Bells
TOCCATA FROM L'ORFEO

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

Brass Ensemble arrangement by: Brian Harris

A literal transcription of the fanfare that opens the famous 1607 opera.

L'Orfeo is one of the earliest extant manuscripts to specify an exact instrumentation. This wonderful piece, for five brass and optional percussion, features a flexible instrumentation. A great historic work for teaching and enjoying Renaissance-style brass music.

LEVEL:
Medium; Grade 3  
SAMPLES:
Sample page (.pdf): 
Sound files: 
COST:
$13 U.S. for PDF of full score, parts, and site-license
PERFORMANCE TIME:
About 2 minutes, 30 seconds.
FEATURES:
  • Can be used for Solo & Ensemble festival
  • Impressive for opening a concert (consider an antiphonal performance)
  • Lowest two (four) voices simply drone whole notes (can use less-mature players; see score sample above)
  • Use of percussion part is optional
  • Conductor score contains historical performance information and a complete synopsis of the opera
  • CHALLENGES:
  • Rhythmically-rich parts for top three voices
  • First trumpets tend to rush the dotted-eighth/sixteenth figure (listen to sample recording!)
  • KEY and RANGES:
    B-flat major. 

    Trumpet 1 frequently to G at top of staff; plays one A above that. All other parts are within easy range demands

    INSTRUMENTATION:
    Originally set for five like-instruments (similar to today's trumpets), this setting is for 2 Trumpets and 1 Horn or Trombone and 2 low brass instruments playing the open 5th "drone" (which can be two trombones/euphoniums/horns or can be expanded with tubas. All parts can be doubled. See score sample above.
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