Date of Award
Master of Music (MMUS)
The Concerto in E-flat for Trumpet by Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778 - 1837) remains one of the most frequently-performed trumpet solos in the repertory. The composer was better known for his piano playing than his solo instrumental compositions. Hummel composed only one other wind instrument concerto; a bassoon concerto. Hummel used his background in classical styles and his craftsmanship in composing commissions to write a concerto that is challenging and stylistically appropriate. Hummel associated with Franz Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven. These associations provide insight into Hummel's classical training. He also maintained a good business sense for working with publishers, and was popular as a composer of commissioned works. When composing this concerto, Hummel undoubtedly considered two factors; the keyed trumpet and Anton Weidinger (1767 - 1852). The keyed trumpet was invented to bridge the harmonic gaps of the natural trumpet. It may have had a softer tone quality than the natural trumpet, but it possessed the capability to play chromatically. The keyed trumpet was primarily used by Anton Weidinger. Hummel composed the Concerto in E-flat for Weidinger who performed the premier performance of the Concerto on January 1, 1804. An analysis of the Concerto in E-flat reveals elements of the composition that were influenced by Weidinger's ability and the keyed trumpet's attributes. The flexibility of the keyed trumpet is shown through the mixture of chromatic and stepwise lines as opposed to lines that skip through the harmonic series. The use of the harmonic series could indicate that the keyed trumpet retained the same tone quality as the natural trumpet, while the chromatics demonstrated that the keyed trumpet had the additional flexibility to play half-steps. The final movement of the Concerto shows that the chromatics could be played at extremely fast tempi, and the slow second movement demonstrates that the "keyed notes" may have retained an acceptable tone quality. These sustained tones of the second movement could also demonstrate the overall good intonation of the keyed notes. The length and the range of the first movement, and the sustained high pitches of the second movement would require the performer to have good endurance. The fast, rhythmic, last movement required that the performer have excellent technical skills. These characteristics demonstrate that Hummel's classical background helped him craft the Concerto in E-flat specifically for Anton Weidinger and the keyed trumpet.
Marble, Thomas L., "Influences of the keyed trumpet and Anton Weidinger in the Concerto in E-flat for Trumpet by Johann Nomuk Hummel" (1992). Student Work. 2858.