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Matthias Hofs on His Next ‘Oskar Bohme’ Album and Other Projects

Matthias Hofs on His Next ‘Oskar Bohme’ Album and Other Projects

Do you have any new albums or projects coming up?

Yes, I do! It’s funny because if you can’t play concerts, the solution for many players was to make recordings. Within the last year I did four recordings! And they are all coming out this year.

I made a very special recording with the very famous soprano Diana Damrau. With her, we did baroque repertoire and pieces by Handel, Bach and others. We have a tour for this at Christmas too. It’s a double album of hers that I play in, which also includes a couple of Christmas songs. It was a really great experience for me to work with such a fantastic singer.

And then we worked on an album with compositions by Oskar Böhme. And that was very interesting for me because he is a fantastic composer. In fact, I was invited to play a concert featuring his Trumpet Concerto Op.18 in Tokyo at the Suntory Hall, but unfortunately, they cancelled the concert because of COVID. If you see the score of this piece, it’s a little bit funny because it’s actually composed for a very big orchestra; with four horns, trumpets, three trombones, tuba, big brass, and sometimes the trumpets in the orchestra only play unison with the solo. I thought to myself, “He will have no chance to play the piano parts if they play unison.” Then I had the idea to create a new orchestration of the piece. I reduced this big orchestration and we did a recording with The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie which is this fantastic orchestra based in Bremen. I’ve already recorded Telemann and Bach pieces with them. On this album, we recorded also a piece for trumpet and harp Soirée de St.-Pétersburg which is perhaps the first piece with this combination. And then there is a fantastic Brass Sextet by Böhme, of which we did a new recording as well as lots of pieces with trumpet and piano. If you look at the piano part, you can see that he composed this for orchestra, it seems like an orchestral reduction. We did a new orchestration of three pieces and I will do the recording of these too. And then we have a complete Oskar Böhme CD which will come out in the Fall.

We also did a lot of singles and next month we want to make some pieces available online, arranged for trumpet and harp; Ravel, Debussy and Ibert. Our idea is to make this video and singles for charity to support Ukraine. It’s a special situation for me because in the middle of January I stayed in Moscow for a very special concert. A good friend of mine is a manager of a fantastic new concert hall in Moscow and she invited me to play a trumpet concerto composition of my friend Wolf Kerschek for solo trumpet and another eleven trumpet players in the audience and a big orchestra. It was a lot of work. We came all together with some of the most famous and renowned Russian trumpet players to have rehearsals and play chamber music as a trumpet ensemble and have this concert.

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And after this, it was very special because we had such a fantastic atmosphere and a wonderful audience. We had a big party afterwards and we all made plans to come together again in a few months and do it again, and now it can’t happen because of the war. What we could possibly do to show that we, trumpet players, brass players are a family? My idea was: let’s get together virtually and record a piece. Within 48 hours we did a Bach choral with 200 players all over the world to make this statement, and it was a very special occasion for all of us. It’s nothing, but what else can we do as musicians? We are only able to come together and show that we’re a family and not different nations with different ideas. This shows that music could have a very important message. This CD with Oskar Böhme is so modern because he was very famous in Russia as a composer in St. Petersburg, and then he was forbidden to compose and ended up being sent to Siberia and murdered with other foreign people living in Russia at that time. And now history is repeating itself.


Full Interview: “If You Can Play a Simple Melody Beautifully You Are a Musician; If You Can Only Play Perfect You Are a Trumpet Player”
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