This delightful trumpet tune was written by Alfred Hollins (1865–1942). Alfred was blind from birth, and possibly a better pianist than he was organist (although W. T. Best seemed to hold him in high regard).
Hollins overcame the obstacle of his blindness in impressive fashion to become an international recitalist and a composer of modest success, writing over 50 pieces for the organ. Of these only a few continue to get an airing these days, probably the best known of them being the “Song of Sunshine” and this Trumpet Minuet. Many of them are of that class of Edwardian composition that can probably best be called charming, having the character of light musical entertainment one might use for an afternoon recital to the general public.
The Trumpet Minuet is a jolly piece
The Trumpet Minuet is a jolly piece in three time, for which you will need a reasonably competent solo reed stop. It has a pseudo-baroque feel to it, with echoes of “The trumpet shall sound” from Handel’s Messiah.
Once you have picked up the main figures it is a relatively easy piece to play, and it repeats itself quite a lot, but you don’t have to play all the repeats. The accompanying parts in the left hand and pedals need to balance the solo trumpet, so the registration depends to some extent on the power of your trumpet.
In this performance I have used a reasonably chunky great registration, coupled to swell up to 15th. The pedals deserve a 16 foot open diapason and octave here, as these sorts of pieces need to have a certain robustness about them, I think.
The only challenge of sorts is to master the pedal quaver runs, which often start off high up on the pedal board, so you need to work out your heels and toes in these sections, and get your balance right. Then I suppose there’s the fact that the solo trumpet occasionally hops to the left hand for a little fanfare.
I have added a little movement in the last two bars of solo trumpet, as Hollins’ ending on a sustained chord just seemed a bit lifeless. I hope you will forgive this liberty.
If you want to play the piece yourself there’s a useful free edition from the indefatigable Maurizio Machella available at https://www.free-scores.com/download-sheet-music.php?pdf=85937
More Videos with Francis Rumsey
- Percy Whitlock: Chorale Prelude on ‘Werde Munter’
- Mendelssohn (arr. W.T. Best): Overture to ‘St. Paul’
- Elgar (arr. Martin): Imperial March, Op. 32
- J.S. Bach: Sonata No. 5, Largo (BWV 529)
I’m a consultant for Viscount & Regent Classic Organs, with a background in music and audio engineering. I’m consultant technical writer and editor for the AES Journal, as well as being organist/choirmaster at St Mary’s, Witney. I sing with Oxford Pro Musica Singers and the Cathedral Singers of Christ Church, Oxford.