Rutland Boughton was born in 1878 in Aylesbury and became one of the most important British composers of his generation. He was a pupil of Stanford at the Royal College of Music; a teacher, conductor and writer at the Midland Institute of Music in Birmingham and from 1914 to 1926 directed his highly successful community festivals at Glastonbury.
Boughton is perhaps best remembered today for his contribution to opera, notably his world record-breaking opera, The Immortal Hour, that was enormously popular in London during the 1920s and '30s. However, Boughton wrote widely to other forms of music including songs, two fine symphonies, chamber and choral works and a series of concertos.
The Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra was composed in 1943 and Boughton dedicated it to his youngest son, Brian, who was then studying at the Royal College of Music under Ernest Hall. Apart from his delight in writing pieces to encourage the musically-gifted members of his family (the splendid first Oboe Concerto written for his daughter, Joy, one of the country's leading players at the time - see Helios CDH55019 - is a case in point), Boughton seems to have had no particular player or occasion in mind when he planned the Trumpet Concerto and was probably disheartened when both Ernest Hall and George Eskdale (of LSO) declared it too difficult for performance. Though Boughton appears to have played it through on the piano with the young William Overton, the work was left to one side. It took nearly fifty years for the concerto to re-surface and in September 1989, John Wallace and the Fife Sinfonia gave the world premier performance. Subsequent performances by Wallace have been given with the BBC Scottish, English Symphony and Guild of York orchestras.
As Rutland Boughton was a composer who was able to express his very considerable imagination entirely by means of traditional forms and an orthodox musical vocabulary, his work poses few problems to the listener. The two movements of the concerto move effortlessly through a series of contrasted sections and moods, each marked by a definite change in speed. As befits an overtly vituoso work, the accent is primarily on the soloist though Boughton's colourful orchestration allows the accompanying players appropriate moments of glory.
Web link: www.rutlandboughtonmusictrust.org.uk