Trumpet Concerto (2001)

Commissioned by the Albany Symphony Orchestra. Performed by the same with Eric Berlin as soloist on September 13 & 14, 2001 in Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs, NY and Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, NY, respectively. Written in Brooklyn, NY and Greenville, NC June 2-July 2, 2001. It is approximately 16:00 long. The Wind Ensemble version, arranged by the Composer, was premiered by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Wind Ensemble in April, 2004, and recently released on MSR Classics by the same group with Eric Berlin, soloist. (See below for links.)

Program notes from the premiere performance:

The Trumpet Concerto is scored for small orchestra: woodwinds and high brass in pairs, timpani, and strings. I composed the concerto over a period of four weeks (June, 2001). It is in three movements with the second proceeding into the short third movement by way of a brief cadenza and transition. The concerto lasts about fifteen minutes.

Over the course of the concerto, the trumpet soloist leads the way entirely. The very first melodic line that one hears in the trumpet part is comprised of closely-spaced pitch intervals. This melody returns throughout the first movement and in the second movement, but, more importantly, provides a departure point for a line that grows throughout the entire concerto before "stabilizing" in a final major-key section. In a sense, the entire concerto is a grand melody-with-accompaniment from start to finish, visiting a plethora of emotions and textural landscapes.

After a visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC. I was taken by Alexander Calder's Circus [Click to see 49K jpg]. I wanted to respond his brilliant imagination in sound. The first movement is full of whirring stimuli and little dramas taking place simultaneously. The movement is entitled "Circus."

The second movement, "Dirge," is marked molto sostenuto, is also characterized by long accompanimental chords, stretched to their longest tether. Rising scales in the basses are introduced as a general motif—sometimes they are the only motion. A three-note "sprig," clipped from the denser foliage of the first movement, serves as a motivic departure point for the movement.

The three-minute third movement, "Chase," is really two connected minute-and-a-half dances. The first is based on new, quirky melodic material that evades any sense of "home base." Muted trumpet entwines with a lightly scored orchestra based entirely on the stated themes. The mute is removed and chamber brass herald a final contrasting section. Here, the rising bass motif and various gestures from the first movement interact in a world of Db major. A rising Db major scale provides the only framework for a pleasant, ever-upward, syncopated dance in which the trumpet takes on a more Pied Piper-like quality.

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Copyright © by the Edward B. Marks Music Company.

Links:

CD recording of the band version

Piano Reduction/Solo Part sheet music at Subito Music Corp.

Full Band version study score at Subito Music Corp.

Full Orchestral version perusal score: contact Theodore Presser rental department.

INSTRUMENTATION:

2 Flutes (1. doubles Piccolo)
2 Oboes
2 Clarinets (2. doubles Clar. in A)
2 Bassoons

2 Horns
2 Trumpets

Timpani

Trumpet solo (doubling Flugelhorn)

Strings