Little is known about the origins of this sparkling early classical concerto, although research suggests it could be attributed to one of four German composers: Johann Otto (dates unkown); Franz Otto (1730 – 1805), a noted organist and virtuoso on several instruments; Karl Otto, who wrote several song collections in Mainz in the 1790s; or Laurentius Justin Ott (1748 – 1802), who served as music director of the Augustiner-Chorherrenstift in Wayern, Bavaria. Less likely (though often erroneously ascribed without further comment) is that it belongs to the hand of the Italian Luigi Otto, about whom even the most rudimentary biographical details remain undiscovered.
A copy of the score exists in the collection of the Princely Archives of Bentheim and Steinfurt, held at the University Library of Münster (Germany), indicating it was obviously part of the repertoire of the court orchestra which flourished under the reign of Counts Karl Paul Ernst and Ludwig Wilhelm between 1750 and 1806. Anecdotal evidence suggests it could have been written for a trumpeter named ‘Preger’, although there is very little corroborating material.
Despite the mystery surrounding its composition, the work offers a rather unique musical perspective: eschewing the typically forlorn orchestral trumpet writing of the mid-eighteenth century, it harks back to the golden age of the virtuoso clarino player, with extended lyrical lines in the instrument’s upper tessitura. Yet it is underpinned by a clearly defined classical structure: the opening movement is a modified sonata form, the second an intimate song, and the finale an attractively spirited Rondo. The accompanying instrumentation also reflects the prevailing style of the early 1770s, with two horns and two oboes added to the string ensemble.
- Piccolo Trumpet in B-flat