Gwyneth Walker

When the Trumpets Sound

for Eight Trumpets (2021)

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Commissioned by the International Trumpet Guild

When the Trumpets Sound is a suite of three movements for eight trumpets. Each movement considers the number eight in a different manner.

The opening "Fanfare for Eight" is "music for all." The theme, a straightforward motive presented a few measures into the music, is uncluttered and energetic. All play. Chords are often built through adding tones in ascending structures. This is a fanfare of strength.

"When There Are Two" features a theme for solo Flugelhorn, then answered by a second Flugelhorn. The warm tone of Flugelhorn is enjoyed in this plaintive song. In the background, the other six trumpets provide a gentle, "fluttering" background of "wawa" chords. A simple, sparse texture was chosen for this mournful expression.

The last movement, "Four by Four," is joyous music in a swing rhythm. As the title might suggest, this is a "repartee" between two groups of four trumpets. Ideas bounce back and forth as each group imitates one another. Various tone colors (effects) are employed to allow players to enjoy their instruments to the fullest. These include hand-over-bell muting (for visual as well as audible interest), rattling valves (done noisily, in jest) and plenty of vocal rhythms. Ta-ta-ta.

Notes by the composer