The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Let us now praise French trumpeter Maurice Andre, dead at 78, whose mastery sparked a revival of Baroque and Classical repertoire and helped launch a renaissance in brass. | March 3, 2012

ALERT and UPDATE: Due to treacherous road conditions, the Wingra Woodwind Quintet concert that was scheduled for Friday night at 8 p.m. in Morphy Recital Hall was canceled. However, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet will perform its FREE concert as scheduled tonight at 8 p.m. in Mills Concert Hall.

By Jacob Stockinger

It is not very often that a musician gets a change to change and remake the public’s perception of his instrument and the repertoire for that instrument, even to advance that perception and spark a kind of renaissance that alters music history.

Certain performers come immediately to mind: Wanda Landowska and the harpsichord; Andres Segovia and the guitar; Jean-Pierre Rampal and the flute; Heinz Holliger and the oboe; Jordi Savall and the viola da gamba. There are others.

Ranking high among them is French trumpeter Maurice Andre (below), who died last week week at the age 78. He pioneered a renaissance of great trumpet playing (especially on his trademark piccolo trumpet), and arguably of brass playing in general, and especially helped revive the Baroque and Classical era repertoire for his instrument.

I first got to know Andre’s performances when his version of Fasch’s Trumpet Concerto was on the Musical Heritage Society’s original issue of the Paillard Chamber Orchestra’s version of the bestselling recording of Pachebel’s Canon in D.

But then I heard him in Haydn (at bottom), Hummel, Vivaldi, Albinoni, Purcell and so much more.

From the first, his playing seemed to me filled with joie de vivre, the embodiment of the Biblical injunction to make a joyful noise. It was clear that Maurice Andre loved what he was doing.

Andre reminded me of a classical cross between jazz greats Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis, playing with both heat and cool. He  possessed great chops or technique. His playing was sensual but also had clarity, that ice water-like bracing transparency of tone, that I identify with, say, pianist Andras Schiff. To my mind, the fusing of those two qualities made Andre’s playing quintessentially French.

Andre’s playing possessed the force of a great declarative sentence that relies on verbs, not nouns or adjectives. It seemed irresistible and essential, never flowery of puffy.

In its breath control and long phrases, his playing seemed easy and effortless — the mark of a true virtuoso.

He was a hard worker with boundless energy and stamina who often played 180 dates a year.

And he was prolific in the studio. When you look him up at, you get almost 500 hits.

And he is remembered as an unassuming man who never thought of himself as a star and who never forgot his time as a young coal miner.

Here is a link to some colorful obituaries and appreciations:


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  3. Jake,

    As a pro lo-brass guy, I’m ashamed to admit I never heard of Maurice Andre but he sounds like Bud Herseth of the Chicago Symphony, Lester Remsen of the LA Symphony, and the famed Latino trumpeter, Raphael Mendez, who I once heard in Milwaukee that perfected a breathing technique whereby he could inhale while playing. I think I’ve got 1 of his records. I’m not a lover of some of the French brass repertoire but Andre sounds amazing. Thanks for the obit.

    Larry Retzack

    Comment by Larry Retzack — March 3, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

  4. Throughout high school and university I inhaled everything (at least it seemed that way) from Musical Heritage Society. Remember receiving the black and white generic-looking lp in the mail? And right along with Galway and others were the many albums of Maurice Andre. What tone, breath control, vocal mastery of his instrument! Thank you, M. Andre.

    Comment by David Goodwin — March 3, 2012 @ 9:49 am

    • Hi David,
      Thank you for reading and replying with such heartfelt words.
      I too fondly remember the in flashy but always reliable Musical Heritage Society recordings.
      I wonder: Whatever happened to those wonderful performances (along with early Nonesuch issues with great cover art and wonderful Baroque performances among others)?
      Did they ever find their way to CDs?
      Does anyone know or have details?
      Many of us would appreciate your help.
      Thanks again.

      Comment by welltemperedear — March 3, 2012 @ 10:03 am

  5. Many years ago, I was driving home and heard something on the radio that was so sublime that I called the station to find out what I had just heard. It was Maurice Andre performing the Telemann concerto in f minor for trumpet. I went out the next day and bought the record. As a former trumpeter, I was enthralled by the clarity of tone. There was no one who sounded so pure, so clear on the trumpet.

    Comment by Steve Rankin — March 3, 2012 @ 6:25 am

    • Hi Steve,
      Maurice Andre had that same effecting of unclogging one’s ears on many listeners, including me.
      He also opened me up to composers.
      I had no idea who Fasch was, but if I liked his music the way Maurice Andre played it, and if he liked it enough to play an record it, then it MUST be worthwhile.
      And it was and is.
      Thanks for reading an deploying.
      Play some trumpet music to mark his passing.
      Even the angel Gabriel would be envious of Maurice Andre’s superb horn playing.

      Comment by welltemperedear — March 3, 2012 @ 9:27 am

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