Rule Britannia

The popularity of the trumpet amongst English composers during the late 17th and early 18th centuries is largely attributable to the extraordinary ability of three members of the Shore family, Matthias, William and John, who occupied the post of “Sergeant Trumpeter” to the monarch between 1687 and 1752. John, in particular, was praised by Hawkins for developing “the powers of that noble instrument…. beyond that of the imagination” and “a tone as sweet as that of a hautboy”, but all three Shores inspired composers to write extensively for the trumpet, and makers to redesign and build new instruments. Purcell probably wrote the trumpet parts in The Fairy Queen and The Indian Queen for the family, and a line in Come ye sons of art – “Sound the trumpet till around you make the list’ning shores resound” – suggests that their ability was also recognised by contemporary poets.



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