for Cornet in Bb or Trumpet in C or Bb and Piano

by Eugène Bozza

Biographical Info

Eugène Bozza (1905-1991) has been for many decades not only one of France’s most prolific composers but, like Hindemith and Stevens, a great boon to woodwind and brass players.  His hundreds of solo and recital works have involved virtually every known instrument and instrumental combination, from consort pieces for three bassoons, six clarinets, four flutes, four horns, and innumerable woodwind and brass quintets to solo works for everything from the piccolo to the contrabass.  This vast repertory – the lovely Rustiques included – shows with a remarkable consistency Bozza’s gift for melodic fluency, elegant forms and a keen sense of how to make an instrument – any instrument – sound good and right.  – Gunther Schuller

I will be referring to the Alphonse Leduc edition, which unfortunately has no measure numbers or rehearsal marks.  It comes with C and Bb trumpet parts.

Suggested Equipment

I tend to favor playing my C trumpet whenever possible in a classical chamber setting.  That would include Rustiques, however this piece lays particularly well overall on the Bb.  I actually prefer the Bb in the opening section up to the a Tempo and also the last four measures of the work.

There are two lines of music on the top of page 2 that call for sourd. (mute).  Since the composer does not specify which kind of mute, we have some options.  I prefer the sound of cup mute in French literature especially in lyrical settings like this one.  If not cup I would use a wood or plastic straight to give a more colored sound.  (I save the metal straight for brilliant multiple tongue or fanfare-like passages.)

Practice/Performance Tips

My feeling is that the title “Rustiques”, refers to the rustic folk quality found in the melody after the first Andantino and the folk dance after the Allegro.  There is also something about all the fourth intervals of the opening call that feels somewhat rustic, un-refined, simplice.

This piece is loaded with expressive opportunities within all the cadenzas.  Bring out drama with a wide range of dynamics and use of silence between phrases.  Do not rush through the declarations.

The first folk melody (last two lines of page 1) poses a potential breathing problem.  It is a long phrase with no written breath marks.  I have included clips of three options.

Bozza breath 1

Bozza breath 2

Bozza no breath

Whatever you decide should be mirrored when the phrase comes back again on page 2, 4th system.  I would also suggest a breath between measure 1 and 2 on page 2, 4th system.

The last three lines of the piece right before the final fanfare has always been difficult for me.  I’ve tried it on both C and Bb slowly trying to find compositional pattern, and it has just proven to be one of those tricky spots that I have to re-learn every time I want to perform this piece.  If anyone has an idea about practicing this particular section, I would love to hear it!

There are a few mistakes in the parts that you should be aware of.

In the Bb trumpet part:

  • 6th system from beginning, the 3rd F# should be an accented E-natural sixteenth slurred into a C quarter note.
  • Page 3, system 4, measure 2 and 4 downbeats should be C# eighth notes.

In the C trumpet part:

  • Page 3, system 4, measure 2 downbeat should be a B-natural eighth note.
  • Page 3, system 10, measure 1; the 6th sixteenth note should be a D-natural.

Suggested Recordings

On the Twentieth Century – Wynton Marsalis

Brass and the Band – William Camp, tpt.  (this version is scored for trumpet solo and band)