Michael Daniel IUP Trumpet Ensamble (Fine Arts Critique #5) 11/27/2006 On November 20 the IUP College of Fine Arts

Department of Music presented the IUP Trumpet Ensamble. It was directed by Dr. Kevin Eisensmith and the musicians were IUP students. It seemed to be a showcase for the students to display what they’ve been working on all semester. The musicians were different for every song The recital opened with the song ‘A Festival of Trumpets’, which was played by 8 trumpets. It seemed to be intended to be light, airy and staccato. I think I recognized it from a James Bond movie. It is difficult to say anything about the piece because the musicians were off time and off key. It wasn’t the worst song played that night but I still could not make out any real subtleties of the music in the way that I would expect to do at a professional orchestra. The recital stumbled thru a few more songs in an off time, off key manner. ‘The Last Spring’ had a sad tone about it. ‘Octet For Trumpets’ was performed with 10 trumpets, which confused me. I thought that the word ‘octet’ implied 8 trumpets. ‘Octet’ ran faster and slower, building in intensity to fanfare styled peaks and melancholy valleys. ‘Shenandoah’ was performed with 9 trumpets. I think that I heard it before in the movie ‘Far and Away’. It was slow and soft but loud at the same time in a manner that seems to be unique to the trumpet as an instrument. The evening hit a low point with ‘Resonances – Declamitorily’. It was performed with 4 trumpets. It was a cacophony without rhythm or melody. There were a few soft notes played then a blast then a pause then a blast then a few notes played softly then

pause then blast. This continued for what seemed to be forever. It was like nails on a chalkboard. ‘Congratulamini Mihi’ was considerably better than ‘Resonances’. It was performed with 4 trumpets. They were in tune and on time for once. The skill level of the performers increased for the rest of the night after this point. The tones and tempo were high and refined but the song never built to what I would call a fanfare blast. It had a medieval feel to it but it was more complex than any medieval music I have heard before. It had that soft tone yet loud volume texture that I really enjoy about the trumpet. ‘Truncated Sonata’ was a wonderful broadway style jazz tune. The trumpets spoke to each other. It sounded like a friendly conversation between friends that picks up and slows down at times. The conversation was interrupted by melody every now and then. The music became steadily better thru ‘Toccata’, ‘Caprice’, ‘Introduction and Fanfare’, ‘Sinfonia’ and ‘Lyric Poeme’. The evening hit a high point near the end with the ‘Heroic Suite’. It was performed with 5 trumpets and it went thru 3 phases, which were generosity, mercy and majesty. It was full of classic fanfare blasts and elegant melody. The musicians were perfectly on time and in tune. The richness of the music came thru. Generosity was slow and elegant. Mercy was slower but had a more rich texture. Small, soft staccato notes sounded like horses in the background. Majesty was classic triumphant fanfare. It was loud, elegant and bold. This song made the night worth the trip. They ended on ‘Romeo and Juilet Fantasy’, which was played on 24 trumpets. The musicians were off time and out of tune again but it was worse this time because it was deafeningly loud. It was too ambitious for these musicians to attempt.