Video: David Guerrier, Keyed Trumpet

8

February
2010

trumpet with keysEarly trumpets are notoriously difficult to play, even for professionals. Until you’ve heard a fine natural trumpet player tackle the most difficult repertoire (Bach, Telemann, etc.), you probably think it’s impossible for an instrument without traditional valves to sound good.

I can assure you that there are many great natural trumpet players out there who play the instrument with as much beauty, finesse, and control as their modern trumpet counterparts (some of them play both).

There are plenty of recordings and DVD’s out there to support my claim, yet I also speak from experience having been in the audience for many a concert of baroque repertoire, including several performances of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #2, to name one well-known and incredibly challenging piece.

The keyed trumpet, however, is another matter altogether.

The last time I heard Joseph Haydn‘s trumpet concerto performed on the keyed trumpet, the instrument Haydn intended, the soloist had a really, really bad night.

There’s a point were musicians recognize that a colleague is having a bad concert and all you can do is feel for them because we’ve all been there. It was definitely one of those nights.

It’s probably understandable that Haydn’s only concerto for trumpet is rarely performed on keyed trumpet. The instrument is tricky and there don’t seem to be many people interested in playing it (the repertoire is not that large).

Fortunately, it has been recorded by two of the finest early trumpet players around—Mark Bennett and Crispian Steele-Perkins—who prove that the concerto not only sounds terrific on the keyed trumpet, but that the instrument can be conquered.

Guerrier on YouTube

David Guerrier is a young French trumpet virtuoso who has been championing early brass instruments for the better part of the last decade. Among the numerous instruments he plays is the keyed trumpet. And well, to boot.

Here’s David in a live performance of the first movement of Haydn’s trumpet concerto in E-flat major with the period orchestra Les Siècles (directed by François-Xavier Roth):

There are other YouTube videos of David Guerrier performing on early brass, including natural horn, ophicleide, and cornet (some performances being more successful than others). He’s also a fine modern trumpet player.

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