The Wallace Collection were invited to participate in the Galpin Society and American Musical Instrument Society’s Annual Conference by presenting a concert at St Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh on 3 June 2017.
The concert, Les Cuivres Diaboliques, was inspired by the brass music of the nineteenth century. The technological advances of the nineteenth century, which coincided with the Romantic Period in music, were first applied to musical instruments in France and Belgium, by inventors such as Sax who created the first truly chromatic families of brass instruments with keys and valves.
Music for the stage provided an early context for the new chromatic brasses, which were used to conjure up the imaginary worlds of the supernatural. Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable, premiered in Paris in 1831, used brass in this way. This led us to name the recital Les Cuivres Diaboliques.
The Paris Opera was central to the development of the idiom of brass to portray light as well as dark, and the heavenly as well as the satanic. Adolph Sax became director of the stage bands (an early instance of product placement!) and Jean-François Bellon, leader of the orchestra wrote 12 quintettes* for players in the orchestra, first performed at the Paris Conservatoire. This formed a basis for the music performed at this special concert.
*see Update below
Enjoy a snapshot of the concert with this short summary video of the event:
The Wallace Collection released a new CD on 3 October 2020 – Origin of the Species Revisited – which includes 4 of the Jean-Francois Bellon quintettes mentioned above. It has been released on The Wallace Collection label and full product information is available by clicking here.
If you would like to purchase a copy of the CD, it’s available through The Wallace Collection online shop.