I’ve always been drawn to trumpets and I believe it’s Freudian. They’re compact (by orchestral standards), understandable and phallic, which suggests the attraction may be shared with my instinctive feeling for hand-guns – a shocking admission, I know, but one in which form follows function. Not that I’ve ever owned a hand-gun or would want to.
Given all that, I’m not expecting many comments (“Let’s stay clear of that weirdo with the elaborate Italian name.”) I should add I love the brilliant sound trumpets make in the upper register which is where they’re most often employed. I tried to recall orchestral music that best exemplifies this but all I could come up with is Bach and that’s cheating. Bach tends to be scored for natural (ie valveless) or baroque trumpets which I believe make higher notes easier to reach.
I resorted to my personal Google system – Julia, the Prague Polymath – and even she could only come up with Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, Copland's Buckaroo Holiday from Rodeo, and Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Trumpets in C. Finally I stumbled on to the discography of Wynton Marsalis the trumpeter who does posh as well as jazz and some new names emerged: Mouret and Fasch (both 17th cent.), André Jolivet and Henri Tomasi (both French and both 20th cent.), Jules Levy (English, 19th cent), Herman Bellstedt (USA 20th cent).
Most are trumpet concerti and there are other more familiar names: Purcell, Telemann, Mozart’s dad Leopold and Hummel. Marsalis is, of course, flawless in whatever he plays and no doubt could play valveless. However when he needs to go stratospheric he uses the piccolo trumpet.
Click Wynton. I had intended a posh piece but couldn’t resist this, given I’ve been nasty about the tune.
Pic: Should be given a decent burial