Matthias Höfs — “Festive Trumpets for Christmas” (Berlin Classics, 2011)

Cite this article as:

Arthur Zanin. (May 10, 2022). Matthias Höfs — “Festive Trumpets for Christmas” (Berlin Classics, 2011). International Journal of Music. Accessed July 13, 2024.


Embarking on the creation of my latest album, “Festive Trumpets for Christmas,” proved to be a profoundly enriching and innovative journey. In this reflection, I delve into the collaborative efforts that brought the project to fruition, the challenges faced during the pandemic, the rich tradition of Christmas concerts in my Hamburg town, and the artistic decisions that shaped the album’s unique character.

The Collaborative Symphony

Amidst the pandemic-induced limitations on live performances, I found solace and inspiration in the collaboration with both former and current students. The lockdown restrictions left my foreign students stranded in Germany, unable to return to their home countries. Determined to keep the musical flame alive, I organized concerts in a spacious church without a live audience, opting instead for live streams to reach our listeners. The endeavor was not only a means of artistic expression but also a way to provide my students with a meaningful project during these challenging times.

The Resonance of Tradition

The foundation of “Festive Trumpets for Christmas” lies in the rich tradition of year-end concerts in my hometown of Hamburg. For over two decades, we have gathered in a grand church to present pieces for three trumpets and organ, creating an enchanting atmosphere with festive lights and Christmas decorations. However, faced with the inability to stage such grand events, my collaborators and I redirected our creative energies towards producing this album. We aimed to capture the essence of those cherished performances within the confines of a recording studio, allowing listeners to experience the magic of the Christmas season in their homes.

Repertoire and Inspiration

A pivotal aspect of the album is the inclusion of a diverse repertoire that reflects my deep appreciation for the trumpet’s expressive capabilities. Erik Morales, a composer whose work has always resonated with me, became an integral part of this project. I reached out to him with the request to compose a new piece with a Christmas theme, and thus, the “North Star Suite” for nine trumpets emerged. Inspired by Bach’s Christmas Oratory, this composition encapsulates the spirit of the season and became a focal point of our project.

As an arranger, I took the opportunity to breathe new life into familiar pieces, such as the Scheidt Canzona, embellishing them with fresh ornaments. Collaborating with the talented organ player Christian Schmitt, I expanded the album’s scope beyond the trumpet ensemble, incorporating a Christmas choir accompanied by brass instruments. The inclusion of young, motivated players injected vitality into the project, underscoring my commitment to mentorship and the cultivation of emerging talent.

The Joy of Creation

Working tirelessly with my students on this album was a source of immense joy and inspiration. The absence of school, concerts, and stage performances during the lockdown provided us with the time and focus needed to refine our craft. The shared commitment to this project fostered a unique sense of camaraderie, with each musician contributing their skills and passion to the collective endeavor. We aimed not only to create beautiful music but also to convey the joy and spirit of the Christmas season to our listeners.


In conclusion, “Festive Trumpets for Christmas” is more than a musical project; it is a testament to the resilience of musicians during challenging times. The collaborative spirit that fueled this endeavor reflects the unwavering commitment of artists to adapt and innovate in the face of adversity. As we navigate an ever-changing musical landscape, this album stands as a symbol of the enduring power of music to bring people together, even in the most trying circumstances. May the harmonies of “Festive Trumpets for Christmas” resonate with listeners, serving as a reminder of the timeless beauty and joy that music can bring to our lives.

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