Jeffrey Strong of the St. Louis Symphony trumpet section takes us on a hiking trip in California mountain country.
“My wife Maggie and I took a 20-day road trip with our dog, Archer, to California this summer and spent about a week hiking in Mammoth Lakes. We had stops in Santa Fe, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Denver. It was great to see so much of our beautiful country, and we met some great people along the way.
“I’m currently spending my time training for the upcoming MO Cowbell Half Marathon, which takes place in St. Charles, and getting my music ready for the orchestra season to come.
“We are playing a lot of Beethoven this year, so I’ve been re-reading Lockwood’s books, Beethoven Symphonies: An Artistic Vision and Beethoven: The Music and the Life. I include a picture of our new kitten, Tiger, checking out the September repertoire on my white board.
“I’m very excited for this season, especially the September 23 concert when Karin Bliznik and I get to play Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Trumpets in C major. This season should be a blast! (Pun definitely intended.)”
You don’t need to be in the trumpet section to appreciate the trumpet highlights that may be heard in the upcoming 1516 concert season. First violinist Jessica Cheng had this to say about the trumpet solo that opens Mahler’s Symphony No. 5:
“Mahler 5 was the first symphony I played on my first subscription concert here 6 years ago, and at that time Susan Slaughter played the opening notes and blew me away. That was when I knew I was part of something really special. And this time, so many new faces have entered the orchestra since that day, and Karin [Bliznik] is playing the opening notes, and I’m sure I’ll be just as blown away.”
Associate Principal Trumpet Tom Drake, in answer to a request for his “hot picks” for 1516, informed me that this a very “trumpet interesting” season coming up at Powell Hall. He suggested I poll the trumpet section. So I did.
1) Mahler 5. Unanimous. (Principal Karin Bliznik, Associate Tom Drake, Jeffrey Strong, who joins the section in 1516, and Mike Walk). The Symphony opens with Bliznik playing a transcendent solo.
2-Tie) Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote. Flutter-tonguing may enter your vocabulary.
2-Tie) The Planets. Jupiter the Bringer of Jollity. Sweet trumpet dreams were made of these.
Other top picks among the section: Selections from Prokofiev’s Cinderella & Romeo & Juliet, and his Symphony No. 3; Selections from Wagner’s Parsifal; Gershwin’s An American in Paris; Messiaen’s From the Canyons to the Stars; Mahler 4; and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, orchestrated by Ravel.