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Trumpet Concerto in E
In December 1803 there followed a concerto for Weidinger. It was composed by Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778–1837), who had been recommended by Haydn to become Prince Esterhazy’s Konzertmeister at Eisenstadt. A pupil and eventually close friend of Mozart who also knew Beethoven well, Hummel stands stylistically at the cusp between the Classical and Romantic eras. If Haydn’s concerto was to prove to have been the last concerto written for the trumpet’s old clarino or Baroque style, Hummel’s was to prove to be the first ‘modern’ one, demonstrating the instrument’s technical range and ability to play in keys distant from its ‘home’ key. Weidinger had developed a new version of his trumpet whose fundamental pitch was raised to E: his new trumpet had at least five keys. The key of the composition, E major, was an unusual one, and the work proved to be technically as difficult, if not more so, than Haydn’s work. Many editions have subsequently transposed it into the easier key of E flat; our performance retains Hummel’s original key.

The opening movement is thoroughly modern in outlook, and grand in scale, form and orchestration, requiring a sizeable orchestra. With the chromatic and tonal flexibility of Weidinger’s new solo instrument, Hummel was able not only to exploit the keyed trumpet’s ability to play expressively in its low register but also to modulate into extreme keys. The result is a splendid movement for both soloist and orchestra which contrasts the striking opening with a more light-hearted second subject. The following ‘Andante’—serious, often quite dramatic in character—shows the keyed trumpet to have many of the qualities of a wind instrument, providing it with flowing runs and novel trills. The Finale, the most light-hearted of the three, conceals a march by Cherubini which at the time of the first performance would have been well known; no longer familiar to us, the joke is today usually lost. The writing throughout the movement provides the trumpeter with virtuosic trills and flourishes in a variety of keys. This concerto clearly suited Weidinger, for he kept it in his repertoire for many years.

from notes by H C Robbins Landon & Crispian Steele-Perkins © 2001

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Details for CDA67266 track 13
Recording date
21 January 2001
Recording venue
Blackheath Concert Halls, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ben Turner
Recording engineer
Philip Hobbs
Hyperion usage
  1. Classical Trumpet Concertos (CDA67266)
    Disc 1 Track 13
    Release date: September 2001
    Deletion date: February 2011
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