Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

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  1. #1
    Forum Contributor 2011 TMadness1013's Avatar
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    Default Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    You learn something new everyday. I stumbled across an article about the saxophone family & it mentioned Ravel's writing for sopranino saxophone in Bolero. I thought it was mistaken until I did some fact checking - very interesting!

    I realize it was written for sopranino in F (anyone know when production on these ended?) but was curious if there are any orchestral recordings featuring the original intended instrumentation. Either an Eb or F 'nino would work. It'd be really interesting to hear it performed on a "period instrument".

    Of course it works very well for soprano but I was just curious to see what kind of effect the change in timbre may or may not have.

    Thanks in advance!

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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    I doubt there are any recordings, would be a nightmare, especially as a soprano has to take over the nino line.

    I did it as part of a wind rep session at college on my nino in Eb, it really wasn't a successful experience (btw, not cos I couldn't play it, it was more to do with the Sop/Tenor player).
    Selmer Paris Artist

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    Graftonsax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    The Conn C soprano and F mezzo were the last hold overs from the 30's-40's were the end of the line really. I know a company makes C saxes but really they aren't widely used. I've never seen another sax pitched in F even thought it was part of the original 2 groups of pitches saxes were made in.

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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    The really strange thing is that it is Nino in F and then Sop and Tenor in Bb..... Not quite sure what he was thinking!?!?!
    Selmer Paris Artist

    Sopranino: Selmer SII (S80 D)
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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Bass Sax Boss saxtek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    I've always had a theory as to why this piece was scored for these saxophones, but I would rather hear from others who have done some research and who can offer definitive information.
    Check Youtube for my videos of bass sax, contrabass sax, tubax, and soprillo:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/saxtek

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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    I think this "F sopranino" topic has come up a few times. Here's a link to one of them:

    http://forum.saxontheweb.net/archive...hp/t-1106.html

    Apparently it never existed.

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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    Yes, from studying with Dr. Paul Cohen, he told me several times that an F sopranino never existed. I'm not sure if there is a definitive answer to why Ravel wrote for it. However, you can easily transpose it to Eb.
    Saxophone Ensemble and Saxophone Choir Director, Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey
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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    I played this once (with a pro orchestra) on tenor, and a good friend played the other part on nino (we used all three saxes). He is a very good nino player, and played well, but we didn't notice the part was in F until the first rehearsal! :0 The conductor was a horn player though, so he was very understanding.

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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    How was the added instrumentation received to those who had heard it normally with just soprano?
    Saxophone Ensemble and Saxophone Choir Director, Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey
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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    I don't think most of the orchestra knew enough about saxophones to know the difference between a soprano and a nino, let alone appreciate the fact that we were using it. My former oboe teacher, who was playing 3rd oboe on the concert, thought it was pretty cool. But most people were fawning over her d'amore playing rather than us using sopranino.

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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    Check out this interview with Marcel Mule on this very topic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=As-Vy7zdqGE#t=06m19s
    James Barrera - Lecturer - Cole Conservatory of Music, CSULB
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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    Quote Originally Posted by jbarrera View Post
    Check out this interview with Marcel Mule on this very topic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=As-Vy7zdqGE#t=06m19s
    That was a very informative video -- thank you for posting the reference. Indeed, it seems logical to perform the sopranino and soprano parts on soprano alone. I wonder, though, why it's common to assign separate tenor and soprano players for Bolero, when one person can easily cover both parts.

    Incidentally, how do folks feel about scooping the glissandi, as the second one is treated here?

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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    Here's a fairly recent, high-quality recording of the piece performed by the Orchestre de Paris and conducted by Christoph Eschenbach. The famous tenor part starts at around 5:10, and is followed by a solo on soprano rather than sopranino. And yes, there are two separate players for each part.


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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    Quote Originally Posted by saxmusicguy View Post
    Incidentally, how do folks feel about scooping the glissandi, as the second one is treated here?
    Quote Originally Posted by drwhippet View Post
    Here's a fairly recent, high-quality recording of the piece performed by the Orchestre de Paris and conducted by Christoph Eschenbach. The famous tenor part starts at around 5:10, and is followed by a solo on soprano rather than sopranino. And yes, there are two separate players for each part.
    That's an example where the glissandi are treated minimally, unlike the portamento example here.

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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    I've heard the story mentioned before about Adolphe Sax conceiving of a family of Bb/Eb saxes for band, and a C/F family for orchestra. What I've never read definitively before is, did Sax ever get around to building actual instruments in C/F (other than his original prototype, which I understand was a Bass in C adapted from an ophicleide)? The C and F instruments we are more familiar with were built in the 20's and early 30's, well after Sax died.

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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    Quote Originally Posted by drwhippet View Post
    Here's a fairly recent, high-quality recording of the piece performed by the Orchestre de Paris and conducted by Christoph Eschenbach. The famous tenor part starts at around 5:10, and is followed by a solo on soprano rather than sopranino. And yes, there are two separate players for each part.

    Half of the Diastema quartet.

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    Distinguished SOTW Technician Chris Peryagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    There's no practical reason to play it on sopranino when it goes out of range when the last part has to be covered by someone else on soprano, so just play the lot on soprano as has been the most logical and done thing and save yourself (and the tenor player) the extra hassle.

    And why do so many players play it in such a stiff, academic manner when they have the opportunity given to them to pull it around more? It's a solo so treat it like one - I'm sure Ravel wouldn't mind if he was still around and may have wanted that. And a well-done portamento is far more effective than a fingered gliss provided the player is up to it - take a note from the trombone solo later on.
    F*** the notes, go for the tone!

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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    The amount of scoop/gliss depends a lot on the conductor. When I played it, the boss wanted more scoop than I was originally comfortable with. But, conductor says do this, you say "Sure, no problem."

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Bass Sax Boss saxtek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    Quote Originally Posted by KenK View Post
    I've heard the story mentioned before about Adolphe Sax conceiving of a family of Bb/Eb saxes for band, and a C/F family for orchestra. What I've never read definitively before is, did Sax ever get around to building actual instruments in C/F (other than his original prototype, which I understand was a Bass in C adapted from an ophicleide)? The C and F instruments we are more familiar with were built in the 20's and early 30's, well after Sax died.
    Sax made a few sopranos in C and tenors in C, and even fewer altos in F. The theory that the F and C saxes were for orchestral use, and the Eb and Bb saxes were for military band is losing credibility.

    All of the pieces, as far as I know, published by Adolphe Sax as contest pieces for the Paris Conservatoire were for saxes in Eb and Bb, and these were solos for serious (classical) performance.

    I have some disagreements with Robert Howe, who contends that the first sax was a bass in Bb - I think it was in C. However, he presents very good evidence that the Bb tenor was the last saxophone produced in quantity during the early history of the saxophone, and the instruments in C and F were not in regular production

    At the original saxophone factory, when saxophones were completely hand made, producing a saxophone in a completely different key cost less than doing the same thing in a modern mass-production facility. After seeing some of the brilliant, but bizarre, 7 bell trombones, cornets and trumpets made by Adolphe Sax, I'm sure Adolphe Sax could have made saxes in any key, but the saxophones in Bb and Eb became the standard instruments used in both orchestras and bands.
    I would be happy to see evidence to the contrary.
    Check Youtube for my videos of bass sax, contrabass sax, tubax, and soprillo:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/saxtek

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    Default Re: Recording of sopranino on Bolero?

    Quote Originally Posted by saxtek View Post
    Sax made a few sopranos in C and tenors in C, and even fewer altos in F. The theory that the F and C saxes were for orchestral use, and the Eb and Bb saxes were for military band is losing credibility.

    All of the pieces, as far as I know, published by Adolphe Sax as contest pieces for the Paris Conservatoire were for saxes in Eb and Bb, and these were solos for serious (classical) performance.
    That's because when Sax lectured at the Paris Con the focus was on training students to play in the military bands. The government have changed the instrumentation of these ensembles a few years earlier to include saxes in Bb and Eb. That's why the contest pieces were written for instruments in those keys, as their training was primarily for military ensembles not orchestras.

    Don't forget the original instrumentation for Kastner's sextet with saxes in UT and FA. Remember that he wrote his method with the guidance of Adolphe Sax and is one of the most accurate reflections of Sax's view for the instrument.

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