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Let the Trumpet Sound!

A Compilation of Easter Music for Trumpet and Brass

Easter Sunday celebrations are one of the high points of our Christian faith and worship. As such the worship planned for this day ought to be particularly festive. While there are many ways to heighten the festivities through visuals and movement, music is of particular importance on this day—especially music that includes trumpet and brass. Gathered below is a compilation of music for your consideration, including commentary about its difficulty level and other helpful information.

*Denotes optional timpani accompaniment.

Grade Assignment

Grade 1 (Beginner): Music for first- or second-year players. Usually quarter note values and longer are used, with occasional eighth notes. Limited number of pitches used.

Grade 2 (Intermediate): Uses more interesting rhythms incorporating dotted-quarter-eighth-note figures, with more pitches used than in Grade 1.

Grade 3 (Late Intermediate): Uses some sixteenth notes in addition to all other note values. Syncopation may be used, as well as more key changes and accidentals. May call for full range of the instrument.

Grade 4 (Early Advanced): This is a grade level for people with ability who really want to play some cool charts. Players who feel comfortable with their instrument and have good rhythmic abilities will be able to perform music at this level.

Grade 5 (Advanced): Most works at this level are going to take exactly that—work! They are not unplayable; however, you don’t want to sit down at a gig and sight-read one of these charts.

Grade 6 (Advanced+): This is a class of music for people who want to play something hard because (a) they like to play something really difficult, (b) they really love the music and don’t mind putting in the work that it takes to play it well.

Solo Trumpet and Organ

Festival Processional on “Praise Our God” from Cantata no. 11 “Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen.” J.S. Bach, arr. by Robert J. Powell: 1973, Concordia Publishing House; St. Louis, Mo. Trumpet Range: F4-A5. Trumpet Grade: 4. Organ Grade: 5.

The average trumpet player will find this to be taxing on the chops because of the high tessitura and long phrases. There are, however, breaks to rest throughout the piece. This is a good piece to play for a prelude.

“To God Be the Glory.” William H. Doane, arr. by Jim Lucas: 1994, Descant Publications. Distributed by Hal Leonard, Lynwood, Wash. Trumpet Range: E4-D6. Trumpet Grade: 5. Organ Grade: 5.

The range makes this piece very demanding for a trumpet player. Only advanced trumpet players will be able to play the D5 clearly and well. There is an optional trumpet II part. Originally, the piece was to be accompanied by a piano; playing this on organ would be more difficult than piano, but passable.

Processional on hyfrydol—“Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.” Partially adapted from Cantata 146, Duet #7 (J.S. Bach) Rowland H. Prichard, arr. by Sue Mitchell-Wallace: 2003, Hope Publishing Company; Carol Stream, Ill. Trumpet Range: G4-B5. Trumpet Grade: 3/1. Organ Grade: 3.

This piece is playable by high school players once they have mastered their range and agility on the trumpet. If the optional ending is not taken, the range is G4-E5, making this playable by an elementary-level player (hence, the Grade 1 rating).

“Jesus Christ Is Risen Today”—“Easter Hymn/Lyra Davidica. Robert Williams, arr. by Sue Mitchell-Wallace and John H. Head: 1989, Hope Publishing Company; Carol Stream, Ill. Trumpet Range: D4-B5. Trumpet Grade: 4. Organ Grade: 3.

A beautiful, crisp fanfare for an Easter service. This piece takes captive all the elements a trumpet player would enjoy in a piece of Easter music. Also, the tune is easily heard through the entire song.

“Hallelujah Chorus” from Messiah. George F. Handel, arr. by Sue Mitchell-Wallace and John H. Head: 1989, Hope Publishing Company; Carol Stream, Ill. Trumpet Range: A4-E6. Trumpet Grade: 5. Organ Grade: 4.

Set in the perilous key of E, this verison of the Hallelujah Chorus for solo trumpet is difficult and very taxing. Three short breaks throughout the piece are not enough to recover from the average tessitura of F5-B5. However, if the trumpet player is fortunate enough to have a trumpet in D, the piece is easily playable (a transcription for trumpet in D is included).

“Let the Bright Seraphim” from Samson. George F. Handel, arr. by Sue Mitchell-Wallace and John H. Head: 1989, Hope Publishing Company; Carol Stream, Ill. Trumpet Range: E4-C6. Trumpet Grade: 5. Organ Grade: 4.

Though not a widely promoted Easter piece, this song is a joy for the congregation to listen to. Crisp, triumphant, and bright, this will serve as a good prelude, especially if there is a talented soprano who can sing the solo. However, this is only the first third of the entire piece.

“I Know That My Redeemer Liveth” from Messiah. George F. Handel, arr. by Sue Mitchell-Wallace and John H. Head: 1989, Hope Publishing Company; Carol Stream, Ill. Trumpet Range: F4-A5. Trumpet Grade: 3. Organ Grade: 3.

The lyrics might not be easily recognized, but the song is certainly appropriate for Easter. Printed lyrics would be helpful to the congregation.

“Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones”—lasst uns erfreuen. Geistliche Kirchengesang, arr. by Sue Mitchell-Wallace and John H. Head: 1989, Hope Publishing Company; Carol Stream, Ill. Trumpet Range: F4-B5. Trumpet Grade: 3. Organ Grade: 4.

Commonly known as “All Creatures of Our God and King,” this piece will prove to be a challenge to any organist. The melody is heard clearly throughout much of the piece. Heavy chords fill much of this music, making it very solid and steady.

“Crown Him with Many Crowns”—diademata. George J. Elvey, arr. by Sue Mitchell-Wallace and John H. Head: 1989, Hope Publishing Company; Carol Stream, Ill. Trumpet Range: C4-C6. Trumpet Grade: 4. Organ Grade: 3.

Good solo setting for diademata where the melody in the trumpet is finally exposed at the end after much build and climax. The piece moves quickly, has a difficult key signature, and requires agile fingers. This would make a wonderful postlude or prelude.

“Jesus Christ, God’s Own Son” from Christ Lag in Todesbanden. J.S. Bach, arr. by Sue Mitchell-Wallace and John H. Head: 1989, Hope Publishing Company; Carol Stream, Ill. Trumpet Range: E4-E5. Trumpet Grade: 3. Organ Grade: 3.

Very fluid, this would work best as a meditative piece, probably after silent prayer. Any organist who chooses to play this song needs an agile right hand, for the treble clef consists of a steady stream of sixteenth notes.

“Thine Is the Glory” from Judas Maccabeus. George F. Handel, arr. by Sue Mitchell-Wallace and John H. Head: 1989, Hope Publishing Company; Carol Stream, Ill. Trumpet Range: F4-C6. Trumpet Grade: 4. Organ Grade: 3.

Throughout this sixty-measure song, thirty-three beats consist of a C6, the standard height of a trumpeter’s range. Other than the extended demands on the chops, this piece is playable with a little practice and is best suited as a postlude.

*Easter Suite:

  1. “Christ Is Risen! Alleluia!”—morgenlied by Frederick C. Maker
  2. “Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands”—christ lag in todesbanden by J. Walther
  3. “We Walk by Faith and Not by Sight”—dunlap’s creek by Samuel McFarland
  4. “O Sons and Daughters of the King”—o filii et filiae French, 15th century
  5. “Come Away to the Skies”—middlebury from A Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony
  6. “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice and Sing!”—gelobt sei gott by Melchoir Vulpius
  7.    “Now the Green Blade Rises”—noël nouvelet French Carol
  8. “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today, Alleluia!”—llanfair by Robert Williams
  9. “Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain”—gaudeamus partier by Johann Horn
  10. “Welcome, Happy Morning!”—fortunatus by Arthur S. Sullivan
  11. “Alleluia! Jesus Is Risen”—earth and all stars David N. Johnson
  12. “This Joyful Eastertide”—vruechten Dutch 17th Century
  13. “Thine Is the Glory”—from “Judas Maccabaeus” by George F. Handel, arr. by Dan Uhl: 1995, Augsburg Fortress; Minneapolis, Minn. Trumpet Range: B3-A5. Trumpet Grade: 3. Organ Grade: 3.

This suite of music spans all of Holy Week and incorporates a broad spectrum of worship styles. From hymn tunes of the Reformation, an oratorio by Handel, contemporary and jazz music, and music from the shaped note tradition, Dan Uhl skillfully weaves Easter music from all ages together into one suite. Though not overly challenging, the music is demanding. Length of the suite is close to 30 minutes. Uhl suggests that the first ten pieces be used as an extended prelude, the final two as a postlude, and “Earth and All Stars” as an interlude. A congregation can easily sing along with the suite. Optional timpani part as well as a transcription for trumpet in C is included.

*Processional Prelude on “Christ Is the King”—beverly. Charles R. Anders, arr. by John Eggert: 1996, Concordia Publishing House; St. Louis, Mo. Trumpet Range: D4-B5. Trumpet Grade: 3. Organ Grade: 2.

Another demanding Easter trumpet processional. Regal, brassy, and bold, but with enough dynamic contrast to avoid giving pain to the ears. Long phrases and few breaks make this piece taxing on the chops. Optional timpani included.

“Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying”—wachet auf. Philipp Nicolai, Harald Rohlig: 1959, Concordia Publishing House; St. Louis, Mo. Trumpet Range: D4-B5. Trumpet Grade: 3. Organ Grade: 2.

Suitable for the congregation to sing, the hymn setting has a powerful descant. The intrada between the organ and trumpet would best be used as a prelude. The range is high, but none of the passages is particularly technical.

“Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow”—old hundredth. Louis Bourgeois, Harald Rohlig: 1959, Concordia Publishing House; St. Louis, Mo. Trumpet Range: F4-B5. Trumpet Grade: 4. Organ Grade: 4.

Though not immediately associated with Easter, this processional and descant to the familiar tune would close any regal Easter service wonderfully. Both trumpet and organ part are moderately challenging.

*“Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”—lobe den herren. Ernewerts Gesangbuch, arr. by John Eggert: 1997, Concordia Publishing House; St. Louis, Mo. Trumpet Range: D4-A5. Trumpet Grade: 2. Organ Grade: 2.

Not extremely difficult, this piece moves quickly and is quite lively. Enough breaks are provided to make this piece playable by any trumpet player with two or more years of experience. Optional timpani part included.

“Awake, My Heart, with Gladness”—auf, auf, mein herz. Johann Crüge, arr. by Johannes H. E. Koch: 1963, Concordia Publishing House; St. Louis, Mo. Trumpet Range: C4-B5. Trumpet Grade: 4. Organ Grade: 3.

Lengthy intrada to this song makes it valuable to play both the intrada and chorale together as a prelude. Syncopation makes it difficult to count initially. An M7 leap and an octave leap to the B5 make the ending to the piece difficult for the average player. Well-suited for congregational accompaniment.

“Ye Sons and Daughters of the King”—gelobt sei gott. Melchoir Vulpius, arr. by Johannes H.E. Koch: 1963, Concordia Publishing House; St. Louis, Mo. Trumpet Range: D4-A5. Trumpet Grade: 2. Organ Grade: 3.

The intrada and chorale together would work as a prelude. Not particularly technical and only somewhat demanding in range, this piece is playable by most trumpet players. Well-suited for congregational accompaniment.

“Jesus Christ Is Risen Today”—lyra davidica. Robert Williams, arr. by Johannes H.E. Koch: 1963, Concordia Publishing House; St. Louis, Mo. Trumpet Range: D4-A5. Trumpet Grade: 2. Organ Grade: 2.

Beautiful but not flashy, this arrangement will serve the church that guards against “show music” quite well. Also well-suited for congregational accompaniment.

Brass Ensemble and Organ

*Denotes optional timpani accompaniment.

*Fantasy on “O Sons and Daughters”—ofilii et filiae. Jean Tisserand, arr. by Walter Pelz: 1970, Ausburg Publishing House; Minneapolis, Minn. Trumpet Range: B3-G5. Trumpet Grade: 3. Trombone Range: A2-A4. Trombone Grade: 4. Organ Grade: 4.

This piece is written for two trumpets in C, two trombones, timpani, and organ. Trumpet players will require either transposed music or trumpets in C. Difficulty level makes it unfeasible to transpose this music while playing. Mutes are needed for trumpets and there are few breaks for instrumentalists.

*“Hallelujah Chorus”—from Messiah by George F. Handel, arr. by S. Drummond Wolff. Concordia Publishing House; St. Louis, Mo. Trumpet Range: D4-B5. Trumpet Grade: 4. Trombone Range: A2-E5. Trombone Grade: 4. Organ Grade: 4.

The classic, non-hymn-based Easter tune; this version remains semi-accurate to the original score. Wolff does an acceptable job allotting the voice parts between the four brass instruments. Sadly, several of the fanfares originally covered by the trumpets were given to the organ. However, this arrangement should be included in the permanent archives of any brass quartet. Optional timpani part included.

“Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”—llanfair. Robert Williams, arr. by S. Drummond Wolff: 1977, Concordia Publishing House; St. Louis, Mo. Trumpet Range: F4-F5. Trumpet Grade: 2. Trombone Range: A2-E4. Trombone Grade: 2. Organ Grade: 2.

An easy arrangement of a popular Easter hymn for brass quartet.

“Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain”—gaudeamus partier. Johann Horn, arr. by S. Drummond Wolff: 1977, Concordia Publishing House; St. Louis, Mo. Trumpet Range: C4-F5. Trumpet Grade: 2. Trombone Range: G2-E4. Trombone Grade: 2. Organ Grade: 2.

An easy arrangement of a popular Easter hymn for brass quartet.

“This Joyful Eastertide”—vruechten. 17th Century Dutch Tune, arr. by S. Drummond Wolff, Concordia Publishing House; St. Louis, Mo. Trumpet Range: D4-G5. Trumpet Grade: 2. Trombone Range: G2-F4. Trombone Grade: 2. Organ Grade: 2.

An easy arrangement of a popular Easter hymn for brass quartet.

“Good Christian Friends, Rejoice and Sing”—gelobt sei gott. Melchoir Vulpius, arr. by S. Drummond Wolff: 1985, Concordia Publishing House; St. Louis, Mo. Trumpet Range: D4-G5. Trumpet Grade: 2. Trombone Range: G2-F4. Trombone Grade: 2. Organ Grade: 2.

An easy arrangement of an Easter hymn that is mainly antiphonal. This also is a good piece to use if the brass and organ are apart from each other.

*Processional and hymn tune “Crown Him with Many Crowns”—diademata. George J. Elvey, arr. by Robert J. Powell: 1992, Concordia Publishing House; St. Louis, Mo. Trumpet Range: E4-B5. Trumpet Grade: 3. Trombone Range: A2-F4. Trombone Grade: 2. Organ Grade: 3.

Powell arranges a processional based on the tune diademata and crafts an upward-moving line driving to the accompaniment of the hymn. Other than the fact that this is an arrangement of the hymn, the accompaniment is nothing special.

“Christ Doth End in Triumph”—final chorale from The Christmas Oratorio. J.S. Bach, arr. by Frank Campbell-Watson: 1964, The H. W. Gray Company; New York, NY. Trumpet Range: B3-F5. Trumpet Grade: 1. Organ Grade: 4.

This trumpet trio serves as a wonderful opportunity for beginner trumpet players to contribute to an Easter service. Because the organ music is fluid and filled with motion, the piece still sounds wonderful. Also, this serves as an excellent opportunity for a skilled organist to impart knowledge to the beginning musicians.

“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” from Cantata No. 147. J.S. Bach, arr. by Frank Campbell-Watson: 1967, The H. W. Gray Company; New York, NY. Trumpet Range: C4-G5. Trumpet Grade: 2. Organ Grade: 3.

This trumpet trio is slightly more difficult than “Christ Doth End in Triumph” and would be appropriate to master the year after the previously mentioned trumpet trio.