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CONCERTO POUR TROMPETTE ET ORCHESTRE N° 2 for Trumpet Solo & Wind Ensemble by ANDRÉ JOLIVET (France, 1905 – 1974)

[#245] April 01, 2024

1954/1955 | Trumpet Solo, Wind Ensemble | Grade 6 | 10’ – 15’ | Concerto

French composer and conductor André Jolivet

“Concerto pour Trompette et Orchestre N°2” by French composer and conductor André Jolivet is our Composition of the Week.

Written between 1954 and 1955, the second concerto by Jolivet dedicated to the trumpet, was premiered on September 5, 1956, at the Vichy Casino, France, by its orchestra, with Raymond Tournesac on trumpet and Louis de Froment, conducting.


The Concerto was later choreographed by Georges Skibine, under the title “Marines”.

George Skibine was a dancer with the Ballets russes company. In 1957, he joined the Opéra de Paris, where he became ballet master in 1958, a position he held until 1962. In 1959, he choreographed Daphnis et Chloé for the company (with Claude Bessy as performer, among others), with sets by Marc Chagall, as well as this Jolivet’s for the Paris Opéra-Comique.


The concerto has become a standard of the 20th century repertoire for the trumpet. It has a duration of around 13 minutes.

It is scored for 2 flutes, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trombone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, 2 percussionists, harp, piano and doublebass.


The work has the classical three-movement form, fast-slow-fast, and the three movements are named I.Mesto-Concitato; II.Grave; III.Giocoso.

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 last movement, Giocoso, is an acrid, primitive dance, similar to the works influenced by jazz 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.


There’s also a version for trumpet and piano made by the composer. Which was premiered in 1961. This score is entitled Marines, as the ballet by Skibine and with the addition of two interludes and one coda.


The historical recording presented here is performed by the famous French trumpeter Maurice André, with composer André Jolivet conducting.


Jolivet's parents were artistically sophisticated, and as a result he studied fine arts, poetry, and music. His career was given direction after he met Edgard Varèse in 1930, and thereafter he was active in creating and promoting new music. He founded La Spirale and La Jeune France, groups dedicated to the promotion of progressive and nationalistic new French music.


Jolivet traveled to America, Russia, Egypt, and Japan, conducting his own works. He was conductor at the “Comedie Française”, professor of composition at the Paris Conservatory, and president of the Concerts Lamoureux.

Jolivet was known for his devotion to French culture and musical thought, he drew on his interest in acoustics and atonality, as well as both ancient and modern musical influences, particularly on instruments used in ancient times. He composed in a wide variety of forms for many different types of ensembles.



Other works for winds include:


  • Défilé et Soir (1936), for wind ensemble

  • Sérénade (1945) for wind quintet with principal Oboe.

  • Rhapsodie à sept (1957) for clarinet, bassoon, cornet, trombone, drums, violin and doublebass.

  • Sonatine (1961), for Oboe and Clarinet

  • Sonatine (1961) for flute and clarinet

  • Sonatine (1963) for Oboe and Bassoon

  • Heptade (1971) for trumpet and percussion





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