Arban, Morceau de Concours, ed. Couturier


Jean-Baptiste Arban. Morceau de Concours for solo cornet/trumpet, ed. Jean-Louis Couturier (London: Resonata Music, 2016). Published 2016.

This is the second edition of solo cornet music by Jean-Baptiste Arban (1825-1889) that Jean-Luis Couturier has recently edited for Resonata. This work originally published in 1888 by the Parisian publisher Chaimbaud is now housed in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (Score K. 13784). It is a three movement solo cornet piece of a virtuosic nature. There is a melodically interesting and spirited Allegro of 52 measures and a 26-measure Andantino with flurries of 32nd notes and brilliant glissandi. The third movement is in triple time, labeled Polacca, and is a triple and double tonguing showcase culminating in a tour de force coda. The range is not extreme, similar to much of Arban’s writing, extending to  Bb below the staff ascending to A’ above the staff. There are but a few quarter note rests in the entire work, making endurance a greater challenge than range.

In an email communication Couturier explained that the original score is notated untransposed in C, implying perhaps the use of the C "Arban" cornet. It is unclear if that instrument was a 3 or 4 valve instrument. Couturier argued that because the cornet part calls for low F naturals in the Polacca and Coda sections, the Paris Conservatoire students ca. 1888 were must have been using the C "Arban" Cornet. It would seem to be equally plausible that the transposed part for Bb cornet (where the low F would become a notated low G) is simply lost.

The edition is published on sturdy stock on large size paper and is easily readable. The edition has both a Bb and C cornet part. While there is certainly a life-time worth of music to explore in Arban’s famous method, it is always a treat to explore “new” repertoire by the famous cornetist. We are once again in debt to Jean-Louis Couturier for his diligent work in unearthing these wonderful gems.

-- Jeff Nussbaum