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Villanelle -with or without valves?

25 Oct 2008 06:54 #187 by Michelle Rivera
Villanelle -with or without valves? was created by Michelle Rivera
What are some opinions on the opening of Villanelle by Dukas? With or without valves?

The Chambers edition of it says "without valves" for the first section, however, I've been told by one professional (hornist) that many horn players use it with valves --and that the original part does not indicate no valves.
On the other hand, another professional (this one, a tubist) said that he has heard Villanelle performed many times, all of which were done without valves.

Any thoughts? Also, if played with valves, would that affect an outcome of, say, a competition?


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25 Oct 2008 16:53 #188 by Scott Hoehn
Replied by Scott Hoehn on topic Re:Villanelle -with or without valves?
Most parts say "avec les pistons" or "sans les pistons." The 6/8 opening and the return of the 6/8 opening melody before the Finale should say "sans les pistons" indicating that it is to be played on "natural horn" (without valves). Then when it gets to the quicker parts it says "avec les pistons" (with valves).

Hermann Baumann's recording with orchestra does this "switch," Dennis Brain's live recital recordings do not. I think that doing it without valves where indicated is more "authentic" and obviously was what Dukas wanted.

Best luck,


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28 Oct 2008 11:56 #189 by Ricardo Matosinhos
Replied by Ricardo Matosinhos on topic Re:Villanelle -with or without valves?
In my oppinion it should be played without "sans les pistons". as indicated.
The french were the last resistance on the natural horn. The natural horn was teached in the paris conservatoire until 1903 allready with also valve horn. On most of the other countrios no one played the natural horn on those days.
Dukas piece was written to be played by the students of the conservatoire, That, even if they didnt had natural horn classes after 1903 they should be abble to play also o the natural horn. Thats why there's a natural passage in this piece.

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09 May 2009 20:02 #282 by Hope Evans
Replied by Hope Evans on topic Re:Villanelle -with or without valves?
I know I am just a lowly student here, but as far as I know, the Villanelle is properly played with "the switch" from natural to valves. I've never been a huge fan of the Villanelle, but at the same time, if I had composed a piece of music with explicit instructions to do one thing or another, I would hope that they were followed. Then again, from what I've read it seems as if these instructions may not have been as "explicit" as I've realized them to be in the past.

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