Trumpets of Jubilee
Trumpet Duodectet Sheet Music PDF
by Eddie Lewis
The year of Jubilee is a year in the Bible, the Old Testament, which occurred every 50 years. It is the time when all debts were canceled and slaves were released. Trumpets were used to announce this release. They were blown “through the land”.
Writing for Twelve Trumpets (a Duodectet)
Trumpets of Jubilee is a composition for twelve trumpet players. Yes, the number of trumpets and the title are related. Twelve is an important number in the Bible and when I first set out to compose this piece, my main thought was that I wanted to write something for twelve trumpets….because it is such an important number in the Bible. At that point, the composition didn’t have a name yet.
Writing for twelve trumpets has its quirks. When I write for large ensembles, one thing I strive for most is to write music that cannot be performed by smaller ensembles. If music written for twelve trumpets could be just as easily written for eight, then it becomes a pointless exercise. Going into it with that attitude presented several issues I had to deal with. In a lot of ways, it was like playing the traditional Polish puzzle game called, Klotski. There’s just not enough wiggle room to get things done.
This lack of wiggle room was one of the contributing factors for why the piece took me so long to complete. I worked on it for several years before it seemed that there was light at the end of the tunnel.
Trumpets of Jubilee was, for some time, my most major work for trumpet ensemble. It wasn’t shadowed until I wrote the seven movement septet, Hopewell Suite.
Trumpets of Jubilee, the Composition
Trumpets of Jubilee begins as a fanfare in fugue form. This is not a baroque fugue. It is a modern fugue with very dense dissonances and lots of chromaticism. Several themes are explored before the texture changes to a drone with fanfare flourishes over the top.
The third section is contrapuntal, but not a genuine fugue.
The fourth section returns to the thematic material which was fanfared over the drone in the second section.
There is a crescendo into the last climax that begins to sound a bit chaotic. This slight chaos represents the shuffle and resetting of power as the year of Jubilee begins. The very last blast signifies the final release and freedom. Chains are broken and new beginnings are made.
Within our skill level system, Trumpets of Jubilee is at the Trumpet Master skill level. This is the sixth of our seven skills, so it is an advanced piece.
The highest note in Trumpets of Jubilee is E above high C. There are eight of these in the first part. They are short, but you need to have a solid E to make this work.
The ensemble work isn’t as difficult as having the chops on this one.