Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 08:30:18 -0500
From: "Albert L. Lilly III" <>
Subject: Re: Haydn Trumpet Concerto

> Haydn was a composer of the Classical Age(1750-1820) who today is best known
> for his symphonies.  This was also true during his lifetime.  He aquired the
> nickname "papa Haydn" during his life as he was, and is, generally considered
> the father of the symphony.  Indeed, he refined what we consider sonata form
> today.  If you take a look at any of his symphonies, especially early ones,
> you will see a plain "blue-print" for sonata form.  Haydn spent most of his
> life in service to Prince Esterhazy and acutally lived at the family's summer
> home, "Esterhaza".  There he was the music director, as well as court
> composer.

May I offer a couple corrections and a few things you left out.

The keyed trumpet is not a keyed bugle. The bugle is a conical bored bored instrument, while the trumpet is a cylindrical bore. The confusion often comes in that the keyed parts look similar for both instruments. However, they are quite different.

There is some evidence to suggest that Anton Weidinger, the fellow for whom the Haydn Concerto was written, was not the first "inventor" of the keyed trumpet, and that works predating the Haydn exist.  The Dahlquist article on Weidinger draws this to attention.

There is also some evidence that Weidinger knew Haydn before requesting the Concerto, so well in fact that Haydn may have indeed been the best man at Weidinger's wedding in 1792.

The Concerto was completed by Haydn 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.  The Haydn Concerto and keyed trumpet were so impressive that in 1804, when Hummel was preparing to succeed Haydn at Esterhazy, his first work was the Concerto in E, written by Dec. 1803, but premiered on New Year's Day, 1804.

The attractive part of the Haydn to me is the thorough development melodically, the interesting use of the trumpet in remote keys (second movement), and the lyrical quality which is required which to that point had really not be possible on a trumpet.  So, not only the style but also the chromaticism were unique and exciting.  It is easy to see why it received rave reviews.

Hummel's Concerto has to my ear a more military influence, with a great deal more of the fanfare quality than the Haydn.  The Rondo is particularly fanfare-like.  It can only be presumed that Hummel wasn't as conversant or perhaps not as comfortable in writing for the trumpet as Haydn.  The technical virtuosity could also be assumed to have improved by the writing of the Hummel, as his work took only 3 weeks to prepare, while the Haydn took for years.  Perhaps also, better equipment made the job easier.

As for Haydn being unambitious, I would say over 100 Symphonies and a thousands of other works speak well to his ambition.  He also went to London for extended visits twice.  To call him unambitious would be unfair. His life at Esterhazy obviously wasn't Paris or Vienna, but surely held its own charm.