Posted by Michael Sanders on January 07, 1999 at 12:28:57:
In Reply to: Alexander opportunity posted by Dean Norman on January 06, 1999 at 15:39:33:
I played an Alex for the better part of 20 years. I bought mine new from the factory in Germany in 1968. It was in unlacquered gold brass (yellow brass being standard) and had 4 valves. I payed $788 for it, including a hard case, airfreight from Frankfort, and 18% duty tax. Shortly after purchasing it I had the first valve tubing shortened and a big ring put on top of the first valve slide. This was my main instrument all through Eastman and I used it in the San Antonio Symphony until 1984 when I bought my Yorkbrunner. I used it for various applications but never as my main orchestral horn after that. Whenever I would take it into the orchestra after playing the Yorkbrunner it felt like I was playing a 184. Also, without exception, every conductor preferred the Yorkbrunner, as did the trombone players I worked with in San Antonio and Utah. I sold it (somewhat regrettably) in 1988 to Morris Kainuma, and the last I heard one of Dave Kirk's students owned it. (Does anyone know...?)
As I recall it had that beautiful classic German tuba sound. I also recall using lots of alternate fingerings and doing lots of slide pulling. Once in a while I get interrested in trying one again and when I do try one it amazes me how much effort it takes to play one. I played everything on mine at one time or another. I made it into the finals in quite a few auditions on it. I did not win another audition on it however. That happened for me on the Yorkbrunner. If you don't play in an orchestra I don't know why you would need one. On the other hand, if you do play in an orchestra there are newer instruments that make the job easier, the PT-6 for example, which has a similar sound that is a bit broader. They are classics though. You can hear them played beautifully on recordings by Mike Thornton in the Cincinnati Symphony/ Cincinnati Pops, Ron Bishop in the Cleveland Orchestra, Chester Schmitz in the Boston Symphony/Boston Pops, although some of Chester's recordings including Jabba the Hutt are on the Yorkbrunner. Both Ron's and Chester's Alexanders are 4 valve instruments.