Jon Burgess, Reporter
In a presentation titled "Trumpet Music of the 17th and 8th Century" David Staff discussed authentic performance practices. Staff teaches at both the Royal Northern College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He also serves as principle trumpet for Frans Bruggen's Amsterdam based Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. He is also the founder of the ensemble His Majesty's Sagbutts and Cornetts.
In a very informative and lively presentation David Staff began his talk on understanding how the trumpet took its place in music during the 17th and 18th Centuries. Instrumental music of this time period had its origins in song and dance. This resulted from a desire to imitate the voice. Recorded musical examples were played to show a quick historical perspective starting with Gregorian Chant and other forms of vocal music leading into instrumental styles such as the Canzona.
A great deal of discussion dealt with the correct way to articulate music of this time period. Three general rules were presented; 1) Notes of the same pitch when repeated are clearly articulated. 2) Notes that move upward or downward by step are slurred. 3) Notes that leap more than a major third are clearly articulated. Treatises from Altenburg, Fantini, and Quantz were referred to in discussing the different syllables used for Baroque articulation. David Staff demonstrated these various articulations on the natural trumpet. The point was also made that the trumpets symbolism leading up to this period in music had a duel symbolism - the trumpet's role was often associated with proclamation of royalty, but also a voice of war and power.
The session ended with two students that had volunteered to perform. The first student played excerpts from Concerto in D by Telemann and the second student performed a few baroque excerpts on the natural trumpet. David Staff used these performances to demonstrate many of the stylistic practices discussed in his lecture. Most frequently comments came back to articulation practices and understanding meter.