My colleague from the San Francisco Bay Area freelance horn scene, Alicia Telford, and I own a matched set of four historic Wagnertuben that are available for rental, with or without players.
Our tuben are a matched set of Alexanders picked out by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1952, during the Fritz Reiner era. We have a pair of single B-flat tuben and a pair of single F tuben. They were the CSO’s main set of tuben for several decades. In 1988, the CSO sold the set to the Dallas Symphony, who used them through 1999. That’s when we bought them.
Since then, our tuben have appeared with the Marin Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, San Jose Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, Santa Cruz Symphony, and many others. Renter either arranges local pickup or pays two-way shipping costs; we provide shipping boxes and include tube stands, valve oil, pencil clips, and so on.
Wagnertuben are traditionally played by horn players, but even horn players need to spend some time with them to master the instruments and be able to play them at the same high professional level they expect of themselves on horn. Therefore, when we rent out our Wagnertuben, we try to arrange a monthlong rental, so that your players have time to work with them, practice Kopprasch etudes, get used to the transpositions, and otherwise master them.
We can also supply experienced professional players along with the tube rental as needed. For local rentals with your own players, we offer coaching sessions with your hornists. For a moderate hourly rate (plus applicable travel expenses), we will introduce the fundamentals, field questions, help players get comfortable holding and tuning the instruments, and generally get your players up to speed fast. There are many tricky aspects to playing Wagnertube well, and having played just about all the Wagnertube repertoire ourselves, we know what you’re up against and can get you going fast.
We recommend using one of your usual horn mouthpieces, but be sure to try all of your favorite mouthpieces; you might find that your second-favorite mouthpiece for horn is actually the better one for Wagnertube. What I like best is a Lawson F680 with a B23G-730 rim, but that’s an unusually large mouthpiece. Many players might prefer a Lawson F660 or F670 with a 695-sized or 705-sized rim in the contour of their choice.
Our basic rate is $1200 for all four Wagnertuben for one month, plus insured shipping costs. Local pickup and/or delivery is also an option. We do not recommend a shorter rental period, because we want our tuben to sound their very best, and like any good instruments, they reward study. We believe that top-notch performance requires some practice and acclimation time.
What we usually recommend is that players temporarily switch to spending all their usual practice room time on the tube instead of the horn. Do your usual warm-ups, etudes, solos, and anything else you can think of on tube instead of horn! Your horn playing will benefit from this, too, and within a week or two, you’ll be almost as comfortable on tube as on the horn you’ve played for years.
See this photo gallery for more glam shots of the historic 1952 Alexander Wagnertuben.
Here are three short samples of the Wagnertuben in action, recorded one evening with no rehearsal and barely any beer:
- Bruckner tube quartet
- Freischutz horn quartet on tuben
- Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (from the green books, of course!)
If you have any questions or would like to set up a rental, please email Alicia Telford or phone +1.510.697.1883.