Alexander Arutunian’s Trumpet Concerto in A♭ major (1950) is the Armenian composer's sixth major composition, a "virtuoso showpiece" composed in 1949-1950. According to J. Sundram, "it is an energetic powerhouse of Eastern European lyricism and harmonic textures".
Arutunian's engaging and idiomatic trumpet concerto was "quickly assimilated into the standard trumpet repertoire worldwide, earning highest international praise from audiences, critics and performers".In an interview with Allan Kozinn of The New York Times, Philip Smith, the former principal trumpeter of the New York Philharmonic, observed that Arutunian's Trumpet Concerto was frequently chosen as an audition piece at Juilliard. "One of the reasons this piece has become so popular..." Smith said, "is just that it's a flashy piece. It has a very gypsyish, Russian, Armenian kind of sound, with very soulful, beautiful melodies and plenty of exciting rapid-tonguing kind of things.'" * Professor Anatoly Selyanin related in 2004, "In January I headed the jury of an American competition devoted to the Arutiunian trumpet concerto. 34 trumpeters played only this concerto." Selyanin said that "even a dog", if admitted to a performance, would recognise the musical structure at once and "know that in eight steps the concerto will be complete"...
Arutunian's concerto for trumpet was conceived of and written as a single-movement concerto with an extended lyrical episode.The consists of seven major sections which are all performed without break:
The melodic and rhythmic characteristics of Armenian folk music strongly influenced all of Arutiunian’s work, but all of the melodies contained in the trumpet concerto are original (no borrowed folk tunes).
The piece is scored for solo trumpet, 2 flutes (second doubles piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba, timpani, percussion ( bass drum, cymbals, snare drum, triangle), harp and strings.
The Soviet trumpeter Timofei Dokschitzer was the first to record the concerto and make it famous. He visited the US in concert and performed the concerto there, although Roger Voisin is credited with the US premiere of the concerto, performing it with the Boston Pops Orchestra in 1966.
Other noted performers of the concerto include:
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Alexander Grigori Arutiunian, also known as Arutunian, Arutyunyan, Arutjunjan, Harutyunian or Harutiunian, was a Soviet and Armenian composer and pianist, widely known for his 1950 Trumpet Concerto. A professor at Yerevan State Conservatory, he was recognized with many awards for his work, including the Stalin Prize in 1949 and People's Artist of the USSR in 1970, as well as numerous honors from his homeland of Armenia.
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