Arutunian - Concerto for Trumpet
January 27, 2023
Quincy Erickson, winner of the Bienen School's 2022 Concerto Competition, performs Alexander Arutunian's Concerto for Trumpet with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Mallory Thompson conducts.
Alexander Arutunian began writing a trumpet concerto for Zolak Vartasarian, but the soloist was killed in military action during World War II before Arutunian was able to finish the piece. Instead, Russian trumpeter Timofei Dokschitzer performed the premiere in 1950. When Dokschitzer immigrated to the United States, he brought Arutunian’s concerto with him. It has since gained popularity and is now known as a staple in the trumpet literature. Arutunian’s compositions are colorful with folk-like melodies. The freely developed and narrative qualities of the 18th century Armenian minstrels, called ashug, are emulated in his music.
Concerto for Trumpet is a single movement that moves through contrasting sections without pause. The brief introduction contains a chromatic melody rich in Armenian folk influences. The first section incorporates two themes, one dance-like and one lyrical, before moving to a romantically-inspired second section. All of the melodies and introductory material are developed at length throughout the work. Finally, a return of the festive opening theme prepares a dazzling solo cadenza and the concerto’s resounding conclusion.