Listening – Dance of the Knights with the Gergiev and the LSO

I’ve got a favourite recording of Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet excerpts (not the suites) by Montreal and Dutoit that I would have liked to have found on youtube, but I found this instead which is a great substitute –

The start of the march is marked ‘forte’ for tuba and bass trombone.  The sound I’m hearing here is a lot of edge from the bass trombone and a solid foundation from tuba.  I’ve heard Gene Pokorny play it in person at a masterclass and he made my jaw drop with the FAT sound he was creating – lots of brassy edge and attack and in tune too!  So, relating that memory back to this video:  I wonder how much of the edge here is tuba.  The trombone-tuba edge ratio?  75:25, respectfully?

I’m listening to the Montreal recording on CD and there’s much less edge from the bass trombone but a lot more weight from the tuba.  For the big lick though, the three trombones don’t shy off.  I’m liking the more-weight idea for tuba.  I’ll leave brassy to the cadential low E’s.

Considering the dynamics now (of both performances) – I think it’s more of a pomposo and pesante kind of forte.  There’s no missing the bass trombone and tuba in the march.  That might sound “too loud” from within the low brass section, but the outer balance should be good.  I have to leave it up to the conductor to tell us to back off.  For now, she’s worried more about the piece as a whole vs. fine-tuning our balance.

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