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Seminar: Ralph Dudgeon, Keyed Bugle
5:15 p.m. Room 110, Krannert Hall of Fine Arts

Helen Reed, Piano
Joseph Hopkins, Baritone

Jim Donaldson. Reporter

Prior to Dr. Ralph Dudgeon’s presentation on the keyed

Dana Wilson, Composer
bugle, Frank Campos, professor of trumpet at Ithaca College, accompanied by Diane Birr, performed Mask, Dana Wilson’s winning entry in the 2001 ITG Composition Competition for solo trumpet and piano. Wilson is the first second time winnerof this competition. The piece was introduced by the composer who said that he was working with two main ideas in the three-movement piece, the idea of the mask in ritual used to conjure deity or a greater power, and the idea of changing characters or personalities by donning a mask. This idea was particular appropriate in the context of a trumpet composition where the use of mutes can be compared to the wearing of masks by allowing the nearly complete changing of the instrument’s voice.

The first movement featured plunger mute initially, followed by bits of fanfare-like calls building into a series of angular and irregular melodic lines including growls and flutter tonguing. The second movement was very slow and lyrical, more linear in composition. It initially employed a harmon mute with the stem out. The centerpiece of this movement was a ballad-like passage that did not include mutes. The movement concluded with the pianist quietly plucking the open strings until the sound faded away. The third movement opened with the piano and trumpet (harmon, stem in) throwing frog-like “rib-it” melodic lines in the lower register back and forth. It was rhythmic with more than a hint of playfulness. The movement concluded with a powerful open horn passage, accompanied by percussive effects from the piano. The performance by Frank Campos and Diane Birr was superb giving this difficult composition the advantage of a powerful performance.

Dr. Ralph Dudgeon is an acknowledged expert on the keyed bugle. Dudgeon’s presentation included a lecture presentation with slides and a recital covering the development of the instrument as well as an exploration of its extensive but relatively unknown repertoire. Designed and popularized in the early 19th century, the keyed bugle is a short conical instrument with a large bell flare similar to the modern flugelhorn. It has seven saxophone-like keys that produce a chromatic scale. The horn is very different from the keyed trumpet for which the Haydn Concerto in E- flat was written in that the bugle is shorter, conical, and each of the keys can be played independently, while the earlier keyed trumpet is longer, more than 75 percent cylindrical, and generally only one key could be operated at a time. Dudgeon plays two original keyed bugles, one in E-flat and the other in C with a crook that lowers the instrument to the key of B-flat. Each bugle dates from the first half of the 19th century. Dudgeon was accompanied by Helen Reed, together they demonstrated the E-flat bugle with a quick and lively rendition of the 1835 Wood Up Quick Step. The soft sweet sound of the smaller horn was a very pleasant surprise, especially in its upper register.

Dudgeon went on to demonstrate with great skill the variety of repertoire which exists for the keyed bugle, primarily on the larger B-flat horn, which sounds similar to the modern flugelhorn, but with a softer, lighter sound. To do this he performed a number of “Polonaise” type tunes foreshadowing the 19th century theme and variation compositional style common to the later cornet repertoire. He also played a hymn accompanied by a baritone vocalist, and Concerto by the American composer Anton Philipp Heinrich written for keyed bugle in 1834.

Finally, Dudgeon played a modern Keyed Bugle Concerto written for him by Simon Proctor in 1991. The piece was described by Dudgeon as “contemporary but accessible.” In fact, it was like a medley of songs from a musical that one had never heard. Dudgeon’s performance of this lengthy piece, with minimal rest, was remarkable in both the technical mastery of the material and the stamina required to execute it so well. Both the lecture and the recital portions served to introduce much of the audience to this important historical member of the high brass family.

Trumpet Prelude

First Place ITG Composition Winner
Frank Campos, Trumpet
Diane Birr, Piano
Masks (2001) ........................................................ Dana Wilson


Wood Up Quick Step............................ Joseph Holloway (1835)

Polonaise pour le Cor de Signal á Clefs obligé.... Joseph Küffner (1823)

Polonaise Variée pour le Trompette á Clefs........ Baissieres-Faber (c. 1830) Adagio, Theme and Six Variations

Concertino in E flat...................... Elias Fürchtegott Sache (1870)
Allegretto and Polacca

C o n c e rto for the Ke yed Bugle or Klappenflügel . . . Anton Philipp Heinrich (18 3 4 )
Andante and Allegro

Offertorium in B “Jesu dulcedo cordium” ......... Liberatus Geppert (c. 1870)
Für Baß-Solo, Klappenflügelhorn-Solo und Streicher

Yankee Doodle Variations....................... Richard Willis (c. 1825)

Bugle Quick Step................................. Francis Johnson (c. 1830)

Air in Cinderella with Variations for the Ke yed Bu g l e. . . . . . J.R. Mc Farlane (c. 18 3 0 )

Keyed Bugle Concerto................................ Simon Proctor (1991)