"The Baroque Trumpet Revival”

Michael Douglas Malloy

October 1978

In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Music History and Literature.

The Ohio State University Advisor: Martha Maas, PhD


In the course of the revival of baroque trumpet music, there have been fundamentally two streams – one which advocates the rich tone and gentle quality of the old seven foot natural trumpet, and another which places emphasis upon technique, and upon making the music playable on modern instruments without drastic re-training of the musicians at hand. The reasons for the revival of the natural trumpet will be discussed in this paper, along with various approaches to problems of range, accuracy, and timbre.

Baroque trumpet technique as we know it today is a rediscovered art. It would have remained a lost at if generations of musicians from Mendelssohn to Edward Tarr had not held the music of the baroque in high regard. Trumpeters at the time of the “great Bach revival” spearheaded by Mendelssohn were not prepared for the high tessitura of baroque trumpet parts. Trumpet players and makers of trumpets were thus presented with the first important challenge from their ancestors: play the high notes. Late in the nineteenth century the German Julius Kosleck led the way in performances of the difficult trumpet parts of Bach’s B minor mass by using makeshift instruments. 1. Philip Bate, The Trumpet and Trombone London/New York: Ernest Benn Ltd/W.W. Norton & Co. Inc. 1972 176 – 178. Changing attitudes about tone color and balance led some to copies of natural trumpets, modified by the addition of valves for added stability. The desire to perform the music as it was conceived led others to museum instruments and exact copies.

Before original instruments and copies were used widely, the school of high-pitched valved trumpets of the mid-twentieth century, Roger Voisin, Maurice Andre, and Adolf Scherbaum, popularized baroque trumpet music by means of the long-playing phonograph, and music not heard for hundreds of years was made available for an eager audience. The importance of the phonograph must not be overlooked: because of the recording of difficult and therefore rarely-performed music, generations of young trumpet students received inspiration that was not available to their teachers. Although note-perfect performances are spliced together by record producers from several “takes” by the greatest of performers, the audio documentation has been provided to the student to admire, imitate, and better. Fifteen years ago [1963], the suggestion of a performance of Bach’s second Brandenburg Concerto using a natural trumpet would have been universally received with laughter. Currently [1978], there are at least three recordings of it that use a natural trumpet, as well as many excellent valved-trumpet recordings.

Since many different types of trumpets are discussed in the paper, the following chart has been provided to illustrate the appearance of each instrument, giving the approximate date of introduction and the name of the maker and/or user.

Buisine – Image from Trumpet and the Trombone by Philip Bate. This instrument, from the Boston Museum, has been identified as a fake but the shape is essentially correct for illustration. Buisine_1.jpg

A straight trumpet with two valves added, possibly the shape used by Kosleck. KOSLECK_1.JPG

Jaegertrompette – a highly controversial instrument since the only surviving original was destroyed by allied bombing in Dresden during WWII: A very rare instrument by any account.


Modern trumpet in high B flat made by Couesnon, Paris.


A replica made by Matthew Parker of a typical 17th century natural trumpet in D.


The great Bach revival of the nineteenth century did more than rekindle appreciation of baroque music. It forced contemporary musicians to perform music in a style not immediately accessible to them. The high tessitura and florid passages of trumpet parts were a great problem for orchestral players accustomed to the simple triadic formulas of classical and early romantic-era composers. Trumpet players had long ceased to be trained to play in the fourth octave of the seven foot trumpet where diatonic formulas are playable without valves. Among the reasons for this were the subordination of the trumpet parts within the orchestra and the development of classical style fifty to seventy-five years earlier.

The revival of baroque music during the nineteenth century took place mostly in Germany, though there were of course many other important centers of baroque trumpet playing. The German composers were the first to be rediscovered, and mostly by Germans themselves.

Performers and Institutions at the end of the Eighteenth Century.

The most detailed contemporary report of the socio-economic support of trumpeters at the end of the eighteenth century in Germany comes from the pen of Johann Ernst Altenburg, one of the last of the knightly order of trumpet players.

There were two orders of trumpet players in Germany. One order was that of the municipal Stadtpfeifers, commoners who had to obtain Imperial permission to play the trumpet because of the privileged position of the second order, the powerful knightly (Royal) “Kameradschaft,” which was divided into field trumpeters and court (or chamber) trumpeters. These players were part of a complicated social order in the final stages of decay at the time of Altenburg’s writing. Briefly, according to Altenburg, the novice was apprenticed to a master for at least four years. He could serve as a court trumpeter, if a position was available, where he would play mostly table music, but also at jousting tournaments and for the drinking of toasts. 2 [Johann Ernst Altenburg, Trumpeter’s and Kettledrummer’s Art, translated by Edward Tarr (Nashville: The Brass Press 1974) 30.] But before he could call himself a field trumpeter, and therefore have the advantage of taking on an apprentice, he had to serve in a military campaign.3 [Altenburg 31]

Altenburg’s chief theme throughout his 1795 treatise was a persistent dedication to maintaining the position of the knightly trumpeter through rigid enforcement of all guild rules and imperial privileges. He quoted many legal codes where were established over a long period of time, often repeating the same laws. (There were occasional legal exceptions to the rules dating from at least as early as 1426 when the free Imperial city of Augsburg obtained imperial privileges for its municipal trumpeters from the Emperor Sigismund.4) [Altenburg 30.]

Altenburg also documented the end of guild trumpet playing from a military point of view. His attention to recruitment restrictions, training requirements, and the resulting supply of trumpet players should indicate to readers that, at least in Altenburg’s opinions, there were great deficiencies in these areas. Due to social and political change, employment for new players was not likely:

“Some armies do not have any trumpeter at all I daresay; or else he has to attend to the kettledrummer’s duties as well. Positions for a trumpeter at court are nowadays a privilege of only the very few - partially because there are not so many courts at all today as there used to be…”5 [Altenburg 52.]

Primarily supported by the military, the knightly trumpeters were among the first to be unemployed as royal courts declined in number

Chapter six of Altenburg’s treatise is titled “On the Decline and Misuse of the Art.” He spoke of ignorance and misuse, another often repeated theme in his treatise:

“Ignorance about music, on the part of listeners as well as of musicians themselves, has also contributed to this decline… It is furthermore a certainty, that when a trade has once started to decline, it is generally taken up by less gifted people.”6 [Altenburg 47.]

The second order of trumpet players, the municipal musicians, in Germany called the Stadtpfeifers, were not without long-standing high standards. Their membership was also closely controlled through long apprenticeships and difficult entrance examinations. Stadtpfeifers, unlike the knightly trumpeters, were expected to be competent players of the violin, oboe, transverse flute, trumpet, horn and other winds. The three most important of these according to Charles Sanford Terry, were trumpet, horn, and oboe.7 [Charles Sanford Terry, Bach’s Orchestra (London: Oxford University Press 1932) 17.] Stadtpfeifers were occasionally granted permission to play trumpets either in general or for special civil and ecclesiastical ceremonies. The great trumpet players who played most of the high florid parts written by J.S. Bach, such as Gottfried Reiche, were members of the municipal musicians’ guilds. The difficult “Abblasen” held in the had of Gottfried Reiche in the portrait by Elias Haussman is of the kind played at 10:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M. from the “Rathaus” tower at the Marktplatz in Leipzig as part of the fire watch duties of municipal trumpeters.8 [Terry 21. The Abblasen was a fire tower watch trumpeter’s fanfare.8a Reiche’s portrait appears as the cover illustration on an album [LP] by Don Smithers entitled “Bach’s Trumpet.” In that portrait Recihe is shown holding a coiled natural trumpet. Philips 6500 925.]



Reiche is especially important, both as an excellent player and as one for whom Bach surely wrote many of his most challenging trumpet parts. Reiche was a “Kunstgeiger” (a lower paid member of the guild, who usually played only stringed instruments) from 1700 to 1706 at Leipzig, and a Stadtpfeifer from 1706 until his death in 1734.9 [Terry 14] His artistry was appreciated during his apprenticeship in an unusual way. In 1694 when Elector Johann Georg IV died and a full year of official mourning, when meant no music making, was ordered, Reiche above all others was paid a substantial sum to remain in Liepzig.10 [Don Smithers, The Music and History of the Baroque Trumpet before 1721 (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press 1973) 53.]

Neither knightly nor municipal guilds were able to continue a style of music once it had lost its vogue. The institutions may have continued but the music tastes and styles eventually no longer required well-trained trumpeters capable of playing in the clarion register.11 [In some ways the institutions have continued to the twentieth century, including military bands and a few city bands. The longest standing trumpet fire tower watch has been retained in the Polish city of Krakow. From the highest point in the medieval city (the north tower of the church of St. Mary the Virgin), the “Hejnal” has been played to the four compass points on the hour, twenty-four hours a day, three hundred sixty-five days a year since 1421 (except during the Napoleonic era) with the melody abruptly ending at the point at which the trumpeter warning the city of the invading Tartars was shot in the neck with an arrow. The Krakow fire-trumpeters now use modern Czech B flat valved trumpets to play the “Hejnal.” The noon signals are broadcast “live” over the state radio and television. Smithers 130-131]


Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Experiments

Without trumpeters trained to play in the clarino register that had been so popular until the mid-eighteenth century, the nineteenth century musicians active in the great Bach revival were faced with a paradox: the music was undeniably sublime and they wanted to play it, but they did not have the means. They tried transposing trumpet parts down an octave, but this was impractical and the result disappointing. Sometimes the parts were distributed among the woodwinds, but the tone color was entirely incorrect and the lack of the commanding sound of brass instruments would have let important passages slip by unnoticed.

With the Bach revival two schools of thought about baroque trumpet music were born. One sought the answer to the high notes and accuracy by mechanical means; the other was to be concerned with the sounds the baroque composers worked with, and the with ways later generations of performers could simulate those sounds. Mendelssohn’s first performance of Bach’s B minor mass took place in 1829, and by 1850 Besson and Co. of London had already produced a valved piccolo trumpet in high F for Bach’s second Brandenburg Concerto. 12 [Sir George Grove, Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th ed., edited by Eric Blom (New York: St. Martin’s Press 1962), Vol. vii, 563, plate 74.] Apparently high-pitched valved trumpets began to appear as soon as there was interest in Bach’s music, but it was not until October 19, 1871 that the German cornet `a pistons player, Julius Kosleck, first played a natural trumpet in the key of D for the Musical Artists’ Association of Berlin. Kosleck ws the first nineteenth century player to attempt to use a natural trumpet to play the music of Bach. He experimented with techniques long forgotten, but instead of creating curiosity about his technical and esthetic discoveries, his performance created an extremely heated debate. The critic Otto Lessmann, writing in Neue Berliner Musikzeitung October 25, 1871 said:

“Koslect easily performed parts from our old church music that our modern players are mortally afraid to attempt.”13 [Bate 176.]

This review was translated and appeared in L’Echo Musical in Brussels, and the open debate between Lessman and Victor Mahillon began. Philip Bate says that although Lessman was “neither well informed nor particularly accurate,” close examination of the correspondences leads to the conclusion that Kosleck played a modified medieval buisine.14 [Bate 176.] The debate was especially heated because Lessmann claimed the trumpet, and the lost art of clarino playing, had beed rediscovered. Victor Mahillon was apparently the first sceptic to question to question the authenticity of the instrument used at that time by Kosleck. In an essay which appeared in the spring of 1935, W.F.H. Blandford defended Kosleck:

“It is not necessary to attribute to him any willful deception. He may have been one of the many players who have no special antiquarian knowledge of their instruments, and his primary object was to demonstrate technique and not trumpets.” 15 [ W.F.H. Blandford, “The Bach Trumpet," “The Monthly Musical Record” (March-June 1935), cited in Bate 177.]

In September of 1884 Kosleck played first trumpet for the ceremony at Eisenach for the unveiling of a statue of J.S. Bach. The trumpet that he played on this occasion was publicly acknowledged as of his own design. The trumpet was pitched in A and had two valves, and was apparently very much like the “Buisine” of thirteen years earlier. In 1885 Kosleck played the new valved instrument (with a mouthpiece he guarded closely) at the Albert Hall, London, in the bicentenary performance of Bach’s B minor mass. In 1886 Walter Morrow, distinguished British trumpeter, produced a similar trumpet for the Leeds festival. However, the bore and bell curve of Morrow’s trumpet were more like those of contemporary trumpets than Kosleck’s modified medieval buisine.16 [Bate 176-181] At about the same time (1885), at the Paris Opera, the player Teste used an instrument in high G made by Besson for a performance of Bach’s Magificat.17 [Annthony Bains, Brass Instruments – Their History and Development (London: Farber & Farber 1976) 239.] Mahillon and Co. produced a trumpet in D in 1892, at first with two valves and later with three.18 [The sources used here do not illustrate most of the instruments cited. The author suggests that the French and English high-pitched valved trumpets of the nineteenth century were made with vertical [piston] valves as the Besson 1885 trumpet shown on page three above.* German trumpets may have used rotary valve construction as illustrated on page three above* in the Menke-Alexander Brothers trumpet of 1934. * page three in original manuscript – here see illustrations following “Introduction”]

Mainz made a trumpet in high F for the second Brandenburg Concerto.19 [Baines 239.] This was followed in 1897 by the appearance of a trumpet in high F by Millereau at Paris.20 [Groves 563] another by Mahillon, this time in high Bb, was used in 1905 for the second Brandenburg Concerto at the Brusssels Conservatoire Concerts.21 [Baines 239.]

In 1934 Werner Menke’s History of the Trumpet of Bach and Handel appeared. It was an essay used to introduce two “new” instruments conceived by the author and built by Alexander Brothers Mainz. His instruments were updated versions of Kosleck’s valved trumpets, but this time with a long essay in defense of the inventor. He designed a trumpet in D and one in F, both with tubing the length of the eighteenth-century models and, as in Kosleck’s instruments, two valves were added for stability. Menke’s bell shapes, however, were the “average of about twenty” mid eighteenth century trumpets.22 [Werner Menke, History of the Trumpet of Bach and Handel (London: New Temple Press 1934) 219.] He left mouthpiece design and choice up to the individual. The book reflected Menke’s pre-World-War-Two Germanic pride:

“…it has been established that the Teutonic races have been gifted by nature with special peculiarities fitting them for blowing (trumpets) which have been denied to other peoples.” 23 [Menke 55.]

Changing Attitudes

Menke’s instruments were not used by many players, and his essay was largely ignored until many years later. Before Menke there had been much work with high-pitched valved trumpets, but only Kosleck’s before him had used even a modified trumpet of seven foot length.

With the passing of the second World War, musicians began to consider seriously the musical world of J. S. Bach. Several, including composer and scholar Paul Hindemith, who was an avid viola d'amore player, spoke out in favor of approximating the musical conditions at the time the music was written, and against the "improvements" made since then. In a speech given at the Bach commemoration at Hamburg September 12, 1950, Hindemith chastised those who would hold current musical practice above that available to Bach. Specifically, speaking about Bach's Brandenburg Concerti he said:

"Here it is a particular pleasure to see how the composer enjoys handling the minute differences in the balance of sound in these small instrumental ensembles, a balance so sensitive that often the mere doubling of a line through several additional instruments ruins its subtle texture...We can be sure that Bach was thoroughly content with the means of expression at hand in voices and instruments and if v/e want to perform his music according to his intentions we ought to restore the conditions of performance of that time...The wind instruments must be built like their predecessors in size and sound. Even the distinction between choral pitch and chamber pitch should be restored." 24 [Paul Hindemith, J.S. Bach, Heritage and Obligation (London: Oxford University Press 1952)].

In 1953 Thurston Dart expressed similar feeling in his book The Interpretation of Music:

"A composer of the past conceived his works in terms of the musical sounds of his own day, just as a twentieth-century composer does, and if we are to do justice to old music we must do our best to discover what these sonorities were." 25 [Thurston Dart, The Interpretation of Music (New York; Harper & Row, 1963 reprint), 29.]

Dart went on to identify what he called the "evolutionary theory of music" which held that each generation had surpassed the former artistically and technically. He considered that viewpoint "impossibly conceited and arrogant;" Bach did not have a twentieth-century grand piano, nor did he have a Moog Synthesizer or a Japanese Koto (though the latter existed in his time). Bach wrote for the instruments of his time and place (although he has been called anachronistic because of his continued use of polyphony well into the mid-eighteenth-century).

Dart, writing in 1953* did not know of the radical changes to occur within ten years. He included the trumpet of the eighteenth century in a list of obsolete instruments. Of trumpets Dart said:

"The so-called Bach trumpet of the present day (valved) is only half the length of an eighteenth-century instrument, and its tone can never have the ringing quality of its ancestor. But to obtain these very high harmonics (the clarino register) from a natural trumpet makes such merciless demands on a player's lips and lungs that the special technique required has long fallen into disuse, and there seems little chance of its ever being revived." 26 [Dart, 36.].

Years later trumpeter/musicologist Edward Tarr expressed a different attitude. The author had the pleasure of making an interview with Mr. Tarr (following his recital in Hughes Hall Auditorium on the Ohio State University Columbus campus) for use in the WOSU AM & FM weekly radio series "A History of the Trumpet." When asked whether he thought trumpet students should choose between the high-pitched valved modern trumpets and authentic copies of baroque trumpets he replied that both have their places and should be used accordingly. With Karl Richter's Munich Bach Orchestra Tarr preferred the valved trumpet because of the choir of about four hundred fifty members and the large orchestra. 27 [Tarr, a student of Adolf Herseth (Chigaco) and Roger Voisin (Boston), has proven his ability as a performer of high-pitched valved trumpets. He has also been a pioneer with exact copies of eighteenth century trumpets in addition to cornetto, and most recently a special high-pitched (Bb) horn as will be discussed fully later.] He also said there were many good high-pitched valved trumpets available. But then he advised all interested in the performance of baroque music regardless of instrument to: "...become acquainted with the instrument for which the music was written, because you'll be able to make many discoveries about style and performance practice - discoveries which really lead from the instrument itself." 28 [Michael Malloy, A History of the Trumpet (Columbus: WOSU Radio, November 18, 1973) program ;No. 12.]

If Kosleck's first instrument had been the catalyst for a heated debate, then the instruments that appeared in the late 1950’s started a revolution.

Instruments Since the Second World War

Radio Cologne's Capella Goloniensis sponsored the construction of many instruments closely resembling those in museums. Wilhelm Ehmann documented his activity with Radio Cologne in an article entitled "Report from Germany: Few Brass Instruments Based on Old Models" which appeared in an English translation by Mary Rasmussen in the June 1958 issue of The Brass Quarterly. 29 [Wilhelm Ehmann, "Report from Germany: New Brass Instruments Based on Old Models” translated by Mary Rasmussen (The Brass Quarterly June 1958) v.1 No.4 pp 217-225.].

Ehmann was apparently unaware of Menke's work of twenty-four years earlier. He divided the renewal of interest in older instruments into three periods according to instrument group. Group one, according to Ehmann, was old keyboard instruments: they received the most attention before the first World War. Group two, he said, contained old stringed instruments and recorders: this development took place between the two World Wars. The double reed and brass instruments, he thought, did not receive active interest until after the Second World War, Although he was apparently somewhat uninformed, Ehmann’s activity was of importance to the eventual re-development of baroque trumpet technique. Above all he sought the softer sound of the eighteenth-century trumpet. He made many carefully controlled and documented experiments in his attempts to re-discover the lost art of clarinblasen. The first experiment was the addition of mutes to modern trumpets, which, although they softened the sound, changed the quality too much. He then had amateur players use very shallow "jazz" mouthpieces and asked them to play into the stands. This, however unorthodox, was the first attention to mouthpieces documented since Kosleck played at London in 188^ with his "secret" mouthpiece. Using museum instruments (including a J.W. Haas Nurenburg trumpet in C) members of the Cologne Radio Orchestra played music by Gabrieli and Schutz in combination with recorders, crumhorns, dulcians, gambas, lutes, and cembalo without balance problems at the sixth Heinrich Schutz Festival at Herford in 1953. The trumpeter, however, used his own modern mouthpiece. Psalm 136 as set by Schutz was also performed with the desired balance of brass, orchestra, and singers. The performance was recorded and broadcast by Radio Cologne. Enthusiasm for these instruments was great enough for Radio Cologne to finance the reproduction by Alexander Brothers Mainz of the instruments for the Capella Coloniensis in "old pitch" (half step lower than modern). Ehmann had copies made for "youth music" lowered to Bb with the addition not only of valves, but also water keys (to facilitate the removal of condensed water) and more rigid construction. Thus Ehmann's trumpets became modernized, acoustically "improved" versions of Menke's. Ehmann thought the museum mouthpieces "hissed" and produced an overly "spread" sound. He advised players to use modern mouthpieces with the smallest cup and narrowest bore available.

The Great Side Hole Debate

With serious attention finally being paid to museum instruments, some curious things happened. Two trumpets surfaced with mysterious holes in the pipes, conveniently located at the nodal points of the badly-out-of-tune 11th and 13th partials. The world was once again proudly told that the lost art of clarinblasen had been recovered.

Otto Steinkopf found a twice folded trumpet of the normal shape inscribed "Kaltenhof/ In. Hanau 1790," a trumpet with a small rough hole about halfway between the mouthpiece and the bell. 30 [Mary Rasmussen, "Bach-Trumpet Madness; or, A plain and Easy Introduction to the Attributes, Causes and Cure of a Most Mysterious Musicological Malady" editorial in The Brass Quarterly 1961 v.5, No.1, p 39.] The hole was not made by the maker, and could have been a worn spot caused by the manner in which trumpeters carried their trumpets across their backs, much as a soldier carried a rifle. This can be seen in the painting The Message by Jan Verkolje (1650 - 1693). 31 [This painting was used as the cover illustration of the Brass Bulletin, No. 22 1978.].


Another trumpet discovery encouraged Steinkopf. In 1959 a trumpet was discovered in excellent condition in the vaults of St. James' Palace bearing the inscription "William Shaw London 1787" and the Arms of George III. 32 [Eric Halfpenny, "William Shaw's. 'Harmonic' Trumpet" (London: Galpin Society Journal July 1960) v. XIII, p. 7.]. This trumpet had four small holes and three crooks, and each hole was at a nodal point for one of the four tuning possibilities. As Mary Rasmussen points out, however, both of these trumpets post¬date the baroque era.

No node holes have been found in any trumpets older than the 1787 Shaw trumpet. However, Altenburg, in 1795, was aware of the technique. He reported that although it was not in wide use at that time in German courts, "some oriental peoples" used holes in trumpets to achieve notes between the harmonics of the overtone series. He spoke of one Kolbel at St. Petersburg who was said to have played half-steps through several octaves by using one or more holes as early as 1766. 33 [ Altenburg, 106, 107]. Edward Tarr, speaking in the radio program "A History of the Trumpet" said node holes were not of the baroque era but a "later innovation." He said that some players use as many as three node holes to "zero you in a little better on certain of the partials of the upper register." 34 [Malloy program No.12]

Whether the node hole was authentically baroque or not did not concern the researchers working with the Capella Coloniensis. They were very pleased with the timbre "and softness of sound of their almost museum copies. The node hole which improved the badly out of tune 11th and 13th partials provided the security they needed to abandon the valve mechanism. They then turned their attention to the coiled Jaegertrumpet.

The Coiled Trumpet

The rare Jaegertrumpet has been identified many times in the past. Michael Praetorius in the 1619 Syntagma Musicum called it a “Jager Trommet.” Altenburg, in 1795, called the coiled trumpet an "invention, or Italian" trumpet. Very few specimens have survived in museums. Charles Sanford Terry identified three in 1932. One in D, at the Heyer Collection at the University of Leipzig, made in 1697 at Leipzig, was stolen during the second World War. 35 [Baines 142.]. Terry also fisted one in D by Wilhelm Haas of Nurnberg (1688) and another in E from Vienna made by Michael Leichamschneider made in 1713. 36 [Terry 49.]. For some time there has been speculation as to whether the coiled instruments were trumpets at all. 37 [Baines 137-145.]. The portrait by Haussmann of Reiche, Bach's most accomplished trumpeter at Leipzig, showed Reiche holding such an instrument, along with a piece of paper on which is written a trumpeter's Abblasen. 38 [See page 7 above. 39.]. As a Stadtpfeifer Reiche was expected to play not only trumpet but Waldhom (horn) and other winds as well. A Waldhom and Zugtrompete (slide trumpet) were found in Reiche's affects the day after he died, but no jaegertrumpet was found. 39 [Terry 21.].


Although the coiled trumpet was considered not German but Italian, the instrument maker Helmut Finke of Herford, working with Otto Steinkopf and the Capella Coloniensis, produced a coiled trumpet with a node hole in 1959. This trumpet proved very successful and has been used by nearly all of the "authentic instrument" ensembles since its introduction. The players Walter Holy and Helmut Finke introduced it in Germany, and Philip Jones played it in Britain.

'Some Modern Performers of Baroque Trumpet Music'

Walter Holy appeared as soloist with the Capella Coloniensis in several recordings. He had the opportunity to be the first trumpeter to perform and record the second Brandenburg Concerto of Bach using a natural trumpet (albeit with a node hole) with the Concentus Musicus Vienna led by Nikolaus Harnoncourt. 41 [Bach, Brandenburr;ische Konzerte 1-6, Concentus Musicus Vienna, Likolaus Hernonccurt conducting; (Telefunken: Das Alte Werke SAWT 9459/60-A).]. Among Holy's other accomplishments were recordings of Leopold Mozart's Concerto in D for trumpet, Horns, and Strings, and two Telemann concerti for trumpet in D and strings played on the Steinkopf-Finke coiled trumpet. 42 [Mercury Stereo SR 90385.].

Edward Tarr has worked with the firm Meinl und Lauber as an advisor in recent years. Although he owns several historical trumpets, including one from the famous Nurenburg Ehe family, he does not wish to take them on tour "because of their value. He approached Meinl und Lauber originally to have only the bell of a Haas trumpet duplicated, but they were happy to provide him with a complete copy at that time for $30.00. Together they had metal analyses performed on several Haas trumpets. The result was that the metal, because of non-uniform metal making, was often of different alloy from one end of a trumpet to the other. Quite by accident the mean of several analyses turned out to be a common brass alloy of today (70% copper, 30% zinc). Tarr also said they have been slightly disappointed because they were unable to obtain this alloy with a trace amount of lead(.5%) to make the metal "turn better" for the Meinl und Lauber trumpet makers, who use old hand-crafting techniques as the baroque makers did. 43 [Malloy program No. 12]

Meinl und Lauber make trumpets with bells copied from three makers they consider representative of early baroque, middle baroque, and late baroque (Hainlein, Ehe, and Haas respectively) in the conventional and coiled forms, with or without node holes, in modern and deep chamber pitch (half step lower). Tarr is of the opinion that because metal becomes brittle with age the Meinl und Lauber baroque trumpets probably sound now as the baroque trumpets in museums did v/hen they were new.

Tarr uses trumpets with node holes - primarily for accuracy and to please audiences that still expect twentieth-century intonation. However, his students at the Schola Cantorum in Basel are all required to play completely natural trumpets without node holes. 44 [Malloy program No. 12.].

High-pitched valved trumpets used to play the music of Bach and Handel have been available to players almost since the beginning of the Bach revival, but no player was to make a career of playing concerti for trumpet by baroque composers until the mid twentieth century. As early as 1955 Maurice Andre recorded relatively unknown English baroque trumpet music. 45 [L'Oiseau-Lyre OLS 160.]. For many people Maurice Andre is the trumpeter. He possesses great technical prowess and a beautiful tone. The lack of research on solo trumpet literature of the baroque during Andre’s rise to fame compelled him to turn to known music, not necessarily originally for the trumpet, to use as a vehicle for his astounding ability. The result has been many incongruous recordings of flute and oboe concerti played very well by one of the greatest virtuoso trumpet players of our time.

Another Frenchman, who was actually far better known in the United States in the early1960’s, was Roger Voisin. Voisin made many solo recordings in the series Music for Trumpet and Orchestra, which totaled five long-playing records, The first in the series was reviewed for the New York Times by Eric Salzman. Salzman gave Voisin high praise, and his comments indicate that he had heard another style earlier which he disliked:

"Here is the French school of brass playing at its coolest and suavest. No big, fat, blary German tone, only controlled sweet sound." 46 [Eric Salzman, Record Reviews (New York; The New York Times. Sunday February 1, 1959) page 17.]..

The best known German high-pitched valved trumpeter of that era was Adolf Scherbaum (who was actually a Czech by birth). Before a scheduled American concert tour an article about Scherbaum appeared in the July 6, 1962 issue of Time Magazine.. The unidentified author praised Scherbaum as a player in Europe at that time who could be counted upon for a dependable performance of Bach's second Brandenburg Concerto. (By1962 Scherbaum had played in 12 recordings of it).

The Time Magazine reporter also told of tests given to Scherbaum at the University of Basel by a lung specialist, a brain specialist, and a radiologist to see what happened when Scherbaum played a c’’’’. Their deduction was that he had an internal air pressure of 24 lbs per square inch, and that he would do himself no harm. 47 ["Brandenburg Blower”, Time Magazine, July 6, I962.

Scherbaum made a series of recordings for Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft, including one with the unlikelychoice of the large Berlin Philharmonic led by its admittedly nineteenth-century-oriented conductor Herbert von Karajan. 48[Bach, The Six Brandenburg Concertos and two Orchestral Overtures, the Berlin Philharmonic, Herbert von Karajan cond. D.G.G. 138 9763.]. Scherbaum played mostly French and Italian baroque solo trumpet music,- including many Torelli concerti and Sonatas. 49[There have been accuracy problems with record labelling. D.G.G. issued a recording of music for trumpet and organ featuring Scherbaum with music by Girolamo Fantini incorrectly identified. Girolamo Fantini, Modo per Imperare a Suonare di Tromba (Frankfort: Daniel Vaustch 1638

Voisin and Scherbaum were pioneers in the revival of solo trumpet literature of the baroque. Since their respective heydays, attitudes about style (tone, tonguing, trills and ornaments— even what is considered legitimate music for trumpet) have changed greatly.

In the early part of his performance career Don Smithers played mostly cornetto, but has made many recordings of music of the Bologna school (Torelli) played on high-pitched valved trumpets. Recently he turned to the natural trumpet, and he uses a coiled model with node hole similar to the Steinkopf-Finke model of 1959 discussed on page 20 above. In his article "The Baroque Trumpet after 1721" he addressed the problems encountered in switching from modern to baroque trumpet. He said after much dissatisfaction with the mouthpiece provided by "a musical firm in Chicago" (Schilke?), which was claimed to be a "reasonable facsimile" of an original, he turned to an actual eighteenth-century trumpet mouthpiece by an unknown maker, nicks and scratches included. 50[Don Smithers, "The Baroque trumpet after 1721" Early Music" (London: Oxford University Press, April 1977) 178.].

In the interview for the WOSU Radio program "A History of the Trumpet" Edward Tarr said then that current activity with historical instruments was greatest in Europe with private ensembles such as Harnoncourt's Concentus Musicus, Leonhardt's Consort, and the Collegium Aureum (which comes together to play concerts and make recordings). In the United States, however, he said the greatest activity with old music is at the universities. 51[Malloy program No. 12.]. In recent correspondence with the author, Tarr indicated activities with historical instruments as follows: Germany has the most activity, Holland/Belgium have "lots going on," and the always active Schola Cantorum at Basel is continuing its traditions. 52[Tarr also plays horn, having performed horn parts from Bach's Bminor mass, part four of the Christmas Oratorio, the first Brandenburg Concerto, and Mozart's fourth horn concerto. He said this was logical because the Leipzig Stadtpfeifers all were required to play horn as well as trumpet. International Trumpet Guild newsletter, v.III #2 February 1977, 6.]. He feels there are too many compromises with brass in England and the groups at universities in the U.S.A. are still too widely dispersed.

In June of 1978 the author attempted a survey of leading symphony orchestra trumpet players in the U.S.A., and other well known trumpeters. The results indicated that most were aware of the natural trumpet, had access to it, and had tried it. However, less than half said they would be willing to play it in public. The majority also experienced embouchure difficulties. All, except for a few, were self taught. Those who had taken lessons received them from Edward Tarr. Their greatest difficulties listed in descending order were: accuracy in the upper register, intonation, mouthpieces, articulation, and development of the lighter style required. Several individuals made comments which might be of interest:

"I am a big fan of the cornetto and don't really think it is as difficult as some would make it... The playing opportunities are great. particularly if one can recruit some sackbut players. About half of the work I'm doing now in Hew York City is on cornetto. The baroque trumpet field is much more limited to mostly solo (music) now but as more 'baroque orchestras' and small ensembles get going the opportunities there will expand. We will all have to get 'low pitch' instruments, however, as these groups are playing there as you know,"

- Allan Dean

"...Mr. Stevens was given a cornettino, leather covered with a trumpet rim mouthpiece, which he uses as an ornament on his piano."

- Marty Fenton, U.S.C School of Music, for Thomas Stevens.

"I have absolutely no knowledge at all of the instruments you are interested in."

- Louis Davidson, Indiana University.

A Case Study: The Second Brandenburg Concerto

Bach may have taken into account Johann Ludwig Schreiber’s trumpet playing ability when he wrote the second Brandenburg Concerto in high F. Charles Sanford Terry identified trumpeters Schreiber and Johann Christoph Krahl as regular members of theKothen orchestra between1717-1723. 53[Terry pp 5 & 6]. Fredrich Smend identified Schreiber as first trumpet of the Kothen orchestra. 54[Fredrich Smend, Bach in Kothen (Berlin, 1952) 25, cited in Smithers 126.]. The first performance of the second Brandenburg Concerto may have taken place at Kothen, where a performance of the first Brandenburg Concerto in F is indicated by the pay records for two "Waldhomisten" (horn players were not regular orchestra members) on January 6, 1722. 55[Terry 7.].

In Bach's time the trumpet part, although it is the only one to that date pitched in high F, would not have caused insurmountable difficulties. Altenburg knew of trumpets in F and G used by the French and English, but they were not used in the clarino register as extensively as the German D trumpet. 56[Altenburg 12.]. In Bach's autograph score the trumpet part, following the usual custom, was written without sharps or flats. 2009 note: i.e., a transposing part.. This may have given the trumpeter a psychological advantage, since he concerned himself only with the 18th partial (which was within the normal range) rather than with the pitch: g. Aside from the high tessitura of the trumpet part of the second Brandenburg Concerto, there were no unusual demands for a good trumpet player.

But the high tessitura of the trumpet part of this concerto has been a problem for trumpeters since the Bach revival in the nineteenth century. Although specific performance dates, places, and players are not available, an outline of the performance history can be made by noting those occasions for which high-pitched valved trumpets were made. The earliest high-pitched valved trumpet thus far identified was one in high F of 1850. 57[See pages 9, 11 & 12 above.].

Advances in high-pitched trumpet design and manufacture have helped the aspiring player of the second Brandenburg Concerto, and it is now included in the standard repertoire for many symphony orchestra auditions. The trumpet manufacturer Vincent Bach advised young trumpet students to practice the high-pitched valved trumpets during their conservatory years and gradually work up to the piccolo Bb/A trumpet to avoid embouchure damage. He also cautioned experienced players to not attempt playing the second Brandenburg Concerto on short notice. 58[Vincent Bach, "Who can play the Second Brandenburg Concerto?" The Instrumentalist v. 15 September 1960, pages 94-96.].

A performance of the second Brandenburg Concerto hinges upon the availability of a trumpeter who can play the part. If the trumpeter at hand could not play the part as written, it has sometimes been played an octave lower, as was the case in phonograph recordings by the Centennial (Boston) Symphony Orchestra led by Serge Koussevitzky (RCA Camden CAL 147), 59 [Nathan Broder, The Collector's Bach (Philadelphia & New York: J.3. Lippincott Company 1958) 165-166.] and the London Baroque Ensemble led by Karl Haas (Westminster XWN 2211). The Eb clarinet has also been recommended as one alternative instrument if a high-pitched trumpet player is not available and the thought of lowering the part is displeasing. 60[William S. Casey, "A Fractical Guide to the Performance of the Brandenburg Concerti by Amateur Groups" (Un-published M.A. Thesis, The Ohio State University, 1943) 9.].

Soprano saxophonist Marcel Mule recorded the concerto with the Prades Festival Orchestra led by Pablo Casals in 1950 (Columbia ML 4345 - O.S.U. #LH 290), and again a year or so later with the Pro Musica led by Otto Klemperer (Vox Set 619 and LP VLP 6180). 61 [F,F. Clough & G.J. Cuming, World's Encyclopaedia of Recorded Music (London: The London Gramophone Corporation in association with Sidwick & Jackson Ltd. 1952).]. The recordings by a saxophonist in the early 1950’s were more likely the vehicle for an exceptional performer than an indication of the lack of able trumpet players; for at about the same time Roger Voisin recorded the concerto with the Boston Symphony led by Serge Koussevitzky DB 6764/5) 62[Clough & Cuming.].

In more recent times* 2009 note: this paper was written in 1978 the concerto has been more favorably approached on record. There are many excellent recordings which use modern high-pitched valved trumpets. 63[Maurice Andre recorded it many times: one currently available at a very good price is with the Paillard Chamber Orchestra- RCA CRL2-5S01.]. Walter Holy, Edward Tarr, and Claude Rippas have recorded it using natural trumpets in the coiled form. 64[Walter Holy, with the Concentus Musicus of Vienna, Harnoncourt conducting: Telefunken Das Alte Werke SAWT 9459/60-A. Edward Tarr, with the Collegium Aureum: RCA Victrola VICS 6023. Claude Rippas with the Leonhardt Consort: ABC Classics AB 67020/2 (includes a full facsimile score).]

Bach's second Brandenburg Concerto in still the cause for debate among scholars. The late Thurston Dart suggests that the high trumpet part in question might really be for horn in F, judging by the words "Tromba, o vero corno da caccia" which he says are on Penzel's manuscript of the trumpet part. 65[Bach, The Six Brandenburg Concerti- the "original version" Philips 6700 045. Liner notes adapted from sketches by Thurston Dart by Eric Smith. The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Nevilie Marriner conducting.]. A feasible answer to the question "trumpet or horn?" might be that on occasion Bach allowed for a performance of the work incorporating a horn instead of a trumpet. The German name "Jaegertrompete" (hunter's trumpet) for a trumpet which was coiled, and looked like a horn, may have been mis-translated into Italian as "Corno da caccia" (hunter's horn), and thus the debate began. However, when Bach labeled a trumpet part he very rarely used anything but the Italian word "Tromba", though others used the word "Clarino", which is the proper indication for a register rather than a specific instrument. 66[Terry 23.]. This, and the phonograph recordings by Holy, Tarr, and Rippas using soft-toned natural trumpets, support the theory that Bach fully intended for the part to be played by a trumpet in high F, possibly a coiled trumpet.


Paul Hindemith, Thurston Dart, and Edward Tarr urge players interested in the full value of baroque music to go to the instruments of the period to understand how the music might have originally been played. Those who do choose to use authentic, or nearly authentic instruments are often leaders not only in sound but also in the elements of style (articulation, ornamentation, and phrasing) which give the music a baroque identity.

The orchestral trumpeters’ survey replies concerning the difficulties encountered with natural trumpets reveal technical limitations of playing these instruments. Without the mechanical aid given by a valve mechanism, for example, a seven foot natural trumpet is more difficult to trill on certain notes. 2009 Note: Author made serious error here in 1978! Accuracy is a great problem for most modern players, who have the distinct disadvantage of many years of formal training with modern valved trumpets prior to their involvement with natural trumpets; this may be a psychological, as well as technical disadvantage.

The trumpeters of the other stream, the players of modern high-pitched valved trumpets, enjoy, for the moment, a technical advantage over those who play the natural trumpet. They also have a great many more recordings on the market. Even so, the players of natural trumpets have the advantages of tone and style. Holy, Tarr, Smithers and the other great players of baroque trumpet are influencing those who do not play authentic instruments. In growing numbers, trumpeters now, regardless of instrument type, are influenced by the discoveries and practices of those who play natural trumpets.


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Bach, Vincent. "Who Can Play the Second Brandenburg Concerto?", The Instrumentalist. v .15 September, 1960, 94-76.

"Brandenburg Blower" Time Magazine July 6, 1962.

Baines, Anthony. Brass Instruments - Their History and Development, London: Farber & Farber, 1976.

Bate, Philip. The Trumpet and Trombone, London/New York: Ernst Benn ltd. /W.W. Norton & Co. Inc., 1972.

Broder, Nathan. The Collector's Bach, Philadelphia and New York: J.B. Lippincotte Co., 1958.

Casey, William S. "A Practical Guide to the Performance of the Brandenburg Concerti by Amateur Groups", In-published M.A. Thesis, The Ohio State university, 1943.

Clough, P.P. & Cuming, G.J. World's Encyclopaedia of Recorded Music, London: The Gramophone Corporation in Association with Sidwick & Jackson Ltd., 1952.

Dart, Thurston. The Interpretation of Musicj New York: Harper & Row, 1963.

Ehmann, Wilhelm. "Report From Germany: New Brass Instruments Based on Old Models", trans. Mary Rasmussen. The Brass Quarter] v.I No.4 June, 1958, 217-225.

Fantini, Girolamo. Modo per Imparare a Suonare di Tromba, Frankfort: Daniel Vaustch, 1638. Facsimile, Milan 1934.

Grove, Sir George. Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th ed.,edited by Eric Blom. Lew York: St. Martin's Press, 1962, 563, plate 74.

Halfpenny, Eric "William Shaw's 'Harmonic' Trumpet"., Galpin Society Journal v.XIII July, 1960, 7.

Hindemith, Paul. J. S, Bach, Heritage and Obligation. London: Oxford University Press, 1952.

Malloy, Michael. "A History of the Trumpet" program 12, Columbus: WOSU Radio, November 18, 1973.

Menke, Werner. History of the Trumpet of Bach and Handel., London: New Temple Press, 1934. Rasmussen, Mary. "Bach Trumpet Madness". The Brass Quarterly v.V No.1 1961, 39.

Salzman, Eric. "Record Reviews", The New York Times February 1, 1959, X17

Smithers, Don. “The Baroque Trumpet After 1721", Early Music. London: Oxford University Press, April 1977. 173.

Smithers, Don. The Music and History of the Baroque Trumpet Before 1721, Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1973.

Tarr, Edward, "Why I play the Horn", The International Trumpet Guild Newsletter, v. III No.2, February, 1977, 6.

Terry, Charles Sanford. Bach's Orchestra., London: Oxford University Press, 1932.


Bach, The Six Brandenburg Concerti- The "Original Version", The Academy of ot. Martin-in-the-Fields, Neville Marriner cond., Philips 6700 045.

Bach, Brandenburg Concertos and two Orchestral Overtures. Adolf Scherbaum, Berlin.Philharmonic, Herbert von Karajan cond. D.G.G. 138 9768.

Bach, Brandenburg Concerti, Roger Voisin, Boston Symphony, Serge Koussevitzky cond., DB 6764/5.

Bach, Brandenburg; Concerti, Edward Tarr, Collegium Aureum, RCA VICS 6023.

Bach, Brandenburgische Konzerte 1-6, Walter Holy, Concetnus Musicus Vienna, Nikolaus Harnoncourt cond., Telefunken Das Alte Werke SAWT 9459/60-A.

Bach, Brandenburr Concerti, Claude Rippas, Leonhardt Consort, Gustave Leonhardt cond., ABC Classics AB 67020/2.

Bach, Brandenburg Concerti, "London Baroque Ensemble, Karl Haas cond., Westminster XWW 2211.

Bach, Brandenburg Concerti, Pro Musica, Otto Klemperer cond., Vox Set 619 & LP VLP 6180

English Baroque Trumpet Music, Maurice Andre, L’Oiseau-Lyre OLS 160.

Telemann, Leopold Mozart., Concertos for Trumpets, Walter Holy, Mercury SR 90385.


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