“The Trumpet Shall Sound”: an angel’s voice from a modern instrumentalist

Posted on: December 23, 2015

“Coming late in Handel’s ‘Messiah,’ the glittering instrumental solo in ‘The Trumpet Shall Sound’ is one of the most recognizable trumpet parts in music,” writes Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim in Thursday’s (12/17) New York Times. “These days, the solo is most commonly played on a modern piccolo trumpet, a small, tightly coiled instrument … that produces an incisive, citrusy-bright sound. The more sweetly toned Baroque version … is long and straight—and, most important, devoid of the valves that on modern instruments enable players to hit and evenly tune all the notes of a scale.” John Thiessen, the trumpet soloist in Trinity Wall Street’s current Messiah performances in New York, “like most of today’s period trumpeters … plays on modern copies of Baroque instruments to which holes have been added to improve intonation.… ‘In “The Trumpet Shall Sound,” I am the angel,’ Mr. Thiessen said.… ‘Every time Handel uses the trumpet, it’s on the side of what’s right.’… These days, he said, seasoned period-instrument conductors like Nicholas McGegan will instruct the string players to tweak their own intonation to match that of the trumpet in an aria such as Handel’s.… After all, as Mr. Thiessen said, ‘It’s music from a different world.’ ” 

Posted December 23, 2015