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ClassicsOnline Home » BAROQUE TRUMPET (THE ART OF THE), Vol. 1
Few instruments have changed as much with time as the trumpet. Before the introduction of valves in the earlier part of the nineteenth century, only the notes of the harmonic series were available, with widely separated notes in the lower register and notes closer together in the higher. The modern valve trumpet can play consecutive notes in the lower register and is shorter in length than the Baroque trumpet, the descriptive name now given to trumpets surviving from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and modern copies.
The nature of the Baroque trumpet allowed the playing of melodies with consecutive notes only from c" upwards and made severer technical demands on a performer. In addition to other problems, the harmonic series contains higher notes that are slightly out of tune and need correction. This means that the strength of breath must be carefully controlled.
The differences of technique between the earlier and modern trumpet mean that it is difficult for one player to have equal mastery of both. The introduction of finger-holes by Otto Steinkopf in 1960 has made correction of some notes easier, but the natural trumpet still remains a demanding instrument. The difficulty of the instrument is the probable reason that the works here included by Molter and Fasch are now recorded for the first time on natural trumpet.
The earliest use of the trumpet in concert ensemble seems to have been at the beginning of the seventeenth century in Germany and then specifically in church music. About 1630 the Italian player Girolamo Fantini wrote sonatas for trumpet and for trumpet and basso continuo which he published in 1638 in his Modo per imparare a sonare di tromba. It was not, however, until about 1660 that the trumpet made an appearance in polyphonic instrumental music, probably first in Vienna and a little later in the Moravian town of Kremsier (Kromeric) and in Dresden. In Bologna Maurizio Cazzati published three sonatas for trumpet, strings and basso continuo in his Opus35, but regular composition of trumpet sonatas in Bologna began only in 1680.
Most compositions for one or more trumpets were written at this period in Kremsier and Bologna, where the two most important composers were Vejvanovsky and Torelli respectively. Giuseppe Torelli and Tomaso Albinoni began to develop the solo concerto about 1690, a form later varied and perfected by Vivaldi, but after 1710 relatively few trumpet concerti were written by Italian composers, suggesting that the trumpet had by then lost its position as a Solo instrument, several trumpet concerti were written in Germany, however, until the beginning of the 1760s.
Georg Philipp Telemann, more respected in his day than Bach, was employed in Harnburg for the greater part of his prolific career. On his death in 1767 he was succeeded as music director of the five city churches by his godson Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. His Concerto for trumpet, hvo violins and basso continuo has the traditional four-movement form of the Baroque church sonata, a slow movement leading to a fast, followed by a further slow movement and a fast final movement. In the first movement the melody is entrusted to the trumpet, with a more equable share of melodic material in the second and fourth movements. A full manuscript score has been handed down to posterity by the collector J. S. Endler, who made a complete copy of it. O. Bill of the Hesse County and University Library suggests that the score would have been written about 1720, when Endler was active in Leipzig, or at least before he moved to Darmstadt in 1723. In his own first autobiography, written in 1718, Telemann says that he w rote several concerti during his stay at the court of Eisenach, from 1708 to 1712, but continued writing for Eisenach while he was employed at Frankfurt-am-Main and during the first ten years of his residence in Harnburg. It might, therefore, be conjectured that the present concerto was written for Eisenach, as the stylistically similar Concerto for trumpet, two oboes and basso continuo. The soloist was almost certainly Nikolaus Schreck, who was ernployed at Eisenach between 1710 and 1716 and after that until his death at Gotha, where he was described as concert trumpeter. It would seem that Telernann's concerto is the first such composition in Germany.
Johann Melchior Molter was born at Tiefenort, near Eisenach, in 1696 and entered the service of the Margrave of Baden-Durlach in Karlsruhe. The latter sent him to study in Venice and Rome, appointing him Kapellmeister on his return in 1722. The disbanding of the orchestra in the difficult years of the War of the Polish Succession led to Molter's appointment as Kapellmeister at Eisenach. In 1753 he returned to Karlsruhe, where he re-established a small orchestra and taught. His compositions include concerti for several instruments and some fort y of these are preserved, among them five concerti for two trumpets written at Eisenach and three for single trumpet written about 1750. These latter are generally similar in form, with a homophonic style and simple, clear harmonies, in music that is in part imbued with energy and in part with strong feeling. The solo trumpet has a larger part in the first two movements, while third movements are shorter, with shorter solo passages. Technically the concerti are demanding and considerable sustaining power is needed in the slow movements. These works were written for Carl Pfeiffer of the Karlsruhe court orchestra.
Johann Priedrich Pasch was born in 1688 at Büttelstadt, near Weimar, and was trained at the Thomasschule in Leipzig under Kuhnau, later studying with Graupner and Grünewald at Darmstadt. After various appointments, he became, in 1722, Kapellmeister in Zerbst, where he remained until his death in 1758. Pasch w rote music of all kinds, including a quantity of church music, much of which is now lost. In common with some of his contemporaries, he began to move away from Baroque style towards a pre-classical style of composition. In the concerto he starts with the form developed by Vivaldi but develops a style of his own with less distinction between the solo and tutti parts. An example of this may be heard in his Concerto for trumpet, hvo oboes, strings and basso continuo. Compared with other music of the period from 1740 to 1745, the concertoshows some of the traits of the newly developing style. It may have been composed for a trumpeter at the court of Zerbst or for a visiting performer.
A native of Augsburg, where he was born in 1719, Leopold Mozart, father of Wolfgang Amadeus, was a prolific composer. By 1757 he is said to have written a large quantity of church music, oratorios, theatre pieces, sinfonias, thirty large serenades and many concerti, the last especially for transverse flute, oboe, bassoon, French horn and trumpet. He was employed in the court orchestra in Salzburg from 1743, becoming court composer in 1757 and assistant Kapellmeister in 1763. His Trumpet Concerto in D major dates from 1762. It has on I y two movements and is scored for trumpet, two horns and strings. The introductory movement, an Andante, starts with a main theme, an ornamented scale, developing into sequences until the entry of the solo trumpet. There is no real second theme and the movement is like some kind of rodimentary sonata. In homophonic writing the highest part, generally the trumpet, dominatesal most completely, with a more melodious solo line in the first movement and shorter melodies for the soloist in the second. There are at the same time fanfare and signal themes, very much like those to be found in the contemporary sinfonia concertante. It is supposed that the concerto was written for the Salzburg court trompeter Johann Andreas Schachtner,a friend of the Mozart family, but it might equally have been written for some other trompeter in Salzburg, such as Caspar Köstler.
Giuseppe Torelli, born in Verona in 1658, was employed in the orchestra of the basilica of San Petronio in Bologna, first, in 1686, as a viola-player, until the disbanding of the orchestra in 1696, and then, from 1701 to 1709 as a violinist. Between 1696 and 1701 he was active in Vienna and Ansbach. Torelli's Suonata con stromenti e tromba of 1690 is his first known work for solo trumpet. The composition has the same order of movements as the church sonata, the first beginning with a theme that recurs several times, in the manner of a ritornello. The theme is taken up by the trumpet, which has several distinctive passages. The second movement is a fugue, with a subject that occurs in the work of other composers, such as Alessandro Stradella and Arcangelo Corelli, and, in a slightly different form, Vincenzo Albrici. The third movement is for strings only, but in the fourth movement the trumpet returns. The concerto is Torelli's finest contribution to the repertoire and also his technically most exacting.
It is arguable that Henry Purcell is the foremost English composer since William Byrd and, until the twentieth century, the last of the great English composers. He was a pupil of John Biowand succeeded him as organist at Westminster Abbey in 1679. Among his compositions are odes for chorus and orchestra, cantatas, songs, sacred music, chamber sonatas, music for harpsichord and theatre music. Most compositions for trumpet by Purcell occur as episodes in vocal or dramatic compositions, in interludes for use in the theatre. This is probably the case with his Trumpet Sonata in D major, thought to have been written in 1694, the year before his early death, as part of such a work.
A pupil of Zachow in his native Halle, where he was born in 1685, George Frideric Handel, as he later became, showed early promise as a musician. From 1702 to 1706 he was employed at the theatre in Hamburg, followed by four years in Italy. In 1710 he became Kapellmeister to the court of Hanover, but in the same year made his first visit to London, where he took up permanent residence in 1712. He enjoyed considerable success at first with his Italian operas, later turning his attention to the new form of English oratorio. His trumpet solos are mostly associated with arias such as The trumpet shall sound from Messiah and Let the bright Seraphim from the oratorio Samson. There is, however a five-movement suite for trumpet and orchestra with the title Mr Handel's Celebrated Water Piece, published in 1733 by D. Wright of London. A second edition followed between 1740 and 1745, published by J. Johnson. The overture is from the second suite of the Water Music, written in 1717. The fifth movement is a re-arrangement of a march in B flat major from the opera Partenope, composed in 1730. The origin of the other movements is unknown, but it is quite possible that Handelleft a set of pieces with the publisher for further re-arrangement. It was not uncommon for him to re-use music from earlier works or in theme or substance from the works of others.
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BAROQUE TRUMPET (THE ART OF THE), Vol. 1