Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is without peer.
When I was a student, Maurice Murphy was blowing principal trumpet with what was then known as the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra. He would travel over the Pennines, in the company of Ian Coull, who blew third at that time, and Tom Atkinson, principal tuba of the band, and spend one day a week teaching. Although I was never a brass player, I got to know Maurice and used to go to the pub with him and his pupils. There he would tell stories of the professional life and generally entertain us all. He was a great story-teller and one of the nicest men one could hope to meet. We both moved to London, Maurice to play principal for the London Symphony Orchestra, me to do much more lowly things but we met
again when I was doing a bit of work in the LSO’s Library.
Then, a few days before receiving this disk I read of his passing. It was a sad day for all of us who knew him for he was one of the characters of music, a truly great musician, and a true Mensch. It was Maurice’s playing for John Williams, on the first
Star Wars film, that made Williams return to the LSO for his future films. Williams said that when he heard Maurice launch into the opening bars of Star Wars, the sound created "the voice of a hero".
A Hammersmith lad, he was raised in the North East, where as a young cornet player he became All England Juvenile Solo Champion in 1947 and was the first principal cornet of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. He played with the Crookhall and Harton Colliery Bands before moving to Bradford and joining the YEWCO Works Band, later joining Fairey. Appointed principal cornet of Black Dyke in 1957, he was a member of the ensemble which memorably won the 1957 British Open as well as 1959 and 1961 National Championships of Great Britain. He left the Dyke in 1962 to join the BBC Northern and the rest, as they say, is history.
That he didn’t achieve wide success as a soloist is partly because there weren’t sufficient Concertos to sustain a solo career. How things have changed! He did undertake a deal of solo work, and premiered Arthur Butterworth’s
Concerto alla Veneziana in both versions for orchestra and brass band.
This is a super disk and a fitting tribuite to a great man. What a beautiful sound he makes, sustained and gloriously achieved, in the legato music – try the slow movements of both the Haydn and Hummel Concertos – and his trills are a joy. As to the fast music his passagework is exemplary and quite breathtaking.
If you only want one disk of Trumpet Concertos I urge you to buy this one for it is without peer. The sound is fabulous, bright and ringingly clear – just like Maurice’s trumpet – and the notes, though brief, are good.
-- Bob Briggs, MusicWeb International
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Trumpet by Alexander Arutiunian
Maurice Murphy (Trumpet)
Robert Haydon Clark
Consort of London
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1950; Armenia
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