The best consolation–music of Adolphus Hailstork

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and this great man said, “Music is the best consolation for a despaired man.”

There are not many classical composers. And of those who wrote for the trumpet, very few. I am familiar with the great Ulysses Kay, who wrote Tromba for trumpet and piano and Three Fanfares for Four Trumpets. There is also Frederick C. Tillis, who wrote a piece for piccolo trumpet and piano called Spiritual Fantasy. The amazing contemporary black , Tyshawn Sorey, has written an unaccompanied trumpet piece called “For Peter Evans (Apologies for the Brevity).”

American composer, Adolphus Hailstork

But as far as I am aware, the most prolific African-American composer for the trumpet is Adolphus Hailstork. He wrote Concertino for trumpet, Four Hymns without Words, Sonata for Trumpet all for trumpet and piano. Also, he wrote a brass quartet, Bagatelles for Brass, and a brass trio, Ghosts in Grey and Blue.

He also wrote a wonderful unaccompanied piece called Variations for Trumpet. I learned about this piece and most of the others mentioned on this post by the great Howard University trumpet teacher and jazz band director, Fred Irby, III. I did a live recording of this piece today. I think you’ll agree that this piece, while challenging for the trumpeter, can be a great consolation to perform.

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