Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra

Joseph Turrin

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Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

My Trumpet Concerto, which was written for Philip Smith, explores the complete range of dramatic and virtuosic trumpet technique. The score is in one movement divided into three sections, cast loosely in ABA form.

The idea of composing a large work for trumpet and orchestra has always interested me. In connection with this Concerto, although the piece is by no means programmatic, I remembered that the Book of Revelation from the New Testament of the Bible is rich in trumpet imagery. The passage that best seemed to sum up the dramatic yet mystical qualities of the trumpet, and which appears on the opening page of the score, reads as follows: ?and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter.?

The Concerto opens Allegro energico, with the trumpet stating the main motif, a three-note group (A, C-sharp, C-natural) that appears throughout the work in various forms. This energetic idea leads to a contrasting section more subtle in nature that eventually returns to the opening statement, now with a different orchestral accompaniment. Subsequently, there is a transition that introduces the Concerto?s Adagio section, where the opening material is heard in the orchestra. After the trumpet enters, the section builds, leading to two short trumpet cadenzas. There follows a hymn-like theme, which is new material. The mood is broken by an Allegro agitato reminiscent of the first section. Then comes another solo cadenza, this time more fanfare-like, which proceeds into the third section, the reprise of the three-note opening statement (Allegro energico). This recapitulation has more development, and new, contrasting material is added here and there, all of which culminates in a coda-like section opening with bassoons; only eighteen bars long, this section contains a concentrated amount of material. The trumpet enters using material from the opening intervals, now transposed, and then the orchestra takes over, leaving the soloist to forge ahead on his own. This builds to a climax (Maestoso), which is a more dissonant and fragmented recapitulation of the hymn-like tune used earlier. The major cadenza of the piece follows, a virtuosic display for the soloist of all the various material used in the Concerto. When the orchestra re-enters, there is the feeling of a second coda, and then the music rushes to a furious conclusion.

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Scores & Parts

Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra - Solo Part with Piano Reduction

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Composition Date 1988-89
Duration 00:15:00
Orchestration Solo Tpt.; 3(Picc.) 2 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 1; Timp. 2Perc. Pno. Cel. Hp. Str.
Premiere May 2, 1989. Philip Smith, Trumpet, New York Philharmonic, conducted by Erich Leinsdorf. Avery Fisher Hall, New York, NY.