Saturday, June 06, 2015

Some Troyens Trivia

Thanks to the SF Opera press office for answering a couple of my questions:

  • They're using the Barenreiter edition of the opera.
  • No ophicleide; the part will be played by a tuba.
  • No saxhorns; their parts will be played by trumpets, horns, and the tuba.
Yes, I'm sorry the company didn't hire an ophicleide and the saxhorns, but them's the breaks.


CruzSF said...

Oh no! I didn't know about these instruments until now, and now I'm disappointed I won't get to hear them.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Presumably they're on the Gardiner DVD....

Robert Gordon said...

As far as I know, the Gardiner performances at the Châtelet in 2003 are the only time in the opera's whole history that saxhorns have been used. It was a tremendous deal to use them, first to find the instruments, then to learn how to play them. At least Gardiner brought them out on stage so the audience (and viewers of the DVD) can see them.

The excellent Cambridge Opera Handbook on Les Troyens (ed. Ian Kemp) has an appendix on these instruments and some other issues in Berlioz's instrumental specifications. Actually, the whole book is worth seeking out and reading cover to cover.

Robert Gordon said...

By the way, the Bärenreiter-Verlag score is available at, with the following note:

Copyright: Public Domain - Non-PD US

and explanation:

"This “urtext” or “scholarly” (scientific) edition was published at least 25 years ago in Germany and thus is public domain in its country of origin. Such editions are also public domain in Canada because they fail to meet the minimum ‘threshold of originality’ to qualify for copyright as an ‘adaptation’. It may not be public domain elsewhere, however. More information about this can be found here [link to IMSLP's copyright policy].

"Please obey the copyright laws of your country. IMSLP does not assume any sort of legal responsibility or liability for the consequences of downloading files that are not in the public domain in your country."

In other words, IMSLP in this case depends on the honor system. Probably I'm a bad boy.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Wow, the Troyens critical edition is from the 1960s and is under copyright almost everywhere. That is....uh....a little brazen of IMSLP.

I really will have to see the Gardiner!

Daniel Wolf said...

Too bad about the ophicleides. They could have borrowed them from the UCB instrument collection which used them for Berlioz performances already in the 1960s.