One more pandemic trumpeter I like

Yesterday, I shared some of my favorite video makers during the pandemic, but I forgot a very special one: , who did an interview with me on Trumpet Journey nearly three years ago. He has continued to produce wonderful videos during the pandemic that show what the NATURAL (without finger holes) can do.

One of my projects that I did last summer was to take virtual lessons with Julian. He helped me understand more about tone, articulation, pitch-bending and history that I hadn’t learned before. And we worked on some ricercate, some of which I recorded. Here’s the third ricercata by Fantini that I did on a “Natural Trumpet Making Workshop” trumpet that I made back in 1994. The mouthpiece has a diameter of 19.5mm, but the design is a little too late to be authentic for Fantini (it has a backbore). This video took several days to record, because of how bad I was on the larger-than-modern mouthpiece:

Let’s compare that a little bit with Julian’s playing on this documentary he made. He starts out with the twelfth ricercata of Fantini (but I encourage you to listen all the way to the end of this video, since he demonstrates amazing trumpet playing in range and control–amazing by baroque or modern standards).

He helped me pick out a new baroque trumpet–a replica of a Michael Nagel trumpet from 1657 made by Egger. Here I am again, trying out the fourth ricercata by Fantini on this instrument. I’m working on phrasing based on “articulation points” in this video, but I notice that I am a little “boring” in my phrasing. Again, this took a long time to get to this level of quality (days).

I shared this with Julian on June 10 this past year, and he responded with a quick recording made right after he heard me (basically in one take, I would imagine). Although it is on an English-style 18th-c. trumpet (that’s what he was working on at the moment), I was amazed at how easily he did this, and I think you will, too. I hope he doesn’t get angry with me posting this unlisted video!

You can see all of Julian’s listed videos if you go to his YouTube Chanel. Stay tuned for more videos of me trying out a mouthpiece a little larger–more like Julian’s. It is really difficult for me, being mostly a modern trumpeter with a Bach 1C mouthpiece (only 16.75mm rim).

Learn the Baroque Trumpet, Part 2: Learning the History

Being an early music specialist means that you are not only a performing musician, but you  are also a historian. One of your jobs is to provide a soundtrack to history. For this reason you need to brush up on your reading, so that you can address issues of social and historical context, authenticity, and develop your knowledge of repertory, types of early trumpets, and construction of early trumpets. Here are some books that provide some of this information.

1. , The Music and History of the Baroque before 1721. 2nd ed., 1988. Don Smithers applied excellent research skills and his prodigious mental capacity to give us this wonderful tome. This book addresses the guild system, the natural trumpet makers, the Italian, German, Austro-Bohemian, French and English traditions and literature. Invaluable is an inventory of musical sources for the baroque trumpet. At the time of this blog, I believe it is out of print, but you should be able to check it out of a library close to you.

2. Edward Tarr, The Trumpet, 3rd ed., 1988. An over-arching look at the history of the trumpet will help contextualize your playing.

Selection from Altenburg's "Trumpeters' and Kettledrummers' Art" about Court Trumpeters

Selection from Altenburg’s “Trumpeters’ and Kettledrummers’ Art” about Court Trumpeters

3. Johann Ernst Altenburg, Essay on an Introduction to the Heroic and Musical Trumpeters’ and Kettledrummers’ Art [1795]. Translated by Edward H. Tarr, 1974.

This book will help you really understand what a trumpeter did and was allowed to do during the 17th and 18th centuries. In addition, the second half of the book is a kind of method for performance with a fantastic ensemble piece by Altenburg inserted into the appendix.

4. Robert Barclay, The Art of the Trumpet-Maker, 1992. This book explains very clearly how these instruments were made–the materials, techniques, tools. In addition, he provides some direction in terms of philosophy and application of period trumpet playing.

Here is a nice video with some of the activities that you would do if you went to the Natural Trumpet Making Workshop, taught by Dr. Barclay. You can hear Barclay instructing the students in this short film with some representative music in the background.