The trumpet has always been a jazz instrument for me. I guess that’s in part because I came to jazz before I came to concertos and solo pieces from the classical repertoire and because there really aren’t many trumpet pieces out there. It’s an under-utilized instrument, for sure. The trumpet always sounds regal or martial to me in Classical and Romantic music and I don’t particularly go for that.
Prior to 1770, the trumpet couldn’t hit a wide range of notes. The keyed trumpet was invented around then and allowed for the instrument to express a greater range. The result was that composers could actually write music for it! So then we got more interesting trumpet concertos. (The modern trumpet was invented in the 1930s, so very little has been written for this particular type of trumpet.)
Haydn’s smacks to me of High Classical conventions or cliches – at least the first movement does – but there is no denying the importance, as it’s the first concerto for this type of instrument. So this is basically the first time anyone ever wrote for the trumpet below the high register. And that’s kind of crazy. And if I’m being fair, the trumpet really does a lot of stuff in this piece.
The Hummel is apparently one of the few other pieces written for this particular type of trumpet (and was written for the same guy as the Haydn, the inventor of the instrument). I feel like this work is less impressive in terms of the difficulty for the trumpet, but it feels more “modern” to me musically.
Overall this is an excellent pairing of two pieces written for a unique instrument that lost the battle with history.
Haydn: Trumpet Concerto In E Flat Major
Hummel: Trumpet Concerto In E Major
- Allegro Con Spirito