So Joab Blew a Trumpet (solo trumpet)


So Joab Blew a Trumpet (solo trumpet)


Solo B-flat or C trumpet

ca. 6:30

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So Joab Blew a Trumpet was commissioned by Jeremy Maitland in 2007.

The piece was added to the ACNMP Syllabus in 2018.

Duration: ca. 6:30



The trumpet has a long history behind it. Many cultures worldwide have for millennia had forms of the instrument, from the conch to the shofar to the long Roman tuba. And like the bell of a church or temple or town hall, the trumpet’s history is defined by its ability to be heard over long distances.

A trumpet defines a territory, establishes dominance, reinforces power. A trumpet warns of intrusion, and rallies a people. A trumpet starts a war. Trumpets could be used to send coded musical messages. Trumpets announce a young man’s readiness to marry. Trumpets call out, and wait for a response.

As I mused on these things I wondered: who is the trumpeter calling to? What is the message? And will there ever be a response? The first section of So Joab blew a trumpet is an oppressive fanfare that sounds like a rhythm-coded message – but the message is remains undecoded, and receives no answer. The second, slower section seethes with unrequited passion as a young man somewhere on a mountain calls his love to any and all young women, and waits for a response.

As these two different narratives oddly come together to become each other’s answer, a third voice emerges: a fragment of Biblical text spoken by the soloist. I don’t know who Joab is, only that by blowing a trumpet, he stops a group of people in their tracks. I don’t know the details of the story, and I’d rather imagine them for myself. This text will remain a rich fragment for me. Perhaps this text is the message encoded in the fanfare – and perhaps this story fuels the yearning heart of that young trumpeter on the mountainside.

- Alex Eddington