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In collaboration with Dr. Henning Vauth, piano
Molly Page, Angela Scoulas, violin
This recital is presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master of Arts degree in trumpet performance. Ms. Blankenship is a student in the trumpet studio of Dr. Martin Saunders.
Concerto for Trumpet in D major
George Philipp Telemann (1681-1767), a contemporary of Bach and Handel, was a renowned figure in the musical life of his time. By the age of ten, he had learned to play the violin, the flute, the zither, and keyboard instruments. At the age of twelve, he began composing an opera, prompting his mother to forbid him to continue his musical studies. After studying in Magdeburg, Zellerfeld, and Hildesheim, Telemann entered the University of Leipzig to study law, but eventually settled on a career in music. He held important positions in Leipzig, Sorau, and Frankfurt in 1721, where he became musical director of the city's five main churches. During his numerous appointments, Telemann composed sacred vocal music that includes 50 passions, oratorios, Masses, 1,400 cantatas, motets, and Psalms. He also wrote secular vocal music that contains operas, intermezzos, 50 cantatas, serenades, and approximately 100 songs. For instrumentalists, he composed over 100 French overtures, 47 solo concertos, 40 concertos for two or more instruments, 8 concerti grossi, over 200 solo and trio sonatas, quartets, quintets, keyboard works, and lute music.
Composed sometime between 1710 and 1720, Telemann's only concerto for trumpet, the Concerto for Trumpet in D Major, is a sparkling seven-or-eight minute piece. Many scholars believe that this is the very first solo trumpet concerto composed by a German composer. In comparison to much of the solo literature that is composed for the trumpet today, the Telemann concerto may not sound particularly demanding or flashy. However, we must bear in mind that Telemann's solo instrument was not the modem valved instrument that we use today. Rather, the instrument that this piece was intended for was the much longer valveless Baroque trumpet-an instrument with a comparatively limited selection of pitches at the ready.
In his Concerto for Trumpet in D Major, Telemann adopts the four-movement form of the sonata da chiesa with a slow-fast-slow-fast structure. This work is originally scored for solo trumpet, two violins, and basso continuo. Today, only movements two, three, and four will be performed on the 4-valved piccolo trumpet-the instrument that is most often used today to perform Baroque literature.
In the second movement, the solo trumpet and strings trade off melodic passages of great brilliance to display the agility of the instrument. The third movement is in the style of a trio sonata, with the trumpet being silent as is usual in the third movements in late Baroque church sonatas. The final movement is fugal in nature and is somewhat reminiscent of the second movement, ending with an exciting fanfare-like passage.
Johann Nepomuk Hummel, born in Pressburg, the modem Bratislava, in 1778, was a child prodigy. When his father, a violinist and conductor, was appointed music director of the Theater auf der Wieden, the family moved to Vienna. Hummel, then only eight years old, became a piano pupil of Mozart before embarking on a public career as a virtuosic pianist and composer.
Hummel's career came at a transitional time in the music business. A composer and entrepreneur, he had to find commercially viable ways to practice his craft. He conducted works of others, trained church choirs, composed sacred music to order, directed an opera company, and wrote a hugely successful three-volume treatise on piano playing. He was one of the most sought-after piano teachers in Vienna, Stuttgart and, finally, Weimar, where he died in 1837.
In the late 1790s, trumpeter Anton Weidinger (1766-1852) developed the keyed trumpet that extended the limited range of the natural trumpet. For the first time, it was possible to play scales and chromatic passages over the entire range of the instrument. Following the success of the commissioned concerto composed by Haydn for this instrument, Weidinger commissioned Hummel in 1803 for another trumpet concerto. This concerto, premiered at the Esterháizy estate on New Year's Day, 1804, by Weidinger, was successful as well. Originally composed in E Major, it was soon transposed to E-flat, which is the key it is most often heard today. As a result of the invention of the valves around the same time this piece was premiered, the keyed trumpet was a short-lived instrument. Therefore, this piece is most commonly performed on the E♭ trumpet.
The concerto adheres to the established form of the classic solo concerto; a majestic first movement in sonata-allegro form, a cantabile slow movement (featuring a subtle quote from Haydn's Contet1o), ending with feats of virtuosity for the final rondo. Each of the movements emphasizes chromatic movement, scale-like passages, and other ornamentation that demonstrate the "new" capabilities of the instrument for which it was composed.
Following family tradition, Giacomo Puccini was an organist and choirmaster for many churches by the age of fourteen. In 1876, Puccini saw a performance of Aida that inspired him to become an opera composer, and after graduating from the Istituto musicale Pacini (1880) he entered the Milan Conservatory with the aid of a scholarship from Queen Margherita. Throughout his lifetime, Puccini composed 12 operas, sacred vocal music, several orchestral works, music for string quartet, a violin sonata, and several keyboard works.
In his sixties, Giacomo Puccini decided to "strike out on new paths." The result was Turandot, a fantastic tale from the eighteenth century set in a mythical China. Puccini never felt at ease with the plot: "My life is a torture because I fail to see in this opera all the throbbing life and power which are necessary in a work for the theatre if it is to endure," he wrote in desperation. After agonizing over the opera for four years, Puccini passed away before finishing the final scenes, leaving only sketches behind. Once the sketches were discovered, Franco Alfano completed the opera and the first production was given at La Scala in 1926.
"Nessun dorma" is an aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini's opera Turandot. To avenge the rape and death of a distant ancestress, the Chinese Princess Tutandot challenges her suitors with three riddles and, if they fail to answer them correctly, has them beheaded. Calaf, il principe ignoto (the unknown prince), has just seen Princess Turandot on the ramparts of the palace and falls in love at first sight. To the Princess' surprise, Calaf correctly answers all three riddles. Nonetheless, she recoils at the thought of marriage to him. Calaf presents the Princess with a challenge of his own; if she is able to guess his name by dawn, she can execute him; if she fails, she must marry him. The Princess then decrees that none of her subjects shall sleep that night until his name is discovered. If they fail, all will be killed.
As the final act opens, Calaf is alone in the moonlit palace gardens. In the distance, he hears Princess Turandot's heralds proclaiming her command. His aria begins with an echo of their cry and a reflection on Princess Turandot:
Nessun dorma, nessun dorma ...
Tu pure, o Principessa,
Nella tua fredda stanza,
Guardi le stelle
Che tremano d'amore
E eli speranza.
Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me,
Il nome mio nessun saprà, no, no,
Sulla tua bocca lo dirò
Quando la luce splenderà,
Ed il mio bacio scioglierà il silenzio
Che ti fa mia.
Sonata for Trumpet and Piano
Eric Ewazen, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, received his Bachelor of Music degree in composition from the Eastman School of Music followed by a Master of Music degree and a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition degree from the Julliard School. Upon graduation from Julliard, he was immediately hired to become faculty.
In July of 1993, Eric Ewazen accepted the commission by the International Trumpet Guild to compose a piece that would be between twelve and fifteen minutes long, composed in three or four movements, and the specified instrument was for B-flat or C trumpet and piano, with some limited inclusion of piccolo trumpet or flugelhorn allowed. Ewazen opted for the B-flat trumpet only. The contract called for proper acknowledgement of the
International Trumpet Guild as the commission agent on both the original and any published editions of the work, and reserved the right to premiere the work at the 1995 summer conference.
A key component in the composition of this piece was the collaboration with friend and trumpeter Chris Gekker, a longtime champion of Ewazen's music. The partnership was such that Ewazen would submit sections of the piece to Gekker for input as he composed them. Sonata for Trumpet and Piano was premiered by Chris Gekker on B-flat trumpet, accompanied by Eric Ewazen, as part of a recital in memory of Fisher Tull at the International Brassfest in Bloomington, Indiana on May 30, 1995.
Eric Ewazen's Sonata for Trumpet and Piano is a celebration of the wide variety of colors and expressions inherent in the rich sonority of the trumpet. Eric Ewazen composed this piece in a fashion that allows the trumpet and piano to explore many different melodies and themes, in the spirit of 19th century Romanticism and Impressionism. The formal structure of Ewazen's sonata is quite traditional. The three-movement format maintains the typical fast-slow-fast tempo scheme commonly associated with the genre, while the individual movements also draw upon traditional Classical forms for their construction.
The first movement of the Sonata for Trumpet and Piano is a sonata form that that contains long lyrical melodies with wave-like motion, animated rhythm in both the piano and the trumpet, and heroic, fanfare-like gestures. The second movement deviates in character from the typical slow movement. This movement, set in 6/8 time, reflects a folksong-like character containing a Scottish Snap (short-long) in the main theme and many open intervals. A contrasting middle section leads to a soulful chorale. The folk melody then reappears bringing the movement to a serene conclusion. The final movement is packed with energy. Of the three movements, this one is the most animated and rhythmically active. It is agitated, complex, and quite a contrast from the previous movements. This piece concludes with a flurry of non-stop energy to the end. Additionally, the third movement equalizes the two performing forces to a greater degree, giving the piano a more active melodic role than just being the accompaniment.
Smith Recital Hall
recitals, concerto, arangements, sonatas, trumpet
Arts and Humanities | Fine Arts | Music | Music Performance
Blankenship, Briana D., "Marshall University Music Department Presents a Graduate Recital, featuring, Briana D. Blankenship, trumpet" (2014). All Performances. 225.