Paul Merkelo — “Arutiunian, Weinberg, Shostakovich: Trumpet Concertos” (Naxos, 2022)

Cite this article as:

Arthur Zanin. (September 14, 2021). Paul Merkelo — “Arutiunian, Weinberg, Shostakovich: Trumpet Concertos” (Naxos, 2022). International Journal of Music. Accessed July 25, 2024.

I am thrilled to delve into the details of my latest album, a project that has been in the making for quite some time. The journey through Arutiunian, Weinberg, and Shostakovich trumpet concertos has been a rewarding exploration of diverse musical landscapes and a testament to the rich heritage of the trumpet in classical music.

This musical venture materialized in June of 2019, but due to unforeseen circumstances, its release was delayed until March 2022. The decision to defer the album’s launch during the Covid-19 pandemic was a thoughtful one; we wanted to ensure that the audience could fully engage with the music without the overshadowing concerns of the global health crisis. Now, as we approach the unveiling of this collection, I am eager to share the intricate details and profound experiences that shaped this project.

One significant aspect of this album is the collaboration with Naxos, a label that expressed particular interest in Weinberg’s Concerto. This led to a strategic shift from my initial contract with Sony for the release of the Haydn and Hummel album. The opportunity to work with Naxos, a label renowned for its commitment to showcasing diverse and lesser-known works, was an exciting prospect. The decision to include the Arutiunian Concerto and Dokshizer’s arrangement of Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1 further contributed to the album’s distinctive character.

The journey begins with the Arutiunian Concerto, a vibrant and engaging composition that reflects the Armenian composer’s unique voice. The concerto’s rhythmic vitality and melodic richness provided an excellent starting point for this musical odyssey. As a performer, immersing myself in Arutiunian’s world allowed me to explore the trumpet’s expressive capabilities fully. The interplay between the soloist and the orchestra creates a dynamic dialogue, and the virtuosic passages showcase the trumpet’s agility and lyricism.

Moving forward, the spotlight turns to the Weinberg Concerto, a piece dedicated to the legendary Soviet trumpeter Timofei Dokshizer. Weinberg’s work resonates with emotional depth, capturing the tumultuous period in which it was composed. The concerto’s poignant melodies and dramatic orchestration reflect the composer’s keen awareness of the political and cultural climate of his time. Collaborating with the Russian National Orchestra under the baton of Hans Graf added an extra layer of authenticity to the performance, bringing out the nuances embedded in Weinberg’s musical narrative.

One of the highlights of this album is Dokshizer’s arrangement of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1. This adaptation for trumpet and orchestra offers a fresh perspective on Shostakovich’s well-known composition. The juxtaposition of playful and introspective elements within the concerto creates a captivating listening experience. As a performer, interpreting Shostakovich’s intricate musical language presented a unique set of challenges and opportunities. The collaboration with the Russian National Orchestra allowed us to delve into the subtleties of the concerto, uncovering layers of meaning and emotion.

In reflecting on the broader context of this album, it is essential to recognize the interconnectedness of these three concertos. While each piece stands as a distinct musical entity, the shared cultural and historical roots of Arutiunian, Weinberg, and Shostakovich create a cohesive narrative throughout the album. The juxtaposition of Armenian, Soviet, and Russian influences provides a fascinating glimpse into the diversity of the trumpet repertoire and the broader tapestry of classical music.


In conclusion, this album represents more than a collection of trumpet concertos; it is a musical exploration of cultural and historical landscapes. The decision to delay its release was a conscious choice to allow the audience to engage with the music in a more contemplative and immersive manner. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Naxos and the Russian National Orchestra, and I hope that this album sparks a renewed appreciation for the trumpet repertoire and its rich heritage.

As we anticipate the album’s release in March 2022, I invite you to join me on this musical journey. May the vibrant sounds of Arutiunian, the emotional depth of Weinberg, and the inventive spirit of Shostakovich resonate with you, fostering a deeper connection to the profound beauty of classical music.

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