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Brass instruments of the 19th and early 20th centuries between long-term conservation and use in historically informed performance practice

Applicant Skamletz Martin
Number 146330
Funding scheme Interdisciplinary projects
Research institution Forschungsschwerpunkt Interpretation Hochschule der Künste Bern Berner Fachhochschule
Institution of higher education Berne University of Applied Sciences - BFH
Main discipline Music, Theatre
Start/End 01.05.2013 - 30.04.2017
Approved amount 424'630.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Music, Theatre
Material Sciences
Physical Chemistry

Keywords (15)

Ethics of Conservation; Water Distribution; Non-invasive Detection; Neutron Imaging; Brass Instruments; Le Sacre du Printemps; Metal Corrosion; Galvanic; Stravinsky, Igor (1882-1971); Corrosion Protection; Archeochemistry; Conservation; Physical Chemistry; Electrochemistry; Restoration of Musical Instruments

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Die historisch informierte Aufführungspraxis von älterer Musik benötigt als wesentliches Element „period instruments“ - d.h. Originale der entsprechenden Zeit oder Nachbauten davon - für Konzertbetrieb, Lehre und Forschung.
Lay summary
Der Gebrauch historischer Instrumente aus Metall steckt dabei in einem Dilemma: Ein Instrument, das gespielt wird, erleidet Schäden durch Abnutzung und Korrosion, wenn es hingegen stillgelegt und im Museum verwahrt wird, verliert es seine Stimme, wird auf sein Objekt-Sein reduziert.
 Für dieses Dilemma versucht das Projekt, Lösungsansätze zu finden. Dabei werden Korrosionsphänomene im Inneren der Messinginstrumente erstmals erforscht und gemessen. Danach experimentiert eine Langzeitstudie mit Möglichkeiten schonender Nutzung und präventiver Konservierung. Zum Abschluss wird ein Satz von 22 Blechblasinstrumenten rekonstruiert und im Konzert eingesetzt wie er vor 100 Jahren bei der Uraufführung von Strawinskys „Sacre du Printemps“ in Paris gespielt worden sein könnte.
Möglich macht dies eine multidisziplinäre Zusammenarbeit zwischen HKB (Musikwissenschaft, Instrumentenkunde), Sammlungszentrum des Schweizerischen Nationalmuseums (Konservierungsforschung), Paul Scherrer-Institut Villigen (Tomographie) und Institute for Corrosion der ETH Zürich (Messmethodik).
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.05.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Klingende Sammlung Bern und Quartetto italiano der HKB
Von SteigerAdrian (2019), Klingende Sammlung Bern und Quartetto italiano der HKB, in NIKE , BAK , ICOMOS (ed.), Schwabe, Basel, 66-67.
New Insights into the Conservation of Brass Instruments: Brass Instruments between Preventive Conservation and Use in Historically Informed Performance.
Von SteigerAdrian, AllenbachDaniel, ElsenerBernhard, LedergerberMartin, MannesDavid (2018), New Insights into the Conservation of Brass Instruments: Brass Instruments between Preventive Conservation and Use in Historically Informed Performance., in Historic Brass Society Journal, 30, 85-102.
Das Innenleben unserer Blechblasinstrumente.
Von Steiger Adrian (2017), Das Innenleben unserer Blechblasinstrumente., in Schweizer Musikzeitung, (Juli 2017), 22-25.
Determination of the corrosion rate inside historical brass wind instruments – Proof of concept
Elsener Bernhard, Cocco Federica, Fantauzzi M., Palomba S., Rossi Antonella (2016), Determination of the corrosion rate inside historical brass wind instruments – Proof of concept, in Materials and Corrosion, 67, 1336-1343.
Dissolution of brass alloys naturally aged in neutral solutions: An electrochemical and surface analytical study
Cocco Federica, Elsener Bernhard, Fantauzzi M., Rossi Antonella (2016), Dissolution of brass alloys naturally aged in neutral solutions: An electrochemical and surface analytical study, in RSC Advances, (6), 90654-90665.
Hirsbrunner, a Swiss Family of Wind Instrument Makers
Von Steiger Adrian (2016), Hirsbrunner, a Swiss Family of Wind Instrument Makers, in The Galpin Society Journal, April 2016(LXIX), 181-200.
Nanosized surface films on brass by XPS and XAES
Cocco Federica, Elsener Bernhard (2016), Nanosized surface films on brass by XPS and XAES, in RSC Advances, 6, 31277-31289.
TECHNART 2015 - Non-destructive and microanalytical techniques in art and cultural heritage
Elsener Bernhard, Lombardo Tiziana, Ledergerber Martin, Wörle Marie, Cocco Federica, Rossi Antonia (2016), TECHNART 2015 - Non-destructive and microanalytical techniques in art and cultural heritage, in Microchemical Journal, 124, 757-764.
To play versus to display - Historische Blasinstrumente aus Messing im Spannungsfeld zwischen Konservierung und Nutzung
Von Steiger A. Allenbach D. Elsener B. Ledergerber M. Lombardo T. Mannes D. et al. (2016), To play versus to display - Historische Blasinstrumente aus Messing im Spannungsfeld zwischen Konservierung und Nutzung, in Glareana, (2), 4-18.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Bergakademie Freiberg Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel Belgium (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Hochschule der Künste Bern, Fachbereich Konservierung und Restaurierung Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
Historisches Museum Basel, Musikmuseum Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Institut für Wiener Klangstil Austria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Bate Collection, Oxford Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Musée de la Musique Paris France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Horniman Museum, London Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Musée des Instruments de Musique Bruxelles Belgium (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
CIMCIM France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
3rd International Historic Brass Symposium New York Talk given at a conference Interior Corrosion in Brass Instruments 13.07.2017 New York, United States of America v. Steiger Adrian;
Conference on Musical Instruments Edinburgh, organisiert von der Galpin Society und American Musical Instruments Society. Talk given at a conference The Pitch Question - and how to talk about it. 01.06.2017 Edinburgh, Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Steiger Adrian;
CIMCIM Annual Congress 2017 and Fourth Romantic Brass Symposium Talk given at a conference Aspects of Corrosion Prevention on Historical Brass Instruments 25.02.2017 Basel und Bern, Switzerland Cornet Emilie; Mürner Martin;
CIMCIM Annual Congress 2017 and Fourth Romantic Brass Symposium Talk given at a conference A View Into the Orchestra Pit at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris, 29 May 1913. 25.02.2017 Basel und Bern, Switzerland Allenbach Daniel;
CIMCIM Annual Congress 2017 and Fourth Romantic Brass Symposium Talk given at a conference Interior Corrosion in Brass Instruments 25.02.2017 Basel und Bern, Switzerland v. Steiger Adrian;
ICOM / CIMCIM Konferenz Mailand und Cremona Talk given at a conference Brass Sheets for the Manufacture of Replica 04.07.2016 Mailand / Cremona, Italy v. Steiger Adrian;
Symposium 10 Jahre Musikmanagement HKB. Schlaglichter und Perspektiven Talk given at a conference Angewandte Forschung und ihr Management 27.11.2015 Bern, Switzerland v. Steiger Adrian;
Vienna Talk 2015 Talk given at a conference The Late Keyed Trumpet 17.09.2015 Wien, Austria v. Steiger Adrian;
Vienna Talk 2015 Talk given at a conference Humidity in brass instruments and the prevention of corrosion 17.09.2015 Wien, Austria Cornet Emilie; Wörle Marie;
TECHNART 2015 - Non-destructive and microanalytical techniques in art and cultural heritage Talk given at a conference A non-destructive in situ approach to monitor corrosion inside historical brass wind instruments. 27.04.2015 Catania, Italy Lombardo Tiziana;
TECHNART 2015 - Non-destructive and microanalytical techniques in art and cultural heritage Poster Brass instruments of the 19th and early 20th centuries between long term conservation and use in historically informed performance practice. 27.04.2015 Catania, Italy v. Steiger Adrian; Skamletz Martin; Cornet Emilie; Wörle Marie; Allenbach Daniel; Lehmann Eberhard Helmar; Kergourlay Florian; Mürner Martin; Lombardo Tiziana;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Stravinsky's Sacre du printemps (excerpts) & other brass chamber music - Konzert/Projektpräsentation German-speaking Switzerland 2017
Talks/events/exhibitions Ausstellung Sammlung Burri, Museumsnacht 2015 Bern German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Blasinstrumente von anno dazumal - Ausstellung der Sammlung Burri, Dorfmuseum Lengnau AG German-speaking Switzerland 2015
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Brass Instruments inside 1 - wetting Youtube International 2015
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Brass Instruments inside 2 - state of humidity Youtube International 2015
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Brass Instruments inside 3 - drying (ventilator) Youtube International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Breathing New Life in Historical Instruments C&EN, Chemical & Engineering News International 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Altes Blech? Forschung für eine "historisch informierten Aufführungspraxis" alter Musik. 2 Referate German-speaking Switzerland International 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Forschungsapéro 2014 International German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Historische Instrumente spielbar machen Kulturmagazin des Schweizerischen Nationalmuseums German-speaking Switzerland 2014

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
116291 Klappentrompeten - Rekonstruktion, Spielmethodik und Nachwirkungen der klassischen und frühromantischen Solotrompeten 01.07.2007 DORE project funding
136957 "Agilité, homogénéité et beauté" - Das Saxhorn in Oper und Militärmusik 01.11.2011 DORE project funding
178522 Fresh Winds - Communicating research on musical instruments 01.05.2018 Agora
112469 Rekonstruktion, Nachbau und Spielmethodik der originalen tiefen (Blech-)Blasinstrumente im 19. Jh. am Beispiel des Cimbasso und der Ophikleide 01.05.2006 DORE project funding
124640 Le Cor Chaussier. Dokumentation, Nachbau und Aspekte der solistischen und orchestralen Aufführungspraxis auf französischen Hörnern zwischen Natur- und Ventilinstrument in der 2. Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts 01.05.2009 DORE project funding

Abstract

The 'historically informed performance practice' (HIP) of old music began already towards the close of the 19th century, underwent a surge of development in the 1930s and then from the 1970s onwards became a dominant trend in contemporary musical practice. It regards the use of so-called 'period instruments' as one of its fundamental elements, and according to availability this can mean either the use of copies of extant original instruments or, in certain cases, the use of the originals themselves. Whereas, for example, for music of the Middle Ages the reconstruction of instruments after pictorial sources is quite normal (for the instruments themselves have not survived), for music between ca 1500 and 1800 the use of copies has become established - copies that are as faithful as possible to the original, that have been 'optimised' where necessary and (for example) standardised in matters of pitch (especially in the case of wind instruments). For the music of the 19th and early 20th centuries upon which the principles of HIP are now encroaching, it is quite normal to play on original wind instruments. They are available in relatively large numbers, a market still exists for them, and in comparison to rarer, earlier instruments they are considered less valuable and are thus not generally regarded as collectible objects by museums and private collectors.Above all, however, the variety of instrument types in the 19th century was so broad that for most instruments no standard model established itself that could now be reconstructed in large numbers and thus made economically viable. So it is common to use a large number of original instruments, changing them constantly, in line with the principle that one should use an appropriate instrument for each work played. It seems likely that this trend, which at present is only just beginning, will become more and more widely followed as the HIP movement expands further into the repertoire of the 20th century and draws an ever greater number of performers and listeners into its orbit.With this in mind, it thus seems natural that guidelines for the use of historical wind instruments should be set up - instruments that are regarded as being particularly in danger on account of the contact they require with the humidity in the breath of their players. (Playing historical string instruments, on the other hand, has long been a matter of course - the oldest currently in use date from the 16th century.) The question is increasingly being asked as to what criteria exist for their use, criteria that would negotiate between the two extremes of their being displayed only in museum cases, or being subjected to 'normal' concert use. Private and public instrument collections are more and more being forced to confront such issues.The present project has a clearly defined object of research, namely the brass instruments used in a Parisian theatre orchestra on a specific evening in May 1913 - namely for the world première of Igor Stravinsky’s "Le sacre du printemps". Taking this as our starting point, our goal is to examine the corrosion phenomena in historical instruments currently being used, and to present an appropriate set of recommendations for their conservation and usage. The project is thus situated - also in musical terms - in a field where the 'avant-garde' of the historically informed performance brigade is currently active, but where there is little empirical data available for 'period' instruments. The focus of the investigation is on instruments in the Burri Collection in Bern, which possesses some 1200 wind instruments, primarily from the 19th century. This collection was conceived by its founder, Karl Burri (1921-2003), expressly as a 'playable museum', and the problem of how to conserve brass instruments that are still in use is presented here in a highly topical fashion. The project builds on the foundations laid by various other projects that have either been concluded or are currently running within the Research Area 'Interpretation', and which focus on brass instruments of the 19th century, their historical materials and manufacturing techniques. It will be carried out as an interdisciplinary collaboration with the Collection Centre of the Swiss National Museum, the Neutron Imaging and Activation Group of the Paul Scherrer Institute, the Durability and Corrosion Group of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich ('Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich', ETHZ) and the Research Division of IBM. Besides publishing the scientific findings, the results of the project will also be integrated into orchestral performances and into the pedagogy of universities of music. This will allow the application of the project’s practical results to be documented.
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