Brandenburg Sinfonia & Artistic Director, Robert Porter, at St Martin's-in-the-Fields
2 March 2011

Trafalgar Square and St Martin's-in-the-Fields
This landmark building, designed by James Gibb in 1721, has a rich heritage as a place of worship, a refuge for the homeless and a centre of cultural life in London.
Robert Porter has devised the Brandenburg Spring Choral Festival and, over the coming, months wll be presenting an interesting and varied programme of choral and orchestral music at the church.

As part of this series Paul, along with the Ross Brown and Heidi Sutcliffe, performed two concertos for three trumpets and orchestra by Georg Philipp Telemann, an unusual choice of repertoire but entirely appropriate given that the second half featured the choir and orchestra in a performance of Haydn's Nelson Mass which is unusual in its scoring of choir, strings, 3 trumpets and timpani.

Telemann was amongst the most prolific and most famous composers of his generation, born in 1681 at Magdeburg and educated at the University of Leipzig where he founded the University Collegium Musicum and was the city council's preferred candidate for the position of Thomascantor in 1723, when Bach was eventually appointed.

He wrote many works that included the trumpet as a solo instrument and his triple trumpet concerto is certainly one of his most delightful pieces. The work is in four movements, beginning with a solemn Adagio followed by a sprightly but lyrical Allegro. Following tradition, Telemann follows with an Adagio for strings only and completes the work with an energetically vivacious Presto movement.

After a beautiful rendition of Mozart's sublime Ave Verum the first half was brought to a rousing conclusion with a performance of Telemann's Concerto in Bb, orginally scored for three oboes, but here reconstituted as a triple trumpet concerto!

The unusual key, for trumpets in the baroque era, of Bb Major plus the virtuoso writing originally conceived for oboes allowed the trumpeters to revel in some beautiful lines, especially in the exquisite Largo movement which combines lyricism with sumptuous harmony allowing the musicians to exploit the wonderful acoustics of this historic building.

A conversation with the conductor of the choir, Jeremy Jackman, revealed an insight into why Haydn scored the Nelson Mass for three trumpets. His theory is that Count Esterhazy had just dismissed most of the wind players in his employment leaving only three trumpets to hold the fort! Pragmatic as ever, Haydn duly utilised these players and wrote what is certainly his largest mass and one of his most well-known and beloved choral works.
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