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Concerto for Trumpet, Timpani and Wind Instruments

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Siegfried Matthus

Siegfried Matthus (trans. Sergio Ortiz)

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General Info

Year: 1982
Duration: c. 20:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Unknown
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


1. Intrada
2. Adagio und Passacaglia
3. Vivace
4. Adagio lamentoso
5. Stretto con collera


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

It was his series of concertos (starting with the Flute Concerto of 1968) that did the most to bring Siegfried Matthus to fame, though he is also highly regarded for operas and other stage works.

The concertos led him toward an evolutionary stylistic process. When he wrote the first one, he was still experimenting with pitch series and organization as principal organizing factors. He retained a tendency to link specific sound-combinations to given dramatic ideas. During the 1970s he used a more traditional twelve-tone approach, and around 1980 began mixing twelve-tone music with more traditional forms of tonal organization.

This double concerto is one of the notable works from this period of stylistic flux. Matthus wrote it for the 100th anniversary of the Berlin Philharmonic. The Berlin Philharmonic was on the West's side of the Berlin Wall. When the wall went up 20 years earlier, those members of the Philharmonic who lived in East Berlin and those members of the Berlin State Orchestra who lived in West Berlin were permanently severed from their orchestras, so there was a large de facto exchange of membership between the two orchestras. There is an aspect of this concerto that allows one to wonder if Matthus had a historical/political agenda in devising: The timpani and the trumpet never really seem able to get together. They have separate and often quite distinct parts, as if they are divided from each other by the orchestra.

The orchestra comprises brass, strings, harp, and percussion. The concerto is in five movements, and "bridge" or "arch" forms predominate. The rapid center movement echoes material from the first and last movement, which are all fairly fast, with two adagios flanking the middle. Most of the movements are built also in arch forms, with the most dramatic music occurring in the middle.

The first movement, Intrada, seems rhapsodic in form as it introduces a succession of ideas that will feature in the concerto. It establishes a tone for the work with its brusque, and not without comic elements.

The second movement, Adagio und Passacaglia, is highly expressive, with variations that seem to express some numbing emotional devastation, at least to this listener.

The centerpiece is a scherzo marked Vivace. The rhythms have a lightness that is at odds with the forceful outbursts in the two solo parts. The impression is that of a feverish quarrel.

The emotional heart of the concerto, and longest movement, is the other slow movement, Adagio lamentoso. The trumpet's declamation is like a funeral oration while the tread of the timpani suggests the procession.

The conclusion, Stretto con collera, is the shortest movement and propels the soloists into militant, strident outbursts.

- Program Note by Joseph Stevenson for orchestral version

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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  • McGill University (Montreal, Que.) Wind Orchestra (Alain Cazes, conductor; Alexander Freund, trumpet; Fabrice Marandola, percussion) – 2 February 2019

Works for Winds by this Composer