Magical Trumpets

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Where are your St. Louis Symphony musicians this summer? On an East Coast vibe this week, with cellist Alvin McCall beginning performances with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center in NYC, and Principal Trumpet Karin Bliznik at the Tanglewood Music Festival in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

Bliznik sent me a link to the NY Times review of the world premiere of the late Gunther Schuller’s “Magical Trumpets.” The eminent composer, conductor, jazz historian and horn player passed away in Boston in June. Bliznik performed the piece with members of the Boston Symphony and Tanglewood Music Center [TMC] trumpet sections. Bliznik was one of two former Tanglewood students in the ensemble.

The premiere of Gunther Schuller's "Magical Trumpets" at Tanglewood. The St. Louis' Karin Bliznik in the middle of the oval.
The premiere of Gunther Schuller’s “Magical Trumpets” at Tanglewood. The St. Louis Symphony’s Karin Bliznik at the center of the players. Photo credit: Hilary Scott

Times critic Vivien Schweitzer writes: “[Schuller] created the term ‘third stream’ to indicate music that incorporated both classical and jazz, such as some of his own scores, like ‘Magical Trumpets.’ It had its premiere on Thursday at Tanglewood, conducted by Jonathan Berman….

“Mr. Schuller, who often composed for unusual instrumentation, scored ‘Magical Trumpets’ for 12 brass in eight different keys. The work certainly proved enchanting, with the varied timbres of the instruments wielded to ear-catching effect and a creative use of mutes providing additional texture. At one point the musicians evoked the sound of a jazz band guitarist.”

Bliznik told me “Gunther was very involved in TMC and the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood. ‘Magical Trumpets’ was very cool. It’s possibly the last piece he composed, so it felt like a historic moment.”

For the full review: click.