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Concerto for Trumpet No 2

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André Jolivet

André Jolivet

General Info

Year: 1954 / 1968
Duration: c. 13:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alphonse Leduc
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental   |   Score Only - $69.95


1. Mesto – Concitato – 4:40
2. Grave – 3:25
3. Giocoso – 4:05


Full Score
Solo Trumpet
Flute I-II (II doubling Piccolo)
English Horn
B-flat Soprano Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
String Bass
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • China Cymbal
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-tam
  • Temple Block
  • Tenor Drum
  • Tom-toms (3)
  • Wood Block


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

André Jolivet’s Second Trumpet Concerto was completed on 26th January 1955. Concerning the work’s technical demands Raymond Tournesac, the soloist at the première, stated that at the first read-throughs, reacting to his comments about the work’s difficulty, Jolivet had told him: ‘But, my dear fellow, Louis Armstrong is doing wonders in the top register. Why should this be impossible for a classical player?… So, to work, old boy! Armstrong manages it well enough!’

The orchestra does without strings – except for a double bass – but includes eight solo wind parts (among them two saxophones and a trombone, to emphasize the work’s jazz-like sonority), harp, piano and percussion. The modest orchestral forces seem to be a reaction to the advice that Varèse had given Jolivet in 1933: ‘Not too many notes. Make the piece concise… The more you add, the more you restrict the chances for the sounds to open out and project themselves. They lose their power to make their mark and to free themselves.’

The work has the classical three-movement form, fast-slow-fast. The first, Mesto – Concitato, consists of a slow, lugubrious introduction that features the muted trumpet’s ‘wa-wa’ sound. This gives way to an aggressive polytonal dance led by the trumpet, now without mute. After a return to the menacing climate of the introduction, an agitated apotheosis brings the movement to an end. The second movement, Grave, is a slow solemn and bluesy soliloquy for the trumpet, somewhat reminiscent of what Miles Davis was achieving together with Gil Evans around the same time. The work’s first performer, Tournesac, explained how Jolivet had encouraged him: ‘Sing this phrase as if you were playing Puccini!’ The last movement, Giocoso, is an acrid, primitive dance, similar to the jazzy works of the 1920s such as Darius Milhaud’s La Création du monde or pieces by Kurt Weill, interrupted by the quasi-tribal percussion, which from now on drive the movement forwards until the trumpet, with its ‘wa-wa’ mute, begins a dialogue that continues, growing ever more intense, until the resolutely jazzy final climax. Jolivet later stated that this movement was intended as a tribute to Emmanuel Chabrier, a composer whose best-known music reflected the spirit of Paris in the 1880s.

Jolivet’s Second Trumpet Concerto, nowadays one of the composer’s best-known works, was premièred by Raymond Tournesac in Vichy on 5th September 1956, conducted by Louis de Froment.

- Program Note by Jean-Pascal Vachon from liner notes of BIS CD French Trumpet Concerto


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer