Chamber Music Featuring Trumpet in Three Different Settings: With Voice; With Woodwinds; With Strings
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Throughout the history of Western music the trumpet has played a prominent role in every genre of music, evolving from a military signal calling natural instrument to the modem valved trumpet familiar today. For a majority of the Classical Period (ca. 1760-1 800), the soloistic and orchestral trumpet's role was in decline compared to the Baroque Era. The invention of the piston valve (ca. 18 15) allowed the trumpet to become fully chromatic. Because the addition of valves initially compromised the power of the natural trumpet, composers were reluctant to accept the valved trumpet and relied on the cornet a piston for chromatic passagework. For most of the 19"' century, the trumpet was neglected as a viable instrument in chamber music. Composed over one hundred years after the invention of the valve, Francis Poulenc's (1899-1963) Sonata for Horn, Trumpet, and Trombone (1922), is regarded as the first true setting for trumpet in chamber music (between 1878- 1916, approximately twenty-five works for small brass ensemble were written in St. Petersburg, Russia, not intended for chamber music per say, but still notable for the musical flexibility required by its performers). To this day, compositions for the trumpet in a chamber setting outside of the brass quintet are scarce. A brief history of the trumpet provides insight to why composers neglected the trumpet in chamber music for decades. More importantly, it raises questions regarding the responsibility for today's trumpet players to promote the creation of more chamber music through programming and collaborations with composers of this generation. Edward Tarr notes the years 1600-1750 as the golden age of the natural trumpet. During this period, demands upon trumpeters evolved continuously. No longer did the trumpet player's responsibilities solely consist of serving as signal caller in the military or working as a street musician. The trumpeter needed to possess skills to play soft in a chamber setting, in tune on imperfect partials, and the strength to play above the 16'~p artial. The art of trumpet playing during this period became one the most sought after skills in society. Guilds formed to "keep the number of trumpet players small, by strict instruction and regulations and to keep it exclusive by restricting its use." Johann Sebastian Bach's (1685-1750) music written for the trumpeter Gottfried Reiche (1667-1734) is considered the zenith of this new style clarion trumpeting. Georg Philipp Telemann's (1681 - 1767) Concerto for trumpet, 2 oboes, and continuo (1730's), and Angelico Corelli (1653- 1713) Sonata in D for trumpet and 2 violins, and continuo are further examples of works written for the trumpet in a chamber setting during this period.