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St Albans Symphony Orchestra getting down to brass

PUBLISHED: 16:14 16 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:33 06 May 2010

The Cimbasso makes a rare appearance

The Cimbasso makes a rare appearance

A RARE brass instrument will be hitting the low notes for the St Albans Symphony Orchestra when they perform Verdi s Requiem with three local choirs this weekend. The orchestra decided to hire a cimbasso for their forthcoming performance at St Albans Abbe

A RARE brass instrument will be hitting the low notes for the St Albans Symphony Orchestra when they perform Verdi's Requiem with three local choirs this weekend.

The orchestra decided to hire a cimbasso for their forthcoming performance at St Albans Abbey after learning that the 19th century composer had always intended its distinctive bass notes to feature in his fiery brass music depicting judgement day.

Chris Ludwig, the orchestra's regular tuba player, has learned to play the rarely-heard instrument, which is a cross between a tuba and a trombone, especially for the St Cecilia Festival Society Concert on Saturday at 7.30pm.

For more than 50 years the society has been bringing together local musical societies to perform classics of the repertoire which need larger forces than any one of the groups can provide. The choirs performing alongside the orchestra on Saturday will be the Hardynge Choir, Radlett Choral Society and the St Albans Chamber Choir.

Chris said: "A cimbasso is constructed like a double-bass trombone with valves. It produces a sound that blends particularly well with the trombone section, which is just what Verdi wanted.

"It may look a Heath Robinson contraption, but the sound a cimbasso makes is remarkable. There are only a few specialist players who own these instruments in Britain so we have been privileged to hire this one."

Tickets for the performance are available from the St Cecilia Society box office on 0845 058 3912, or from the Abbey's information desk.

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