English Trumpet-Music from Golden Age
for 4 trumpets, timpani | percussion, 4 trombones, 2 theorbas & B.c. Works by Purcell, Byrd, Mattheis, Keller, Shore, Clarke a.o.
„The Trumpett shall sound“
Chief general’s order to attack during a battle? Master of ceremonies signal to start a coutly celebration? Or perhaps the Last Jugdement calls, as in the famous aria from Mr. Handel’s “Messiah”?
For ages the trumpet and music written for it could be found among splendor, wealth, both within sacrum and profanum. As an attribute of grandeur it was a symbol of everything the ruler had or wanted to have: power, magnitude and wealth. Trumpeters, timpanists and drummersactively participated in court life. Their importance and position were considerably high. They accompanied the ruler’s life from births to deaths. In the military hierachy they were equal to officers. They were the best paid musicians of the court, but they also could face beheading if they played the wrong signal during military activities.
The shift in trumpet usage from militaryceremonial towards artistic started at the beginning of the 17th century. The first documented perforrnance of trumpeters together with "ordinary" musicians was the opening of Claudio Monteverdi's L'Orfeo in Mantua in 1607, Since then, in accordance with the Italian example, the trumpet entered the area of artistic music in other European countries, Trumpeter groups, which had been autonomous before, were more and more assimilating with court orchestras. The art of plaging the trumpet and the clarino technique begun to thrive.
Almost all compositions presented during todag's concert are fro the 16th and 17th century, Between 1485 and 1603 England was ruled by the Tudor dynasty. Under their reign internal conflicts ended and the country regained its grandeur and importance. That is also the time of the English reformation (ca. 15321559), which became a symbol of widening England's independence from the European continent. Especiallg during the reign of Elizabeth 1. (1558 – 1603) culture and arts were highly supported. The 'golden age' shed its light on music and literature until the beginning of the 18th century.
That period was also the time of life and work of William Byrd (1546?1623). Little is known about the early stages of his life. lt is supposed that his father was Thomas Byrd, a member of Chapel Royal. According to the sources of that time, in the fifties William Byrd was a student of Thomas Tallis in London. After working as an organist in the Lincoln Cathedral Byrd returned to London. During his work in London (since 1570 he has been a member of Chapel Royal) he composed numerous works dedicated for aristocrats from the Elizabethan court, as well as occasional works. Among them there was The Battell, an illustrative suite composed supposedly to celebrate the victory over the Great Armada in 1588. The opening of the suite was Marche Before The Battell, which became popular as a standalone work and was written in Filzwilliam Virginal Book, a famous virginal collection under the title Earl of Oxford's March (probably indicating dedication for one of the aristocrats). The work will be performed today in the arrangement for trumpets, timpanis, trombones and B. c.
After the civil war period (16421649) and at the time of the Commonwealth and Cromwell's protectorate, together with the restoration of Stuart monarchy and the return of king Charles II. in 1660 musical life flourished. James II. enhanced the TwentyFour Violins, a group called up by king Charles, to 35 musicians, assigning it with a narne Private Music. Henry Purcell (16591695), the most important composer in the late Stuart court was a harpsichordist there. His most distinctive trumpet compositions were created in the last decade of the 17th century. On the one hand they show the Italian influence, present in all of his works, on the other the inspiration drawn from the acquaintance with Mathias Shore, called "King's Sergeant Trumpeter". He led a group comprised of 16 trumpeters, among whom there was his son, John.
John Shore (ca. 16621753) very early started to take part in the most important musical events, thanks to his father position and his own talent. He became educated not only in trumpet plaging, but he was also a lutenist and an instrument builder. At the beginning of the 17th century "...during plaging he cut his lip and he was no longer able to play his instrument". Shore remained on the court as a lutenist and in 1707 he became "Sergeant Trumpeter”. We also owe to him the invention of the tuning fork (1711).
England, and especially London, thanks to its wealth and highlp developed cultural life attracted European visitors, including musicians in search of education and career, throughout the 17th century. Among them there was Godfrey Keller, probably Czech, and Nicola Matteis from Naples. Little is known about Keller's life, apart from the fact that around 1700 he was a valued piano teacher in London. His Royal Trumpet Suite, printed in E.Roger printing house, Amsterdam, and dedicated for an English princess is dated at that time.
Nicola Matteis was born around 1650 in Naples. After 1670 he settled in London as a musician and violin/guitar teacher. He owes his fame as a composer mainly to his works for violin and B. c. printed in 1676 and 1685. With the new century, his music was forgotten. Matteis died in Suffolk in 1714.
Jeremiah Clarke (16741707) was a leading representative of the composer's generation H. Purcell's successors. Clarke is mostly known nowadays as an ecclesial music composer, although he took much interest in other genres, such as theatre music. The title page of a 1700 print A Choice Collection of Ayres for the Harpsichord describes Clarke as 'Composer of ihe Music used in the Theatre Royal'. Round0:The Prince of Denmarks March and Trumpel Tune are some of his most famous compositions. For a long time they were thought to have been written by Purcell, but they come from the masque entitled The Island Princess of 1699, a common work of Clarke and Daniel Purcell (Henry's brother). In various resources both works tend to be described with different instruments. Clarke's Symphony for FlatTrumpets was probably written as an intermezzo for The Island Princess.
Johann Plietzsch 2009