Josh’s debut classical CD, Josh Rzepka: Baroque Music For Trumpet was recorded and released in 2010. The album features Josh backed by a 13 piece string orchestra playing concertos from Baroque masters Vivaldi, Torelli, Purcell, Telemann, Handel and Neruda. Organist Christopher Toth joins Josh for Neruda’s Concerto in Eb with original cadenzas. Recorded over the course of three days in NE Ohio – this album visits some of the trumpet’s most celebrated repertoire. The orchestra was led by Canadian conductor Geneviève Leclair, a fellow BU alum, and assistant Conductor of the Boston Ballet Orchestra.
Since September 2008, Canadian conductor Geneviève Leclair has been pursuing her training in conducting as a doctoral student at Boston University with Maestro David Hoose, where she has conducted the Boston University Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, and has been assistant-conductor for the Boston University Opera Institute. In March 2010, Ms. Leclair received the Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation Award in orchestral conducting and won, for the second consecutive year, the position of apprentice-conductor for the Summer 2010 season of Boris Brott’s National Academy Orchestra of Canada. From 2005 to 2008, Ms. Leclair was General and Artistic Director of Ensemble Euterpe, a Montréal-based orchestra she also founded. She has participated in a number of conducting workshops, including the Orchestral Conducting Program at the National Arts Center in Ottawa, and the renowned Conductor’s Retreat at Medomak with Maestro Kenneth Kiesler. Other teachers and mentors include Dr. Ann Howard Jones, Jonathan McPhee, and William Lumpkin. Ms. Leclair obtained her Master’s Degree in Flute Performance at Université de Montréal under the tutelage of Denis Bluteau. In addition to playing flute and piccolo in various ensembles, Ms. Leclair has taught her instrument, as well as music theory and ear training, in various musical institutions in Montréal from 2001 to 2008. She is also a published author of musical literature and theory exercise books, Les Devoirs du prof Rémi, through Les Éditions École de musique Vincent-d’Indy.
Rebecca Freshwater, a resident of University Heights, Ohio, has had leading performance roles include Susanna in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, Angelina in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial by Jury and Cunégonde in Bernstein’s Candide. Other roles of note include Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel with Opera Columbus, Magnolia in Showboat with Cincinnati Landmark Productions, Mrs. Ham in Noye’s Fludde with Mississippi Opera, and Gretel in scenes from Hansel and Gretel with Opera Per Tutti in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2006, Ms. Freshwater studied at the American Institute of Musical Studies program in Graz, Austria program. While there, she performed with international conductor Edoardo Müller and the Graz orchestra. Among her awards and competitions are the Metropolitan Opera National Council Encouragement Award, South-East Regional National Association of Teachers of Singing Winner, and Women in Music-Columbus Annual Scholarship Competition Prize. Ms. Freshwater completed her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance in 2005 from The Ohio State University, and her Bachelor’s of Music in 2002 from Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi. In addition to her performing career, Ms. Freshwater serves as the Expressive Arts Enrichment specialist for Music and Art at the First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland’s Children’s Center.
Christopher Toth is the organist at Brecksville United Methodist Church and St. John Nepomucene Church in Slavic Village, Ohio. He is also the assistant organist at Fairmount Temple in Beachwood, Ohio. In 2006, he passed the Colleague and Service Playing Exams of the American Guild of Organists. Christopher holds two degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied organ performance with Karel Paukert.
Giuseppe Torelli (1658-1709) was an Italian composer and one of the most prolific baroque composers for trumpet, with over thirty concertos written for solo, duo, and trumpet ensemble. The Concerto in D is often referred to as Concerto in D “Estienne Roger” due to the fact that the original manuscript for this particular concerto has never been found and the famous publisher Estienne Roger, who often published works for Albinoni, Corelli, Vivaldi, and others, included this concerto in a collection titled “Concerts a 5, 6 & 7 instruments, dont il y en a un pour la Trompette ou le Haubois; Composez par Messieurs BITTI, VIVALDI & TORELLI”. The attribution of this concerto to Torelli is due to the fact that every other piece in the collection listed a composer other than Torelli, while the last piece did not list a composer. Since the last concerto in the collection did not list a composer, and Torelli’s name was last on the published title, it has generally been attributed to be by Torelli
Henry Purcell (1659-1695) was a celebrated English baroque composer of secular and sacred music. The Sonata in D, Z. 850 is perhaps his most popular work for trumpet. The sonata opens with a heroic bold statement from the trumpet which is followed by interplay between the trumpet and orchestra throughout the first and third movements. The original manuscript is in located in the archives of the Library of York Minster, England.
George Friedrich Handel (1685-1759) is most well known as a composer of operas, oratorios, and concertos. Born in Germany but ultimately moving to London and becoming an English citizen, he composed some of the most celebrated works of the Baroque era including Messiah, Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks. One of Handel’s most well known pieces in the trumpet repertoire is an aria, a trumpet, and soprano duet, Let the Bright Seraphim, from his oratorio Sampson, HWV 57. This beautiful duet between trumpet and soprano features a wonderful dialogue between the trumpet and soprano with sections of call and response and virtuosic singing, as well as bold and majestic trumpet playing. [THIS IS THE ONLY COMPOSER FOR WHOM YOU DON’T MENTION THE LOCATION OF THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT.]
Johann Baptist Georg Neruda (1707-1780) was a Czech composer who wrote a number of symphonies, concertos, and sonatas. The Concerto in Eb,originally written for the Corno da Caccia and titled Concerto a Corno Primo, has since been accepted into the trumpet repertoire as one of its staples due to its high range and difficulty to play on the modern French horn and fitting well into the modern trumpet’s range. The original manuscript is located in the National Museum of Prague, with the call number XXXII-A-52. Written in concerto form in the early classical style, this recording features cadenza’s composed by Rzepka. and is performed on a modern Bb trumpet.
George Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) was arguably the most prolific baroque composer in history. Born in Germany, his works total over three thousand and include concertos, sonatas, chamber music, and more. The Concerto in D TWV 51:D7 for trumpet is his most celebrated trumpet work, and similar to the Torelli Concerto in D, there is speculation as to whether Telemann actually composed this piece. The original manuscript is located at the Hessian Library Darmstadt and bears the manuscript number: 1033/104; however, since the manuscript is signed d’ Melante (an anagram for Telemann) there is speculation as to whether this was an authentic work or that of one of his pupils. In addition to being signed d’ Melante, other speculation revolves around the extremely high tessitura, compositional, and structural details. While the authenticity of this piece is debatable, it is a staple in the trumpet repertoire and is widely accepted to have been written by Telemann.
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) was a prolific Italian composer who is highly regarded for his concertos, operas, and sacred music including the well knownFour Seasons. The Concerto for two Trumpets in C, RV537, is one of his most celebrated concertos and certainly his most celebrated solo trumpet piece. The original manuscript is located at the national library in Turin, Italy, the Torino Biblioteca Nazionale. Full of dynamic interplay and virtuosic passages, both trumpet parts are featured equally with fast runs and arpeggios. Through the use of modern technology on his new CD, Rzepka was able to serve as soloist forboth trumpet parts. He recorded the first trumpet part live with orchestra at one recording session, and then at a later recording session, he played the second trumpet part, which was added to the original track. This concerto is full of interplay between the two trumpet parts, with many phrases being copied identically, or played in stretto.
– Liner notes by Josh Rzepka © 2010
Orchestra on Handel and Telemann.
Orchestra on Purcell, Torelli, and Vivaldi.