Music Reviews

  • Tarr, ed.,Bach for Brass 7

    tarr bachEdward H. Tarr, ed. Bach for Brass, vol. 7. Cantatas and Mass Movements with Cornetts and Trombones. Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany: Carus Verlag 2017.

    Bach for Brass 7: Cantatas and Mass Movements with Cornetts and Trombones is the final volume in a series of the complete brass parts to Bach’s orchestral music.This seventh volume, edited by Edward Tarr and Uwe Wolf, includes the cornett and trombone parts to the cantatas and mass movements. The short forward and remarks, written in German with English and French translations, makes the initial point that the twenty first century has seen the complete Bach oeuvre published in new editions (the Neue Bach-Ausgabe or NBA) which replaces the beloved but now dated Bach-Gesamtausgabe. Aesthetically the volume is very pleasing. Handsomely bound and engraved, these short scores offer a practical guide to practice and performance. The handful of facsimile pages from original performance parts that are included add to the aesthetic pleasure of the volume.

  • Dauverné's Duo Concertant ed. Couturier

    DauverneFrançois Georges Auguste Dauverné, Duo Concertant pour 2 Trompettes Militaires in C, ed. Jean-Louis Couturier (Vienna: Doblinger, 2017)

    In addition to the fine and easy to read large notation on sturdy stock, Jean-Louis Couturier has presented us with an informative introductory essay on Dauverné (1799–1874) and this lovely duo for two natural trumpets. Couturier presents a brief biographical sketch. He began his musical trumpet studies under the direction of his uncle Joseph-David Buhl (1781–1860)

  • Keyed Trumpet Editions by Jaroslav Roucek, et al

    immerhummelThe four trumpet scores reviewed here are all part of the “Edition Immer” series and are published by Musikverlag Martin Schmid.

    • Johann Nepomuk Hummel. Quartet in E Major (for trumpet, violin, violoncello, and pianoforte). Edited by Jaroslav Rouček and Jan Valta. Edition Immer, Musikverlag Spaeth/Schmid, SM 50565. 2012. Also published in a separate version transposed to E-flat major as SM 50566.
    • Johann Leopold Kunerth. Offertorium, Op. 10 (for soprano, keyed trumpet, pianoforte accompaniment and optional choir). Edited by Friedemann Immer and Jaroslav Rouček. Edition Immer, Musikverlag Martin Schmid, SM 50585. 2015.
    • Johann Leopold Kunerth. Quintet (for flute, clarinet, keyed trumpet in D, viola, and guitar). Edited by Friedemann Immer and Jaroslav Rouček. Edition Immer, Musikverlag Martin Schmid, SM 50589. 2016.

    Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s “Quartet in E Major” is a reconstruction of a work performed by keyed trumpet player Anton Weidinger during his 1802–1803 concert tour. In his introductory notes, Jaroslav Rouček argues that the three compositions by Hummel that appeared as part of this tour’s repertoire all probably contained the same musical material—that of Hummel’s trumpet concerto—arranged for different performing ensembles to fit different needs. The original score of this quartet is lost. Therefore, this reconstruction may best be viewed as a reduction of the orchestral score for the smaller ensemble of trumpet, violin, cello, and piano. In this capacity, this edition will serve quite well; most of the details of the orchestral version are preserved in this arrangement. Where exclusions must be made, the editors have made intelligent choices about what to retain and what to leave out of their reduction.

  • Paul Rougnon (1846-1934). Three Solos for Trumpet. Edited by Jean-Louis Couturier. Martin Schmid Blechblasernoten (SM50953–50955), 2017. Paul Rougnon.

    • 1er Solo for Trompette chromatique and piano in F. ed. Millereau. Paris, 1895. Dedicated to Meri Franquin. Source Bibliothéque Nationale de France Vm14.89 Paul Rougnon.
    • 2e Solo for Trompette chromatique and piano in F. ed. Millereau. Paris, 1896. Source Bibliothéque Nationale de France Vm 14.86 Paul Rougnon.
    • 4éme Solo De Concert for Trompette Chromatique in C with Piano. ed. E. Gallet, 1913. Dedicated to Merri Franquin. Source Bibliothéque Nationale de France K 28631

    Once again, Jean-Louis Couturier has delved into the massive shelves of the Bibliothéque Nationale de France and brought forth three new editions of French trumpet music from the Belle Époque. This time it is music by pianist, composer and teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, Paul Rougnon. Rougnon taught piano and music theory and composed hundreds of works including a few trumpet solo works in addition to the three reviewed here. Two of the pieces are dedicated to his colleague at the Conservatoire, trumpet professor Merri Franquin. Franquin and Rougnon were almost exact contemporaries, Rougnon being born only two years before Franquin and both died in 1934. They both spent their entire professional lives at the Conservatoire and no doubt Franquin influenced the writing style of Rougnon. Franquin was a force to modernize trumpet music, advocating for the use of trumpet in C moving away from the traditional low F trumpet. That the three “contest” pieces (used for the annual concours for trumpet students) reviewed here are written for the chromatic trumpet indicates an allegiance with the modern trends. The three pieces are between three and a half and four and a half minutes long each consisting of four or five short movements. The writing is highly chromatic and lyrical with a number of very florid thirty-second note passages as well as being harmonically interesting. Most of the writing is in the staff but the range does expand from a to Bb’’. The edition of the fourth Solo concert piece in C comes with a C part as well as a transposed Bb part. The two other works in F come with parts for Bb trumpet parts. As is usual for Couturier’s editions published by Schmid, the music is on sturdy stock with large and well-spaced notation. These three new editions offer trumpeters interesting and challenging solo pieces that would enhance any concert program. -- Jeffrey Nussbaum

  • 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

  • Anonymus (1700) Sinfonia a due Trombe arranged for 4 trumpets and continuo. Edition Immer, Musikverlag Martin Schmid, SM50591. 2015.

    Friedemann Immer has presented a very clever arrangement of an anonymous  work from the Torelli-school for two trumpets and continuo. This duo was first published by Ed Tarr in 1975 by the Brass Press. An easy piece it’s not! It’s a long blow and while not in the highest tessitura, does consistently stay in the C” to C ‘’’ octave with long flurries of sixteenth notes. What Friedemann Immer has done is simply break up the passages between trumpets one and two and then given over to trumpets three and four. Thus he maintains the integrity of the composition and gives the trumpeters enough rests to have a reasonable chance of getting through the piece without collapse. In the last two bars Immer allows all four trumpets to play together by writing in some octave doublings and simple harmonies ending with a very effective conclusion. Martin Schmid’s publication is published with a large and readable font on sturdy stock as is the norm for his music editions. Those who attended the 2012 HBS Symposium in NYC had the chance to hear him join his colleagues in a wonderful natural trumpet ensemble performance of this work.

    -- Jeffrey Nussbaum

  • Trumpet Fanfares by Buhl and Others, Wolfgang Haas

    buhlfanfaretirolerfanfareberlinerfanfareDavid Buhl. Six Fanfares for 4 trumpets (1799) and Six Quick Step Marches for 4 trumpets (1806). Edited and arranged by Edward H. Tarr and Jean-François Madeuf. Wolfgang Haas Musikverlag, ISMIN M-2054-1031-2. Pub. 2009.

    Anon. 18th century. 61 Tiroler Aufzüge for 3 or 4 trumpets and timpani. Edited and arranged by Hildegard Hermann-Schneider and Albert Hiller. Wolfgang Haas Musikverlag ISMN M- 2054-0673-8. Pub. 2007

    Anon. 12 Berliner Stadtschloss-Fanfaren for 3 natural trumpets and timpani. Edited and arranged by Horst Pichler. ISMN 2054-1124-4. Pub. 2009

    These three recent editions brought out by Wolfgang Haas Musikverlag are a most welcome addition to the natural trumpet ensemble repertoire. They bring a variety of interesting and enjoyable music to the table. The collection of music from the Tirol is from the Stams Collection and is part of the monastic archive of the Cistercians at Oberinntal. It represents a small part of the rich treasures of the Tirol. The extensive notes are only in German for this edition and the Berliner edition as well. (I thank Steve Plank for his expertise in translating them for me.). In this handwritten source, only two of the three parts are complete. A substantial part of the first clarino is lost and some of the second clarino as well. The editors used the Weyarn collection in Bavaria as a model in which to reconstruct the missing parts. They do a most convincing job as the fanfares have a completely authentic sound. It is quite obvious that they have well absorbed the stylistic subtleties of clarino writing. The writing is relatively conservative with a modest range. The first part ascending to a’’ above the staff and the parts are mostly in duple time and some times in 6/8. The writing takes an occasional rhythmic flourish, such as in fanfare no. 41 with a figure of 16th note triple followed by two 16th notes.

  • Arban/Vizzutti Complete Method for Trumpet
    arbanArban, Jean-Baptiste. Complete Method for Trumpet. Annotated and Edited by Alan Vizzutti and Wesley Jacobs. Maple City, Michigan: Encore Music Publishers, 2007. 408 Pages. ISMN M-800004-03-2 $56.95
    During the mid-nineteenth century the piston cornet as we now know it began to emerge from a tangle of various chromatic brass inventions. It survived among creatures such as the cornopeans, saxhorns, keys, rotors, levers, valves (Stoetzel, Perrinet et al.), and an array of many advancements, failures, dead ends, and experiments.  As evolution sorted through this primordial stew, an intelligent designer also emerged (my apologies Niles Eldridge!) to help guide the process to success.
    It is not a coincidence that the life of Joseph Jean Baptist Laurent Arban (1825-1889) spans this same period. His life’s work, contributions, interest in and influence upon this new instrument were singularly critical to the emergence, acceptance, and success of this addition to the brass family. Arban was a performer, teacher, innovator, and tireless advocate for the cornet. From his birth in 1825 to his appointment to the newly-created position of professor of cornet at the Paris Conservatory in 1857, he became a most remarkable and pivotal contributor to this large and rapid advance in the evolution of brass instruments. It is not generally known that he had even collaborated with other leading figures, including Adolph Sax and Antoine Courtois, among others, to engineer mechanical improvements on the instrument.
    For most of his professional life he remained an active performer. As an accomplished and successful soloist Arban constantly demonstrated and championed the cornet’s remarkable new capabilities. His efforts almost singlehandedly helped to cement the instrument in Western music, as he persuaded composers and performers alike to use this labrosone to great success . Within a relatively short period of time the cornet began appearing in many different musical venues. Music of high and low art, popular, civic, military, opera, symphony, sacred, folk, chamber, and solo virtuosic: there seemed to be no area of music in which this newcomer failed to succeed. 
  • Three new publications of note have arrived from Edition Walhall. Of greatest interest, perhaps, is the Overture in D TWV55: D17 for two trumpets and organ. This edition by Johan Plietzsch, from an original in the Hessische Hochschul und Landesbibliothek in Darmstadt, is in the style of a French overture-suite. This magnificent overture is followed by dance movements entitled Les janissaries, two minuets, an Espagniole, Carillon, A la Trompette, and Bouree. The trumpet parts are challenging, reaching the high D several times. Very interesting organ writing compliments the trumpet parts and gives them rests in strategic places. Each movement could stand alone in performance, but one feels that the greatest statement would be a performance of it in its entirety.

    The second publication is the wonderful Cantata BWV 51 of Johann Sebastian Bach. Edition Walhall has chosen to offer this as an arrangement for soprano, trumpet, and organ, with the string parts incorporated into the organ part. The editor, Reinhard Ardelt, makes it clear in his notes that while there exist several similar arrangements, this one is a literal transcription of the string parts, deviating only when doing so would create severe technical problems for the organist. The reviewer is ambivalent about the merits of this offering. It is understood that difficulties often exist in finding suitable string players and coordinating schedules. The questions left to the Historic Brass Society members are whether this approach is justified given our generally accepted goal of offering performances that most closely resemble what the composer would have heard and how far from that we should allow ourselves to stray.

  • Friedrich-August Belcke. Duo Concertant for two trombones, Op. 55. Edited by Raymond Lapie. Vuarmarens, Switzerland: The Brass Press (Editions BIM), 1999. Catalogue no. TB 50. Ca. $17.00

    Friedrich-August Belcke (1795-1874) was one of the most celebrated trombone virtuosos of the first half of the nineteenth century. A member of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra (1815-16) and the royal court orchestra in Berlin (1816-58), he undertook many concert tours as a soloist through Germany, to Scandinavia, Holland, the Austrian Empire, and France. The Duo Concertant op. 55 is one of a number of works Belcke composed for trombone.

    Belcke's Duo Concertant is in three movements: Allegro moderato, Adagio, and Rondo-Allegro. Like most of the solo trombone literature of the first half of the nineteenth century, the Duo, too, was composed for "bass" trombones, the German bass trombone of the time actually being a large-bore tenor trombone in B-flat with a mouthpiece somewhat larger than that used on tenor. This is reflected here in the ranges of the parts: F to c2 in the first trombone, F to b-flat1 in the second (with one optional E-flat). The two trombones are treated equally for the most part, with lively eighth-note triplet and sixteenth-note passages as well as the melody line being traded off between the two instruments throughout the piece. The only appreciable difference is the presence of several trills only in the first trombone part.

  • Dario Castello - Sonata No. 4 from Sonate Concertate Book I (1658)
    For Trombone, Soprano Instrument and Keyboard
    Realized and edited by Richard I. Schwartz and Mark J. La Fratta

    Antonio Caldara - Deh sciogliete, o mesti lumi from Morte e Sepoltura di Cristo (1724)
    For Alto & Tenor Trombones, Soprano and Keyboard
    Arranged by Richard I. Schwartz and Mark J. La Fratta

    Antonio Caldara - Dio, qual sia from Nabaoth (c. 1729)
    For Alto Trombone, Soprano, Bassoon & Keyboard
    Arranged by Richard I. Schwartz and Mark J. La Fratta

    Johann Joseph Fux - Alma Redemptoris Mater, K. 186 (c1728)
    For Alto Trombone, Soprano & Keyboard
    Arranged by Richard I. Schwartz and Mark J. La Fratta

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Agnus Dei from Waisenhausmesse, K. 139 (1768)
    For Alto Trombone, Soprano & Keyboard
    Arranged by Mark J. La Fratta and edited by Richard I. Schwartz

    With the exception of the first piece that is an edition, theses works are from a series published by Warwick Music that Schwartz and La Fratta are producing of arrangements of arias for voice and obbligato trombone(s) from the 18th-century sacred repertory of the Viennese Imperial Court. Only two of the five pieces are available in other editions, making these works a welcome addition to the trombonist's repertoire.

  • Suites and Sonatinas for 2 Natural Trumpets or Horns by [James?] Oswald and Mr. Messing. Edited by Bryan Proksch. The Brass Press

    30 Marches for 4 Trumpets and Timpani. Edited by Bryan Proksch. The Brass Press

    Bryan Proksch has brought to light some interesting and lovely trumpet repertoire and, in the case of the duets, has found it in an unlikely source. These pieces attributed to James Oswald (1710-1769) and a Mr. Messing appear in John Simpson's The Delightful Pocket Companion for the German Flute (1745). The pieces in the collection are arranged for flute but Proksch concludes that they were originally conceived for natural trumpet or horn, despite the fact that a few pieces contain notes outside of the harmonic series. For this edition Proksch has altered those notes but meticulously indicates all alterations from the original 1745 edition. Nine airs attributed to Oswald are modest dance pieces that, along with the other works in this collection, were undoubtedly intended for amateur use. The six airs by Messing are somewhat more demanding, occasionally ascending to written high c'''. There are a number of rhythmically florid lines but still well within the expected vocabulary of typical 18th-century English trumpet music. There are two anonymous multimovement duets that also fall within the harmonic language of trumpet repertoire, occasionally stepping outside of those limitations. Again, Proksch has edited these pieces for performance by a natural instrument.