Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Roger Voisin: Trumpet Music

This post is for my friend, colleague, trumpet player, and fellow Bostonian, Fred, at Random Classics. I say "fellow Bostonian even if I have not lived there for over 18 years, because I retain a certain home town feeling for the BSO, especially in its Koussevitzsky and Munch days, and am thus thrilled to present this record of Roger Voisin, 1st trumpet in the orchestra until Leinsdorf demoted him in a fit of Teutonic pique.

This is trumpet music and trumpet playing at its most wonderfully assertive, demanding assent and getting it -- music with tremendous positive energy that I find gets the juices going even on days when I'm not exactly rearing to go or in any mood to say "yes" to much of anything.

In short, a delight.

Link to all files


  1. do you when this album was issued?

  2. Well, well Larry..a most pleasant surprise. I, of course, have all of these Voisin recordings and have not got around to them. I thank you much!

    Though admittedly I was a greater fan of Ghitalla, I certainly appreciate all that Roger did for the trumpet, Boston, young musicians. Folks need to know that Roger was the last in the line of the great French trumpet school. Roger was a briliant player, technically flawless, and one of the first musicians along with Andre, to push forward all of the forgotten gems from the Baroque. Roger could play that clarino stuff! He carried with him a style, and tradition, that is sadly gone, replaced by what I consider a rather technically brilliant but generic American style of playing. Oh well.

    Speaking of Leinsdorf..his "firing" of Voisin ultimately was a catalyst that led to his own demise by the end of the 60's. Roger could have packed his bags after this humiliation but he stayed on, devoting his years to many greatful students at BU and NEC.


  3. Fred: I assumed that as a Bostonian and trumpet player that you probably had the LP, but thought I digitize it anyway. The idea came as I was watching a DVD of Munch's appearance at Sanders Theatre at Harvard in April 1962 -- his final season as BSO music director. Voisin was first trumpet, of course, in an all French program including Symphonie Fantastique, Daphnes and Cloe 2nd Suite, and La Mer. A lovely evening with the French BSO.

    Anonymous: I don't know offhand when this was recorded. I will look it up when I get back to the house, though, and edit the post to include that information.

  4. Fred and Larry,

    In my own listening experience, only one brass player surpassed Voisin on more or less his instrument ("more or less" because the other virtuouso performed on cornet, not on the trumpet per se). That is Herbert L. Clarke, to whom both the U. S. of A. and the Dominion of Canada lay jealous claim. Clarke's virtuosity and agility defy description, but it does have to be admitted that he played and recorded mostly lighter and more showy fare than Voisin did. Both, however, played with their respective repertoires with great elegance and impeccable taste.

    Thank the Lord that Voisin lived much later in the 20th century than Clarke did, thus was able to profit from the advances in recording technology that had taken place by Voisin's time. However, the cornet did record well for the early acoustical technology, which was far from the case with many other instruments (or with female voices), so Clarke's recordings are really quite listenable.

    The last years of Clarke's brilliant career, long after his early, long, and stellar stint with John Phillip Sousa, were in Long Beach, California, my home town, whose municipal band (one of the few fully professional such bands on a municipal pay role in those years) he founded and directed for many years. I mention Clarke not out of civic pride, but to urge lovers of brass music recordings to acquire the reissues of Clarke's recordings that have appeared on LPs, audiocassettes, and CDs. May Voisin and Clarke both enjoy, posthumously, a renewal of interest that their respective recordings so richly merit!

    Pax, Jerry Parker