Updated Facsimiles of Bendinelli and Fantini

Cesare Bendinelli, Tutta l’arte della Trombetta (1614), Facsimile edition with Translation and Critical Commentary by Edward H. Tarr, revised and augmented (Vuarmarens, Switzerland: Editions BIM, 2011)
Girolamo Fantini, Modo per Imparare a Sonare di Tromba (1638), Facsimile edition with Translation and Critical Commentary by Edward H. Tarr, revised and augmented (Vuarmarens, Switzerland: Editions BIM, 2009)
[editor's note: the BIM website lists the updated sections as sold seperately, if you already own the 1975 facsimiles - BP]

The importance of Bendinelli and Fantini’s trumpet methods cannot be overstated. Published in 1614 and 1638 respectively, The Brass Press offered the first complete English translations with critical commentary by Edward H. Tarr in 1975. Since that time there has been significant research done on the works and their importance to performance practice by Tarr and several of his students. The Brass Press has now released revised editions of the commentary as well as handsomely bound facsimile editions. The facsimile editions are slightly smaller than their predecessors (they are no longer full-sized facsimiles if you will): Bendinelli was 16”x11” and is now 13”x9 ½ “; Fantini was 14x9 ½ “; now is13” x9 5/16”. The commentaries include the accumulation of new research. The endnotes have been expanded and updated in both editions. They are highly detailed and explanatory: traits one has come to expect from Tarr. The purpose of this review is to compare editions and cite the expansion of information they contain.

Taking the commentary on the Bendinelli first, the reader learns much more about the man’s biography. A sense of his status is revealed in the colorful biographical details presented. For example, one of his daughters became the chief chamber servant of the Queen of France. Another married Michelangelo Galilei, brother of the famous astronomer and lutenist of the Munich court. This new edition presents a nearly full page color reproduction of the votive painting (and a detail of it as well) of Bendinelli praying to the Virgin Mary while a passenger on a boat which was about to enter a dangerous whirlpool on the Danube (the 1975 edition depicted these in black and white). Bendinelli’s activities as a teacher are discussed as well as his travels throughout Europe (including to Nuremburg to purchase eighteen trumpets from Anton Schnitzer). It is mentioned that he had a hobby of building automatic music boxes. In order to better understand the importance of Bendinelli’s method, Tarr discusses the two earlier methods of Heinrich Lübeck and Magnus Thomsen, citing research by Peter Downey.

Tarr’s commentary on the Fantini method is, again, greatly expanded from the 1975 edition. Although the bulk of the scholarship is his own, he graciously cites others who have contributed including dissertations by Peter Downey (1983) and Henry Meredith (1983) dissertation and two articles in our own HBS Journal by Ignio Conforzi from 1993 and 1994. We learn that based upon the organs of the day and their location the likely tuning pitch for his music would have been possibly as high as A=493 Hz(!) and are given details of two recordings of the music (one by Conforzi on Quadrivium and one by Tarr on Christophorous). On the topic of articulation, Tarr presents a detailed yet succinct summary of styles and syllables which illustrates the differences with their modern counterparts. In discussing the military signals, Tarr’s commentary follows upon the work of Downey. Tarr also presents a clear description of the differences between trillo and groppo and how they should be performed. His commentary on the duets focuses mostly on compositional forms and styles rather than aspects of performance.
In order to properly understand the correct way to perform trumpet music from the late Renaissance and baroque periods, it is essential for one to absorb what Bendinelli and Fantini have left for us. These new editions by Edward H. Tarr are the best way to lead us to that understanding.

-- James Miller