Sonata no.1 “The Tempest”
For C trumpet and piano
By David Gillingham

Biographical Info

The first sonata of David Gillingham bears the nickname, “The Tempest” because of the stormy and turbulent nature of the first movement, the somber aftermath of the second movement and the whirlwind drive of the third.

Suggested Equipment

C trumpet is preferred because of the extreme endurance demands.  There are also technical considerations that work much better on C trumpet in my opinion.

Mutes: I use a metal straight with a felt dampening ring for the two sixteenth-note passages in the first movement.  The passage at 118 is constant staccato sixteenths in piano so I want to lessen the potentially percussive articulation and the felt helps this.  The ending of the 2nd movement calls for “mute” but feels like it should be in the distance so I use a ”Soto Voce” mute.  A quiet wooden or plastic mute would work as well.

The excerpt clips included here are from a recital I gave in November of 2009.  I used an Eclipse C trumpet, TrumCor metal straight and Soto Voce green felt straight.

Practice/Performance Tips

The first movement is cast in sonata form with an introduction in fanfare style.  The first and second themes are contrasting in nature with the second being quite lyrical and sentimental.  A development section works through the two themes and the fanfare introductory material.  The section from 118 – 130 is very demanding from a technical standpoint and an endurance standpoint.  It is a challenge to keep this section in the background because of the difficulty, but you need to because the piano has the important part at this time.

Gillingham 1

The second movement is somewhat elegiac in nature and with a simple recitative and aria design.  The declamatory style of the recitative seems to convey a woeful longing while the aria is contemplative and reflective.  The second movement reminds me of Copland’s “Quiet City” in spots. There are beautiful lyrical moments throughout this moment.

Gillingham 2-1

Gillingham 2-2

The third movement uses a sonata-rondo construction combined with the playful style of a scherzo.  The furious tempo renders very short primary and secondary themes while the development section recycles themes from the previous two movements.  The rousing and joyful conclusion of the movement balances the turbulent beginning of the sonata.  Be careful at 65 as the mute change is very quick and happens at a particularly difficult place to count.  Then at 68 be sure to differentiate between the alternating 6/8 and 5/8 measures.  This is great writing and a blast to play.

Gillingham 3-1

Gillingham 3-2

Gillingham 3-3

This piece is a real test of your endurance.  Pace yourself whenever possible.  Also, the page turns are a nightmare so make copies so you can see the entire movement at once.

Suggested Recordings

As of this posting, I know of no commercially available recordings of this work.