O.J.'s Trumpet Page Articles and reviews

The Keyed Trumpet

A Keyed Trumpet from Bad Sackingen Trumpet Museum
(click to see a larger image)

Anton Weidinger (1767 - 1852) - the developer.
By the second half of the 18th century the natural trumpet was in decline. Only with the invention of the keyed trumpet (Klappentrompete) did it become possible to play a proper chromatic scale.

It was the Viennese court trumpeter Anton Weidinger who developed a trumpet with keys. He did not invent it as some have believed. He developed his own instrument that could play chromatically based on earlier examples of keyed trumpets.
Weidinger was born in Vienna on 9 June 1767 and died there September 20, 1852.  Weidinger's teacher was Peter Neuhold (Oberhof und Feldtrompeter - Chief Court and Field Trumpeter in Vienna). In 1799 he joined the Imperial and Royal Court Trumpeter Corps (Hoftrompeterkorps).

Concertos for Keyed Trumpet:

- J. Haydn - trumpet concerto
The 28th of March 1800 a trumpet concerto written by Franz Joseph Haydn was performed for the first time at the Imperial and Royal Court Theatre. In 1796 Haydn wrote his Trumpet Concerto for Weidinger, both as an act of friendship as to his interest in innovation. Until then, Haydn's writing for the trumpet had rarely risen above the level of providing harmonic support or underlining a particular Affect. Now he took a closer interest in the new potential of what Weidinger termed his organisirte Trompete (organized trumpet), writing a trumpet part for him that was totally unlike the type of writing traditionally with the instrument. In this concert, chromatic runs and diatonic melodies replaced broken triads and fanfare motifs.

- J. N. Hummel - trumpet concerto
By around 1803 Weidinger had succeeded in interesting Johann Nepomuk Hummel in his "organized trumpet" and performed the resultant piece to great acclaim in the course of one of his concert tours, with the result that Hummel obliged with a second work. His Concerto a tromba principale received its first performance at the Esterhazy court on 1 January 1804. Weidinger himself is believed to have reworked the piece, at least in part, in order to adapt the writing to the instrument's technical capabilities.

The Keyed Trumpet - disappeared:
The keyed trumpet disappeared from the musical scene by the 1840s. During the 1820s the valve trumpet in the area around Vienna displaced the keyed trumpet. Only in Italy did it find a temporary refuge in the operas of Rossini and Meyerbeer, being preferred to the technically more accomplished valve trumpet on account of its sound qualities, a preference clear, for example, from Michele Puccini's Concertone for flute, clarinet, keyed trumpet, horn and orchestra of 1838.

The revival:
Thanks to some makers, (Egger, Monk etc.) who studied old instruments and started making copies, it became possible for players to start playing and to re-discover playing techniques This revival made it possible for people to hear how music by composers like:


The first "revival" performances:

The American trumpeter David Hickman, performed the second and third movement of the Haydn Concerto on a keyed trumpet in the spring of 1972 at the Wichita State University (WSU) in Kansas.  He was accompanied by a pianist. The keyed trumpet in Eb was borrowed from Gerald Endsley.
David Hickman says: "There was a video of the entire recital made. It's in the WSU Library, I think (unless they tossed it out because the quality was a joke). Further Hickman comment on performing on the keyed trumpet: Back in the early '70s I was really into keyed trumpet and performed both the Haydn and Hummel with piano many times. I also gave a lecture-recital on this at the very first ITG conference at Indiana University in 1975.

Two Scandinavian trumpeters performed the Haydn Concerto on an Egger copy of the keyed trumpet in 1973. Both were students of Edward Tarr.

The first out was Åke Öst who performed the concert with Motala Orkesterförening, March 24, 1973. "This was the first documented performance of the work on a keyed trumpet since March 28, 1800 when Anton Weidinger performed it for his first and apparantly last time" (William Greene) *)

This is what Öst said in a mail:

The complete list of my performances of Haydn`s concerto on the key trumpet is as follows :

1973-03-24 Motala (as mentioned above)
1973-10-04 and 07 in Gotland
1974-05-16 with Eskilstuna Orkesterförening in Eskilstuna
1974-10-15+16+17+18 So called student´s concerts with Norrköping´s Symphony orchestra.
We gave 3 concerts each day and I played mov. 1+2 or 2+3 in each of these concerts. I gave my last concert on historical trumpets 1975 and the trumpets are now "art installations" on the walls of my home !! I am now head of a department of Pathology and Cytology.

In the spring of 1973, Bjarne Volle did the concert in Oslo and held a lecture at the Oslo Music Conservatory.

The revival has now been going on for a while and one can maybe divide it into two periods :

First generation players:

Second generation players:

Players in this "generation" have in addition to being tamers of the baroque trumpet also started playing the keyed trumpet.

Friedemann Immer
Friedemann Immer is the person who have performed Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 most time on a natural trumpet.This work is considered difficult to play on a modern piccolo trumpet and was for along time though of as impossible to play on the natural trumpet.

Not strange that Immer also did a (the first?) recording in 1987 with a keyed trumpet (on an instrument made by Rudolf Tutz Innsbruck, 1984). This is an all Haydn disc that also features the horn concerto played by Timothy Brown on a ca. 1830 horn.

Orchestra lead by Christopher Hogwood. All playing on period instruments, including Steven Keavy, David Staff and Crispian Steele-Perkins on period trumpets.

L'OISEAU-LYRE 417 610-2 OH (DECCA), 1987.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet is also a specialist on the natural trumpet. He lives in England and studied with Michael Laird. He recorded the Haydn Concerto on a keyed trumpet, August 11, 1992 with conductor Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert. On that CD is also other works by Haydn (for oboe and natural horn).

Uni/Archiv - #31678 / Audio CD / DDD, 1992

Reinhold Friedrich
Reinhold Friedrich was the third person to make a recording using a copy of the instrument that was used by Weidinger in 1800.

He is accompanied by Wiener Akademie lead by Martin Haselböck. The orchestra uses instrument from the period, like the natural horn.

Friedrich had his first live performance with this instrument in 1993. He then played the Haydn Concerto in the same place as Weidinger had premiered it two centuries earlier.

In 1995 he did the recording on the label Capriccio and here he also recorded the Hummel Concerto and the M. Puccini's Concertone.

Crispian Steele-Perkins
Crispian Steele-Perkins recorded Hummel on a keyed trumpet in 2001 - on a CD  called "Classical Trumpet Concertos"

Crispian Steele-Perkins, natural and keyed trumpets
The King's Consort
Dir: Robert King
Rec date: Jan. 2001, London, Blackheath Concert Halls
Hyperion - CDA67266 (66'18")

Sound samples:
(In Real Audio format - from the Friedrich CD)

Video clip:

Pictures can be found on the Internet.


Reine Dahlqvist:
The Keyed Trumpet and Its Greatest Virtuoso, Anton Weidinger. The Brass Press 1975
Bidrag til trumpeten og trumpetspelets historia. Master thesis Gothenburg 1988

William Greene:
The Haydn Concerto in Performance.
Thesis presented to The Faculty of the Department of Music, San José University 1985

Edvard Tarr:
J. Haydn Trumpet Concerto, Universal Edition (the foreword)
Haydn's Trumpet Concerto (1796 -1996) and its Origin (Article in ITG Journal, Sept. 1996)

Articles can also be found in Brass Bulletin and Brass Quarterly

Thanks to
... people who provided information to this article:


*) Correction 2005  - David Hickman performed the concert one year before Öst.

If you have any information, correction, etc. - kindly email me!

O.J. 1999 - 2003 - 2005 - 2007- 2009