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There was also, most interestingly, a solo trumpet interlude by Markus Mester, solo trumpeter of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. Mester became involved with Uwe Schwanz several years ago when he put together his music for the Grand Prix Freestyle to Music equestrian discipline, where riders perform advanced dressage movements to music. Unlike most other riders, Schwanz had opted for classical elements in his music, and this is how the musician began his long-standing cooperation with the festival director. 'I was not sure how the trumpet solo would be received by the audience,' Schwanz said in the evening, 'as the trumpet is not normally an instrument chosen for solos at such events.'

'In fact, the trumpet is an instrument that is very underrated for solo performances,' Mester said. 'I am glad Schwanz opted to try it because in many important works, there is a prominent feature of the trumpet which means that, like myself, many of the great composers considered it very important indeed. Take Mahler's 3rd, for instance, where the posthorn is nowadays very often, in absence of a genuine posthorn, replaced by a trumpet solo, and consider how ideally it is suited to bringing out the deep emotion of Lenau's poem, Der Postillon, which Mahler used as inspiration for this part. The tragedy of human loss, the touching final greeting of the comrade stopping by his friend's grave to play him one last time his favorite tune, the inevitable human condition of having to deal with the death of those we love, are all captured in this one trumpet solo. The trumpet, if played correctly, knows how to grasp the very depth of human emotion.'

Markus Mester after the performance. Photo © 2007 Philip Crebbin
Markus Mester after the performance. Photo © 2007 Philip Crebbin

Mester should know, as he is an expert on the subject. Counted by some critics to be among Germany's foremost trumpeters, by the age of 21 he was already a soloist in the European Youth Orchestra under the directorship of Claudio Abbado. Since 1992, he has played solo trumpet for the Bamberg Symphony, and since 1996 he has also been first trumpet at the orchestra of the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth. Mester is also a founding member of two significant musical groups, 'Bach, Brass and Blues' and the wind quintet of the Bamberg Symphony.

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Copyright © 3 September 2007 Tess Crebbin, Munich, Germany


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