Brand: Czech Trumpet Repertoire and Style: An Investigation of Essential Czech Musical Elements and Music from Communist Czechoslovakia

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Brand, Spencer. "Czech Trumpet Repertoire and Style: An Investigation of Essential Czech Musical Elements and Music from Communist Czechoslovakia." Lecture presented at the International Trumpet Guild Conference, Minneapolis, MN, May 31, 2023.


The rich musical tradition of the Bohemian and Moravian regions of modern-day Czech Republic dates to the Medieval period. In the trumpet community, the orchestral music of Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák, and Leoš Janáček enjoys considerable attention. Trumpet authors have also explored Czech Baroque and early Romantic music extensively, including the music of Pavel Josef Vejvanovsky. However, a gap emerged in research of Czech trumpet music and Czech trumpet players from the period after the Czechoslovakian communist coup d’état of 1948. After this event, Czech musicians and artists experienced years of censorship and seclusion from the outside world except for those who regretfully fled their homeland. During this time, opinions developed abroad that in a communist environment without freedom and ideological dictations against artists, great art could not be produced. Much to the contrary, since 1948, Czech composers wrote over two-hundred trumpet works for excellent Czech trumpet soloists.

This research presentation seeks to build a wider awareness of the extensive work by Czech composers and trumpeters during the Communist period of Czechoslovakia (1948-1989) and clarify a Czech musical style. Drawn from work of Mikuláš Bek, John Bradley, Miloš Jůzl, and others, discussion begins with historical analysis of trumpet repertoire throughout Czech musical history to develop a greater understanding of the music composed during a dark period of communist Czech history. This is followed by profiles of selected Czech trumpet soloists who contributed to the Czech trumpet repertoire by recording and commissioning works by Czech composers. A concluding discussion addresses the definition of Czech musical style, and explores compositional aspects and the playing style that make the music “Czech” based on writing from Michael Beckerman and interviews with Mirolsav Kejmar and Ladislav Kozderka. From archival work done in collaboration with the Czech Music Information Centre, this research includes a catalog of works by Czech composers for unaccompanied trumpet or trumpet and electronics, works for trumpet and keyboard, works for solo trumpet and ensemble, and works for trumpet and other solo instruments with ensemble. This catalog was compiled to serve as a resource for future performers interested in Czech trumpet music.  


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