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01 June 2018

32. Père et fils (or, “WTF-horn?!?”)

One day in a music history class in the autumn of 2016 (shortly after launching this blog), my students and I were huddled around a study score of Jacques Iberts Divertissement.  It is a piece I like very muchtrès amusant.  Ibert derived the suite from some incidental music he wrote for a 1929 production of Labiches hilarious Un chapeau de paille dItalie (a stage production directed by René Clair, following hard upon Clairs silent film adaptation of 1928).

There werent very many students in that class, so we all had a serviceable view of the score, despite its fairly small dimensions.  I had assigned them the second movement, Cortègealthough it must be the most riotous cortège in the repertoire.  Compare, however, what we saw on the page
SOURCE:  scan of Ibert Divertissement (Durand, 1931, reprint n.d.), p. 17.


with what we heard from the CD recording I had chosen for themYan Pascal Torteliers 1992 Chandos recording with the Ulster Orchestra [Chandos 9023]:


[I am very grateful to Chandos Records Ltd. for permission to use this excerpt for this post.]

I had heard this recording many times before.  I am generally partial to Mr. Torteliers recordings.  (Among his very many fine accomplishments, I would recommend particularly his recording of Guilmants Symphony no. 1 for organ and orchestra (with organist Ian Tracey and the BBC Philharmonic) [Chandos 9271].  It is a work that seldom gets played, but it gets a splendid airing on that disc, andas it exists in two rather different versions (organ solo and organ with orchestra)it will probably emerge sooner or later as the topic of a post on this blog.)

As I say, I had heard this recording many times, but apparently not with the score at hand.  That morning in class I exclaimed, Where is that horn part coming from?  As my students put it (in the vernacular), WTF?

Soon after class, I pulled a few other recordings off my shelves, but none of them had this extra horn line.  (This figure happens twice:  Reh. 6, and then again at Reh. 10 up a half-step; the horn part seemed the same in both places on the Tortelier recording.)  There was nothing in the Chandos liner notes to indicate that this recording featured a new edition of the score.  Anyway, I mentally filed it away to explore later.

Returning to it about two months ago, I was just as mystified as before.  I investigated getting the performing materials on perusal to see if anything useful was there; but, as the US distributor is Boosey & Hawkes, that effort proved prohibitively expensive.  Moreover, a more recent recording from Chandosan excellent one with Neemi Järvi conducting the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande [CHAN 5168]clearly manifests the text as printed in the Durand score.

 [Again my thanks to Chandos Records Ltd. for permission to use these recorded excerpts for this post.]

I have not laid my hands on an item catalogued in Worldcat as a neue auflage apparently issued by Durand in 2012, butas will be seen belowit wouldnt have solved the mystery even if it is a new edition rather than just a reprint.  (It may well just be a re-setting using music notation software; no editor is listed.  Ive complained about that sort of thing before on this blog, with the Glazunov Saxophone Concerto as my example.)

I decided it couldnt hurt to try to contact Mr. Tortelier directly, but what exactly was I asking him?  I thought it best to transcribe what I thought I heard the horn playing, and I enlisted some other keen ears to give it a go.  Here is what I could convince myself I heard:
SOURCE:  my attempt to transcribe the rogue horn part at Reh. 6; I thank my colleagues Paul Rawlins and Michael Bratt (both University of Mary Washington) for their willingness to tackle the same problem.
I then sent what I had to Mr. Torteliers agent and wondered if I would get any reply.  A few weeks later it came, revealing that the source of this interpolation was his father, the esteemed Paul Tortelier (1914-1990), cellist, composer, and conductor.
Indeed the passage at Reh 6 for 8 bars as well as the one at Reh 10  for another 8 bars have an added and indeed optional horn part counterpoint which was added by my father Paul Tortelier and is none other than the main theme of rehearsal 2 ( trumpet pianissimo ) and tutti forte at 4 but in this instance it is funnily clashing with the same tune played  in augmented values on trumpet and flute.
To answer your question and sum it up, my father is to blame for that and I assume it should be heard on his own recording with the English Chamber Orchestra.   [email of 28 April 2018]
Once he mentioned the melody at Reh. 2, I saw why the second bar of my transcription had been naggingly familiar.  Here is Ibert's tune there (third staff, trumpet in C):
SOURCE:  detail of scan of Ibert Divertissement (Durand, 1931, reprint n.d.), p. 12.
Moreover, Mr. Tortelier was kind enough to provide a scan of his score, with the interpolated part neatly added in his fathers hand:

SOURCE:  Durand score p. 17 with Paul Tortelier's interpolated horn part in manuscript (by courtesy of Yan Pascal Tortelier, email 6 May 2018); for the parallel passage at Reh. 10, see this page. 
SOURCE:  Tortelier père et fils recording
Tchaikovsky in London in 1973, from EMI's 1981
Grand Echiquier reissue.
I havent actually been able to locate any recording of the Ibert conducted by Paul Tortelier, and it may be that he performed it thus without ever actually committing it to disc.  There is something charmingly audacious about this additionin a way showing a loyalty to the impish style of the composer even while departing from fidelity to the text as such.  I am glad that Tortelier fils shared his father's inspiration with a wider audience.  It is a remarkable moment, and when I now listen to other recordings the original text seems... well, not bland, but at least a little lacking.

All this prompted me to wonder, though, what other contrapuntal Easter eggs (to borrow a gaming term) are lurking on recordings of standard literaturewhether intentional interpolations by the conductor or as pranks by the players.  As a continuo player, I have in my realizations occasionally introduced a snippet from another work as a sort of countermelody.  (I have found that the phrase Way down upon the Swanee river works particularly well.)  I imagine others have amused themselves in similar ways.  I would be happy to add an addendum to this post if readers can point me to other examples.

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