The aim of this album is to present an example of the variety that the modern day trumpeter faces. It features a mixture of well-known and lesser-known works which are performed on five different instruments, and accompanied by organ and piano….
In fact, something for everyone (to dislike)!
The opening “Toccata” on Piccolo trumpet is by Padre Martini (1706-84), a Franciscan monk from Bologna, who did much to establish the Italian Baroque style. From here the album continues in the early baroque style of Pezel (1639-94), and develops through Purcell (1659-96) and Clarke (?-1707). The beautiful Purcell aria suits the sonorous Flugel Horn and the Clarke suite is played here on the Natural trumpet, a copy of a period trumpet circa 1670. The difficulty involved in playing such an instrument, and failures to find an improved keyed trumpet, led to a loss of popularity during the Classical period. In 1812 pistons were added to a posthorn to create the cornet and popularity began to grow once again. The cornet is featured in “A Happy Day”, winner of First Prize Theme with Variations, Band Music competition in 1926.
This brings us into the second golden period for the trumpet - the twentieth century. Gershwins “Summertime” is originally from the opera “Porgy and Bess”(1935), but has become a jazz classic, played here on Flugel. The rest of the album features the modern day B flat trumpet in a variety of styles. There are short fun items by Poulenc (1899-1963) from “Les Maries de la Tour Eiffel” and the four “Animal Ditties” (1978) by Anthony Plog with Poetry from Ogden Nash. From Bernstein (1918-90) we have two short fun items, the first is a Rondo written for Judy Holliday’s Skye terrier and the second represents the raw style of early blues. The “Aria” by Flor Peeters (1903-89) is the second movement from his trumpet Sonata accompanied here on organ, as is the arrangement of a gospel song from 1922 “I’d Rather Have Jesus”.
The major work of the album is a Sonata in three movements by Eric Ewazen which brings us right up to date. Born in 1954, Ewazen studied composition with Samuel Adler, Milton Babbitt, Warren Benson, Gunther Schuller and Joseph Schwanter and is currently on the faculty of the famous Juilliard School of Music. This Sonata is dedicated to the International Trumpet Guild and was premiered in 1995.
To represent the history of the trumpet repertoire on one compact disc is, of course, an impossible task. However, I hope you will enjoy this cross section, especially those friends and family who have endured my “open all hours” attitude toward preparing, philosophising and practising for this album!