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Hertel to Haydn

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Joined: 04 Jan 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:55 pm    Post subject: Hertel to Haydn Reply with quote

Hello all.
In my Baroque ensemble we've been exploring the Hertel concertos (I know Hertel is not Baroque). While this is all very playable and musically satisfying it does spend a lot more time in in the upper register (high G to C and D) than the majority of the trumpet rep. up to that point...and it's in Eb! One can't help but look ahead a bit to Haydn writing his concerto in Eb. Do we have any evidence of a trend of going up in pitch or is it like everything else in the trend of intruments...higher = louder?
We all know Bach and Molter wrote high trumpet parts, but Michael Haydn? Similar epoch/environment to Hertel?
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Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if this totally answers your question and you might know this, but Hertel would have originally been on natural trumpet, meaning anything melodic would have be in the clarino, or high register, due to the restrictions of the overtone series.
You're right that classical ensemble trumpet parts feature a lot more principale, or low register playing, but high parts have always been in trumpet parts and they always will.
To address your question, there really isn't a trend of trumpet parts getting higher over time. I think it's more that the trumpet fell out of favor as a solo instrument following the baroque, meaning fewer clarino parts, but as developments in the trumpet occured, the necessity of high register in section playing returned. Sure, Strauss wrote higher than Michael Haydn, but the early guys outdid them both.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Johann Wilhelm Hertel was born just five years earlier than Joseph Haydn, and he wrote some lovely trumpet pieces in the 'clarino' style.

Five years younger than 'papa' Haydn is another composer we trumpeters know well, his younger brother, Michael Haydn (who was far better-known in his time than he is now, and whose influence on W.A. Mozart is notable). Consider the high-test clarino concerti of Michael Haydn compared with the revolutionary 1796 concerto Franz Joseph wrote for Anton Weidinger's experimental keyed trumpet and witness the important evolutionary step in our modern instrument's genesis. Hertel's work coincidently parallel the Eb-Major tonality of 'The Haydn Concerto' but that's essentially where the similarities end.

The generational gap between father, Leopold Mozart, and son also reflects this same evolutionary precipice, though not only did Wolfie not live long enough to see Weidinger's commissioned instrument, but also any historical speculation regarding his motivations to write a concerto for our instrument is spurious/wishful thinking.* While Leopold's concerto is a less-extreme example of late clarino writing then the works by their fellow Salzburger, Johann Michael Haydn, we see in W.A. Mozart's trumpet writing a turn towards restraint and conservatism which would predominate the post-Weidinger, pre-PĂ©rinet valve era. Take a close look at how Mozart reduced the soloistic role of the clarini in his orchestration/modernization of Handel's "Messiah" and you'll see a prime example of the death of the baroque school of clarino writing, and the beginning of our back-of-the-orchestra role throughout most of the classical and early romantic periods.

To address the question of pitch-level in the OP, I think you're asking about the pitch of the horn, rather than the compass of the concerti. Besides the anomaly of the 2nd Brandenburg concerto, there are some baroque-era works using instruments pitched as high as G, writing into the upper partials. Largely, these works, and the stratospheric writing (mostly written for trumpets pitched in D) by M. Haydn and other marginal composers whose works were re-introduced by specialists such as Bahb Civiletti were most likely written with similarly-talented high-note specialists of their era.

The question of the fundamental pitch of various instruments can get thorny. Consider as an example that a trumpet pitched in "D" for one court could easily have corresponded to "Eb" elsewhere, or even "C" due to regional variations in pitch. Current research makes compelling arguments for the use of French instruments, pitched around A=392hz for the Brandenburg Concerti, meaning that to our modern ears, the 2nd Concerto in F sounds closer to Eb. This is an oversimplified explanation of how and why Hadyn's concerto was written for Weidinger's instrument in that key while coincidentally Hertel's clarino writing calls upon an instrument in Eb, but I'll get into the issue of the omnipresence of trumpets pitched in "D" below. Also recall that Hummel's concerto was set in E-natural, after Weidinger had nearly a decade of further experimentation on his (ever-increasingly) keyed trumpet.

So, two items in closing:

1) Trumpets ended up being pitched in "D" more often than other keys, as best I can infer, due to extra musical reasons. The association of the solfège pitch "Re" with romance languages's adoption of the Latin "Rex" (King) into forms such as "Rei" gave this pitch level the extramusical punch of regality, regency, etc. - and music both for Kings and The King of Kings called upon trumpets and drums in this key for a loooooooooonnnnnng time!

2) *Something of a historical footnote* Mozart (Wolfgang Amadeus) never wrote a trumpet concerto. However, his father (who did) once wrote about his son having written such a work. It is my firm belief that the promotional letter penned by the proud papa cum proto agent, following the successful premiere of the "Waisenhaus" or Orphanage Mass in C-minor (K.139) by the twelve year-old Wolfie, is a historical false lead.
The Mass the young Mozart composed is notable in its brass writing. Besides the expected virtuoso writing for three trombones (recall that in German-language liturgy "Posaune" is the word used when we would say in English, "The TRUMPET Shall Sound"), the orchestration features essentially classical writing for a pair of trumpets, PLUS 'Trombe ripieni" (written in Alto clef) clearly written for natural trumpets in C. I posit the theory that Leopold's prodigiously-gifted twelve year old so successfully managed not only the large-scale liturgical form, but also deftly handed orchestrating for brass - and likely a large number of the orphans playing the simple ripieno parts - that his father braggingly stretched the truth: his son 'wrote' a 'concerto.' Of course, if whomever that letter was addressed to wrote back to arrange a 'repeat' performance of the concerto, I have no doubt we WOULD have a W.A. Mozart concerto for trumpet...though its musical and technical achievements would likely not be more involved that in his Posthorn Serenade of a decade later.

Happy practicing!

Daniel Bassin
Conductor, Composer, Trumpeter, Educator

I play:
Monette CORNETTE; MC-35 (on order!)
Bb: Bach 72 Sterling/Monette pipe/MK Slides
Picc: Schilke/Jeninga P-7 prototype
Flugel: Adams F4
MPCs: Monette Prana Resonance 1-1 series.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for taking the time to write such an informative post, Daniel.

I, personally, got a lot out of the info on varying musical (C = . . ) pitch considerations and their relation to trumpet keys. The implications are not only to trumpet technical aspects but, also, to overall orchestral tessituras and tone/colour . . . a lot to think about. Thanks again.
"If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." Charlie Parker
"Even if I could play like Wynton Marsalis, I wouldn't play like Wynton Marsalis."
Chet Baker
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