Duration: 12′

  • Trumpet Concerto
  • Solo Trumpet, string orchestra, percussion (3 tom toms, bowed vibraphone, crotales, bass drum)
  • 1: Blow your Trumpets  |  2: Angells  |  3: Imagin’d corners
  • Gemini Publiations
  • Comissioned by London Mozart Players and Paul Archibald
  • First performance – 23rd October 1999 – Paul Archibald (tpt), London Mozart Players, St Michael and All Angels – Chiswick, London

Programme Note:
I wrote Seraphim in memory of the broadcaster and journalist, Adam Raphael, who died in 1999 after a courageous battle with cancer. He was a man of great intellect, energy and kindness with a wonderful sense of fun, even when he was so ill. He was aware, of course, of the connection between his name and the Seraphim, the highest in the angel hierarchy, and he asked that the Handel aria with trumpet solo, Let the Bright Seraphim, should be played at his memorial service. In Seraphim I have used some motivic detail from the Handel arias.

Other musical ideas for each of the three movements were suggested by text from one of John Donne’s Holy Sonnets, (no.4):

  • At the round earths imagin’d corners, blow
  • Your trumpets, Angells, and arise, arise
  • From death, you numberlesse infinities
  • Of soules

In the opening movement, ‘Blow your trumpets,’ the strings present a fast-moving, light textured background to the trumpet solo, which, at times, is sustained and at others moves with great agility. In ‘Angells’, the trumpet solo weaves long phrases into the linear violin solo line, supported by the ethereal sound string harmonics and ringing tones of the bowed vibraphone. In the more earthy ‘Imagin’d Corners’ the trumpet solo makes use of the arpeggio shapes from the aria, Let the Bright Seraphim, leading the work to an exuberant conclusion.

The London Mozart Players commissioned Seraphim which was especially written for the trumpeter, Paul Archibald and was first performed in Chiswick, London in 1999.
The premiere of the revised version was given on 27th August, 2002 by Paul Archibald and the Presteigne Festival Orchestra under the direction of George Vass in St Andrew’s Church, Presteigne.

Link to recording: