Posted by: rbbadger | August 30, 2009

More Haydn

The Haydn Trumpet Concerto  has a bit of interesting history behind it.  It was written for Anton Weidinger, a trumpeter for the imperial Austrian court, who had been experimenting with keyed trumpets.  At the time of J.S. Bach, trumpets had no keys.  There were crooks, which were additional lenths of tubing, which could be manipulated so as to be able to play in different keys.  When you hear pieces featuring trumpets from Bach or Haendel, keep in mind that there were simply no keys or valves at the time to assist the trumpeter.  The keyed trumpet is an ancestor to today’s valve trumpet and it was for this instument that Haydn composed his concerto. 

Franz Joseph Haydn’s music is often immediately and instantly likeable.  In some ways, he has been overshadowed by his student Beethoven and his friend Mozart.  However, insofar as the classical period goes, he is the father to them all. He helped to create the sonata allegro form, the symphony, the piano trio, and so much more.  His music has a naturalness to it.  And compared to some composers, he was by all accounts a very nice man.  He was not neurotic like Tchaikovsky or Mahler, the latter of whom in the words of Harold C. Schonberg “made Tchaikovsky’s neuroses look healthy”. 

This version of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto is being performed by the English Chamber Orchestra with Sir Raymond Leppard, CBE, conducting.  The soloist is Wynton Marsalis, a major figure in American jazz and a well-respected interpreter of the classical repertoire as well.  Marsalis got his start in the jazz scene of his native New Orleans.  However, he later attended Julliard where he received much in the way of good, solid classical training.

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