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'Trumpet Schizophrenia'

In 1989, behind the Berlin Wall in East Berlin, in the Funkhaus Berlin Studios, composer/conductor Richard Hill sat on the conductor's rostrum in front of the Grosserundfunkorchester Berlin. This studio session was scheduled for the recording of Hill's new 'Concerto for Trumpet'. Just before proceedings could begin however, news came through that the trumpet soloist from London had been unable to reach East Berlin, due to problems with airline schedules.

The decision was made to go ahead with the recording of the concerto without the trumpet soloist, in the hope that the solo part could be dubbed on at a later date. However, these were turbulent and heady times in East Berlin. The Berlin Wall was at long last being demolished and the physical reunification of Germany was in full flow. But these both profound and welcome events also had a sad consequence, both for the orchestra and for Hill's recording. The Grosserundfunkorchester Berlin was disbanded, the music and the orchestral recording, a 'concerto grosso' orchestration for strings and string quartet, were lost in the chaotic events following the fall of East Germany, and it seemed that was the end of the project. Hill went on to other commissions and to new projects in theatre and recording.

However, in 2014, after a house move, Hill discovered an old cassette whilst going through unwanted and flood damaged possessions. The cassette turned out to be a recording of the East Berlin orchestral 'backing track' to 'Concerto for Trumpet'. Hill immediately converted the recording in his digital studio. He rewrote the score and conceived a new trumpet solo part, which he then recorded on trumpet synthesizer over the original track to create the work as it is today, and to produce a 'demo' CD of the concerto. The accompaniment to 'Concerto for Trumpet' is scored in 'concerto grosso' form, for orchestral strings and string quartet. The atmosphere created by this orchestration choice reminds us of the baroque heritage of the trumpet, whilst the subtle jazz and rock influences throughout show the stylistic versatility of the instrument and give the reason for the subtitle 'Trumpet Schizophrenia'. Richard Hill was a founder member of the London Gabrieli Brass Ensemble whilst at the Royal College of Music in 1961, and he has a lifetime of experience, and obviously a special love, of writing for brass.

After such a long and chequered history, it is hoped that 'Concerto for Trumpet', trapped for decades behind the Berlin Wall, will now finally achieve its own freedom, that of performances.

You may like to check out these sound clips of 'Concerto for Trumpet':

Movement 1:

Allegro Moderato Clip1: 49 secs MP3 sample [771k]

Clip2: 60 secs MP3 sample [946k]

Movement 2:

Adagio Clip1: 66 secs MP3 sample [910k]

Clip2: 62 secs MP3 sample [855k]

Movement 3: Allegro Clip1: 62 secs MP3 sample [852k]

Clip 2: 42 secs MP3 sample [579k]

The score and parts for 'Concerto for Trumpet' can be hired from and perusal scores are available.



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