Ole Edvard Antonsen

Concerto per Tromba

Jan van der Roost

In many respects, this work corresponds with the Baroque period in which the trumpet started its development as solo instrument. The instrumental resources used (trumpet, strings, and harpsichord) are a direct illustration of this, as is the use of the brilliant-sounding piccolo trumpet. This is where the parallel more or less ends. We can hardly speak of a "basso continuo". The sound idiom used is rather different from the Baroque style. The composer has discretely incorporated a few short quotes in his three-movement concerto. For instance Vivaldi, Bach, and from a later period, Hummel and Haydn, appear a couple of times as a tribute to these 18th century masters who have contributed greatly to the development of trumpet repertoire.

The first movement, Entry, starts with a somewhat improvisatory passage, played "backstage" by the soloist and supported by mysterious chords in the strings. A contrapuntal introduction by the strings follows, while the trumpet plays a number of musical figures and themes that returns, further developed, later in the work. As it turns out, the "minor third interval" returns in various themes in the two following movements. A rather tangled and ever-changing opening movement creates anticipation for more…

Elegy is an In Memoriam that is dedicated to Ole Edvard Antonsen's mother, who died after a wasting disease in the spring of 2001. Resignation and sadness permeate the mood of this slow movement, which is characterized by gentle dynamics, with an occasional mezzo forte as a highpoint. The composer recommends the flugel horn and/or cornet as the solo instrument here: the warm and soft timbre of these instruments suits the elegant atmosphere very well.

With Energy it is quite a different story. From the start, the musical fireworks begin in a rhythmic introduction in the strings and a virtuoso technical tour de force on the part of the soloist. A somewhat more relaxed second idea is no less virtuoso, since the soloist has frequent large intervals to negotiate. As a change of pace, the main melody from Elegy comes back. Although it returns with a totally different accompaniment: one last lyrical moment before all the stops are pulled out in a dazzling finale. The string orchestra and the harpsichord also participate in this spectacular structure, so that this concerto ends convincingly after a fairly hesitant start.