Suites and Sonatinas for Two
Trumpet - Sheet Music

Item Number: 18491333
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Item Types
Musical Forms
2 (natural) trumpets - Grade 4-5


Composed by Oswald / Messing. Arranged by Bryan Proksch. Baroque. Duration 20'. Editions BIM #TP239. Published by Editions BIM (ET.TP239).

ISBN 9790207015211.

Historical Notes

All of the duets used here appear as printed in John Simpson’s The Delightful Pocket Companion for the German Flute Containing a Choice Collection of the Most Celebrated Italian, English, and Scotch Tunes Curiously Adapted to That Instrument (London: John Simpson, 1745).1 This source, like so many of the time, was designed for amateur use, so its contents are often arrangements of a variety of different types of works rather than specifically composed duets. The majority of the pieces included in this edition were arranged, but probably not originally composed for German flute. In fact, the pieces printed here were probably originally composed for natural trumpet or horn.2
The duets printed here include two sets of "Airs," one each attributed to (James?) Oswald and the otherwise unknown "Mr. Messing" ["Mr. Brass" in German]. It seems likely that the Oswald airs were written specifically for two trumpets given their range and idiomatic writing. While they occasionally go up to the 18th partial, an uncommonly high pitch for English trumpeters of the period, there are contemporaneous trumpet works that do the same.3 The Messing airs (esp. duet #10) are, on the whole, much more difficult than the Oswald works, but they are still technically playable on the natural trumpet. It seems more likely that the Messing works were written for horn rather than trumpet.
Two un-attributed Sonatinas have been included in this edition as well (duets 16 and 17). I have included the entire work in each case, even though potions are unplayable on a natural brass instrument as printed by Simpson. When performing these works in concert, one can either perform the unplayable movements on a different instrument, or one can alter the non-harmonic pitches individually to work on a natural brass instrument.4 Of course, if performed on modern instruments these works present no performance problems whatsoever.

While the majority of works in Simpson’s book (and indeed the majority of works in all publications of this sort from the time) are clearly not for brass instruments, those published here seem to be for brass simply because they conform to the range and musical capabilities of the instruments in use at the time. The pieces (with the exceptions discussed above) are quite idiomatic to instruments like the natural trumpet. Occasional lapses where the music moves outside the playable harmonic series can be explained as embellishments added to make the duets more appealing to the intended woodwind-playing purchaser.
In any case, the duets present a nice range of difficulty from quite easy to rather difficult and should be especially welcome additions to the libraries of beginning and intermediate students of the natural and piccolo trumpets. Accessible duets for these instruments are, after all, always hard to come by.