THE ART OF THE BAROQUE TRUMPET, Vol. 4 (Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble/ Niklas Eklund/ Nils-Erik Sparf/ Ulf Bjurenhed) (Naxos: 8.554375)
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The Art of the BaroqueTrumpet, Vol. 4
Little is known about the early life of Joseph Arnold Gross. He was bornin 1701 and died in either 1783 or 1784. In 1739 he was appointed Kurf??rstlicherHof-trompeter (Electoral Court Trumpeter) in Munich. Like another famoustrumpeter - Schachtner, the friend of the Mozart family - Gross was also anexcellent violinist. In 1746 he was granted an increase in pay under thecondition that he serve as Konzertmeister in ballet performances. A yearlater he was appointed Spielgraf, with the job of co-ordinating theactivities of itinerant musicians in Bavaria, his area of jurisdiction. Suchmusicians were required to be licensed in order to play for weddings, fairs,and other festivities - and the fees for these licenses were a welcome sourceof extra income for those court trumpeters, including Gross, who occupied theposition of Spielgraf until it was abolished in 1775.
Among the works which Gross is said to havecomposed are two hundred Aufz??ge (processional fanfares) and the presentTrumpet Concerto in D major, which survives today in two originalsets of manuscript parts located in libraries in Regensburg and Washington,D.C. From the pre-Classical style of this concerto, as well as others by Riepeland F.X. Richter presumably written for Gross, all utilising the highestregister of the trumpet, it can be deduced that Gross must have been anexceptionally gifted trumpeter. The present concerto possesses a light,entertaining but not superficial style, which quite sets it apart fromcontemporary works for trumpet. It serves beautifully as a kind of aperitif tothe weightier compositions of this recording which follow.
Johann Michael Haydn, the younger brother of Joseph Haydn, served twoSalzburg archbishops for more than forty years as organist and composerstarting in 1762. He was of a more retiring nature than either his brother orMozart, but was nevertheless highly respected by his contemporaries. Towardsthe end of his life he was even made a member of the Swedish Academy of Music.
When years later Franz Schubert visited Haydn's grave, he proclaimed, 'May yourcalm spirit be with me, good Haydn, and though I cannot be as calm and clear asyou were, no one on earth venerates you more sincerely than I do.'
Michael Haydn's Trumpet Concerto No. 2 in C major, which seems todate from the composer's early years in Salzburg, has only two movements. Twoother trumpet concertos which share this feature - Haydn's own No. 1 andLeopold Mozart's, both in D - were originally parts of serenades. Thus thisparticular work, too, may have been part of a serenade. It is also possible,however, that it was sounded during Mass, for it was customary in Austria tocelebrate Mass in a most lavish manner, with instrumental sonatas or concertosbetween the Epistle and the Gospel, until such excesses were abolished by thereforms of Joseph II, following the death of Maria Theresia in 1780.
Whatever its origin, this particular concerto is one of the mostdifficult in the entire repertory. Not only does it ascend frequently to e'\above high c'" and once even to f'", it also has long melodic passages,beautiful but taxing to the performer, as well as daring leaps, especially inthe second movement. The original performer may have been the Salzburg courttrumpeter J.B. Resenberger, about whom Leopold Mozart once wrote, '[he] is anexcellent trumpeter especially renowned for his high register, theextraordinary purity of his sound, the quickness of his runs, and his fine trills.'All these qualities are necessary for the execution of this concerto. With twodemanding cadenzas of his own, Eklund has even added to the work's virtuosity.
Like the younger Haydn, Johann Melchior Molter was attached to one courtall his life, with the exception of a period of political unrest (1733-42),during which time he served at the court of Eisenach. He became a violinist atthe court of Margrave Carl Wilhelm of Baden-Durlach in 1717; two years laterthe residence moved to Karlsruhe. On full pay, Molter was twice sent by hisemployer on long study trips to Italy; the first period between 1719 and 1721,after which he was appointed Hofkapellmeister, the second from 1737 to1738. During his first Karlsruhe period he composed many cantatas and oratorios,most of which have been lost. His instrumental output, however, has survived.
It includes much chamber music and nearly fifty concertos for variousinstruments, including nineteen for flute, six each for violin and clarinet,five for oboe and three for the trumpet. If Molter was influenced in his earlyperiod by central German cantors and their polyphony, as well as Vivaldi, hislater works do not deny the influence of the Mannheim school.
Molter's three trumpet concertos seem to have been composed in rapidsuccession around 1750 for the court trumpeter Carl Pfeiffer, who is known tohave served between 1738 and 1763. Of the three, it is the Concerto No.
2 in D major, a work in the style gallant, that stands out by virtue of thesinging quality of the melodic material found in its first two movements. Herefrequent semiquaver triplets betray the work's florid style, between highbaroque and pre-classical; sustained passages in the high register probablymade it diverting for the Margrave, but fiendishly difficult for his soloist.
As with other of Molter's concertos, the vivacious, entertaining third movementin AABB form is rather brief, the solo instrument now functioning as primusinter pares.
Johann Wilhelm Hertel was a modest, industrious musician faithfullyserving as Kapellmeister at the north German courts of Strelitz(1744-53) and Schwerin (from 1754). His compositions link him with the Berlinschool of the Bendas, the Grauns, C.P.E. Bach and Quantz. In 1790 thelexicographer Gerber rated him zu unseren geschmackvollsten Komponisten (amongour most tasteful composers).
Although the second and third of Hertel's three trumpet concertos werecomposed for the Saxon trumpeter Johann Georg Hoese or Hese (1727-1801), whoreceived his court position in Schwerin in 1747, the Double Concerto inE flat for Trumpet and Oboe seems to date from around 1748, duringHertel's Strelitz period. Both solo instruments are treated as equals, with thenatural trumpet's lower register furnishing the outer movements with theirthematic material; otherwise the high register, as usual, provides theinstrument's main field of activity. The trumpet is silent in the middlemovement, a charming, aptly named Arioso for oboe. The work'stransparent structure results from the fact that the string accompanimentrarely exceeds three parts: either the two violins run in unison and the violais independent of the bass, or the violins are divided and the bass is doubledby the viola part. Such a structure is often to be found in works of the Berlinschool.
Georg Philipp Telemann was the most prolific composer of his generation.
He wrote more than a thousand cantatas in at least 31 yearly cycles (as opposedto J.S. Bach's approximately three hundred cantatas in four or five cycles), 46passions, twelve masses, more than twenty operas, and countless instrumentalworks. His principal positions were Municipal Music Director in Frankfurt(1712-21) and Music Director of the five main churches in Hamburg (from 1721).
Stylistically, he strove for accessibility and clarity and in some respects canbe seen as a precursor of musical Classicism.
The elegant Trumpet Concerto