Biscogli, Francesco: Concerto for Trumpet, Oboe, and Bassoon, ed. Justin Bland

Francesco Biscogli: Concerto for Trumpet, Oboe, and Bassoon, ed. Justin Bland

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Very little is known about Francesco Biscogli. Unless a flute concerto attributed to Antonio Biscogli is by this composer, the present triple concerto is his only extant work. While the use of a concertino group consisting of virtuosic natural trumpet, oboe, and bassoon soloists accompanied by strings and continuo is unique, other composers did, on occasion, pair a natural trumpet soloist with soloists from different instrumental families in concertos, with noteworthy examples by Johann Wilhelm Hertel (1727–1789) for trumpet and oboe and Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch (1736–1800) for trumpet, violin, and oboe d’amore (also edited by the undersigned and published by Septenary Editions—catalogue number SE1-007). While the aforementioned concertos use the more ‘exotic’ Eb and E crookings, respectively, Biscogli employs the more familiar and comfortable D crooking in the present work, perhaps as a means of balancing out the other demands placed upon the trumpet soloist.

While the required range of a the trumpet part spans two and a half octaves from the third to eighteenth partial of the harmonic series (sounding A3–D6), the extremes are not frequently requested. Notable difficulties for the trumpeter include him having to lip notes outside of the harmonic series (sounding C#5, D#5, and A#5), not having a movement off to rest his embouchure, and having to play passages that require the same agility as the woodwinds, including series of arpeggiated sixteenth notes and a run of thirty-second notes. The parts for the woodwinds also require skilled soloists as both the oboe and bassoon parts have numerous passages with intricate finger work. In the case of the oboe, range is also a factor since passages ascending up to E6 are present; additionally, the range of the part descends down to G3, although this is most certainly due to the copyist mistakenly copying violin music into the part.

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