Trumpets in Cantatas before Bach

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Charles
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Trumpets in Cantatas before Bach

Post by Charles » Sun Feb 05, 2006 11:11 am

Having gotten very absorbed in the Bach cantatas, I am doing a bit of exploriing among his predecessors looking for the kind of trumpet- kettledrums-and-chorus movements that I love, that might have influenced him. A little desultory listening to Nicholas Bruhns and Buxtehude has not turned anything up. Any suggestions, please? Schutz?

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Post by jbuck919 » Sun Feb 05, 2006 11:41 am

I can only give the sketchiest beginning of a response. I believe that Gabrieli's famous antiphonal music for the Cathedral of St. Mark in Venice makes extensive use of the trumpet. Other uses of which I am aware, such as the prelude to Orfeo by Monteverdi and one movement in the Christmas Oratoria of Schuetz, actually call for the cornetto, not to be confused with the modern cornet (this instrument is also called upon to duplicate a line in Bach's early cantata Christ Lag in Todesbanden). As you know, Bach actually did not use the trumpet very often, though when he did it was always to great effect.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Feb 05, 2006 1:42 pm

I could scarcely give a better answer than John's, Charles.

The folks you want to explore are the Venetians from the late 1500s to the early 1700s:

Gabreli
Torelli
Corelli
Manfredini

A couple of outriders:
Fasch
John Stanley
Jeremiah Clarke
Biber

and later
Telemann
Vivaldi
Charpentier
Jean-Joseph Mouret (the Masterpiece Theater Theme composer)

and later still
Mozart's Church (Epistle) Sonatas.


Look for discs by Maurice Andre and especially by Ludwig Guttler, a brilliant trumpeter who doesn't seem to worry about commerciality, and conducted by Richard Kapp. I think you would really enjoy this disc and this.

The Orfeo intrada is about as far as Monteverdi goes with a featured solo for trumpet. You have to be really intent to wade thru all of his operas to get to the few seconds of solo instrumental music.
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premont
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Post by premont » Sun Feb 05, 2006 5:07 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:Look for discs by Maurice Andre and especially by Ludwig Guttler, a brilliant trumpeter who doesn't seem to worry about commerciality, and conducted by Richard Kapp. I think you would really enjoy this
But be ware of the fact, that these (André & Güttler) are excellent musicians, but they play on modern instruments with a more "fat" sound than the rebuilt baroque type clarino instruments, which are used in Leusinks Bach Cantata recordings.

val
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Post by val » Mon Feb 06, 2006 4:03 am

But even in Bach Cantatas the trumpets are, as it is the case of the BWV 80, not included by him, but by his son Wilhelm Friedemann.

Before Bach, in their Motets, french composers used the trumpet, such as Lully and Charpentier.

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Post by PJME » Mon Feb 06, 2006 5:34 am

On the Harmonia Mundi label you can find a double Cd set with Schuetz' Psalmen David's. The range of expression is enormous. If you really want to be impressed, listen to SWV 45 "Danket dem Herren denn Er ist freundlich"- a magnificent paean on a very grand scale (with trombones, trumpets and timpani) - this Psalm evolves from a slow, noble introduction to an awe-inspiring, repetitive/rythmic prayer.

Cantus Cölln
Concerto Palatino
Konrad Junghänel - director
Elisabeth Scholl - soprano
Annette Labusch - soprano
Elisabeth Popien - alto
Stratton Bull - alto
Gerd Türk - tenor
Wilfried Jochens - tenor
Jörn Lindemann - tenor
Stephan Schreckenberger - bass
Stephan MacLeod - bass

Anyway, most music by Schuetz is well worth discovering.
For more & other glorious trumpetsounds check out artists like Crispian Steele - Perkins and John Wallace and the Wallace Collection. They both play historical(re-build) instruments and recorded a lot of Italian Canzone & concerti (Gabrieli, Viadana, Frescobaldi etc).
Maurice André is a stunning technician but never really got involved in the Historical practice -movement. Guttler,by the way, is one of the artists closely connected with the rebuilding of the Frauenkirche in Dresden.

For sheer splendour the masses of H.Biber are hard to beat - Missa Salzburgensis (on Archiv) is the most collosal.
Missa Christi resurgentis (Harmonia Mundi) and Missa Bruxellensis (Alia Vox) are hardly less impressive.
Last edited by PJME on Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:07 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by C.B. » Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:48 am

jbuck919 wrote:I can only give the sketchiest beginning of a response. I believe that Gabrieli's famous antiphonal music for the Cathedral of St. Mark in Venice makes extensive use of the trumpet. Other uses of which I am aware, such as the prelude to Orfeo by Monteverdi and one movement in the Christmas Oratoria of Schuetz, actually call for the cornetto, not to be confused with the modern cornet (this instrument is also called upon to duplicate a line in Bach's early cantata Christ Lag in Todesbanden). As you know, Bach actually did not use the trumpet very often, though when he did it was always to great effect.
If I may be allowed to "set the record straight" concerning the early trumpet--

The music of both Gabrielis (Giovanni and Andrea) contains no actual parts for the trumpet, AFAIK. What they did score for is the cornetto, which you mention, and three sizes of sackbut, or Renaissance trombone. This is not to say, however, that the trumpet was not used in fanfares at St Mark's during the period, as the many recordings of Paul McCreesh demonstrate. It's just that the fanfare music, mostly of a traditional nature, was not by the Gabrielis themselves, but probably handed down from generation to generation within the trumpet guild.
Monteverdi, on the other hand, did in fact write his famous Toccata for the long trumpet (I believe there are actually four parts total--clarino I & II, dughetto and pricipale), but on some recordings cornetti have been substituted--to poor effect, I think. Likewise for Schuetz in the Weihnachtsoratorium, and some recordings substitute cornetti here as well, althought with this work the softer instruments are somewhat better suited. Still, I believe most listeners would prefer to hear the long trumpet in both works.
As for Bach "not using the trumpet very often", I find that a strange statement. I don't have any statistics handy, but the traditional grouping of three trumpets and timpani shows up in many, many cantatas, as well as the Weihnachtsoratorium, H-moll Messe, Ouverturen (although the trumpet parts here may have been added later), Brandenburgische Konzerte, and the Magnificat. Clearly, Bach reserved the trumpet for those works where he wished to make a "grand statement", which he did quite often. He was clearly encouraged by an excellent group of trumpeters at his disposal in Leipzig. An early example of the "grand statement" is the Cantata BWV 63 "Christen, ätzet diesen Tag", which Bach recycled from an earlier work by adding new music and rescoring the piece by adding three trumpets and drums. This became the first big work performed at his new post in Leipzig, Christmas Day 1723. The demands made on the first trumpet in this work alone (high tessitura, florid passages in the highest register) surpass anything written by Handel or the French and Italian composers before Bach.

BTW, there is no instrument per se called the "clarino", contrary to what another poster wrote. It is properly the highest register of the natural trumpet, played by someone who specializes in that register, using a special shallow mouthpiece. The German record companies did us all a disservice by purpetuating this misnomer, to the point where it has now become common parlance.
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premont
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Post by premont » Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:54 am

[/quote] CB
BTW, there is no instrument per se called the "clarino", contrary to what another poster wrote. It is properly the highest register of the natural trumpet, played by someone who specializes in that register, using a special shallow mouthpiece. [/quote]

Yes I know that, and I admit that my choice of words was imprecise. Of course I meant a valveless baroque trumpet used for clarino playing. The word "clarino" in that sense is some sort of jargon, excuse me.

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Post by jbuck919 » Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:55 am

C.B. in my book may be "allowed to set the record straight" any time he wants.

I am aware of the extent of use of trumpets by Bach and meant it only in relative terms (most of the cantatas, both passions, and most of the concerted instrumental works do not use them).

It has always seemed to me an act of wonderful imagination for Bach to draw in the the incredibly talented town trumpeters and use them the way he did. I have to wonder how many sociable beers they had together to make it click. In the second Brandenburg, you can almost hear the wheels turning in his head: "When they hear that first trumpet entrance, they will faint." And I imagine they did.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by C.B. » Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:26 am

jbuck919 wrote:It has always seemed to me an act of wonderful imagination for Bach to draw in the the incredibly talented town trumpeters and use them the way he did. I have to wonder how many sociable beers they had together to make it click. In the second Brandenburg, you can almost hear the wheels turning in his head: "When they hear that first trumpet entrance, they will faint." And I imagine they did.
Yes. It's even more remarkable considering that Leipzig, a university town and center of commerce, but not a seat of the nobility, could field the excellent instrumentalists that it did. Of course, Bach sometimes complained about their insufficient numbers, but clearly he was writing music that was within their technical capabilities, otherwise it would never have been performed.

BTW, did you know that the current thinking on the Second Brandenburg is that the fiendish trumpet part was originally written for horn in F (an octave lower), and that Bach revised it, most likely at the urging of his extraordinary solo trumpeter, Gottfried Reiche? The version for horn came about in Coethen, and the part is much closer to "standard practice" on the horn (although by no means easy). On the valveless trumpet in F, it's a killer--there's only a handful of trumpeters alive who can play it. Of course, a lot of people can play it on the valved piccolo Bb trumpet, but that's not the same thing.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:33 pm

premont wrote:But be ware of the fact, that these (André & Güttler) are excellent musicians, but they play on modern instruments with a more "fat" sound than the rebuilt baroque type clarino instruments, which are used in Leusinks Bach Cantata recordings.
My experience is that the music I think Charles would be interested in hearing is not done by strictly OI groups. I could be wrong. I just don't think it's out there. So compromises are in order.
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premont
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Post by premont » Mon Feb 06, 2006 5:37 pm

C.B. wrote: BTW, did you know that the current thinking on the Second Brandenburg is that the fiendish trumpet part was originally written for horn in F (an octave lower), and that Bach revised it, most likely at the urging of his extraordinary solo trumpeter, Gottfried Reiche? The version for horn came about in Coethen, and the part is much closer to "standard practice" on the horn (although by no means easy). On the valveless trumpet in F, it's a killer--there's only a handful of trumpeters alive who can play it. Of course, a lot of people can play it on the valved piccolo Bb trumpet, but that's not the same thing.
Yes, the version for corno is mentioned as alternative in a copy made by one of Bachs pupils. And it has been recorded many times. (by Kuijken, and especially Güttler, who also recorded the version with trumpet). Personally I don´t believe, that the Corno version represented anything else than an alternative possibility, when a trumpeter wasn´t at hand. Everyone who has heard the Corno version has to agree, that the balance is exceptionally bad for Bach, since the soloists play in different pitches, the corno playing an octave lower than the others but sharing thematic material with them. When period instruments are used, the balance is far better with trumpet, because the trumpet doesn´t dominate the soundscape that much and the four soloists ar more equal partners when playing in the same pitch. The corni are better balanced in the first Brandenburg, since they are two, and since they separate themselves from the rest of the ensemble by using their own thematic material to a large extent.

Charles
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Post by Charles » Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:36 pm

This is a lot to explore. Thank you all for your responses.

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