Monday 20 October 2014

Launching new repertoire for trumpet

Simon Desbruslais - Psalm
Hummel's Trumpet Concerto was premiered in 1804 and the next major addition to the trumpet concerto repertoire did not come until 1906. It was partly to help remedy this lack of major concerto repertoire for the trumpet that trumpeter Simon Desbruslais's new recording on Signum Classics came about. At the CD launch at the Royal Academy of Music on Sunday 19 October 2014, Simon explained that when he was doing a doctorate at Oxford (which he completed in 2013), he made contact with the composer Robert Saxton who taught there and discovered Saxton had written a trumpet concerto, Psalm: A Song of Ascents (1992). A performance of this in Oxford in 2008 by Desbruslais and the Oxford Sinfonia led to the idea of Saxton writing a second piece and following on from this the concept of a recording. The young composer Deborah Pritchard, at the time studying with Saxton, was asked to write a concerto as was John McCabe, a friend of Saxton's. The three new pieces were performed by Desbruslais at a concert in 2012 and all four then recorded with the Orchestra of the Swan, conducted by David Curtis and Kenneth Woods for the Signum disc Psalm: Contemporary British Trumpet Concertos.

With pianist Jakob Fichert, Simon Desbruslais gave us a taster of three of the concertos. At Simon's request, Pritchard's concerto provides a rare outing for the piccolo trumpet, and is inspired by James Turrell's skypaces. Whilst Saxton's new concerto Shakespeare Scenes takes Shakespeare as its theme, and McCabe combines ideas of Spring with the Olympics (which took place in 2012 when the concerto was being written).

Evidently Simon has further ideas for expanding the trumpet repertoire, so watch this space. Meanwhile, 
Psalm: Contemporary British Trumpet Concertos is available to pre-order from Amazon (the disc is released in early November).

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