Originally conceived as a trio for organ, violin and cello, the Suite glows brightly in the shadows of classicism: the first movement allegro expounding all the expressive gestures which the modern trumpet relishes, whilst the organ provides the perfect registral foil and contrapuntal partner; the violin part fits a piccolo trumpet like a glove and the large modern B flat trumpet soars, cello-like, as equal partner. This is proper ‘mainstream’ chamber music, richly coherent and cultivated as trumpets and organ have rarely enjoyed together before.

No explanation is required for why a Theme and Variations should fall effortlessly within the trumpet and cornet-playing fraternity. Against a purple Gothic backdrop, the vocalised theme (since when has the trumpet ever tired of imitating the voice?) brushes with Mendelssohn and Bruckner but largely Rheinberger distinguishes himself through a personal distillation of the virtues of traditional classical harmony.

The Sarabande underpins Rheinberger’s historical consciousness, building a soulful conceit of reflective Romanticism around an elegant baroque dance form. The trio section imparts, in its rustic Ländler, a sanguine Schubertian touch. The Finale is a tour de force of organ gymnastics against which the solo trumpets dart in and out of a feverish contrapuntal web of genuine distinction. Only a reference to the lyrical second subject of the first movement provides the necessary respite. The final flourishes are pure trumpetings, double and triple tongues and heroic finality. One wonders whether he had the trumpet in mind all along?

Parts included:

  • Piccolo Trumpet in B-flat/A
  • Trumpet in B-flat
  • Organ