Saturday, 11 October 2008

174. Joseph Haydn - Trumpet Concerto (1796)


Title: Concertos For Oboe, Trumpet, Harpsichord
Performers: Mark Bennet, The English Concert
Director: Trevor Pinnock
Year: 1990
Length: 16 minutes


An interesting concerto by Haydn which explores the potentiality of the new invention at the time: the chromatic trumpet. So this trumpet has keys and therefore can go places trumpets before it couldn't and that is what makes it a better instrument. Still it is not the most fascinating of Haydn's orchestral works.

Compared with the last Haydn symphonies we've had here this sounds like a bit of a throwback, a bit like early classical/late baroque. The fact that it is not as forward looking as some other stuff he was doing at this time does not take merit away from the piece, which is still lovely.

The trumpet solo part is the real highlight here, delicate and putting the new instrument to great use in it's exploration of the lower register. In the end therefore it is all a bit underwhelming, even if it is quite pleasant.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Anton Weidinger reputably had developed a keyed trumpet which could play chromatically throughout its entire range. Before this, the trumpet was commonly valveless and could only play a limited range of harmonic notes by altering lip pressure. These harmonic notes were clustered in the higher registers, so previous trumpet concertos could only play melodies at very high pitches (e.g., Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2). Haydn's concerto includes melodies in the lower register, exploiting the capabilities of the new instrument.

There were attempts all over Europe around the mid-classical era to expand the range of the trumpet using valves, and Weidinger's idea of drilling holes and covering them with flute-like keys proved reasonably unpopular, due to their poorer quality of sound. Thus the natural trumpet still had continual use in the classical orchestra whilst the keyed trumpet had barely any repetoire. The valved trumpets used today started to appear in the 1830s.

Tine Thing Helseth plays the third movement:

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