About this Recording
8.558040-46 - Instruments of the Orchestra (The) (Siepmann)

The Instruments of the Orchestra


  Contents Page
  Preface 4
1 Track Lists 5
2 Historical Profiles of the Major Instruments (and some others)       57
3 The Greatest Instrument Makers 93
4 Instrumental Typecasting 101
5 The Art of Orchestration and Transcription 103
6 The ‘Original Instrument’ Debate 109
7 Orchestral Seating Plan 115
8 Size and Constitution 118
9 A Guide to Further Listening 119
10    Recommended Reading 124
11 Spoken Text 127
12 Glossary 198
13 About the Author 202


Despire its conventional title, this is a far from conventional approach to a standard subject, and not only in its bulk. But its bulk should b explained. Rather than being simply a guided tour of the standard instruments in the orchestra, it amounts to a series of portrais of the instruments in their totality. Thus we meet them in a number of widely differing contexts (orchestral, of course, but also solo and in sundry instrumental groupings) and we hear them transformed by a wide range of techniques. We hear them in folk music—from many different countries—and we hear them in forms both ancient and modern. The violin being the very backbone of the orchestra, from the seventeenth century to the present, we spend the whole of CD 1 in its company, exploring the full range of its multifaceted character, from he sensuously seductive to the positively chilling, from the celestial to the diabolical. In addition to the regular members, we meet such exotic orchestral instruments as the other-worldy ondes martenot and the wind machine, and encounter, too, such unexpected interlopers as banjos, bagpipes, kazoos, chains, coconuts, Parisian typists, six-shooters, taxi horns, and a flock of migrating swans. Nor do we hear just snippets, surgically removed as evidence, lecture-fashion. Often we hear complete movements, drawn from the entire history of orchestral evolution. This is emphatically not, however, an extended lecture—or at least not only that. And while it isn’t just an instrumental recognition game either, it can certainly, and profitably, be used as such: most of the musical examples, excepting the most fragmentary, are individually indexed and can therefore be programmed to run without verbal commentary, and in any order. However you care to describe it, though, whether you’re a novice or a connosieur, the hope is that you will find here a nourishing as well as informative tour of a fascinating world, and above all, that its most lasting contribution will be a thoroughly musical, hence enjoyable, experience.

This is the beginning of the 208-page booklet for The Instruments of the Orchestra. It is available to buy complete. For more details visit www.naxos.com.

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