, and atypical meters. His use of arpeggios, deliberate rhythms, contrasting melodic style, and dynamics creates a delicious assortment of textures, timbres and musicality that should satisfy any lover of 19th-century music. The second movement is entirely in 5/4 meter with the overall structure of A-B-A. The third movement opens with a main theme reminiscent of the first movement, however now it has more of a march-like feel in a major key.

 

Ewald’s brass quintets are some of the earliest works we have that are originally for this medium. Quintet No. 1 for brass is one of the most widely performed of all brass quintets in our repertoire ranking second as the standard brass quintet piece. The first trumpet is easily the most prominent of the ensemble, yet none of the parts are overly demanding technically. Because the challenges contained in this piece are easily within the capabilities of less proficient performers, this piece will be a great teaching tool of learning ensemble balance and work on musicality. If you are looking for a work in the grand romantic tradition, this should be one of your first choices.

©2020 BY NAIRAM SIMOES