12 July 2011
The world famous Cory Band have just selected their new Besson Prestige cornets. Another great band joins the growing Besson family. Good news.
12 July 2011
Matthew White - Besson Euphonium Artist
Here is a press release from www.besson.com website: Besson are delighted to welcome the highly talented young euphonium star Matthew White as a Besson artist. He is enjoying performing on his new Besson Prestige euphonium that he selected recently at the Buffet Crampon headquarters in Mantes la Ville,France.
Matthew White is a rising star in the euphonium world, already having made a name for himself with high profile concert appearances and national competition success.
He was the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Soloist of the Year in 2010 as well as the Black Dyke Young Artist of the Year. He is currently studying at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music under Steven Mead. He attended the Chethams School of Music from the age of 10 and also was a member of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, serving as Principal Euphonium for three years, winning the Harry Mortimer and Katie Ogden Solo Awards.
He has performed as a soloist at several of the country's leading concert venues including the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester and last September appeared as guest soloist with the Black Dyke Band at Symphony Hall, Birmingham at the Gala Concert of the British Open Brass Band Championships. He also performed live at one of the BBC's Friday Night is Music Night broadcasts accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Since November 2010, Matthew has been Principal Euphonium of the Fairey (Geneva) Band, with whom he won the prestigious Solo Award at the Brass In Concert Championships, held at the Sage, Gateshead.
Matthew says, "I'm so happy with the sound of the instrument and its immediacy of sound and it's perfect for both band and solo work. I find I can get colours in my sound that I didn't imagine before and the tone is remarkably consistent throughout the whole range.
It is such a well-made instrument with the best valves and finish I've ever experienced."
Besson Press release: < Antoine Beaussant, President of Buffet Crampon, one of the world's largest music groups, is proud to announce the arrival of international euphonium soloist David Childs as a Besson artist.
During August of this year Buffet Crampon acquired Schreiber-Keilwerth, owners of the York brand. Since taking the decision to discontinue York's range of brass instruments, David Childs has become Besson's first signing as an international artist.
"We recognise David Childs as one of the leading emblematic and talented brass soloists in the world today. He represents a younger generation of musician and we are delighted to welcome him to our team", remarked Antoine Beaussant.
During recent years David Childs has been instrumental in the design and development of the once fashionable Eminence and Preference euphonium range. However, the young euphonium soloist is now excited to begin this latest chapter in a career which has seen him take his chosen instrument to new heights.
Besson's new signing commented, "I consider working alongside a world class roster of artists with this most prestigious of brands a great honour. Besson have an unrivalled reputation for sound and excellence in brass instrument manufacture, with both the heritage of the brand and our brass band movement intrinsically linked. Assisting Besson with the future development of their iconic euphonium range is a mouth watering prospect, and on a personal level, returning to the brand I grew up playing represents a natural transition for me".
David is no stranger to the Besson tradition. His grandfather's instrument of choice was a Boosey & Hawkes euphonium; his father Robert endorsed Besson as the Childs Brothers for over two decades; and David played his first Besson euphonium at the age of nine and continued to do so for sixteen years.
Brass Department Director Werner Duwé concluded, In addition to securing the services of a remarkable musician, David's return to the Besson family epitomises our ethos of striving for continued excellence by building on the great traditions of the past.
David Childs has emerged as one of the finest brass soloists in the world today. He has appeared as soloist with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra, Sinfonia Cymru and BBC Philharmonic; given concerto performances at the BBC Proms, Cheltenham Festival, Harrogate International Festival, Welsh Proms and New York Festival; given solo recitals at the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, Bridgewater Hall and London's Royal Albert Hall; and regularly records as a solo artist for radio, television and commercial disc.
Inspired by his father Robert, David began playing the euphonium at an early age. Today he is in great demand touring throughout the world as a soloist and educator. Having recently made his debut in New York's Carnegie Hall, he'll be giving the first UK performance of Christian Lindberg's Concerto for Euphonium & Chamber Orchestra later this season. David has been principal euphonium with the Cory band since 2002, during which time he's been awarded Best Soloist at the Brass In Concert Championships, Welsh Championships, BBC Radio Wales Championships, and the European Championships.>
On a personal note, I'm delighted to see David back on board with Besson. It is great for him and for Besson, and I look forward to working with him on developing further our outstanding range of Besson euphoniums and baritones.
David Childs with his new Besson Prestige 2052 euphonium.
Robert Benton has become the latest outstanding young American euphonium player to become a Besson performing artist. I am personally delighted that Robert has been welcomed by Buffet Crampon USA to help us to promote Besson instruments. He is a great soloist and excellent ambassador for the euphonium.
Here is his biography:
Robert Benton, a compelling performer in the emerging generation of euphoniumists, is currently completing his Doctorate of Musical Arts in euphonium performance at the University of Michigan. Robert also holds a Master's degree from Michigan State University and a Bachelor's degree from Oakland University. His primary teachers have been Kenneth Kroesche, Steven Mead, Phil Sinder, and Fritz Kaenzig.
Robert is an avid educator, and currently holds teaching positions at Adrian College, the University of Windsor, and the University of Michigan, as well as maintaining a successful studio of area high school students.
As a performer, Robert has been active as a recitalist and concerto soloist throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Europe and Asia. He has recently performed concerti with the Michigan State University Symphony Orchestra, the Jeju Philharmonic Orchestra (Korea), the Capital City Brass Band and his own military unit, the 338th Army Band. As an ensemble musician, Robert has enjoyed close relationships with the Michigan State University Wind Symphony and the University of Michigan Symphony Band, and was recently invited to play with the world-famous Brass Band of Battle Creek.
Robert garners accolades wherever he goes, winning several concerto competitions at Oakland University and Michigan State. In 2008, he competed in the Jeju International Wind Ensemble Festival Brass Competition, where he was a finalist. Prior to that, Robert performed in recital at the 2008 US Army Band Tuba-Euphonium conference in Washington D.C. In 2006, Robert received the Stanley Hollingsworth Overseas Study Grant which enabled him to travel to Manchester, England to study with the world-renowned euphoniumist, Steven Mead.
Devoted to new music, Robert is active in commissioning and premiering new works for the euphonium in a variety of mediums. Recent commissioning projects include works by Joel Puckett, Ricardo Lorenz, Steven Bryant and Peter Meechan. Several of these pieces will be recorded on his upcoming CD project, which will be released in the summer of 2011.
Robert's plans for the future are to promote the euphonium as a solo instrument not only through concerts, competitions, recitals and recordings, but also by training the next generation of tubists and euphoniumists as a teacher at the university level.
Robert Benton is a Buffet-Crampon/Besson USA Performing Artist and Clinician
Robert can be contacted by email:
News from ITEC (International Tuba and Euphonium Conference)
Every two years the international low brass fraternity assemble for a five day conference, and this year it was held at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
With around 550 delegates registered it promised a lot, and by the time it was all finished it’s clear that it lived up to expectations.
With students, professional performers, ensembles and teachers from all around the world in attendance, it was like the Olympic games for euphonium and tuba, with the first events beginning at 8am and each evening finishing far into the night !
This year there was the strongest representation of Besson artists in the history of these festivals.
Included in the Besson artist euphonium line-up was, Steven Mead (UK) Shoichiro Hokazono (Japan) Tormod Flaten (Norway) Matthew van Emmerik (Australia ) Helen Tyler (USA/UK) (baritone), Lee Harrelson (USA) Danny Helseth (USA) Pat Stuckemeyer (USA) Aaron Tindall (USA), Marc Dickman (USA) Kelly Thomas (USA) and tuba players James Gourlay (UK) and Les Neish (UK). This stunning line up of artists really set the standard for the festival, right from the opening gala concert in which Steven Mead and Les Neish performed with the Salt River Brass Band conducted by Pat Sheridan, until the final gala concert with the U.S.Air Force Band on the Saturday evening, which featured Tormod Flaten and Matt van Emmerik as two of the outstanding soloists.
The Besson exhibition was a popular place for musicians all week, with an excellent display of instruments under the supervision of Tim Ornato, Brass Product Specialist for Buffet Crampon. Impromptu duets always drew an audience, followed by yet more testing of the highly acclaimed Besson instruments.
As ever James Gourlay was a very busy man, with excellent performances in recital and with the UCLA Brass ensemble, as well as attending all the 8am meetings of the ITEA Executive Committee. He even found time along with Matt to rent a couple of Harley Davidson motorbikes mid-week!
In the week leading up to ITEC Pat Stuckemeyer and Steven Mead jointly organized the first Low Brass Boot Camp, held in Phoenix, that was attended by around 30 enthusiastic and dedicated brass players.
Assisting there were several excellent tutors including Danny Helseth and Aaron Tindall. A quite outstanding ensemble made up of past and present RNCM students and teachers made a deep impression of the conference at their concert on the final day. The vast majority of these players play Besson instruments.
It was Shoichiro Hokazono'’s first appearance at an ITEC as a Besson artist and his playing, as ever made a huge impression.
He and Steve will be doing a tour of Japan in September, and so they took an opportunity to play a little bit together at the Besson exhibition, much to the delight of many enthusiasts who came to listen.
Congratulations go to everyone involved with organizing this conference. Everyone went away exhausted but totally motivated. The reaction to Besson instruments has never been better and most of the instruments shown at the exhibition were immediately sold ! What impressed the visitors most was the quality of the sound, the intonation and quality of the build. The CC Tuba was the talk of the conference without a doubt, as well as the new front action EEb Tuba, and the Prestige and Sovereign euphoniums. The Besson valves are now widely regarded as the best in the business. More and more leading students and players are turning to Besson as the No.1 instrument of choice.
So, in the heat and beauty of the Arizona desert, beautiful and inspiration music was heard. It was a very great success.
Try the superb new Prestige 2056 Baritone, for a new experience in baritone performance !
Besson welcomes Thomas Rüedi as a new Besson euphonium artist!
Besson is proud to welcome Swiss euphonium top player Thomas Rüedi as an ambassador of our instruments.
He plays now a Besson Prestige euphonium and has officialized it last week-end in Montreux, place of the 2008 Switzerland Brass Band Championships.
Thomas Rüedi was born in 1969 in Oberwil, near Berne, Switzerland and began playing the euphonium at the age of 11. He soon showed a great affinity for the instrument which led to him winning many national solo prizes in his youth.
Thomas Rüedi went on to study music in England between 1991 and 1995, following degree courses in euphonium, conducting, composition and arranging. As a solo euphonium player, he has performed with many of Britain’s finest brass bands.
Back in Switzerland, Thomas Rüedi was appointed musical director of Brassband Bürgermusik Luzern (1995-2002) and „Seeland Brass“ (1997 to date). As a guest conductor of Brass Band Berneroberland, Thomas Rüedi won the Swiss Open and European Open Contest 2004 in Lucerne.
He is euphonium and chamber music tutor at the Musikhochschule Luzern and Hochschule der Künste Bern. He is also active as a composer and arranger, having a particular interest in the enrichment of the euphonium repertoire.
Thomas Rüedi has performed as soloist throughout Europe, USA and Asia. In 1999 he was awarded first prize at the European Solo Championships for brass players in Munich.
The following year he recorded his highly regarded solo CD „Elégie“.
He regularly performs with some of Switzerlands finest Symphony Orchestras, playing the tenortuba and basstrumpet parts.
„Synthesis“ is one of his more recent projects in which Thomas Rüedi performs alongside marimba virtuoso Raphael Christen.
BESSON NEWS - 17th October 2008
Besson quality raises the bar.
The quality of the new Besson Brass instruments has surpassed everything made before under this famous brand name.
That is what delighted customers have been telling us during 2008. With meticulous attention to detail, extensive testing and design procedures and with all parts
manufactured in a more precise way than with the old tooling of the last generation, Besson is now rightly regarded as the market leader in terms of.
We believe that buying a new instrument is a very special moment in one’s life.
Eric Spinelli from the U.S.Air Force recently wrote: “I just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you that the band just received a new Sovereign Euphonium and it's everything I hoped it was. I was originally going to ask that they send me 3 or 4 of them so I could find the best one and send the rest back. Then I remembered what we talked about this summer at ITEC and how the quality control for the new Bessons is so much more consistent. You were right, this one is definitely a "10. The valves are some of the smoothest I've ever played, the fit and finish is very detailed, and I think they fixed the problematic E flat, E, and F (concert pitch) above the staff.”
Another is perhaps best young tuba player of his generation, Les Neish, soloist and tuba player with the current British Open Brass Band Champions, Fodens. Les picked up his new Besson Sovereign 980 Eflat tuba in London last Friday afternoon, just hours before a concert with Fodens. He writes : “The main thing I like about this instrument is that the build quality is fantastic, and the valves! The workmanship that has gone into these valves is amazing. Also the response of the instrument throughout the whole range that I need to play at is just fantastic, and for me this is the best instrument I have ever played on, especially in the higher register which works really well with the smaller bell but also it still gives me a lot of clarity and punch in the lower register which is great. I played it at the weekend at the Regent Hall concert and at the finals at the Albert Hall with Fodens after only having it for a couple of hours!!” (http://www.lesneishtuba.blogspot.com)
Les Neish and his brand new Besson 980 Sovereign Tuba
Many of the world’s leading brass band soloists, including Steven Mead, Roger Webster, Lesley Howie, James Gourlay trust their reputations to Besson. This year Besson has continued to win back old friends and gain new ones!
At the Royal Albert Hall finals Robert Richardson, solo baritone with a double winning champions Grimethorpe Colliery Band performed as soloist on his new 3 valve Sovereign 955 Baritone. “I've been so pleased with the ease of playing with the new baritone. The sound quality is great and the responsiveness of the instrument is excellent - perfect for tricky passages such as in the test piece at the weekend!”
The legendary cornet soloist and teacher Dr.Roger Webster writes: “Playing has never felt easier than it does now and for me this is due to my wonderful new Prestige cornet. The valve technology, finish, sound and response is second to none, but don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself. Both the Sovereign and Prestige cornets have been so well received due to the huge amount of hard work undertaken by Besson and Buffet Crampon.
Euphonium Virtuoso Steven Mead who takes his Besson euphonium around the world virtually every week writes: “For many years people have known of my close relationship with Besson and it is a profound sense of pride that I feel now. My new euphonium enables me to do the job like never before. It’s opened up so many more possibilities that I never imagined. With the testing procedures we have in place now every instrument leaving the factory is absolute top quality, guaranteed.”
At the end of this October the newly designed Prestige 2056 4v valve Baritone will make it’s long awaited first appearance.
Thousands of satisfied customers can’t be wrong, endless product comparisons cannot be wrong. It’s time to buy Besson, the market leader in quality from a name that you can trust, a sound you can trust, and people you can trust.
New Besson Prestige tenor horn wins in www.4barsrest.com comparison between Besson, Yamaha and York, read the article: http://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/inst039.asp
Besson - final test of 4v Prestige baritone - June 18th 2008
Leading figures from JA Musik , Besson and Buffet Crampon assembled in the factory at Geretsreid, near Munich, Germany for the final test for the new four valve baritone.
It was an excellent day and at the end of the day all new design features were agreed to be successful and the tests carried out by Steve met with his and their approval.
The first instruments should start appearing about three to four months from now and will be eagerly awaited by baritone enthusiasts everywhere.
Here is a sneak preview of what it looks like in terms of the new tubing configurations for the four valve slide and the new hand position for the left hand and four valve.
Superb reaction to the new Besson 955 Sovereign Baritone
Besson is delighted at the initial responses to the new 955 Sovereign baritones, which are now in full production and quickly reaching their way to some of the finest players in the world.
After many months of planning, which involved rebuilding the instrument completely with all new parts, it seems the attention to detail which is the hallmark of the new Besson instruments has really paid off.
The 955 is the compensating three valve model, the preferred choice of the huge majority of brass band players everywhere and it’s sure that the new instrument is going to be in great demand. The very first instrument off the production line found its way this week into the hands of the master baritone player Bob Blackburn, of the reigning National Brass Band Champions, Grimethorpe Colliery. He so delighted with the instrument he will be performing with it at the European Brass Band Championships in Stavanger, Norway.
Whilst it appears very similar to the older Besson Sovereign 955, this instrument has proved to be much more responsive and resonant particularly in the higher and lower registers, and has much improved tuning. In the past several notes on the baritone were notoriously difficult, particularly middle A flat, middle D and high A. All those who have tested the new instrument including Grimethorpe, star baritonists Helen Tyler and Katrina Marzella and students at the RNCM are said to be thrilled with the improvements. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.
The new valve technology, so much a feature of all the new Besson range will be perhaps the most appreciated feature of this instrument. With its ultra fast and smooth action band players everywhere are sure to welcome the improvements they find here.
The high quality of the build and finish of the new Besson instruments has been talk the music industry since the new models began appearing, and baritone takes its rightful place alongside the euphoniums and tubas as the instrument of choice by the best in the business. The four valve baritone 956 is being completely remodelled and will be available in a few months.
Try to get your hands on one of these new baritones as soon as possible, as the demand is expected to great. Available now from all Besson dealers.
Bob Blackburn (Grimethorpe Colliery) with the new Besson 955 Sovereign Baritone (Left) & Bob Blackburn with Philippe Schwartz (L) and Michael Dodd (R) (Right)
Great new Besson Baritones are on the way
Steve reports on the latest development to the new Besson range.
Development has been underway for the new Besson baritones that will be released to the world in 2008. The 3 valve Sovereign baritone (955) has been painstakingly rebuilt with all new parts (with the high-tech new valve group) as were the highly acclaimed new Sovereign and Prestige euphoniums. This model and the Sovereign 4 valve compensating model (956) have undergone extensive testing by Steve and the British baritone virtuoso Katrina Marzella. The four valve model is now undergoing re-modelling with several brand new features to be revealed, with new slide configurations, 4th valve position and improved tuning. It is hoped this new model with be released as a Prestige baritone in 2008.
The 3 valve 955 has been declared a real winner by all those who have seen and tested it. Final testing took place in Geretsreid,Germany with the management of Buffet Crampon including new President Antoine Beaussant , Werner Duwe and from JAMusik, Gerhard Meinl and their top design team. Steve and Katrina did the playing and were able to convey their appreciation and delight at the new 955 baritone which has several notable new features. Firstly the sound is richer and fuller than its predecessor yet preserves the essential characteristics of a baritone. This fuller tone is especially noticeable in the lower and higher range. The tuning is much improved with the previously problematic notes, particularly high A and middle D, sorted once and for all ! The benefits of new Besson valve technology that have been such a winner with the new euphoniums are manifest with the new baritones too. Fast, smooth and totally reliable valve action is guaranteed.
The Besson Sovereign 955 Baritone is now in full production and it is expected the re-modelled 4 valve 966 will follow in a couple of month's time. Look out for them and if you are a baritone player, get your name on the list for one NOW !!
Photos from the recent tests
Left to right: Ferdinand Kleinschmidt, Werner Duwe, Carsten Göpf and Katrina Marzella
Even the new Buffet Crampon boss, Antoine Beaussant, tests the baritones !!
Planning for changes being made to the 4v 966 baritone
Latest Besson update - 3 March 2007
With cornets now in full production and tenor horns and the 980,981 and 982 tubas going into full production now it is an exciting time for the new Besson range.
Reports from top players and dealers has been outstanding and confirms what those close to the production has been convinced of for a while , that the new Bessons are in a league of their own and far and away the best instruments that have ever born the name Besson. The media has been busy in setting up a battle royal between Besson and the brand being marketed as York. The simple truth is this: the quality of the instruments will be self evident to customers and dealers in the months and years to come and the best instruments will find a permanent place in the brass world. I believe in the superior technology and know-how of new Besson and having tested about 200 new euphoniums (all of the Sovereigns, 967,968 and Prestige 2052, 2051) produced so far, I am totally confident in the product.
The delay is getting the new Besson instruments into the hands of musicians has been frustrating but Buffet Crampon have been adamant that they will not compromise on quality, (their dedication to quality with their clarinets have established these instruments as world leaders) and they have no interest in producing anything but the highest standard. This means the new Bessons are worth the wait. With full production now taking place (I tested and passed 103 euphoniums on February 27,28, with not one sticking valve or bad trigger) the waiting time is sure to come down rapidly.
I get many emails from euphers asking if I can magically send them one, presumably from the secret supply I have in my garage ! Unfortunately I cannot do this but please hassle you dealer and make sure they have them on order. If they don't or don't seem to be moving quickly enough, shop around. I suggest you phone or email dealers to check availability and price.
Rave reports on new Besson Euphoniums
Steve reports on the testing of the first two months production and reactions to the new instruments.
Having now had my own new Prestige 2052 for two months and having visited the manufacturing plant in Germany, testing the first two months production of the new euphoniums I am now able to report in detail on the quality of the new instruments that are slowly coming out on to the market. I get many hundreds of emails from musicians around the world who have questions pertaining to the new Besson, in particular availability and price. Both of these matters are not really my brief although let me answer these two points first.
There is obviously a waiting list for the new instruments, as there was a gap in production with Besson from the beginning of December 2005 to the recommencement of production proper in November 2006. During that time massive restructuring of production has happened with the new instruments benefiting from completely new state-of-the-art tooling. It was important not to rush this crucial stage as these instruments have to be excellent from the start. The back orders have built up and now we are all trying to make this good as soon as possible. November gave us 16 euphoniums, December 25 (now a complete selection of Prestige 2052/2051 and Sovereign 967/968 in both silver and lacquer) and January forecast is 70 and this will increase to over 100 per month from February. What this means is that the initial supplies will go to the dealers who have orders already in. I'm guessing that these dealers already have customers for all these orders, but not necessarily so. It would be worth immediately checking with your normal dealer to see what they have on order. You could of course check with other retailers you know to see what their position is also. Having seen at first hand the reaction to the new instruments at the places where the instruments have been on show, in particular the National Brass Band Championships in the UK (October), Belgium, Holland (November) and the MidWest Band and Orchestral Clinic in Chicago (December), my advice is that if you are intending the purchase a new Besson euphonium, place the order now !!! Talk to your dealers, some of them may not still be up to date with information, and if that is the case ask them to speak with their Buffet Crampon sales rep in whichever country you are in, to get the precise delivery dates that are showing now.
It is proposed that the recommended retail price will be similar to the 'old' pricing for these instruments at the end of 2005, but with the probability of a small price rise over the next year. The price you actually pay is determined by your dealer and over the years the market became more and more competitive with quite substantial discounts, up to 35%, being offered by some dealers, particularly when supply was easy. The new situation will inevitably see dealers not needing, at least initially, to offer large discounts. The new instruments are truly excellent, are in demand and there is a waiting list for them. So again, talk to your dealer and see what they can offer you.
When I test a new euphonium this is what I test for:
- Perfect build quality - with all the correct dimensions for all the parts and with the correct positioning of hand piece, angle of the mouth-pipe to the player.
- All moving parts: e.g. valve top and bottom caps, valve slides, water keys, 4th valve clip - all fitting perfectly, neither over-loose or over-tight.
- Valves - the valve action should be totally smooth with a fast and silent action. There should be no parts of the valve action where the pistons stick. There should be no valve bounce and the location of the spring in the centre of the rubber dampers guarantees a totally silent action
- Trigger (Prestige only) - the action of the trigger (moving the main tuning slide) should be totally smooth, with the alignment of the trigger mechanism being totally vertical. The adjustable part should be just the right tension, neither too loose or too tight. Anything loose could possibly cause vibration at certain frequencies. Too tight and you will not be able to adjust the basic pitch quickly and easily.
These instruments have to be as beautiful to look at as they are to listen to.
- Finish - the instrument needs to be free of any blemishes, scratches, small dents or soldering marks.
- The silver plating should be of a bright and even finish, and I check for places where the plating is dull. The final polish is critical too and here you can see the attention to detail that the quality brands need.
- Lacquered instruments need quality preparation prior to lacquering and the cleanliness of the procedures is critical if a dust/hair-free finish is to be the result. Instruments have to thoroughly checked for a perfect finish.
- Valves- these have to be removed and checked for the finish of the valve port holes. The new valves are quite simply a thing of beauty. Under the new system we have in place now, gone are the days of poor finishing to the valves that sadly we had to endure during the old days of substandard parts arriving at Croxley Green.
- Slides - examine the finish of the slide legs.
- Bell rim - check carefully for any blemishes in the rim solder
- Check that all engraving (logo, brand name and serial number) is clear and deep enough
- Inner Bell - check the visual quality inside the bell so that the silver plate /lacquerpolish goes way inside, giving a real quality finish.
- Gold plate (Prestige only) - check the finish of the gold to ascertain it is the same colour and consistency of finish.
It must have the famous Besson sound - often imitated but never matched!
- Pitch - the basic pitch range we calculate is from concert A=438 to 443. This means the length of the overall tubing needs to be precisely calculated and checked with each instrument. Although I trust my ears, I still use a tuning machine for each instrument to make sure the above parameters are met.
- Even tone - an even rich sound from the lowest note through about 4.5 octaves. You can normally tell after one note, but its important to check , especially for the difficult notes, i.e. low concert B natural , just above the pedal Bb (pedal C for all treble clef readers!!) using all 4 valves. Also check carefully the high tones, especially around high Bb (concert pitch). Check all the open tones and then check each valve separately to check for even response, tone quality and pitch.
- check for Flexibility, very large range of dynamics, sustained long tones.
- I often then try out the solos I'm currently working on to get an immediate comparison with my own instrument.
- we often try 'blind' tests in the factory where I ask several of the leading figures and technical staff to listen to me play 3 or 4 different models (with silver and lacquer finishes). Not once have any of them got the test results completely correct, which in a way pleases me as it means they all sound excellent!!!
I would have to say that I am absolutely delighted by the new instruments. History will judge them of course, but I can confidently predict that the new Besson euphoniums will be enthusiastically received by all players the world over. They will confirm their place as the world's most famous brand of euphonium with a quality of sound, response and finish that will leave our imitators frustrated once again!
Now that I have had my new Prestige 2052 since the end of October, the one that was on show at London's Royal Albert Hall, and having given about 10 concerts with this instrument I can now comment accurately on the sound. The sound quality has a new dimension of richness yet the tone is still centred.
Some of the concerts, for example with Sound Inn Brass and the Brass Band of Battle Creek are with musicians who I know and whose opinions I trust. I have been delighted by the response of my fellow musicians who have commented that they like and prefer the sound of new Besson. It still 'sings' but now is had a purity of tone and a density which is new. In particular the high range, from high C upwards has an incredible feel, with centred pitches, perfect intonation and a large range of possible dynamics.
Tone production is totally reliable and notes seem to speak easier at all dynamics than on the old Prestige, particularly in the mid range and upper range. We now have an even response throughout the instrument, and a variety of articulations work better and clearer, especially double and triple tonguing. On the computerized analysis an average of 20% improvement in response was noted. Here is a computerized analysis of the response tests:
The darker line shows the new instrument's improved response in relation to the instrument produced with the old tooling (what Schreiber will now call the York range!)
The instrument seems to be under less 'tension' than before and so the instrument has opened us to new response and tonal possibilities.
I continue to be pleasantly surprised how well in tune these instruments are. It must be due to the new way that the parts have been made. The new valve group with its extra solidity of construction and perfect air tightness must be partly responsible. The need for the use of the trigger has become considerably less now. The famous F, F# and G's (concert Eb, E and F's) are virtually perfect without the use of the trigger and so its use will become less and for more specific music occasions, i.e. tuning a specific chord in an ensemble, compensating for sudden large leaps, compensating for crescendos on certain notes etc. High notes, above top C (in Bb pitch) are much more stable than ever before, noticeably so on previous 'problem' notes, C#, E. Low notes and pedal tones are firm and stable with excellent response in the 4v compensating range. All the new instruments, without exception, tested since November 2006 share these qualities
The small technical advances I mentioned in a previous article make a big difference to the satisfaction I feel about the new range.
New features include the tapered screw-on valve stem (1) which fixes the valve guide in place stops any of the previous problems of the guide loosening during use and causing the valve to stick. Also new is the snap-on ball joint (2) (Prestige only) which allows for a quick release of the main slide without any of the previous unscrewing problems and problematic location of the nylon washers. This new part is sure to impress players everywhere. The quality of the soldering, part quality, evenness of bore specifications, polishing and general attention to detail is unsurpassed in the history of Besson.
Some typical reactions to the new instruments:
"Hello Steven! An incredible instrument the NEW Prestige! I was soooo fascinated from this euphonium that it was very hard next day to play the "old" one. I'm looking forward to have the chance to play on such an excellent EUPHONIUM"
- Walter Zauner - Sound Inn Brass (Austria) , professional player and teacher
"Hi - My name is Hadley Haux from the St. Louis Brass Band, and we met Friday morning at the Midwest Clinic (at the Buffet-Crampon exhibit). Thank you very much for showing me the new Besson euphoniums. I liked the Sovereign, loved the Prestige, and I'm looking forward to owning my own in 2007. That's it. Again, it was a pleasure meeting you and finally having an opportunity to try the new Bessons."
- Hadley Haux - Band Director, USA
"Just got back from Midwest in Chicago, and the new Besson euphoniums blew me away. I had high expectations from what Steve has been saying about them on his website, and even with that, they still exceeded my every expectation. I've always loved the sound that the Besson euphs can make, I just couldn't get past some intonation flaws as well as the valve problems that frequently would occur. These new instruments (Sovereign as well as Prestige) have corrected these problems (don't even need a trigger anymore!) and the valves are BY FAR the best on the market right out of the box! It's truly amazing! The horn will sell itself, but I'm telling you, before they get so popular that they will be on "backorder", get one of these euphoniums!"
- Brandon Jones - Teacher/euphonium soloist , Kentucky USA