Movement 1: Allegro
Movement 2: Andante
Movement 3: Allegro
Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E flat was played in the Burgtheater a few days before Beethoven’s first benefit concert—Weidinger’s was on 28 March 1800 and Beethoven’s on 2 April. The announcement in the Wiener Zeitung of 22 March 1800 reads:
Musical Academy: The undersigned has been permitted to give a grand musical academy in the Imperial Royal National Court Theatre on 28 March. His intention on this occasion is to present to the world for the first time, so that it may be judged, an organised trumpet which he has invented and brought—after seven years of hard and expensive labour—to what he believes may be described as perfection: it contains several keys (Klappen) and will be displayed in a concerto specially written for this instrument by Herr Joseph Haydn, Doctor of Music, and then in an Aria by Herr Franz Xav. Süssmayer, Kappellmeister in the actual service of the Imperial Royal Court Theatre. Which concert Anton Weidinger, Imperial Royal Court and Theatre trumpeter, has the honour herewith to announce.
Weidinger’s trumpet was built in the standard military pitch of E flat; three keys covered holes which were strategically placed to raise the harmonics in steps by half a tone at a time (a fourth key would have provided a low B natural—a note which is conspicuously absent from Haydn’s concerto). This concerto was Haydn’s last purely orchestral work, and is scored for a typical late Haydnesque orchestra containing two flutes, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, two orchestral trumpets, timpani, strings and, as its keyboard continuo, a fortepiano, in addition to the soloist. It must have been a novel experience to a disappointingly small audience at the new instrument’s public debut on 28 March 1800 to hear melodies played in the trumpet’s low register.
The first movement is in conventional sonata form; typically for Haydn the second subject reworks the opening theme in the relative minor key—a technique that would previously have been impossible for the trumpet. There are moments when flourishes evoke the old clarino sound in the high register—indeed Haydn even writes ‘clarino’ against the solo trumpet line, suggesting that he anticipated hearing the more vocal style of playing of Baroque times. The second movement’s flowing cantabile, so familiar to us nowadays, gives the trumpet for the first time a lyrical melodic line in its middle octave. The final Rondo demonstrates the technical potential of Weidinger’s new invention, showing that it could be as agile as any other wind instrument.
from notes by H C Robbins Landon & Crispian Steele-Perkins © 2001