Adieu, Monsieur Trompette
One of the 20th century's most popular, inspiring and virtuosic classical instrumentalists died on Saturday at age 78. You might recall trumpeter Maurice André from his seemingly innumerable LP albums issued domestically in the plain black-and-white jackets of the Musical Heritage Society, filled with blazing renditions of enormous swaths of Baroque and early Classical obscurities, many of them in first recordings . What you might not have been aware of was his remarkable life story, one which took André, son of a coal miner and amateur musician, from the Cévennes of southern France, and from the military band he joined to earn a scholarship to study music, to a professorship at the Paris Conservatoire, and into all of the world's leading concert halls. And unless you're a trumpeter, you may not have realized the enormous extent of André's influence on the current prominence of the instrument, analogous to Pablo Casals's influence on the cello or Andrés Segovia's on the guitar. Suffice to say that anyone who makes any kind of livelihood on the classical trumpet is today mourning the loss of Maurice André. We'll remember him with plenty of his best this week on WFCR.