Timofei Dokshizer is considered to be the leading soloist in all of Russia and is the primary soloist who made the Russian trumpet concerto popular. In 1945, Dokshizer, became the cornet soloist with the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra. It is the performer's responsibility to represent the composer's intentions and Dokshizer achieves this by increasing the tension in fast passages, employing constant fluctuation in sound (volume) to adequately express the emotions of the music and his constant searching for motion in slow passages and therefore trying to represent the unique qualities of the concerto.
Arutiunian had been fond of the trumpet since his childhood and it was natural that he would want to have written such a concerto.
The Concerto was written in 1950 not commissioned by or for anyone. But, Arutiunian originally intended to write it in 1943 for a student of Tabakov, Zsolak Vartasarian, who was principal trumpet in the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra. He was kind of Arutiunian’s stimulus for writing the concerto. However, Vartasarian died in the war and the concerto was not completed until 1950; Aykaz Messiayan was the first performer of the Concerto and Timofei Dokshizer was the first recording artist of this concerto.
Interview with Arutiunian
Dear Mr Davidson,
I passed your message on to Mr Harutiunian and here is his answer:
The delay was conditioned by my absence for business, I hope we are not too late with this message. Anahit
Was the concerto commissioned for anybody? If not, what were the
reasons for writing it?
1. The Concerto was written in 1950 not commissioned by or for anyone.
I have been fond of the trumpet since my childhood and it was natural I would want to have written such a concerto. Then, I had a friend, Tsolak Vartazarian by name, an excellent trumpetist, who also was kind of a stimulus for my Concerto. The first performer of the Concerto (that could perhaps interest you) was Aykaz Messiayan.
Please could you comment on the style you wrote it in?
2. The style is, they say, characteristic of my work general, here no folk melodies have been used. All the intonations and thematic peculiarities serve to make the piece of universal human value, understandable to all people in the world. I think I succeeded in this, considering the popularity of the piece all over the world.
It has an unusual form, as it runs straight through with no obvious
three-movement structure. Why is it written in sections rather than movements?
3. I tried to avoid the 3-movement structure of the piece and gathered in one part, with the middle section slower, under the sourdina. Later on, in 1977, a wonderful cadence was written for the Concerto by a well-known trumpetist, soloist of the Bolshoy theatre Timofei Dokshizer.
Are there any reasons for your particular scoring of the instruments?
4. The scoring for the instruments expresses my particular perception of music, and is based on my original intent.
Why were the cellos chosen as such a prominent part ~ often duetting
with the soloist?
5. It is prompted by the music itself and my specific way of self-expression; the introduction of cellos was conditioned by my vision of the piece.
Ab seems an unusual key to write a concerto for Bb instrument,
what were the reasons for this?
6. I was guided by the convenience of this key for the trumpet, at least in my understanding. Moreover, the performing experience of the Concerto proved that I was right. The key is really very convenient.
Was the Haydn or any other trumpet concerto in your mind while
composing this work?
7. No, I wrote the piece without even knowing at the time about the Concerto of Haydn and can surely state that no other influences were there while writing this Concerto.
Any comments between the 2 concertos….
Do you have any similarities / differences between the 2 you wish
to comment on?
9. Each Concerto has its own style and its own face.
Does the concerto attempt to ‘tell a story’ so that it conjures
up images in the mind of the listener. I was told that the concerto should
be approached as though telling the story of the brave Armenian people
that were massacred early in the 20th century. Could you give me more information
on what images or events the music describes.
10. This is a purely concert piece, specific, intended for all kinds of audiences, and does not tell a story of our people (or tells that only to the extent to which I am a representative of the Armenian people). Its aim is for all the listeners to perceive it on their own. It is written in colourful, bright tones, except for the middle section.
Could you suggest any further areas of reading or any useful links?
11. no, I would not.
Do you have any further comments?
12. Due to the clear thematism of the Concerto and the orchestra arrangement, which is the indivisible part of the overall piece, the Concerto has been able to gain universal recognition everywhere.
In the end I want to thank you for the interest in my work. I also wish you great successes.
Comparison of the instruments of each orchestra
Haydn Orchestra: (a typical Classical orchestra) Arutiunian
More to maintain the balance
|Woodwind||2 flutes (1 in movt II)
2 bassoons (1 in movt II)
|Woodwind||Piccolo & 2 flutes
bass clarinet & 2 clarinets
|Brass||2 trumpets (+solo part in Eb)
2 Eb horns (Not in movt II)
|Brass||2 trumpets (+solo part in Bb)
4 F horns
|Percussion||Timpani (B and E)||Percussion||More varied and colourful|
The Keyed Eb Trumpet
(or ‘Italian Keyed Trumpet’)
Anton Weidinger invented the keyed trumpet in 1793 and this trumpet (unlike the earlier natural trumpet) had 4-6 holes or keys.
The keys were used before valves to fill in the missing chromatic notes (or gaps between the ‘open’ notes of the natural trumpet). He borrowed this idea from woodwind instruments, as the keys themselves resemble woodwind keys of the period (see picture), strategically sited holes, mounted on brass saddles, two of them usually on cross-struts, and are heavily sprung to close.
It was awkward to hold the trumpet and there were still many technical difficulties that still had to be overcome (e.g whole tone trills and it was played using both hands). Also the keyed notes sounded thin and bloodless.
The Concerto was presumably written for a Viennese trumpeter, Anton Weidinger, the inventor of the keyed Eb trumpet. It could produce all the chromatic tones between (Eb) G and 3Bb, but would usually be played at a lower pitch because of the range of the concerto. This Eb trumpet was evidently a forerunner of his 4-6 keyed trumpet (c.1801).
There is some evidence that Weidinger knew Haydn before requesting the Concerto, and Haydn may well have been the best man at Weidinger’s wedding in 1792.
The keyed trumpet however, had a short life. It was used for the Hummel concerto, composed in 1803, which was also written for Weidinger. It was rarely used after that because in 1813 it was superseded by the valved trumpet. It is now more commonly performed on the modern Eb trumpet, and occasionally on the Bb.
The concerto was completed in 1796, but not premiered until 1800 in Vienna. Part of the wonderful response of course came from the fact that not many had heard a trumpet play a chromatic scale of any type, and the big premiere in Vienna was a landmark.
It is possible that Weidinger had a prototype of the keyed trumpet which
Haydn was aware of. In both concertos the solo material is mainly diatonic
with extensive chromatic passages, even in the instrument’s lower and middle
registers (e.g 2nd movt of Haydn). Use of chromaticism in this
way was impossible with another other brass instrument available at the
time and was the first piece written for trumpet with lyrical passages
in the middle register.
In the beginning of the eighteenth century, Russian music was represented largely by folksong, ecclesiastical chants, and the simplest genres. However, by the end of the eighteenth century, Russian opera, symphonic and chamber music were all beginning to take shape.
In order to understand the significance of Russia's historical influence on solo works written for trumpet, it is important to understand its position in music history during the nineteenth century. The folksongs were a significant resource for Russian composers from the nineteenth century forward and were important contributions to a unique "Russian" sound.
Many of Arutiunian’s works were inspired by aspects of Armenian folk music, a quality, I think, exists in the thematic material of this concerto:
However, in an interview with Mr Arutiunian he states ‘no folk melodies have been used’ (see appendix no.2, q.2)
I think that Alexander Arutiunian successfully represents the people of Russia through the use of certain musical devices (mentioned above) which contribute greatly to a unique "Russian" sound and a folk "feel" even though Arutiunian says he included no folk melodies in his concerto. The Erevan choir said that Arutiunian’s concerto attempted to conjure up pictures in the listener’s mind and that it told the story of the brave Armenian people that were massacred early in the 20th century. Having analysed his concerto I too thought this may be true (see appendix no.7). However, Arutiunian said:
This is a purely concert piece, specific, intended for all kinds of audiences, and does not tell a story of our people (or tells that only to the extent to which I am a representative of the Armenian people). Its aim is for all the listeners to perceive it on their own. It is written in colourful, bright tones, except for the middle section.
To me it sounds like he combined certain aspects of Russian folk music into his concerto. This enabled him to express new musical ideas founded on old roots (i.e. Russian folk music). Arutunian's music is predominately derived from folksong; the fact that the concerto, composed in 1950, utilizes folk elements along with Romantic harmony, modified sonata form, constantly modulating melodies and the points made on the previous page.
However, after my interview with Arutiunian it seems that the concerto
is only representative of the Russian people to the extent that he is
Russian and his music is Russian.
The Trumpet Concerto is probably Haydn’s most famous concerto for any instrument.
It was written in 1796 as a vehicle for the Viennese trumpet player Anton Weidinger, who had recently invented a new trumpet with keys, permitting much greater freedom in melodic writing for the instrument. Up until this point, the trumpet’s range of pitches was restricted to the overtones generated by the harmonic series. Weidinger’s new trumpet incorporated a system of five keys which could be operated by the player’s left hand. These keys opened and closed holes drilled along the length of the tubing, much in the manner of modern clarinets.
The concerto opens with the main theme played not with fanfare and brilliance, but in the subdued tones of quiet violins. The soloist’s first entry is not to this theme, but rather a few ‘warm-up’ notes during the orchestral exposition. The orchestra is no mere accompaniment to the soloist: the whole movement is solidly constructed on symphonic principles, almost on the level of a full-fledged symphony movement with trumpet obligato.
The second movement is typically songful in nature, and exploits the soloist’s new-found ability to play lyrical chromatic lines in its middle range. Robbins Landon has pointed out that the audience at the concerto’s premiere was surely so used to hearing trumpets play nothing but notes from the harmonic series that the effect of the Haydn’s concerto "must have been so incredible as to suggest some kind of prestidigitation". He has also surmised that the tradition of expressively poetic, lyrical trumpet music by Viennese composers, such as Bruckner and Mahler began right here.
The finale is chock full of sparkling humour, high spirits, dramatic surprises (sudden alternation of f and p, full and thin texture), harmonic detours, and brauva work for the soloist, a splendid and fitting conclusion to a path-breaking work.