Posted by dp on April 24, 2002 at 18:11:54:
In Reply to: Re: York Tubas posted by Tim Cary on April 24, 2002 at 16:36:05:
Ah, but Tim the design/tradition (appropriately) lives on. The York-style Grand Orchestral tubas have been utilized by professionals in the U.S. for many years. While relatively uncommon (I like the term "rare as hen's teeth") Stateside, their use was near unheard-of on the Continent. Then in the '60s, Bob Tucci went to Vienna to study, and had an extraordinary string of work as a sub, including the Solti Ring recordings of Die Walkure, and Gotterdammerung for Decca. It was perhaps a fluke for him, certainly a change for the Vienna scene, and the recordings document the results. A 6/4 Holton in the VPO! Perhaps a dozen or more of these Grand Orchestral tubas were ordered from Holton for European use, and interest in the "Grand Orchestral tradition" of big tubas became international. You are correct in acknowledging that a "craze" of sorts seems to have started in the 80's, and whether it is a "craze" or not, much interest continues today. I suspect reasons for the appearance of the 80's conversions relates partially to the cost of the early Hirsbrunner York-inspired Grand Orchestral tubas, and their relative rarity. Also, the big Holton CCs...which WERE still being made into the early-mid 70's (like two or three at a time every year or three) ...had by that time ceased production and were generally un-available on the used market. Obviously having a few more big horns out there helped to increase market interest, and by the late 80's other manufacturers sought to develop their own "Grand Orchestral" horns, Gerhard Meinl and Walter Nirschl and Peter Hirsbrunner should be appreciated for their hard development work in keeping this design going.
These style horns have always had a appreciative if somewhat limited (by today's standard) following. To characterize them as "great bells, crappy valves" puts all the "lore" into a somewhat common perspective, and may be unfair. Very few folks who have spent serious time in a hall working with a horn "in the Grand Orchestral tradition" will discount their results.
(thanks to Richard for the history notes and Sean for the archives, I HIGHLY recommend use of the archives here, there are real gems of info to be found!)