Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra
Duration: approximately 22 minutes. (I. 10 min., II. 5 min, III. 7 min.)
The recordings linked above are of the premiere performance: Mark Baldin and the Rockford Symphony Orchestra at the Coronado Performing Arts Center, Steven Larsen conducting.
The following is taken from the program notes which appeared in the program for the premiere performance:
Mark Baldin was the very first person I met upon my arrival as a first year student at Northern Illinois University. We became friends right away. Over the last thirty years we have kept in contact as roommates, friends, and fellow musicians. I have come to know Mark not only for his wonderful musicianship on the trumpet, but also for his breadth of knowledge about the instrument itself and its literature.
During a conversation in 2003, after I returned to Illinois following my study in California, Mark mentioned to me how he had been looking for new trumpet music. A concerto would be his first choice, one that emphasized richly harmonized melodies. Simply good tunes. Melody and harmony are probably most of what I have to offer to the art of composition, so I took that as an invitation to compose a piece for him. A melody I had been developing at the time became the starting point for the entire work; it is heard at the very beginning and again toward the end of the last movement. I will share some thoughts in an attempt to add to your experience hearing it for the first time. Please keep in mind, though, that this piece is intended mainly as an expression of music and friendship, one I hope that you the audience enjoy hearing!
Like many concertos this one begins with a slow introduction and then progresses in a three movement scheme: fast/slow/fast. While the Concerto for Trumpet was not really conceived as a programmatic piece per se, I will admit it was partly inspired by experiences in my own life and reflections upon them....
One might imagine that this music progresses like a life journey. The first movement begins with introduction of the soloist via the initial theme, moves into youthful exuberance, then turns to a time of trial and conflict among various experiences. It then closes in doubt, maybe wondering if the spoils of life are indeed worth the cost of the hunt.
The second movement, introduced by solo bassoon, reflects on all that has happened so far, as the bassoon and orchestra interject thoughts which the soloist considers. This middle movement is really a nocturne, with music which attempts to explore the depths of the soul in a nighttime atmosphere of solitary reflection.
As the brighter finale tune appears in the trumpet after the last echo of the bassoon, resolve builds and exuberance returns in a new guise. We were once adrift; now we are led back toward home. The opening theme returns but the familiar ground we had hoped to find is not the same. We discover that it has been altered by the passing of time and realize that we must decide, after having come all this way, whether to accept it or to travel on.
I would like to express a heartfelt thank you to Mark Baldin, Steven Larsen, and the Rockford Symphony Orchestra for taking on this piece and performing it so wonderfully!